The Cagli Project
The Cagli Project is a deep cultural immersion that begins in Rome and moves into the beautiful Italian medieval “city” of Cagli in the Apennine Mountains and the Renaissance cities of Urbino and Gubbio. Students will be on the ancient Via Flaminia from Rome to the Adriatic Sea, where this unique opportunity will give you the tools to acquire practical language and transmedia skills while using proven cultural immersion techniques.
The ability to assimilate quickly and hone in on another culture’s values are indispensable tools for anyone preparing for a career in a world where globalization and multiculturalism are becoming increasingly important. At the micro level, students will learn how to read another culture on their own terms. At the macro level, students will be ready to become facilitators in the intercultural dialogue that the modern world requires. You will
- Understand the role of communication and culture and build your intercultural competence working with diverse populations.
- Develop an awareness and sensitivity to cultural norms and expectations as they are similar to and different from American cultural values, then use this learning in the development of a multimedia project on some aspect of the community
- Understand a culture from an insider’s perspective and build your capacity for empathy.
- Demonstrate the mechanics and artistry of communication media, then use these skills to tell a narrative about the community in web and book format.
Hidden from tourists among the Apennine Mountains in the Marche region of central Italy, Cagli offers a unique opportunity to explore authentic Italian life. Cagli has a rich history dating back well over 2,000 years. It became part of the Roman Empire in 295 BC and quickly grew in prominence as a vital stop on the ancient Via Flaminia, one of Rome’s earliest and most important roads. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Cagli’s strategic location made it a popular staging ground for battles. In 1287, the city was destroyed by fire in a battle among noble Italian families but was rebuilt two years later under orders from Pope Nicholas IV. Various noble families held Cagli until the Papal States incorporated it in the 17th century, and it became part of unified Italy in 1860.
Though its history is apparent throughout the town, Cagli boasts a rich modern social scene, with summer concerts and festivals and one of the region’s most beautiful theaters. This city of 9,000 residents is also home to numerous churches, chapels, grocery stores, cafés, restaurants, artisanal shops, soccer fields, a bocce ball club and a hospital. Other outdoor activities include hiking, biking and swimming.
Despite its relative seclusion, Cagli is easily accessible from Rome via bus, with service twice daily. Students can also take advantage of locally run buses throughout the day to important nearby cities such as Gubbio, Urbino and the beach towns of Fano and Pesaro on the Adriatic coast. Using Pesaro as a point of departure, students are able to transfer onto the Trenitalia train network that stretches the entirety of the Italian peninsula to popular destinations such as Rimini, Bologna, Venezia, Assisi, Cinque Terre, Firenze, Milano, Torino, Verona, Pisa, Napoli and the Amalfi coast. Cagli itself, however, is full of charm and has many stories to tell. It truly is la dolce vita!
Recent Cagli Transmedia Projects
Our award-winning program has been operating since 2002. During that time, more than 500 students have participated. The Cagli Project has been sponsored by multiple universities and the city of Cagli. Dr. Caputo has been the director since 2004. Examples of previous years’ work can viewed at incagli.com; from there you can click on links to many examples of recent student work, including the web magazine, books and video.
Blogsites: Read our intercultural blogs about cultural immersion, Italian style:
Recent Book Projects
Each year, our students create a book that helps tell the story of Cagli and many of its inhabitants. The book consists of an ethnographic record – a documentary of the community. You can browse the book by clicking on the cover below and going to the MagCloud site. All of our students get an original writing credit in the book as well as publication of their professionally edited stories and photos.
Visit MagCloud, a content publishing web service, where you can publish, distribute, buy or sell content, in print and digital formats
In Cagli we work hard and play hard. These videos will show some of the play we engage in and the works we create:
Students can sign up for 3-5 undergraduate or graduate credits from the famous Sapienza University of Rome, the University of Jamestown (North Dakota) or their home campus if they are a partner institution. Credits from Sapienza or Jamestown will need to be transferred back to your own university to appear on your transcript.
We will start the program in Rome, and we also take a half-day trip to Urbino. There is a free weekend while you are in Cagli. That allows for an easy bus trip to Rome (3 hours each way) or to the seaside towns of Fano or Pesaro. If you want to get away to Venice or Florence, you need to take the bus to Fano/Pesaro and then the train to Venice or Florence. (Weekend travel expenses are the responsibility of students). Many students choose to stay in Cagli. There are evening and casual times at cafés on the piazza along with events in the Opera House and public places. You can take day trips to the beach on the local buses or enjoy the hiking and biking opportunities available. Many students also use this time to continue work on their stories or bus to Gubbio, Perugia or Assisi. On warm days, you can relax in the cool streams within 10 minutes of your apartments. If you would like a longer getaway, consider some add-on extended travel at the end of the project, when classmates might want to join you.
- "The trip to Cagli changed my life. I know that everyone says that, and it might sound a bit cliché, but my time in Italy truly changed me, my relationships with others, my views on life and my views on the world. In my brief time in Cagli, I became a member of a family. I connected with my Italian heritage, experienced pure human kindness and made friends for life. ... I was pushed way out of my comfort zone but in the best way possible. I have learned to appreciate the things in life that otherwise get overlooked. I appreciate the hard work that it takes to create a quality and honest living and always prioritize time with those I love and care about. These are all things that Cagli taught me and all lessons that I carry with me every day. If you are considering taking the trip to Cagli with Dr. Caputo and his incredible team, I urge you to stop considering and simply commit. This experience will change you for the better." – Stephanie Burger
- "Cagli engages all your senses: your taste buds, your language skills, your people skills. ... 'Living as the locals' gives you a whole new perspective on the village of Cagli. With professors as your guides, you’ll suddenly feel as though Cagli isn’t so foreign after all." – Meagan Newsome
- "Tears ran down my face as I watched our final presentation out on the piazza in Cagli. I was sad to leave, happy that I was able to experience so much and grateful for the amazing people that I was honored to meet and now call my friends. The Cagli project was truly a gift to my life." – Courtney Dirk
- "The Cagli Project gave me an opportunity for what I consider deep learning and scholarship – the kind from which I will never recover. Along the way I met amazing people, saw beautiful places, had some incomparable coffee, pastries, pasta and gelato – and decided that no force on this earth would keep me from giving a moment of my experience back." –Rachel Price
- "I’ve made memories in a culture yet untouched by few outsiders and still-fewer tourists. I’ve made lifelong friendships. My time in Cagli haunts my daily life, and I often find myself daydreaming about Monte Petrano, eating cherries on the steps of the Opera House or sitting in the square. It was an immersive experience, to be sure, and the rich experiences I had there still affect me deeply." – Emily Hernandez
John Caputo, Ph.D., (Program Director) is a professor in the Master’s Program in Communication and Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University and the Walter Ong S.J. Scholar. He earned his Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate School and University Center. His areas of expertise include media and social values, communication theory, intercultural and interpersonal communication, communication and culture. He is the author of six books and has been honored as a visiting scholar in residence at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England; La Sapienza University of Rome; and the master’s program in media and communication at the Universita de Firenze, Italy. He has been taking student groups to Italy for the past 18 years and has been part of the Cagli Project since 2002. In 2016 he helped create a Sister City relationship between Spokane, Washington, and Cagli, Italy.
Kristina Morehouse, (storytelling faculty) graduated with honors with an MS in journalism from the University of Kansas. Her previous degrees include a BS in biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a BA in English literature and creative writing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, also with honors. Kristina worked for 13 years as a reporter and editor at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, where she earned several writing awards. Kristina teaches media studies and communication theory in the Communication Studies Department at Gonzaga University, along with master’s level writing in Communication and Leadership Studies program. She has been with the Gonzaga in Cagli project since 2009.
Giovanni Caputo (Italian language instructor and translator) has dual Italian and American citizenship and speaks a half-dozen languages. Aside from teaching in Italy, Giovanni has spent time teaching at various levels in the French public school system. Back in the U.S., he works as a French translator and graphic designer. Giovanni’s academic interests include journalism, short story writing and storytelling. In addition to teaching a course on journaling in last year’s Cagli program, he was also the editor of the Armagh Examiner and Around Armagh, online news and information blogs created for the program InArmagh 2007. Giovanni has been with the Gonzaga-in-Cagli project since 2009 and did the layout and design of its books and program materials.
David Maialetti (photography) is an award-winning photographer and seasoned photojournalist with more than 20 years of experience. As a staff photographer with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Maialetti covers a variety of subjects, including sports, breaking news and features. Maialetti has been an adjunct photography instructor at Temple University and Community College of Philadelphia. He has taught in various study abroad programs and workshops in Italy.
Darcy Caputo (webmaster and head lab technician) worked for various photography studios before focusing on print journalism, contributing writing and photography to Spokane alt weekly newspaper The Pacific Northwest Inlander and San Francisco’s XLR8R magazine. In 2007, he joined ieiMedia as a lab technician for its programs in Cagli and Armagh, Northern Ireland. In 2009, he joined the Gonzaga-in-Cagli project, first as head lab technician, then as webmaster. During this period he befriended Stones Throw recording artist James Pants and contributed instrumentation and cover art for his 2011 self-titled release. More recently he has been working in the localization industry as a language support specialist for such clients as Microsoft, Starbucks and Playdom, Disney’s Facebook games branch.
Bruno Segatta (student life/Italian translator/chief cook and artist) has practiced the study and mastery of art since earning his degree from Northridge University in 1982. A native Italian, Bruno is fluent in several languages. In 1982, Bruno began his tenure at Gonzaga University in Florence, Italy, as assistant to the dean of student affairs. He instructed painting, drawing, design and the licate techniques of fresco. Inspired by his surroundings, he specializes in portraying the Cagli, Marche, Florence and Tuscany landscapes, utilizing an abstract style with emphasis on color and line.
Heather Crandall, Ph.D., (Associate Director/storytelling) has areas of concentration in American Studies, communication and rhetoric. As an associate professor at Gonzaga University, she teaches courses in theorizing communication, media literacy, small group communication, interpersonal communication, advanced rhetorical criticism, organizational communication, and public speaking. In Cagli, she will assist with writing and blogging.
View complete faculty biographies on our Cagli Project Faculty Page.
While we are in Rome, we will stay at double-occupancy hotel rooms. In Cagli, we will live in shared apartments with full kitchens and washing facilities. There will be many nights where we will have some group meals in various kitchens of our group.
While in Cagli we will have access to a computer lab as well as digital cameras. Students often bring their own equipment if they want to be familiar with creating products for personal use or for personal social media usage.
Italian Conversation Instruction
Each morning, students will begin with conversational Italian taught by Giovanni Caputo, a professor at Whitworth and Gonzaga University. This “survival” Italian will cover the basics of conversation and provide some insights into contemporary Italian food, wine and culture.
When working on stories, you will be assigned an interpreter to help you with your Italian and to facilitate your interview. The art of working with an interpreter will be a skill you will pick up.
The cost is $3,350 + airfare (Includes: Tuition 3-5 credits, accommodation in Rome and Cagli, travel insurance, coach transfers to and from Rome to Cagli, farewell dinner, closing exhibition and pizza night in Cagli and during the day trip to Urbino, program activities and many cultural events.
- Visit Cagli (www.visitcagli.it)
- Glamour magazine (Italy): Ten Reasons Why You Must Visit Cagli (www.visitcagli.it/2017/10/05/10-buoni-motivi-venire-cagli-secondo-glamour)