Ciao da Roma! The SDSU Faculty-Led Study Abroad program I’m teaching, “Connecting Art and Science – The Cultural History of Art and Anatomy in Italy” convened in Rome last Sunday evening. Since then it’s been a whirlwind exploration of The Eternal City.
We have visited everything from the ossuary shrines of the Capuchin Crypt, to the Vatican Museums and Saint Peter’s Basilica, to the Borghese Gallery, the Roman Forum, and of course The Coliseum! And I can’t forget to mention all the amazing food we’ve enjoyed, including a luncheon when students learned the secrets of pizza making.
It’s safe to say our students have fallen in love with Rome and Italian culture. The rich history of this city is astounding. I can see students struggling to get their minds around the timeline from Rome’s legendary founding by Romulus and Remus in the 8th century BCE, to the rise of Imperial Rome, the decline of the Roman Empire, and the city’s eventual rebirth in the Renaissance.
This process can only be achieved by walking among the ancient ruins, and standing before the Renaissance masterpieces. A classroom just isn’t quite the same. We’ve had countless Q&A sessions, and as students begin to more fully comprehend the importance of where they’re standing, I can see the amazement on their faces.
This experience continues tomorrow as we leave Rome and travel to Florence after an afternoon stay in magical Assisi. In Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, we will enjoy more of the world’s most treasured Masterpieces, and also visit a wax anatomical museum of the University of Florence. And of course, we all plan to enjoy Tuscan cuisine!
Please look for my next post after our stay in Florence.
Arrivederci, e ci vediamo presto!
Kevin Petti is a professor of human anatomy and physiology at Miramar College. He teaches the faculty-led study abroad program “Connecting Art and Anatomy in Italy” for SDSU, and will blog from Italy this summer.