June is the time of wildflowers in Italy; the colors are often breathtaking.  To paraphrase our native Francis of Assisi, the supreme beauty of nature attracts souls as well as bees.  Here are a couple of photos I took the other day of a nearby field:

After Barry Thomas and his Arkansas travelers, the young artists of Ball State University’s Fine Arts Department brought their energy and talent to this old monastery.  Professors Scott Anderson and David Hannon, both accomplished artists, helped their charges decorate our walls as they imparted some age-old wisdom…with a little help from the great masters of Italian art.  The group started in Venice, then a few days in Florence, Ravenna, Siena, and now they are off to Pompeii and Rome before heading back to Muncie, Indiana. Three of their students received financial help with their trip through the Dolores Levin Scholarship of the La Romita Fund.  Dolores shared

and supported our vision of the arts; past, present, and future.  These young artists are learning the skills, studying their predecessors, and bursting with passion.  It’s exciting and encouraging to share these special moments with them and we all look forward to continuing and expanding our long-running collaboration with BSU.

(You can see the scholarship presentation ceremony online)

The summer in Umbria is full of special celebrations.  Upcoming are the Mercato delle Gaite in Bevagna, where the whole town celebrates its Roman and medieval history by recreating the artisan workshops of past centuries—in their original structures.  University docents lead visitors through the steps of parchment-making, the stamping of coins, making bees-wax candles, and many other skills.  The “Infiorate del Corpus Domini” are festivals all over Italy—but especially in Umbria’s towns of Spello, Calvi, and nearby San Gemini—in which flower petals are used as the artist colors and the ancient streets are the canvases in brilliantly colored recreations of the local masterpieces.  Our present group, led by Phoenix based artist Julie Pollard will visit the artisan food festival in the tiny hill-town of Vallo di Nera, famous for its “caciotta” and “pecorino” cheeses.  The locals will share with pride the age-old secrets of cheese-making along with samples of their wares.

There are still a few places available in some upcoming programs, so please send us an email if you would like to learn more.

Tante belle cose,


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