Students explore Roman art, architecture, and history first hand

During Block 7 2009, students in the course “City of Rome” explored the art, architecture, and history of Rome and the surrounding area. The course was co-taught by John Gruber-Miller, professor of classical studies, and Chris Penn-Goetsch, associate professor of art.

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The class visited many important sites and museums such the Forum, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Bramante’s Tempietto, and the Trevi Fountain. Students contributed to the overall learning by preparing and presenting site reports at these and other locations.

Student reflections

Jennifer Logan: psychology, sociology, and women’s studies

I think the most meaningful thing about the trip was actually seeing all the layers of different time periods. Very little in Rome is static. Many of the ancient buildings survived because they were able to evolve to meet the needs of the Catholic Church. A good example of this is the Pantheon which was originally a place for the emperors to get closer to the gods without being one. In 609, the Pantheon was converted into a church.

My favorite day was when we went to Tivoli which is outside Rome. Tivoli was where Hadrian went to get away from Rome, and Hadrian’s villa was a pleasure palace. Seeing the different elements of culture from different parts of the empire in his palace gave a better perspective of the power of Rome, the wealth of emperors, and the diversity of the people. That day we also went to the Villa d’Este which had the most beautiful gardens I had seen in my life, even though nothing was in bloom. This garden is amazing because it has over 500 fountains, some of which are incorporated into a three-story fountain topped with a water organ. In Tivoli, after a long day, we feasted in a restaurant in the crypt of the Baths of Diana.

Liz Erickson: geology and archaeology

I think that the entire class was meaningful.  We had the opportunity to explore a fantastic city full of archaeology, art, and history.  Every single day held something new as we worked our way through Rome´s history.  A specific highlight for me was the day we went to the National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II.  This building overlooks the heart of the ancient Roman world, and, with its breathtaking view, nothing could have summed up our experience better than to be able to see it all right there laid out before us.

Chris Komperda: pre-architecture

The most meaningful aspect of the trip was seeing the majority of the artwork covered in previous art history courses. The experience of seeing the artwork, architecture, and layout of the city had a big impact because we got to see the big picture of the life that the artists, architects, and masses lived in. My favorite part was seeing the Vatican Museum and how much artwork was compiled in the enormous space. I really enjoyed seeing a great number of Bernini’s and Carvaggio’s art works. It was a trip of a lifetime.