January 1 - 15, 2020

AHST*398 Art & Culture in Rome: Past and Present 
Dates: January 1-15, 2020
Credits: Critical Studies Elective | 3 Credits  
Who can participate? Open to all UArts students

This course takes a thematic approach to the study of art and culture in Rome, from classical antiquity to the present day. Free from the constraints of chronological sequence, we will explore visual artifacts in groups or pairs that share a common theme, learning about well-known periods and styles such as ancient architecture and the art of the Renaissance, as well as Futurism, mid-century modernist architecture, Rome’s prominent street art movement, and the iconic MAXXI (museum of 21st-century art/architecture), designed by the legendary female Iraqi-British architect, Zaha Hadid. We will also consider the unique ways in which Rome integrates its quintessential past with its vibrant present through constantly changing contemporary art installations among its ancient ruins. A series of short, reflective assignments will help students learn fundamental concepts and encourage them to make important connections.      

Students will seek out lesser-known treasures from the surrounding areas of Rome such as cyclopean walls built by the ancient Hernici people 800 years before Rome and street art that acts as a protest against fascist sentiments still pervasive in Italian society today.
— Veronica Cianfrano, Faculty

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Reflect on —both in writing and verbally—connections between the study away experience and personal, cultural, and creative contexts.

  • Develop a critical language about the study away experience through synthesizing weekly readings on related topics, issues, and themes.

  • Collect, archive, and analyze research sources linked to study away experience.

  • Theorize a more globally conscious way of analyzing art, culture, and self.


Sample Itinerary

Course activities will include journal assignments, learning activities and a final project. 

Day 1 Arrive in Rome, Orientation and Welcome Dinner

Days 2-3 Ancient Rome including Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trajan’s Markets, Pantheon

Day 4 Early Christian Rome sites such as the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, San Clemente

Day 5 Independent learning: information and recommended sites will be discussed.

Days 6-7 Renaissance and Baroque Rome sites such as: Vatican Museums, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Il Gesù, Santa Maria del Popolo, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Villa Farnesina, Palazzo Barberini, Galleria Borghese

Day 8 Neoclassical Rome/Fascist Rome, potential sites: Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, Palazzo della Farnesina

Day 9 Art Nouveau (“Liberty Style”) in Rome with visit to Galleria Sciarra, Coppedè

Day 10 Midcentury Modern Architecture in Rome

Days 11-12 Contemporary art in Rome (walking tour of street art and installations, MAXXI museum)

Day 13 Discussion and farewell dinner 

Rome is associated with classical antiquity and the Renaissance, but many are unaware of its contemporary art scene. Students will get to experience a broad range of art movements/period styles co-existing in one city, allowing them to absorb Rome's rich cultural history and gain valuable travel experience.
— Sarina Miller, Faculty

Instructors: Sarina Miller and Veronica Cianfrano

Veronica Cianfrano

MFA '10

Sarina Miller
Sarina Miller


Learn more

Caitlin Perkins, Coordinator for Short Travel