Summer in Italy

In this EdCC faculty-led program in partnership with Bio-monte tours, students experienced true immersion in Italian culture in ROME, FLORENCE, and TUSCANY while completing 5 to 10 credits in Anthropology and Humanities. Have a look at some of the photos from this trip and schedule below, and check out McKenna Adam’s blog site for a few posts on her trip to Italy!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Course Content:

Anth 206/ Hum 155

Required Texts~

Dickie, John.  Delezia: The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food.  Free Press, New York, NY. 2008

Mayes, Frances.  Under a Tuscan Sun.  DoubleDay, NY. 1996.

Online Cultural Anthropology Textbook

Anthropology draws from natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to think critically about what it means to be human. Immersed in the ancient and modern cultural landscape of Italy, we will focus on diverse answers that humans have produced to fundamental questions. Who are we? Where did we come from? Where do we go from here?  These questions can be deeply contemplated in the Eternal City of Rome, the enchanted mediaeval corridors of Florence, and the rolling vineyards of Tuscany.

Edmonds CC/Bio-Monte Tours 2017

Cultural Anthropology Study Abroad Itinerary

Day 1- 8/29, Benvenuti!

  • Arrive in Rome – Welcome to Bella Italia! A group dinner will be held at 7 PM with an orientation at our hostel.

Day 2- 8/30 Tours, tours, tours!

Street Food and Red Bus, Piazza Switch…

  • Start the 3-week study off by jumping into the Italian culture with two tours.
  • The first tour is all about the contemporary Rome contrasting with the ancient.
  • The second will be a walking tour through the heart of Rome to witness the beauty of an ancient and modern society thriving side by side with a goal of understanding how the “Italian” culture has evolved, and how much it has changed, or stayed the same.

Day 3- 8/31 All about the Vatican

  • Today is about religion. Rome, moreover the sovereign state of the Vatican, has been looked at for two millennia as the heart and focus of Christianity. We’ll have a tour through the magnificent museum to learn what “doing Church”, or “doing religion”, looked like in the past.
  • Afterwards, we’ll go to the actual Cathedral to observe religion in action. Remember, this is no ordinary place of worship, this is the epicenter of it all; St. Peter’s Cathedral.
  • Spend the night out on the town, go adventure into the city and do what you have always wanted to do here, as they say, “When in Rome”!

Day 4 – 9/1Catacombs de Priscilla & Piazza Madness

  • Today will begin with a trip to a very historically important and miraculous site, the Catacombs de Priscilla.   Hundreds of thousands of Romans were interred here, and you will see with your own eyes the most ancient known representation of the Madonna and Child, along with a mysterious Pagan Wizard, Baal…
  • The rest of the day and night will be spent leisurely observing the Italians doing what they do best; nothing! They’re so good at just being in the moment, they made it an art form: “Il dolce far niente” The sweetness of doing nothing. Take this time to learn how the architecture of a city can create great public spaces for human interaction which can effect a society through the millennia
  • After your first round of people watching, we’ll meet up for lunch to discuss what you have found while becoming one with the piazza. Then, you will split up into groups again and disperse to different piazzas for further observations.
  • Tonight we will have dinner as a group, in a piazza. Being in a piazza at night is a unique experience. Animated, full of life and culture and distinctly “Italian”, together, we will observe this first hand.

Day 5 – 9/2 Free Day – (or Optional trip to Pompeii & Sorrento)

  • When traveling in Italy you will hear time and again that the further south you go, the more “Italian” life gets. For those of who want to see this and travel further south, deeper into the boot of Italy, now is your chance. Together we’ll jump on a train, another vital part of everyday Italian life and head to Pompeii. Pompeii is a cultural enthusiasts dream. The city was completely destroyed by a volcanic eruption in the first century A.D. Although the eruption caused great destruction, it also created an amazing opportunity to view an ancient culture frozen in time. Explore the city to see what Italian, art, food, culture and religion were like thousands of years ago.
  • After our tour we will grab a quick bite to eat for lunch, and then take a train to our next destination, the beautiful coastal village of Positano.

Day 6 – 9/3 Free Day (Optional Southern Italian Beach Day)

  • Study, reflect, meditate, swim, tan, tour, or eat too much food, anything and everything!
  • Positano presents the perfect opportunity to see the subtle but clear differenced between mountain and coastal villages. Experience the pace of life, the daily cuisine and the small but beautiful cultural difference that come with living by the sea.
  • Stay the night.

Day 7 – 9/4 Tuscany Awaits

  • Together we’ll head back to Rome to gather the troops (if everyone didn’t come along to Pompeii and Positano).
  • When we are all together, we will make our way to the next destination, Tuscany. We’ll remain in this region of Italy for the rest of the study. So, get to know one of the highest regarded cultures in the world when it comes to food, life styles and a people that will change your outlook on life.
  • Whilst in Tuscany we will be staying at an agriturismo. An agriturismo is a country B&B with working farms that produce food or wine. They are a way for the Italian government to help subsidize the small farmers and they are an essential part of modern Italian culture
  • You’ll be familiarized with the accommodations, the grounds, the employees and the larger-than-life owner, Francesco.
  • The rest of the day will be spent going over the next two weeks; everything from the day trips out in Tuscany to the service learning at the Agriturismo will be covered.
  • Dinner will be prepared at the agriturismo.

Day 8 – 9/5 Walking tour of Dicomano

  • We’ll head out early to beat the heat, walking to our agriturismo’s local village of Dicomano. This village is of historical significance, and also a great place to study and observe a modern Italian village. Why? Because this town’s economy is not fed off of tourism, but the local artisans, artists, and farmers. That’s right, an authentic Tuscan agricultural village.
  • Ample time to observe the simple life today.
  • Following the footpath in Dicomano leads us to a much older path built by the Roman’s that leads directly to our friend’s biodynamic vineyard, Voltumna. This man, Marzio, absolutely represents Italy’s passion for artisanal wine. You will understand this, thoroughly, after a private tour of his cantina and vineyard.
  • Light lunch with a fantastic wine tasting afterward.
  • Dinner will be enjoyed at Dicomano’s best restaurant, Sergio’s. You can still find the family restaurant essence here; where the boy’s are cooking and serving, and grandma continues to hand make the pasta with love.

Day 9 – 9/6 Il Lago observational study

  • Today marks the beginning of the service-learning portion of our study. The owner, Francesco, will guide you through his vineyard and olive groves and instruct you in the way he would like you to help him, that being the Tuscan way.
  • After a hard day’s work, a cooking lesson awaits you for your reward. Food is a major part of the Italian culture, especially in Tuscany and learning about their cooking styles will help you understand its’ importance and how the high quality of food here adds to the high quality of life.

Day 10 – 9/7 Day trip to Terme di San Giovanni & Cortona

  • Everyday wellness is essential in Italy, and that is why hot springs, or “Terme” as they are called here, are such a major part of Italian culture. Today will not only be spent taking in the waters and vapors of one of Tuscany’s most beautiful sulfuric hot springs, but you’ll be observing how good the Italian’s are at it. See what it is like to slow down and take care of your body, mind and soul, and the effect this can have on your daily outlook of life.
  • After our time in the water, we will travel to the hilltop village of Cortona to tour the most famous museum dedicated to the Etruscan civilization. Here you will learn how the first known people of this region, Tuscany (and moreover Cortona), lived, ate, practiced religion and ultimately, their quality of life and wellness. Make sure to take notes, as you’ll be comparing these ancient Etruscans with the modern inhabitants of the land as we adventure onwards.
  • Later we will enjoy dinner together in Cortona, feasting like their ancient ancestors.

Day 11 – 9/8 Reflection

  • In the past two weeks we’ve delved into four major aspects of the Italian culture: art, food, ecology and religion. These four tie into one overall aspect that encompasses the Italian culture: wellness, or quality of life. How do these four aspects tie into wellness?
  • From your observations and experiences, how do you perceive the relationship between the way the ancient Italians lived within their culture, and how the modern Italians live within their culture today? Are their similarities? Are they combating each other? Are they fusing into something more, or better? Or are the Italians today a perfect reflection of their ancestors?
  • Today is not all about critical thinking; it’s also about slowing down and eating well. For dinner there will be the second cooking lesson diving in deeper to Italy’s “Slow Food” culture.

Day 12 – 9/9 Il Lago Service-Learning Project Continued

  • During breakfast we will go over the progress so far of the service-learning project, and then discuss the remaining week of the study.
  • Service-Learning project continued. You will again follow Francesco into his field.
  • Pizza night! Here at the agriturismo, there is a fantastic traditional outdoor pizza oven, and the amount of pizzas you can make is seemingly limitless!

Day 13 – 9/10 Traveling to Florence

  • Today we’ll travel to the capital of Tuscany, Florence and get situated into our hostel. From there, we’ll go visit some Florentine urban agriculture to see what they’re up to.
  • After grabbing a bite to eat for lunch, we’ll follow along on a walking tour to admire the way modern Italians practice art publically.
  • During our tour, we’ll be making our way to the Uffizi gallery. Here, we’ll not only see some of the best art in the history of mankind, but this experience will also serve as a time of observation and reflection. You will compare and contrast what art used to be to Italians with the art scene today.

Day 14 – 9/11 More of Florence

  • Today is all about the Florentine piazza scene. Just like you did in Rome, you will split up into separate groups and go into different piazzas and observe.
  • Lunch will be a special treat; the world’s best sandwiches. This small, family owned sandwich shop has been voted, multiple times, as the world’s number one! Literally. Even better than these infamous Panini is the street side culture you will observe as their self-service wine bar attracts quite the crowd.
  • Pay a visit to the main Cathedral in Florence, “Il Duomo”.
  • The rest of the day is yours, carpe diem!

Day 15 – 9/12 Participating in Florence

  • This morning, we’ll wake up at dawn to volunteer with an organization whose purpose is cleaning the city. With how international the city has become, the streets are taking a toll. Today you will have the opportunity to participate in an effort to counter act this with a wonderful organization dedicated to keeping this city beautiful through organized volunteer clean ups.
  • Cooking lesson of traditional Florentine food for lunch at the Central Market. The Central Market was opened in the 1800’s and continues to play a major part in Florence’s daily food culture.
  • Take the night to do what you’ve wanted in the big city!

Day 16 – 9/13 Reflection & Relaxation

  • Take the last full day to reflect on the past three weeks in Italy, what you’ve seen, done, experienced, actively observed and ultimately how it all intricately weaves itself in and out of one another. Like a latticework of culture, all the aspects complement each other.
  • Farewell dinner. Tonight we will feast in true Tuscan style as we ultimately appreciate the daily lifestyle that makes Italy unique and attributes to her ability to actively promote La Dolce Vita, The Sweet Life!

Day 17 – 9/14 Departure Day – Arrivederci!

  • Transportation will be provided to the International Florence Airport.

Click here to contact a study abroad adviser today!

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: