San Gemini Preservation Studies is run during the European summer and provides a variety of programs for you to attend based on your interests. Certification is supplied at the end of your 4 week stint. This program is held in the beautiful countryside village of San Gemini in Umbria. Accommodation provided includes fully equipped apartments with laundry and kitchen facilities. There are a multitude of local grocery stores, butchers, bakeries, cafés, pizzerias and restaurants for you to enjoy. When I participated in the program I was last to arrive and ended up with a room and ensuite at the front of a local’s building. This meant that I shared meals and washed at other peoples places, which was not an issue for me as I had the best views in comparison to the others.
There are generally two sessions with an optional field trip to separate. Program A, B & C are Session 1 which the optional field trip follows. There are two options for the field trip – a specialised tour through Siena, Florence and Rome, or Heritage and Modernity of Athens. Session 2 begins after this, with program D & E.
One program = US$4100 (inc. housing and application fees)
Field trip to Siena, Florence & Rome = US$1950
Note: food, airfare & insurance are not included
I undertook this program in 2010. I chose to do the archaeological ceramics restoration program, which at the time was called conservation and preservation of archaeological ceramics, from session 1. I also did the field trip around Siena, Florence and Rome. First Sunday night there was a big group dinner which I actually did not make as I was still on my way there. The first couple days was an introduction with the entire session 1 group. We learned things from the making of and history of ceramics to the preservation and conservation of ceramics. The course is split in to two sections; theory and prac. Every morning was spent doing theory and afternoons were spent doing pracs. We also went on a field trip to Deruta where we saw the ceramic museum and the process of hand making ceramics. There is a small test at the end of the program which contributes to your grade for your certificate.
Weekends are free there is the option to do weekend visits to different places. My first weekend I went to Assisi and did a mountain hike. The second weekend I went to Rome. The third weekend was the flower festival in San Gemini, or the Infiorata, which we helped the locals prepare for. And the last weekend before the 2 week interim field trip was a trip to Venice. We mostly took the train which we caught in Terni. The bus from San Gemini took you straight to the station.
Whenever I travel, I get sick. I had to go to the doctors while I was there who were super nice. He also spoke good English. While I was waiting there were a group of older people who were also waiting and when they saw me they decided that I could go in front of them. Even though I spoke no Italian and they no English I could tell they were worrying about me and I felt their compassion. I actually bumped in to one of the women at the markets a few days later and got a photo with her. Definitely a kind-hearted beautiful spirit that I will never forget.
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