About Rome

Rome exhibits layers of history going back over two millennia-Etruscan tombs, Republican meeting rooms, imperial temples, early Christian churches, medieval bell towers, Renaissance palaces and baroque basilicas. But it is also a very modern, vibrant, multicultural city. In this one locale, a phenomenal concentration of history, legend and monuments co- exists with an equally phenomenal concentration of people busily going about their everyday lives. While tourists visit the Vatican, the Forum Romanum and the Trevi Fountain, many visitors often miss the many other sights that make the whole of Rome a museum-a living museum with a population of three million, with rich art, literary, music, theatre and food traditions.

The Program

The interdisciplinary Rome Travel Writing and the Arts program utilizes the entire city as a classroom or text. While the program is designed to immerse students fully in the experience of being in Rome, excursions will provide students a wider perspective on the history, culture and daily life of Italy as a whole. Students will live in furnished flats to provide an opportunity to practice their budding Italian language skills and experience Roman daily life. Students are affiliated with the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci (SLdV), one of the leading language and culture schools in Italy.

NOTE: since we are offering two different Rome programs in the fall, if you are applying for this program, you must write "Rome Travel Writing and the Arts" on your application form under program location.

Courses - Fall 2013

All students on the Rome Travel Writing and the Arts program will take the same four classes which have been customized for our group:

Italian Language and Culture (1 credit)
This course will build upon the foundation of Italian language study completed at HWS prior to the program. A variety of visits to local sites will complement in-class instruction and a series of "labs" will introduce students to various aspects of Italian culture and society. Students with more advanced Italian skills will be placed in an upper level class.

The Subject is Italy (1 credit)
This course in travel writing anchors the program and connects to the other three classes. The travel essay is one of the most important contemporary nonfiction genres, combining memoir, history, philosophy, politics, sport, mass media, and more. Students will read a wide range of essays about Italy, Italians and local culture and then try to emulate the various styles: reflective, analytic, satirical, etc. The main text is John Varriano, a Literary Companion to Rome. Students replicate most of Varriano's walks through Rome and will use these as a basis for their writing. Walks will include visits to such sites as the Pantheon, Piazza del Popolo, the Jewish ghetto, churches, cafes and clubs, shops and parks.

Shakespeare and Verdi (1 credit)
Opera is quintessential to Italian culture and Verdi is the consummate Italian composer. Shakespeare, of course, is bedrock English literature and Verdi loved him. This course explores three plays by Shakespeare that Verdi turned into masterworks: Otello, Macbeth and Falstaff (The Merry Wives of Windsor). Students will read and write about the three plays and then listen to and analyze the three operas. We also plan to attend a performance and to observe not only the music and pageantry but the Italian theatrical experience itself.

Food and Culture in Italy (1 credit)
The saying "A tavola non s'invecchia" ("One doesn't age at the supper table") expresses the importance of food and eating for Italians. In this course, we will examine the relationship between food and culture in Italy from pre-historical times to the present, through a variety of readings, class discussions and some personal and practical experience. The study of food culture is interdisciplinary-even though the historical point of view will be primary, during our readings, class discussions and lectures we will touch upon many fields: sociology, literature, art, music and philosophy. In addition students will undertake a group-learning project around Rome that will enhance their classroom experience. Field trips (cheese, wine and olive oil production) and cooking classes will be included in the experience.

Except for the Italian Language and Culture course, all classes will be delivered in English. Students are encouraged to speak with the faculty director and/or with the staff of the Center for Global Education for more information about how particular classes fit into various major and minor requirements.

Academic Focus

Although the Rome Travel Writing and the Arts program can accommodate students of many academic disciplines, this program will appeal primarily to those studying aesthetics, English, music, theatre, writing and rhetoric and European Studies. However, specific courses in a given semester will depend on the expertise of the faculty director(s) leading the program. NOTE: since we are offering two different Rome programs in the fall, if you are applying for this program, you must write "Rome Travel Writing and the Arts" on your application form under program location.


This program is open to all sophomores, juniors and seniors in good social and academic standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students will be required to have successfully completed an introductory Italian language course along with a Reader's College orientation course during the spring semester preceding the program. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.


Students reside in independent apartments arranged by the program while in Rome and will stay in hotels or hostels during excursions.


Program-related excursions vary from year to year depending on the courses offered and the interests of the faculty director(s). The program typically includes a combination of overnight excursions outside Rome, designed to provide students insight into other areas of the country, and day trips to important sites in and around Rome. Visits to Pompeii and Naples are tentatively planned for Fall 2013.

Going Abroad With the CGE

Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room fees and a $550 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, all course-related expenses (including excursions) and housing. Students should plan to bring their board fee to Rome to cover meals. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $900-$1000 from the East Coast, visa at $25-$30 and books at $250. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1,500 above and beyond meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. Those concerned about finances should speak with the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on the specific situation.


  • The Rome program is offered every Fall semester, with a different academic focus, depending on the faculty director.
  • Applications are available at the Center for Global Education.
  • Applications are due at the CGE office at a selected date in March. For specific date contact the CGE.

NOTE: This information is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.






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Geneva, NY 14456
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