They’ve tossed coins in Trevi Fountain, climbed the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, traveled the underground passageways at Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli and sung in the Colosseum.
And, of course, they have explored the cuisine. The students are making a habit of buying fresh fruit, bread and cheese from the city’s open-air markets. “We are expanding our palates — eating oxtail with cocoa powder and pizza toppings you couldn’t even imagine,” Marissa Morte ’17, an art history major from Bolton, Mass., said. “One student even tried a spaghetti sandwich.”
The students are staying in apartments in Trastevere, an area known for its maze of narrow streets and many restaurants and pubs, but they take class trips to cities and cultural centers throughout Italy. They have walked through the ruins of Pompeii and explored the well-preserved temples and other historic sites in the ancient Greek city of Agrigento, on the southern coast of Sicily.
Everywhere they go, there’s art. “We are inspired and surrounded by it every day — masterpieces of Western civilization, little known works that are exquisite and contemporary works by well-known and emerging artists,” Hackbardt said. In Rome, students have visited numerous museums, galleries and churches where important works by artists such as Caravaggio and Bernini are displayed.
Course offerings in the Kenyon-Rome program vary from year to year. Previous programs focused on art history, but “this is the first time we’ve had a studio art emphasis,” Hackbardt said. Courses this year include “Narrative Photography in Italy” and “Contemporary Artistic Practice: Working in Rome.” All students are enrolled in Italian language classes and use the language actively in their daily lives.
Open to qualified students of all majors, the Kenyon-Rome program offers an unusual opportunity to study Italian art and culture with Kenyon professors. The program maintains the rigorous scholarly standards required by the College.
“We’ve been very busy, but through trials and tribulations, countless explorations and many laughs, Kenyon-Rome certainly has been an adventure,” Morte said.
She recalled one memorable evening when, with gelato in hand, the students were inhaling the view from the top of their apartment building when Katie Goldman ’16, an art history major from Scarsdale, N.Y., interrupted their awestruck silence: “Hey, now,” she said, “this is what dreams are made of.”