Monday, February 9, 2009

Siamo qui ancora! (Here we are again!)

Here we are again in Perugia for another semester of the Franciscan Heritage Program. We’re back on Paradise Street, la via de Paradiso, but this time we had to leave Dodger back in the US. So we are senza cane! Besides saving a lot of money and customs hassles, we are now considerably freer to enjoy our leisure time in Italy. Although we are far from home I have not lost my addiction to news, especially political news. And the two big items here have been the war in Gaza and the impending inauguration of Obama. We'll get into that later; first the basics.
Perugia is a very small city perched upon a saddle-back hill-top overlooking the Spoleto Valley built millennia ago by Etruscans. The Etruscans built a huge wall around the original city, much of which still stands. Another wall was built, I believe in the middle ages a few hundred meters beyond the original one. Our home is below the Etruscan wall, but inside the medieval wall, beyond which is a unremarkable modern Italian city. Our apartment is in a 1,000 year old building from which troops once guarded two of the gates of the medieval wall. In the next picture, you can see our little apartment as viewed through the Porta Eburnea, in the outer medieval wall. Look up the street and you'll see a yellow wall.

Look closely, that's me inside the window blogging away

But although old, walled and relatively remote, Perugia is surprisingly in touch with the rest of the world. This is probably due to the presence of the Universita per Stanieri (The university for foreigners) to which students come from all over the world in order to study the beautiful lingua italiana. And many never leave.

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