Umbria-Marches and the Apennines: A Geological, Artistic, and Gastronomic Exploration

  • July 3rd through 11th, 2004
  • Registration deadline: April 1st, 2004
  • Capacity: 20

Join geologist David Bice for an alumni version of his geology seminar for students at the Coldigioco research site in central Italy.


You will visit the Gubbio site, a geological “shrine,” where the Cretaceous-Tertiary asteroid impact--mass extinction theory was revealed. You will also explore the biggest cavern in Europe--and one of the best “decorated” geologically.


During a day at the seaside, you will explore beautiful exposures of a sequence of rocks that tell the story of the natural cycles of climate change over the past 15 million years. Other days will be spent hiking in the northern Apennines, a very young mountain range--still growing, in fact--and some excursions will help explain how the range was formed.

Field trips to nearby sites will require a bit of hiking in occasionally rugged terrain.


Umbria and the Marches have a rich history of mainly medieval and Renaissance art. You will enjoy an excursion to the art treasures of numerous small churches scattered around the region. If there’s time and interest, you may go to Urbino, Raphael’s home, and Asissi, site of the famous Giotto frescoes.


Evenings will be devoted to gastronomical delights, from visiting local trattorias to learning to make pasta and pizza in a wood-burning pizza oven.


Accommodations are in the 300-year-old stone houses that make up the village of Coldigioco (population 5). The rustic double-occupancy rooms share bathrooms—not fancy, but functional and full of character.


David Bice ’81, professor of geology and department chair, has a lifelong interest in the geology, people, and culture of Italy. He has published on the structure and stratigraphy of Italy, particularly the major impacts in Earth’s history as revealed in the rock record. Bice created the Carleton geology seminar in Italy and has offered it in alternate years since 1993. His wife, Jennifer Macalady ’91, assistant professor of geology with a special interest in the microbiology of caves near Coldigioco, will join him on the trip.

Bice also will be assisted by Allessandro Montanari, an international authority on asteroid and comet impacts and an accomplished musician and cook, and his wife, artist Paula Metallo.