Monte Capanno 1970:

An Experiment in Communal Living and Learning in Italy

This unofficial website commemorates a San Jose State College (California, USA) study abroad experiment originally sponsored as part of the Tutorials in Letters and Sciences Program, and the New College of SJS.

-->To learn What's New at Monte Capanno 1970? go here

-->To submit new information to the community, go here

Introduction to the Experiment:  From January to June 1970, a group of thirty American college students led by charismatic Professor David Zack created a self-governing experimental college at Monte Capanno, the estate of Contessa Luisa Alpina Manzoni Vicarelli, near Columbella Bassa, which is a few kilometers north of Perugia, the provincial capital of Umbria, Italy.  Housed in one wing of the Contessa's thirteenth century castle and in two nearby farmhouses, the students overcame cold, hunger, and lack of organization.  With limited Italian language skills but plenty of American hard work, they created a form of anarchical self-governance for themselves and their guests as they lived and learned among friendly neighbors: the peasants of rural Umbria.  This experiment, and the Tutorials Program at San Jose State from which it arose, was one of the early "learning communities," an alternative approach to collegiate education. 

Purpose of this set of webpages: The primary purpose of this web site is to draw that experiment together again in the new millennium as a photo album, as a memory book, and as a medium through which the members of this intentional community can attempt to restore contact with one another, thus to rebuild that unique community.  In spite of now being located far from Perugia, and in some cases far from San Jose, Monte Capanno 1970 lives on.  A secondary but important purpose of this web site is to facilitate discussion and critical analysis of the social trends embodied in youth culture during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Guidelines for this webpage:  These web pages, like the experiment itself, are an exercise in participatory anarchy.  The site seeks the involvement of all participants: students, teachers, guests, and other friends of the original project; and it invites comment from interested observers of those times who were not present at Monte Capanno in 1970.  Since many of the project's residents first came together at San Jose State's Allen Hall in 1968-69, we especially value hearing comments from others who contemporaneously lived in Allen Hall or elsewhere in the San Jose State community.  The goal of this website is to provide a flexible forum in which memories of those times can be assembled, compared and analyzed.  By soliciting many views on a variety of aspects of the educational experiment in Perugia Italy, it is hoped that through their multiple narratives a clearer image of its meaning, and the significance of those times can emerge.  Authors of all comments, diaries, journals, letters (etc.) retain editorial decision making control over use of their statements on the Monte Capanno 1970 website.   The central premise is that our intentional community can re-emerge when its members share their photos and share their memories as a virtual community here.


Browse through the Monte Capanno 1970 site, or jump ahead to these categories of content:

review the list of members of this student community

Go to photos of the community members and its setting

Read or share memories of the Monte Capanno 1970 residents

Read our 1970 Diaries, Journals and Letters

Read or submit information about "where we are now"

View works of Art about the Experiment at Monte Capanno

visit links to other sites dealing with San Jose State and San Francisco Bay Area youth culture in the 1960s and 1970s


learn "What's New:" the newest information about this website
read about the origins of innovative educational "learning communities" at San Jose State in the 1960s and 1970s

The Farmhouse


!! Get yours Now!! The Monte Capanno 1970 Video now is available!!
for your copy, contact:

The Student Members of the Experiment Updated biographical information on students and guests is available: follow this linkKey to information below: bold indicates that this individual has been in contact with this project; underlined indicates that it is believed that that individual has been informed about the website; plain text means we haven't found them yet:
The Faculty, Guests and other Visitors at Monte Capanno included (bold indicates that this individual has been in contact with the project of building this website):

We know that these are not complete lists.  We need your help in identifying the missing members of the community whose names we cannot recall; we need your help in finding them, and in encouraging them to visit and contribute to this webpage.  The contributions of all who were part of the Monte Capanno experience are welcomed.

Return to Top of the Monte Capanno 1970 Webpage

Go to photos of the community members and its setting

Read memories of the Monte Capanno 1970 residents

Read diaries, journals and letters of the residents

View "works of Art about the Experiment at Monte Capanno"

Submit "where we are now" information

visit links to other sites dealing with San Jose State and San Francisco Bay Area youth culture in the 1960s and 1970s

This webpage last updated November 10, 2004

and is maintained for the community by Gordon and Linda Bowen;
to submit memories, "where we are now" reports, or other information please go here.

To contact them, write:

please submit photos to: