DeSales Semester in Rome–Fall 2023
Take a full semester of courses at the DeSales campus in Rome!
DeSales University is thrilled to offer a Semester Study Abroad Program in Rome, Italy, for the Fall 2023 semester!
- Take a full semester of courses (12-15 credits).
- Class schedule is September through December, Monday through Thursday, leaving you a 3-day weekend every week.
- Take a 10-day vacation during the mid-term semester break.
- Cost of tuition and room is the same as at DeSales. All financial aid is transferable.
- All majors with Freshman, Sophomore, or Junior status in Spring 2023, and a GPA of 2.75+ are eligible.
Courses available during this semester include:
- Roman Art & Architecture (Humanities 3)
- Literature for Children and Youth (Humanities 4)
- Education for the Human Good (a Values Seminar)
- Cultural History of Italian Food (Elective)
- Elementary Italian Language I/II
- DeSales online courses
DeSales Professor Dr. Katie Blamey will accompany the group and teach classes.
Would you like to learn more? Contact Professor Elizabeth Rosa at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her in Gambet 209.
Ready to go? Apply before March 15!
Rome, which was founded over 2,700 years ago, is considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the world, and the Italians themselves call it "la Città Eterna" (the Eternal City). The weather there in late May and in June is balmy, warm, and enchanting, with subtle effects of sparkling light playing on inviting tree-lined boulevards, on the ornate façades of magnificent palaces, churches, and basilicas, on the white and rose-colored marble of ancient Roman temples, columns, triumphal arches, aqueducts, and bridges, on Renaissance and baroque squares adorned by graceful fountains and statues, on flower-laden terraces, gardens, and parks with breathtaking views of the city, and on an endless and opulent profusion of elegant cafés and restaurants, open-air markets, bakeries, gelaterie (ice cream shops), pasticcerie (pastry shops), salumerie (visually stunning delicatessens filled to the rafters with irresistible foods), and wood-stove pizzerie.
Erected on seven beautiful hills along the banks of the River Tiber, Rome, now a city of three million people, casts a spell on anyone who has the good fortune to visit it. Ancient Rome, which was founded in 753 B.C. according to ancient historians, came to rule a truly immense empire that stretched from Scotland across most of Europe all the way to Turkey, Armenia, and Mesopotamia, from the Middle East across North Africa to the Straits of Gibraltar.
Later, after the Western Empire collapsed in the 5th century A.D. (the Eastern Empire, whose capital was Constantinople, lasted until A.D. 1453), Rome became the center of western Christendom, and distinguished artists and architects came in droves to work for the popes during the Renaissance. Rome's unique history, which shaped the entire modern world, is enshrined in innumerable monuments throughout the city dating from the ancient, early Christian, medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and subsequent periods. Here are some examples:
- The astonishing Pantheon, originally erected under Augustus Caesar and rebuilt under Hadrian in the 2nd Century A.D., is still perfectly intact. It was the largest domed structure in the world for well over a thousand years and is a good place to visit on a rainy day, as the rain falls through the round opening at the top of the dome and takes a long time to drift as glinting droplets to the floor, emphasizing the huge scale of the structure. But it is hard to find any rainy days in Rome in June or July.
- The Roman Forum, the center of political, commercial, and judicial life in ancient Rome, is filled with the striking remnants of great temples, triumphal arches, columns, porticos, and imperial buildings.
- The Castel Sant'Angelo, which began as Emperor Hadrian's mausoleum, was converted into a major fortress overlooking the River Tiber in medieval times.
- The Old Appian Way is a 3rd-century Roman road, where, according to Christian tradition, Peter met Christ and asked him, "Domine, quo vadis?" "Where are you going, Lord?" (The famous Quo Vadis church marks the spot.) Thousands of well-preserved Roman tombs covered with ancient Latin inscriptions still stand under the beautiful cypress trees that line the Old Appian Way.
- The Vatican, a small city in its own right, is decorated with famous paintings and frescoes by such artists as Raphael, Botticelli, Perugino, and Michelangelo, and houses endless treasures of ancient and Renaissance art in the Vatican Museums, including a vast collection of ancient Greek, Egyptian, Etruscan, and Roman statues. The Vatican also contains the famous Sistine Chapel, an extraordinary library, and stately gardens.
- St. Peter's Basilica's spectacular dome, designed by Michelangelo, and awesome colonnade, designed by Bernini, make a profound impression. This vast basilica, the largest Christian temple in the world, rises above the crypt where St. Peter, the first pope, is buried.
- In addition to St. Peter's, Rome has three other great basilicas: Santa Maria Maggiore, a huge 5th-century structure with remarkable 5th-century through 13th- century mosaics; San Paolo Fuori le Mura (St. Paul Outside the Walls), which, as its name suggests, lies outside of Rome; and San Giovanni in Laterano, where the Scala Sancta – the flight of steps that Christ is said to have used during his trial in Jerusalem in the palace of Pontius Pilate – is preserved.
- Trajan's Column is an immense 2nd-century A.D. Roman column whose surface is covered with superb marble bas-reliefs depicting the emperor Trajan's victories in battle.
- The Ponte Sant'Angelo, a bridge whose three central arches date back to the time of Hadrian (2nd century A.D.) and the rest of which dates from the 17th century, is decorated with graceful Renaissance and Baroque statues, ten of which are by the great sculptor, Bernini.
- Santa Maria in Trastevere, located on a beautiful piazza bearing the same name, is a great medieval church containing 12th-century mosaics on both the inside and the outside. The 17th-century fountain at the center of the square, where students often meet, is illuminated at night.
- The Capitoline Museums, housed in palaces surrounding the Campidoglio, an elegant square designed by Michelangelo, contain such remarkable ancient works of art as a large equestrian statue in bronze of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, mosaics from Hadrian's Villa, and a famous ancient Greek or Etruscan statue of the she-wolf that, according to legend, nurtured Romulus and Remus, the two brothers who founded Rome.
- The Catacombs are underground complexes where the early Christians buried their dead, including many of their saints. There are several catacombs scattered throughout the city, and some contain beautiful frescoes of Christian scenes. The remains of St. Peter and St. Paul would appear to have been placed at one time in the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian, as inscriptions on its walls suggest.
- The picturesque Ponte Fabricio, in a beautiful tree-filled setting of old churches and bell towers, is a perfectly preserved Roman bridge that is over 2,000 years old. Still in use to this day, it bears a venerable, faded inscription proving that it was built in 62 B.C. Near it is another, equally old Roman bridge, also still in use: the Ponte Cestio.
- The Colosseum, a truly gigantic stone amphitheater, could easily accommodate 55,000 spectators. There, ships were sunk in staged naval battles, and gladiators and dangerous animals fought. The Arch of Constantine, a huge, handsomely decorated 4th-century triumphal arch erected by the first Christian Emperor, Constantine, stands next to the Colosseum.
- The Piazza del Popolo is a beautiful, largely Renaissance square with twin neoclassical churches. At the center of the square is a three-thousand-year-old Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by Augustus Caesar.
- Surmounted by the church and terrace of Trinità dei Monti, from which there are splendid views, the magnificent Spanish Steps, which overlook a Baroque fountain, are a popular place to sit and observe Roman life. The house where the English Romantic poet John Keats lived – and died – in Rome, now a charming museum, is right next to them, as are the Caffè Greco, a beautiful 18th-century café frequented by Casanova, Keats, Byron, Goethe, Liszt, and Wagner, and Babington's Tea Rooms, a grand 19th-century English gathering-place where you can get a hearty breakfast or high tea.
- Via Veneto is a street of elegant hotels, restaurants, and cafés that Fellini's film, La Dolce Vita, made famous.
There are hundreds of other Etruscan, ancient Roman, early Christian, medieval, Byzantine, Renaissance, Baroque, and 19th- and 20th-century treasures throughout the city.
Dining in Rome
Throughout your semester, you will be able to dine either indoors or out of doors (al fresco) at the many picturesque restaurants, pizzerias, and cafés that Rome has to offer. Roman cuisine relies on fresh local farm produce (often unlike anything you have tasted in the United States, where agricultural production is highly industrialized) plus thousands of venerable recipes to create such delectable dishes as:
- the simple bruschetta or caprese (toasted country bread with olive oil and garlic, or with tomato slices and truly fresh mozzarella, respectively);
- spaghetti alla carbonara or penne al salmone (pasta dishes so good you won't believe it);
- bistecca al pepe verde (great steak in a refined green pepper sauce);
- saltimbocca alla romana (tasty pounded veal with prosciutto di Parma and sage);
- and risotto di mare or risotto nero (two unforgettable rice dishes filled with delectable seafood).
Add to this scores of varieties of
- fresh vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and bread;
- prosciutti crudi (superb dried, dark hams, thinly sliced, often eaten with melon);
- sausages, such as the true bologna, sometimes called mortadella;
- unbelievably tasty sandwiches called tramezzini;
- antipasti (Italian appetizers that include cured meats, olives, seafood, and grilled vegetables),
- rustic or elegant soups, such as minestrone and stracciatella;
- and extraordinary desserts, such as tiramisù, which combines chocolate, coffee, and mascarpone cheese,
and you will not lack for delicious things to eat.
Wood-stove pizza and many varieties of pasta are great for late-night suppers. Have an espresso, cappuccino, caffè-latte, or caffè ristretto (much more intense than espresso), at neighborhood cafés or in elegant, upscale ones; in the latter, the coffee is unbelievably good, but not particularly expensive. And be sure to try the many flavors of Italy's exquisite ice creams (gelati) and sorbets (sorbetti) at ice cream shops throughout the city.
Both the simplest and most elaborate tastes are readily accommodated in Rome, and you can even get hamburgers easily if you want to.
Shopping in Rome
Rome has been a great place to shop for thousands of years, and its stores often are housed in beautiful medieval, Renaissance, or Baroque buildings. In the center of town, there are numerous high-end designer boutiques with stunning window displays that shoppers will find hard to resist. Shopping streets in other areas of the city offer chic styles at more affordable prices. Best buys include leather goods of all kinds, including jackets, shoes, and bags, ready-to-wear Italian clothes, antiques, and art.
Because of our Monday-Thursday class schedule, you will have a three-day (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) weekend every week, and you will also have a 10-day semester vacation break from October 13 – 22.
You may use this free time to explore Rome or to travel independently.
HousingYou will live in an apartment with other members of the group. All housing is selected by the Dante Center in consultation with DeSales for its visiting students; the establishments are situated in the lively Trastevere neighborhood in central Rome.
All classes except Roman Art & Architecture will be held at the DeSales Rome site location – the Dante Center, which is located on the animated Piazza Bologna. The Dante Center is housed in an elegant 19th-century mansion, which contains luminous air-conditioned classrooms as well as a private patio.
Within a slightly compressed academic calendar (September 4 – November 30, 2023), you will take 12 or 15 credits of coursework.
- Roman Art & Architecture, a Humanities 3 core course, is required of all students in the program. Masterpieces of painting, sculpture, and architecture of the ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods are examined with attention to their historical contexts. Each class meeting consists of a 3-hour morning walking tour of sites in Rome. Taught by DeSales Rome faculty.
- Literature for Children and Youth, a Humanities 4 core course, surveys early childhood through adolescent children’s literature including book format, genre, illustration, construction, and contemporary issues. While in Rome, special emphasis on multicultural and world children’s literature. Taught by Professor Katie Blamey
- Education for the Human Good, a Values Seminar: Theories and practices in ensuring the right to quality education for all in local and/or global contexts based on principles of Christian humanism. Focus on rights of women, indigenous peoples, transient peoples, and other challenged populations. Taught by Professor Katie Blamey
- Cultural History of Italian Food, an Elective, examines the formation of Italian identity via the consumption of food and drink, the economic impact of the production and consumption of certain goods, and the social and cultural dimensions of food production and consumption in Italy and Rome. Cultural experiences throughout Rome will be integrated into the course. Taught by Professor Katie Blamey
- Elementary Italian I / II is required of those students who have not studied the Italian language at the college level. Taught by Dante Center faculty.
- A DeSales online course may be taken when needed for completing major requirements. Subject to availability through the DeSales Adult Studies program and to the approval of the Undergraduate Dean.