Program Highlights for Viterbo, Italy
- Study history, Italian language, Mediterranean studies, and the arts while living in a stunning historic, medieval location.
- Enjoy this affordable university town and its picturesque fountains, palaces, narrow streets, and medieval churches living and learning in direct contact with the local community, their traditions, food, and folklore.
- Join the many unique field trips to lakes, waterfalls, medieval hill towns as well as the optional field studies to the Heart of Italy (Fall semester) and Southern Italy (Spring) and take advantage of the easy access to beaches, mountains, sailing, horseback riding, biking and hiking.
- Take advantage of Viterbo’s location: centrally situated between Rome and Florence—with the Mediterranean Sea only an hour away—with access to the international airports in Rome where many low cost airlines make it easy to travel as a group or on your own!
- The USAC Resident Director and staff are present on-site full-time to welcome and support you during your term abroad.
Why Study In Viterbo?
Live and study in Viterbo, a bustling university town in central Italy rich in historical, artistic, and monumental legacies. Viterbo is a medieval city with an energetic university community and active art scene. It is about one and a half hours from Rome and three hours from Florence, with easy connections to the Mediterranean and mountain regions. Viterbo residents have retained the charm and leisurely quality of life of days gone by. They still retain, for the most part, the tradition of closing from 1 pm to 4 pm in order to enjoy a relaxing lunch at home with the family. Each Saturday, there is an outdoor market in the main piazza where people browse and shop for clothes and houseware items. Fresh produce from local farms is also sold every morning in outdoor markets around town.
The Viterbo program is ideal for students interested in studying Italian, history, art, or Mediterranean studies in a great location to experience Italy’s rich culture away from English-speaking tourist areas. You may choose to study for one semester or a full year. There is no better setting for studying the humanities than Italy. Italy’s glorious past and fascinating present are well chronicled in a rich legacy of literature from Lord Byron and D.H. Lawrence to Umberto Eco and Jan Morris. Through a variety of course field trips, you will gain firsthand experience in Italian food, culture, history, and the environment, providing a rich variety of subjects and experiences for writing and reflection. Participation in various local field trips, optional field studies, festivals and activities also forms an integral part of the experience.
Viterbo has kept a fascinating historical record of its past better than almost any place in Italy. Protected by a medieval wall, Viterbo’s fountains, palaces, quarters, and churches all exemplify its glorious and eventful heritage of art and culture. The San Pellegrino quarter is certainly the most characteristic and best preserved medieval quarter in Italy, a jewel of a thirteenth-century contrada with its small squares, houses, narrow lanes, arches, and characteristic profferli—the typical external stairs of the medieval houses of Viterbo. The thirteenth-century papal palace is evidence of Viterbo’s significant role as a place of refuge for medieval popes, and more recently as the film location for Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. Viterbo cuisine is some of the best in Italy thanks to the city's green surroundings, low pollution, and the "art" of entertaining. Two local dishes not to miss are Lombrichelli alla viterbese and Acquacotta. Be sure to visit the Sagra festivals throughout the summer where one can sample pasta, gnocchi, and more.