Perugia and Gubbio

The nearby cities of Perugia and Gubbio offer a wonderful glimpse into the culture of the Umbrian region. Perugia is the capital of Umbria and a respected university town with an eclectic flavor: there are Gothic palaces, jazz cafes, ancient alleys, and a nineteenth-century shopping promenade. Juxtapositions of medieval and contemporary culture are everywhere, making it a very appealing city. On a clear day, there is a great view of Assisi in the distance, a reminder that the young Saint Francis was captured and held captive by the Perugians for over a year. Perugia’s most famous export is Baci, chocolate-coated hazelnuts with a Romantic proverb written in the wrapper.

Gubbio is the classic Umbrian hill town, a medieval city with fortress-like buildings stacked at the base of a mountain on which sits the Basilica di Sant’Ubaldo housing the remains of the city’s patron saint in a glass casket. In the Museo del Palazzo dei Consoli one can view the remarkable Eugubine Tables, the only existing record of the Umbri language inscribed on bronze tablets dating from 200-70 BCE.

Bologna

Bologna has much more to offer than just its famous Bolognese Sauce. The characteristic arcades (covered walkways) date back to the twelfth century, its university–founded in 1088–is one of the oldest in Europe, and the gothic Basilica of San Petronius is one of the largest in the world. Students will also have the chance to see the “sette chiese,” a complex of seven religious buildings that date back to the 4th century and climb the Asinelli tower to get a breathtaking view of the city. And of course, the culinary culture of Bologna is famous for good reason!

Assisi

Saint Francis, with his message of love, simplicity, non-materialism, and environmental sensitivity, looms large over Assisi. Tributes to Francis are everywhere, from the fantastic Basilica San Francesco to the town square where he grew up, the wooden crucifix that changed his life, and the church dedicated to Santa Chiara, one of his most important followers and founder of the Poor Clares. There is much more to see as well. The town of Assisi is beautifully preserved and rich in history, with Roman ruins to medieval towers. There are peaceful views of the Umbrian countryside and extensive back lanes to explore.

Ravenna

The city of Ravenna offers an incredible opportunity to see grand mosaics of a style otherwise found only in Istanbul. The city had an enormous strategic importance in the first millennium of the common era. It was the capital of the Western Roman empire in the 400s, the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom in the 500s, and later, after it was recaptured by Byzantine Emperor Justinius, was the main Western seat of the Eastern Orthodox empire. This remarkable history is preserved in the striking mosaics.

Gradara, Pesaro, and Fano

The ancient castle city of Gradara is the setting of one of Dante’s best-known stories, the story of Paolo and Francesca from the Divine Comedy. The castle tour includes a dungeon and medieval walls that are accessible by foot. The cities of Pesaro and Fano are both very close to Urbino and offer much to see and do. Pesaro is the city of the composer Rossini–his birth house is now a museum and there is a wonderful opera house with a great concert season and a highly-respected music conservatory. Fano is an important destination on the Via Flaminia, an ancient Roman road that led from Rome, across the Apennine Mountains, to the Adriatic Sea. Fano’s status as an important Roman city is still apparent in the Arch of Augustus that leads into the city and extensive remnants of the Roman city. Both cities are on the coast with fantastic beaches. Since Fano and Pesaro are easily accessible from Urbino by public bus, it is easy for students to return to both cities for day excursions on their own.

Urbino

The city of Urbino will be your home for the thirteen weeks of your semester abroad. Urbino is a small city with a rich history and an impressive palace, many historic churches, and charming streets and alleyways to explore. With the many students who attend the University of Urbino, it also has many restaurants, bars, cafés and festivals. In the most recent Times Higher Education Europe rankings, the University of Urbino ranked number one in Italy for its study environment.

Rome

Rome is the capital of Italy and a city with an incredible history that spans 28 centuries! During our extended trip you will have the opportunity to visit some of the most iconic sites in Italy such as the Colosseum or the Appian Way along with the many piazzas, fountains, and parks. You will also get a chance to visit Vatican City and the extensive Vatican Museums. Vatican City is a unique example of a country within a city and the center of the Roman Catholic church.

 

Venice, Verona, Vicenza

During our extended trip to the Veneto region you will have an opportunity to visit Verona, Vicenza, and, of course, Venice. Some of the sites visited by UTSA students in previous semesters include:

VeronaRoman Arena di Verona from the first century, the outdoor market in the Piazza Erbe with its towers and fountains, Juliet’s house and balcony (from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet), and the magnificent Castelvecchio
Vicenzathe Renaissance Teatro Olimpico with the original onstage scenery from 1585
VeniceSt. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, the islands of Murano and Burano, the Jewish Ghetto, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection