Many Kenyon students find off-campus study a vibrant — and often life-changing — experience regardless of their destination. But those who choose to study and travel with fellow Kenyon students and professors on one of the College’s own study programs will have an unparalleled experience, finding a rich array of exciting intellectual and cultural adventures designed to integrate meaningfully into Kenyon’s liberal arts curriculum.

The Kenyon-Rome Program offers you the once-in-a-lifetime chance to study Italian art and culture up close, with extended visits to Florence, Naples, Sicily and other cultural centers in Italy. Housed at Accent International’s Rome Study Center in the beautiful Palazzo Banco Santo Spirito, you will seek inspiration from artistic masterpieces and historical sites all around you, with at least as much time spent on site as in the classroom.

The Kenyon-Rome Experience

Study abroad in Rome, a city where ancient meets modern and there is so much to see and do that every day is a new experience. Subject courses taught in English provide an in-depth focus on the city of Rome and give you an extraordinary perspective into Italian history and culture. Classes are small and the faculty instructors are all long-term residents of Rome. With excursions as part of almost every course, historical sites such as the Forum, Piazza Navona, and the Colosseum become your classroom. Practical Italian suited to your level, as well as internships and volunteer activities, provide you with the opportunity to use your vocabulary outside of class and put you in direct contact with the local culture and society.

“Being able to study art in its original location was an incredible experience. It was also refreshing to have professors lecture at us in a setting other than the traditional classroom.”  

Caroline Chang '18
Fall 2016 program participant

At the Accent Center

The ACCENT Rome Study Center is located in the beautiful Palazzo Banco S. Spirito on the Piazza dell’Orologio, which is marked by the impressive clock tower by Borromini and is considered the very heart of Rome. Among the historical palaces of Piazza dell’Orologio is the famous Casa delle Letterature or Biblioteca dell’Orologio, which is the home of literature in the “Eternal City.” ACCENT’s central location makes it an ideal base for classes and as a jumping-off point for on-site study visits.

The City of Rome and Environs

Rome’s rich history inspired its nickname — the Eternal City — yet modern residents keep the atmosphere vibrant. Here students will find inspiring art like the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, and the Pietà, intermingled with thriving studios and artists. Italy’s capital is also the hub for government, religion, and education, with nearly 3 million residents calling Rome home. Classes are held in the center of Rome, but frequently leave the classroom to integrate studies with visits to masterworks and the settings that inspired them. Outside of class, students are invited to experience la dolce vita, relaxing with friends and savoring the sights, smells and tastes that make up Rome.

"If you love the idea of walking in the rain along cobblestone streets at night, Rome's lights glowing all around you as you pass monument after monument, you will love Kenyon Rome. Expect to put in some effort, but know there will be time to explore and experience as much of the culture as you are willing to put yourself out."

Cody Bratzler '21
Fall 2019 program participant

Plans for Fall 2021

Professor of Studio Art Marcella Hackbardt discusses plans for the fall 2021 program.

Program Details

(REQUIRED) ARTS 291 ST: Narrative Photography in Italy

Taught by Professor Hackbardt (.5 Units)

Students will use photography to explore narrative and visual storytelling, while investigating the historical and cultural resources of Rome, its museums, art, architecture, and its beauty and complexity. Through field trips and critiques, students will begin to reveal the essence of place and personal narrative through framing, light and shadow, symbolism, and lyricism. Projects will range from developing social documentary records of places, people, and landscape, to cross-cultural understanding, artistic expression, and self-discovery. This course for beginning and intermediate students focuses primarily on digital photography. Thorough instruction in camera operation, photographic theory, and image lectures on photographic artists will prepare students for their creative work in the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque interiors, streets, gardens of the city and environs. Their photographic production will be complemented with class visits to the Rome museums and photography galleries, as well as several organized excursions outside the city. Course goals will be the development of a portfolio of photographic works, as well as experiences focused on student artistic, intellectual, and personal growth.  

(RECOMMENDED) ARTS 391 ST: Contemporary Artistic Practice: Working in Rome  

Taught by Professor Hackbardt (.5 Units)

This studio art class is structured to provide close individual instruction. Students are given the freedom to generate their own ideas and may work in any medium that compels them to investigate their personal relationship to Rome. Student media could include painting, digital photography, collage, multimedia, performance, installation, sculpture, and drawing. Course presentations will include an introduction to the contemporary art world, with image lectures on artists, and theoretical readings. Students will first research and then use as a point of departure various aspects and trends that have been prevalent in the art world over the past twenty years. Projects will include concept proposal, artist statement, oral presentation, and finished body of work. Creativity and development strategies will be introduced to help guide students in their conceptual process. Visits to contemporary art galleries in Rome are required. Living in Rome will present the unique opportunity to attend significant exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Course goals will be the development of a series of art works, as well as experiences focused on student artistic, intellectual, and personal growth. Prerequisite: Students must have already taken at least one Kenyon College Studio Art course, or permission of instructor.

(REQUIRED) Beginner Italian Course 

(Intermediate/Advanced available on request)

This course provides students with a sound basis for communicating effectively and accurately in oral and written Italian. Students are required to make use of newly learned grammatical skills to interact with Italian university students in conversation encounters and cultural tours.

Authentic materials are used in a communicative-based approach, and emphasis is placed on the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The course is conducted entirely in Italian.

Optional course offered by Kenyon-Rome program in fall 2021:

• ARTS 391 ST: Contemporary Artistic Practice: Working in Rome

Courses Typically Offered by the University of California:

• Sociology of Rome

• Cosa Nostra: A Comparative Study of Crime and Deviance in the Italian Context

• Ancient Romans at Work and Play: Reconstructing the Past

• History Wars: Myth, Memory and Meaning in the Making of Modern Italy  

• A Celebrated Rivalry: Bernini and Borromini in the Making of Baroque Rome

Student Apartments  

Students stay in double/triple rooms in apartments around the center of Rome, with commutes of less than one hour by walking or bus. Each bedroom is furnished with beds, a closet or armoire, and linens. Kitchen facilities include a stove, refrigerator, cooking utensils, and dishes. Kitchen and bathroom facilities are shared by everyone in the apartment.  


Students who choose a homestay in Rome live with carefully selected host families. Homestay accommodations provide students with an opportunity to observe firsthand how Italians live, and allow them to become more fully immersed in the language and culture of Italy. Students are placed in double and single rooms in homes within the Rome city limits, with varying commutes to classes of 15 to 55 minutes by walking, bus, and metro. Ideally students considering homestays will have previous knowledge of the Italian language to participate in basic conversations.

A series of free and inexpensive activities is available to all students at the Rome Study Center, including a number of events that are planned along with students from La Sapienza University in Rome. Past students have found these events to be a highlight of the semester, both for the opportunity to practice Italian and also expand a local social network in Rome. In past semesters, activities have included:

• Contemporary Italian literature book club

• Italian cuisine series: tiramisu tasting, Neapolitan pizza in the university neighborhood, and aperitivo

• Cineforum: film screening and debate with local students

• Arteinbottega: Informal art workshop in Testaccio neighborhood

The Rome Study Center has a variety of volunteer opportunities in all areas of interest. Past students have found their volunteer post to not only be a great resume builder, but to provide a social and professional network for their semester in Rome and long after. Past opportunities have included:

• Refugee Center: English tutoring, administration of refugee sports leagues, as well as office support in marketing and social media

• NGO for Hunger and Homelessness: Food distribution with local volunteers at weekly breakfasts in Trastevere and dinners near Piazza di Spagna

• Italian Elementary School: students work as conversation partners in a public elementary school

• Jewish Cultural Center: students assist Italian children with their homework and work together with other staff members on sports and games activities  

Students participating in the Kenyon-Rome program pay Kenyon tuition, room and board to Kenyon. These fees cover program tuition, room, meal stipend, metro/bus pass and all co-curricular travel. A non-refundable $1,000.00 deposit is due approximately two weeks after acceptance by Kenyon into the program.  

Kenyon provides a meal stipend to each participant. In Fall 2019, this stipend was $2,100. Students participating in homestays providing meals will have the stipend lowered accordingly.

Expenses for which the individual is responsible include transatlantic transportation, books, personal living expenses (laundry, mail, printing), food expenses beyond the meal stipend, and personal travel expenses.

For the purpose of scholarships and loans, Kenyon-Rome students are considered full-time Kenyon students. Kenyon financial aid is automatically transferable to the Kenyon- Rome program. Students should contact the Center for Global Engagement for detailed information on how their financial aid package will be applied towards program payments.

Marcella Hackbardt is a visual artist, curator, and professor of art and photography at Kenyon College where she has taught in the Studio Art Department since 2000. Her current photographic work utilizes digital and analog processes, and explores aspects of knowledge, self-reflection, the environment, and symbolic states.  

Her curatorial projects include two exhibitions of contemporary photography at the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, as well as numerous other photography exhibitions. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Weston Gallery in Cincinnati, The Girls’ Club Collection in Fort Lauderdale, Station Independent Projects in New York, Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and at The University of Notre Dame, among others. Two of her projected works have been performed at the Ingenuity Festival of Art and Technology, Cleveland.   Hackbardt has presented numerous lectures on contemporary photography and photo history at galleries, universities, and conferences such as the National Society for Photographic Educators, and at the Wits Art Museum and the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Hackbardt received her M.F.A. in studio art/photography from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and a B.A. in studio art from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She previously taught and directed the Kenyon-Rome Program in 2014.