This reference was to John Winthrop, the future governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, who in turn was referencing the Bible passage. In 1630, before leaving England, he remarked that the Puritans' new establishment at Boston would be "as a city upon a hill, [and] the eyes of all people are upon us"... Thus the city of Boston came to be associated with this phrase, and it eventually entered the American political vernacular. Wikipedia has an article covering the use of this phrase in American politics, and there are also reproductions of Governor Winthrop's sermon available online.
She is a city on a hill ;-)
On pronunciation, is there a way to work out when 'c' is pronounced something like soft 'ch' (probably most times?) and when like 'collina' in this sentence, like a hard 'c' or 'k', please? (I just recalled that 'cucina' has both hard and soft 'c' too.)
Similarly, 'o' in 'collina' here sounds like 'u', kul-lee-na or have I misheard it?
HARD "c"(key): ca, che, chi, co, cu, and the c+consonant
- banca (bank), banche (banks), chiesa (church), coda (tail), cuore (heart), croce (cross)
SOFT "c"(cheese): ce, ci
- cenere (ash), circo (circus)
The rule does not change even with the double "cc"
- hard "c" - bacca (berry), bacche (berries), pacchi (packs), pacco (pack),...
- soft "c" - accendino (lighter), acciaio (steel)
Furthermore, there are the particular combinations "sce" and "sci", where the "c" sound disappear completely, forming two new sounds
- scelta (choice), ascensore (elevator/lift)
- sciarpa (scarf), piscina (swimming pool)