The Umbra Institute

Often called "the big university town in a small Italian city," Perugia is home to the Umbra Institute, which offers semester, year-long, and summer programs-and over 35,000 Italian and international students. Umbra students can choose from a variety of courses with integrated field trips to world famous Italian cities and sites, community engagement opportunities, and extra-curricular activities.

Perugia's hilltop location serves as the ideal backdrop for study abroad in Italy. Rich in art, architecture, and historical significance, it is internationally recognized as a city of learning. The ancient city is surrounded by the rolling hills of Umbria and Tuscany. While lying off the beaten path, travel from Perugia is easy as Rome, Florence, Siena, Assisi, and Cortona lie only a short distance away.

The General Studies Program at the Umbra Institute has two components: an Italian language and culture course and a selection of elective courses taught in English by Umbra faculty. Students from any discipline or major choose liberally from the Umbra course offerings.  The Food Studies Program is an interdisciplinary curricular concentration within the General Studies program that consists of an Italian class and courses in Italian food history, sustainable food production, and the business of food. For those students eager to become more engaged in the community, academic internshipsindependent research, and honors courses are available to challenge even the most academically ambitious.

The Direct Enrollment Program offers students the unique opportunity to focus exclusively on Italian language and culture through enrollment at one of two local universities alongside Italian and international students. The two Direct Enrollment options are with the University for Foreigners (Università per Stranieri) or the University of Perugia (Università di Perugia).

Quick Links

For more information, visit the websites below:

General Studies Courses

Direct Enrollment

Intensive Italian Through Culture Summer Program

Food Studies Program

Community Engagement

UmbraViews YouTube channel


Roanoke College students pay their tuition, fees and room to the College. Students are responsible for purchasing and preparing their own meals in Italy. Financial aid is available for qualified applicants who wish to spend one semester at the Umbra Institute.