Rome Winter Study Abroad
Over the past few weeks I have lovingly daydreamed about the crowded streets of Rome. Not long after Christmas 21 of my Dominican peers and I together were whisked off on an overseas flight to Europe, led by fine arts professors Jeffery Cote de Luna and Jean Bevier. We came prepared with a mindset toward the Baroque and Renaissance art of the 15th through 18thcenturies.
The Eternal City is an overwhelming place. When we first arrived I was overtaken by the foreign, hurried pace. Not long into the trip I became filled with curiosity and a sense of adventure. We made full use of daylight as we walked throughout the city. Some highlights from the short study abroad trip include the local culture, the Farnese Palace, and the Jesuit church Il Gesu.
I would love to step into the shoes of a modern day Roman. These Italians are surrounded by immense, ancient structures. One way toward the Coliseum is paralleled by awe-inspiring ruins. The city is pocked with piazzas or squares, each containing one or more ornate fountains. Many of these squares are home to markets and vendors where fresh produce and various wares are sold. Along side roads and squares alike my peers and I enjoyed light lunches along with plenty of cappuccino and gelato.
We visited numerous galleries and museums located throughout the city, from the Capitoline Museum to the Borgese Gallery. I particularly enjoyed the Farnese Palace, now the French Embassy. I will remember our time there initially because three-four months in advance we had to request entry. Looking up at the walls surrounding the courtyard one can see the architectural design of three consecutive artists. Inside the palace holds a grand sculpture of Hercules, tapestries, and a ceiling fresco of love mythology, among other art pieces.
Roman churches are like US grocery stores. Both the façade and interior of many are worth admiring. Each Catholic worship space we visited contained a nativity scene. Even though St. Peter’s Basilica is a vast structure, its nativity scene was placed in the square outside. The Jesuit church Il Gesu is worth emphasizing. The ceiling fresco is an artistic marvel, extending beyond its set borders to further engage the space. Angels and saints stand among the clouds as demons and lost souls spill away from the main section of fresco. I second my fellow student blogger Caitlin Guerra’s words about the impact of studying abroad. Traveling with the mission of academic veritas makes for lasting memories.