Umbria, A Harmony of Art and Nature: Spoleto, Norcia and the Sibillini Mountains with Kate Bolton-Porciatti - Context Travel

Umbria, A Harmony of Art and Nature: Spoleto, Norcia and the Sibillini Mountains with Kate Bolton-Porciatti


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A series of ‘armchair journeys’ exploring the astonishing wealth of important art, historic architecture, and spectacular natural scenery in Umbria – an area popularly known as the ‘green heart’ of Italy which boasts numerous UNESCO-protected sites. Seminars may be taken as a series or individually, but each one is devised to be a feasible itinerary for anyone planning to visit the area.

Guided by cultural historian Kate Bolton-Porciatti, each conversation will interweave history and cultural context into a richly evocative virtual tour, taking in famous art cities and also wandering off the beaten path to offer the discerning visitor insights into places where man and nature coexist in serene harmony.

Our itinerary begins in the glorious hilltown of Spoleto, whose layers of history include Roman remains, the Unesco-protected 8th-century basilica of San Salvatore, and a majestic Romanesque cathedral adorned by Pinturicchio, Filippo Lippi, and Bernini.

We go on to visit the lovely mountain town of Norcia, famous both as the birthplace of Saint Benedict and as a culinary center thanks to its exceptional wild boar and ham products known as 'norcineria'. We see how the town is recovering after the damages of the 2016 earthquake.

Finally, we stop at Castelluccio, the highest village in the Apennines, where we can drink in the views over the other-worldly 'Piano Grande' – a high plateau girdled by the mythical Sibillini peaks, whose underground water reserves give rise to a spectacular display of wildflowers in the Spring and Summer – an unforgettable sight.

This conversation is part of a five-part series on Umbria with Kate Bolton-Porciatti. Each session is designed as a stand-alone seminar as well as part of a five-week series.

Kate Bolton-Porciatti is a professor of Italian cultural history and music at the Istituto Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence, where she teaches BA and MA courses in the humanities. She also lectures at the British Institute, Florence, and at the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena. Kate has published extensively as an academic and a journalist; she is a music critic for BBC Music and a travel writer for The Daily Telegraph, UK. Before moving to Italy permanently in 2005, she was a senior producer and broadcaster for BBC Arts & Classical Music in London and has won prestigious Jerusalem and Sony Awards for her programs. She did her M.Phil. thesis in Italy, exploring the musical culture of early Renaissance Florence.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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