Underground Rome

May 17 – 31
3 Undergraduate Art History Credits
Course Number: IPD-3404-A
Tuition : $4,000

Faculty: Catherine Esposito

Join us as we explore the deepest layer of art, history and culture of the Eternal City of Rome.  Visit an ancient Roman house underneath a Renaissance palace.  Travel underneath the Basilica of St. Peter’s to explore an ancient Roman necropolis and the tomb of St. Peter.  Learn about the system of Roman aqueducts and go underground to examine the water source for the Trevi fountain.

In this two-week program, we will immerse ourselves in the layers of the Eternal City, focusing on the most hidden and ancient sites underground.  We will also look at a more figurative interpretation of Underground Rome, by traveling off the beaten path to explore Rome’s unconventional and marginalized art scene, including contemporary street art on the outskirts of Rome.

In no other place can you find ancient ruins sitting side-by-side medieval structures, Renaissance palaces, Baroque churches and modern street art.   Join us on this unique opportunity to explore what makes Rome eternal and engage with the city through sketching, journaling, photography, and collecting found objects to consider your own personal interpretation of the Eternal City.

For more information, please contact Paloma Crousillat at pcrousillat@sva.edu.


Attendance and Participation          20%

Journal Entries                               30%

Final project/presentation               50%

Journal Entries: There will be three journal entries due during this two-week program.  These entries require you to visit a site on your own, write a short reflection on your observations, and include a sketch.  For each location, you will receive a handout, which includes some information about the site and some questions to help you engage with the work of art or monument.

Final project: For your final project you will be asked to give a presentation focusing on a particular site or work of art in Rome, comparing its historical relevance to that of today, opening up a broader discussion on the eternal nature of Rome.

Choose one monument, work of art, or archeological site in Rome that you have seen or visited during these two weeks.  Discuss this work of art and its historical impact: How was it originally viewed?  What was its significance?  Then, discuss this work of art in its modern day context.  Spend some time watching how people engage and interact with this work or site.  Include a sketch, a brief interview with a tourist, or even a modern interpretation of this work to gain perspective.  In what ways has this site changed?  What has remained the same?