With the aim of integrating scholarly research material with direct observation and tasting experiences, the field trip to the Umbria region was a unique experience. Through vineyards and olive tree groves, the journey carried students off the classic "tourist" routes and into a cultural and ecological environment where traditional activities are carried out with patience and passion by the local inhabitants.
We left AUR on Friday morning, reaching Arnaldo Caprai vineyards a few hours later. They explained to us their production chain, and took us around the vine rows, illustrating their approach to wine production that still holds to traditional practices. In  balancing these practices with modern scientific techniques, they are proving that modernity and tradition are not mutually exclusive.
After tasting their famous Sagrantino and Grechetto wines, made from indigenous grapes, we then went to lunch in the medieval town of Montefalco, tasting slow-food local products in a well-known local restaurant. We, then spent the afternoon exploring the town, with a specific focus on the food on offer and traditional Umbrian staples.
After a resting night in the historical center of Foligno, we spent the second day between Torgiano and Spello. The morning was dedicated to discovering the secrets of wine and oil - the history, the traditions, and the production techniques - by visiting the Museum of Wine (MUIVIT) and the Museum of oil (MOO). After a second wine tasting at the Cantina Lungarotti wine store, we had lunch - expertly transforming what what we learned into ... "edible knowledge".
We spent the afternoon in Spello, in the olive mill of the town, where an association of 50 local producers bring their olives after the harvest and, just 24 hours later, they are able to collect it, ready to use. They showed us an introductive movie on olive making, offered a tasting of their oil, also called the "Spello gold", guided us through the mill and shared stories connected to the cultivation of the trees in the area, highlighting the difficulties of  marketing, production and commerce of oil on a very small scale.
On the very last day we visited the town of Spoleto, in particular the San Salvatore Basilica, the ancient medieval bridge Ponte delle Torri and the fortress Rocca Albornoziana where a guide explained us the pivotal role of Spoleto in the Italian and papal history.
This was a fascinating insight into the working practices and working lives of the oil and wine producers of this beautiful Italian region and an experience that will help the students involved to understand the culture and commerce of traditional communities in the modern world.