Final Update


All the students have boarded the planes for their flights back to the US!  Catherine is planning on sending out an email to all parents when they have landed, passed through customs, and have arrived at the gates for their flights back home.  We had a wonderful program, and we are so grateful for each and every one of our talented students.  Grazie a mille!

In closing, we wanted to share a few of our favorite photos from this summer. Enjoy!

Final Performances

Our last full day in Spoleto began quietly as students had free time until the first performance at 12pm. The winning contrada was treated to breakfast at Caffe degli Artisti, a local student favorite for Nutella crepes and fresh brioche. Many other students took advantage of the morning to do last minute souvenir shopping, enjoy a cappucino or begin packing.

At 12pm, students, faculty and fellows gathered at the school to view exhibits set up by the Visual Arts and Photography students.

During Siesta, students finished packing, played cards, prepared for their evening performances and stuck around the convent, spending time with their friends.

At 6pm, students gathered at the chapel at Terazza Frau to see final performances for strings, drama and creative writing. On a few of their pieces, the violin students were accompanied by Euntaek Kim, Eric Gratz, and Sayaka Selina-Studer. After their performance pieces, Katibeth and Ann played a surprise duet for their instructor, Niccoló.

The Creative Writing students started their performance by reading a poem they wrote reflecting on their experiences with Jan, their teacher. They also presented their pieces about ordinary and extraordinary- taking an ordinary object and finding what makes it extraordinary. Drama students, Meaghan and Danielle presented their monologues, fully transforming into their characters.

After our final meal at Hotel Clitunno (and a delicious strawberry semifredo for dessert!) we returned to Terazza Frau for the vocal performances. First we heard Opera and Operetta pieces including “Cat Duet” (Duetto Buffo de Due Gatti) by Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) “Prenderò quel brunettino” from Così fan tutte (1789) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “As summer brings a wistful breeze” from Ghosts of Versailles (1991) John Corigliano “Via resti servita”, “Le Nozze di Figaro” (1786) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “Aprite, presto, aprite”, “Le Nozze di Figaro” (1786) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “Sull’aria”, ” Le Nozze di Figaro” (1786) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “Ricevete, o padroncina” and “Le Nozze di Figaro” (1786) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

After the classical pieces, we heard a selection of musical theater songs. “Three Little Maids from School” from The Mikado (1885) by Gilbert & Sullivan “Impossible/It’s Possible” from Cinderella (1957) by Rodgers & Hammerstein “Sisters” from White Christmas (1954) by Irving Berlin “Bosom Buddies” from Mame (1966) by Jerry Herman “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun (1950) by Irving Berlin “In His Eyes” from Jekyll and Hyde (1990) by Frank Wildhorn “You Could Drive a Person Crazy” from Company (1970) by Stephen Sondheim and “Some Things Are Meant To Be” from Little Women (2005) by Jason Howland

Our final performance day ended with five pieces from the choir and a beautiful encore performance in front of the Duomo.

We are so incredibly proud of every student that joined us at Spoleto Study Abroad this summer!

A domani!

Preparing for Final Performances and an Update from Creative Writing!


We are now down to one of our final days in Spoleto. Students have been working hard to prepare for their master classes’ final performance. They are all excited to see their friends and family, but they are also sad to say goodbye to the new friends they’ve made.

After an exciting and hilarious Palio race last night, the points have been tallied, and the winning contrade is… Chiocciola (the snail)! “With slow and deliberate steps, snail leaves the battlefield triumphant!”

Since today is Friday, it’s time for an update on our creative writing students! Enjoy the video blog below!

Vocal Rehearsals and the long awaited Palio Race!


Another beautiful day in Spoleto. Vocalists are diligently training their voices in preparation for the culminating performance this Saturday. During the closing show the chorus will be performing six choral pieces.

In addition to the choral pieces, each vocalist is preparing to perform two duets, one opera and one operetta or musical theater piece.

Each vocalist gets one on one sessions with Terry to work on specifics of their parts for the performance.

After dinner we held the long awaited Palio Race! Each Contrada got in the team spirit by painting their faces, singing songs, and waving their flags purchased in Siena.

Ready, Set, are the "horses" for each Contrada: Calla, Jena, Lily, Kiara, Sofia, Mac, and Gracie! The race was a huge hit, lots of laughs and fun had by all.

Orvieto Visit


Today we visited the beautiful city of Orvieto!  Orvieto used to be one of the few papal residences outside of Rome and as a result has a beautiful Duomo situated in the heart of the city.  In ancient times, Orvieto was a major center of the Etruscan civilization and many Etruscan artifacts have been discovered in the area surrounding Orvieto.

Our first stop was to the Pozzo di S. Patricio, a 62 meter deep well commissioned Pope Clement VII in fear of a possible siege on Orvieto by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V during his sack of Rome in 1527.  Students enjoyed the cooling climb down to the bottom of the well!

We then visited the archaeological museum, Museo Claudio Faina e Museo Civico, to look at some beautiful Etruscan artifacts. 

Finally, we toured the gorgeous Cathedral of Orvieto, home to the Chapel of San Brizio containing frescoes by Fra Angelico and Luca Signorelli’s Last Judgement.  Students enjoyed listening to Lorenzo speak about the spectacular frescoes!

After returning to Spoleto, students had some quality time at the pool!

Each trip, the students count off to make sure that we have everybody.  Today’s count off timed in at a record-breaking 8.78 seconds!

Violin, a Performance Class, and a Video about Photography


The final week here in Spoleto has continued to be busy!  We have been working hard to ensure that we accomplish everything we can before the program ends!

The violin students have been perfecting the foundational skills and pieces that they have been working on throughout our time in Spoleto.  Master class lessons in the evening are divided into private lessons with Niccolo, individual practice, and group practice.

Tonight was our final performance class before the closing program on Saturday.  We were all amazed with the talent tonight’s performers showcased!


We also were able to learn about the work Heather, Photography Instructor, has produced.

The photography students have been working diligently on curating their installation piece that will be on display in a ‘pop-up’ gallery on the main Corso through town later this week!  Enjoy the pictures below.

Also, please enjoy this video update concerning what Spoleto Study Abroad is like for a photography student.

Sketching Spoleto


Visual Art students are busy wrapping up their self portrait project and diving into their second project inspired by the town of Spoleto. Students are challenged in this project to explore their surroundings and draw or paint from observation a scene which illustrates an area that reflects their experience within Spoleto.

Harrison holding his start of his sinopia (underpainting) applied while observing the view from under the arches of the duomo.

Calla holding her canvas with the beginning of her painting of the Caio Melisso.

Lucas in action working on his sinopia, capturing an incredible view of Spoleto

Loulou worked hard to complete her charcoal self portrait. We look forward to her presentation of the progression of this piece during the performance class tomorrow morning.

Jenna sits with her completed oil painting as the visual arts class hosts a critique. She will be presenting the progression of her oil painting, explaining her challenges and successes through the process of painting this realistic self-portrait with a stain glass window background inspired by Spoleto’s churches.

Jenna sits with her completed oil painting as the visual arts class hosts a critique. She will be presenting the progression of her oil painting, explaining her challenges and successes through the process of painting this realistic self-portrait with a stain glass window background inspired by Spoleto’s churches.

Tonight we had a fantastic talent show!!! Students showcased some fun talents such as Eliza aka “Mad Skills” and Julia aka “MC” singing the theme song to “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”

We also had a special guest appearance from The Spice Girls! (aka Loulou, Abigail, Harrison, Hannah, and Anna).

Gracie and Kiara collaborated on their own mash up of Taylor Swift and Adele.

The talent show was a great success, with many students performing and providing laughs while earning points for their contrada.

A domani!

A Rainy Sunday in Spoleto


After such a long day of travel yesterday, we took advantage of a rainy morning and took it easy.

Many of us slept in and had breakfast out in Spoleto, rather than at the convent.  At noon we came together for a second faculty performance.

After the performance and some lunch, we enjoyed some more down time.  Some of us used it to do laundry, while others used it play card games.

Some students then went with Andrea to play soccer at a local field.

Tonight, we did not eat dinner at our usual place, Hotel Clitunno.  Instead, the students signed up to go to various local restaurants with a faculty members.

A domani!

A Day in Firenze (Florence)!


Today Spoleto Study Abroad students traveled to Florence!


After a great lecture, Mary Beth challenged students to imagine what it would be like to be a monk and wake up to the frescoes inside the cells of the Convent of San Marco. She also asked them to focus on the Virgin Mary’s hands in different frescoes, specifically in the famous Annunciation by Fra Angelico.

Standing in front of the Florence Cathedral also known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Across the walkway are the Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti. Students learned about the competition for the door design where Brunelleschi was the runner up. They discussed the importance of competition and patronage for artists.

Mary Beth, Mac, Danielle, and Nikki looking into the cells at the Convent of San Marco.

Students taking in Ghiberti’s baptistry doors.

Students learning from Andrea about the conflict between the Medici family and the friar Girolamo Savonarola.

A Domani!


A Cemetery Visit and Our Second Masterclass


Today’s major focus is Creative Writing.  One of the most unique parts of the Creative Writing program is that they spend the majority of their time outside, exploring Spoleto. During their exploration of the city, writers participate in an exercise called “360” in which they choose a location and then spend time observing all the elements of their surroundings. This is intended to help students “see” and not just “look.”

Students participating in a 360 exercise

Earlier in the week, the students visited the local cemetery. Cemeteries in Italy are designed like actual cities, with main streets, and monumental crypts for familial burials. The students wrote pieces reflecting on their impression of the cemetery; many writers contrasted the Italian cemetery with those they would find back home in the US.

Today, the class returned to the cemetery and practiced reading their revised writings in the space that inspired it.

Sofia, Nikki, Lily and Mac with instructor, Jan Guffin

This evening, we had our second Masterclass with presentations by several disciplines. Creative writers, Mac and Lily presented their pieces on “Home and Away.” Drama student, Danielle, performed a piece from Mother Courage and Her Children. We heard Yebin sing “Se Florindo e fedele” by Scarlotti. Abigail sang “Tu Lo Sai” by Torelli. Anna  performed “O mio babbino caro” by Puccini and Anu sang “O del mio amato ben” by Donaudy. Next, the photography students, Claire and Hannah, presented several of their images, including the before and after edits. Two of our visual art students, Lucas and Calla, talked us through the timelapse of their self portraits.

Tonight’s performers at our second masterclass

Tomorrow, we are headed to Florence.

A dopo!


The Roman House, Rehearsals and a Birthday!


Today the Art & Architecture students visited a restored Roman house built in the 1st Century overlooking the Forum Square. The house was most likely that of Vespasia Polla, the mother of Emperor Vespasian.

Kiara, Hannah, Anna, and Meaghan enjoying the Roman house.

Alison giving the students a tour of the Roman house (students pictured are Eliza, Meaghan, Kiara, and Clara).

Vocal music, instrumental music, and drama students spent the day attending classes, having lessons, and rehearsing their various performance pieces to be presented on the final performance.

Clara and Anna working on their duet from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

The voice and drama students “taking a walk” in Movement class with the photography students working on their skills with taking motion photos.

Voice and drama students working on their various performance pieces.

In addition, today was Ruby’s 16th birthday which we celebrated with pastry desserts and the Happy Birthday song in Italian at the Clituno!

Birthday pastries!

Happy 16th Birthday Ruby!!!

A domani!


A Day at the Beach


Today we made our way to the Adriatic to enjoy the sun and water while relaxing at a beach club, Riva Bella, in San Benedetto del Tronto. We entertained ourselves by swimming, going for walks, eating seafood and gelato, and playing games. Please enjoy the pictures below!

A domani!