The 1st week provided enough opportunity to help familiarize all the students with their new Italian home. we had plenty of time to explore the city and settle in before class got too intensive.  We even had an opportunity to meet the mayor of Volterra who warmly accepted us as locals. The next day classes began with casual tours of the city.  That helped us acquaint to the idea of being locals. Our week continued with tours of the local museum as well as an introduction to our alabaster class. It’s great to be able to live 1st hand in your history lessons. The layers of time can be found everywhere you look in the city. We quickly learned that the best way to fully experience the history and culture of Volterra is by fully engaging with those living in the city, in doing so we can absorb the vibrant waves of Italian culture. From Alabaster to stone, from espresso to gelato, there is not a second where we are not engaging with the surrounding context which has existed for centuries. High in the valleys, studying abroad in Volterra is much more than a mere educational experience, it is the blending of pre existing fabrics with modern adaption.