Convento dei Servi
Gordon College enjoys a long-term lease on a 13th-century monastery still owned by the founding Servite order (Servants of Mary). Recently restructured and modernized for the needs of the College’s programs, the monastery includes a dormitory wing with nine spacious double-occupancy rooms, each with private bath; a studio for art classes; a classroom for humanities classes and library for private reading and writing; a refectory and professional-grade kitchen; and gallery space for art displays.
Meals during the Seminar are provided, mostly in-house. In-house meals feature local ingredients and classics of Umbrian cuisine and are prepared by Maria, the professional chef of the Gordon College programs in Orvieto.
Set atop an oval mesa of eroded volcanic tufa and commanding spectacular vistas of the surrounding Umbrian countryside, the town of Orvieto has been continuously occupied for at least two and a half millennia. The composite vestiges of Etruscan, Roman, medieval and Renaissance habitation create a setting rich and strange with the layers of history. While small in size and population, Orvieto is the beneficiary of various papal sojourns, home to one of Europe’s great cathedrals housing one of the great fresco cycles of the Renaissance, with a 19th-century opera-house theater and a rich variety of shops and artisan workshops, restaurants and cafes. Orvieto is completely up-to-date in terms of technology, banks with ATMs, and internet access.
The central Italian region of Umbria—“the green heart of Italy”—presents a varied and subtle landscape of vineyards and olive groves, hills and hilltowns such as Orvieto, Perugia, Assisi, Todi, Spoleto and Norcia. The homeland of ancient Etruscan civilization, Umbria is also the birthplace of Benedictine monasticism and the source of a tradition of Christian spirituality that integrates a transcendent mysticism with deep love of creation in figures such as Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, Saint Bonaventure, and the poet Jacopone da Todi. Marked with the traces and treasures of medieval and Renaissance culture, Umbria is the lively stage for constant interplay between the ancient and contemporary—making it an appropriate setting for the topic of this Lilly Summer Seminar for College Teachers.