Everyone turned out on time, packed and ready to walk the few blocks to our charter bus. We said goodbye to the staff at our hostel — a fabulous group of people who made our stay a memorable experience. Many thanks to Caterina, Mara, Massimo, Tomaso, Franceso, Lorenzo, Marzio and Luca. We will miss all of you!

The drive to Perugia took about two hours, giving just about everyone a chance to nap. Our first stop was at the Perugina Chocolate Museum — home of the Baci and other famous sweets. We took a tour of the factory and got our fill of free samples.

Then, it was off to Assisi. The day couldn’t have been more perfect — sunny, clear and just the right temperature. Assisi is THE pilgrimmage site of Italy and receives millions of visitors every year. Saint Francis is the patron saint of Italy. The town itself is quite small and contains numerous churches beyond the upper and lower basilica of the cathedral. We grabbed panini and pizza slices to go to take the edge off the chocolate high we were experiencing.

We boarded the bus in the late afternoon and journeyed another 45 minutes to the villa near Corciano that would be our home for the last two nights of the program. Deep in the countryside, the villa is run by the Vasta family as an international school. There was also a group of photography students from Montana who are spending an entire term here.

The accommodations were very nice with some of the rooms being refurbished right before our arrival. The villa is situated near a park and many students went off to explore.

Dinner was served outside (a bit chilly), but still lovely. Our plan is to go into Perugia tomorrow to spend the day. Diana, one of the staff at the villa, has offered to accompany us since we will be using public transportation. Several students went with Diana after dinner to Corciano, about a 20-minute walk, for gelato.