News from Italy!
Days are rich and long here in Italy, but full of countless wonders. On Wednesday, the highlights of the day were the Forum Romanum and the Colosseum where we discussed Romans, their culture and institutions but more importantly their architectural achievements. Students enjoyed exploring the ins and out of the Colosseum. The next day, we finally reached the Vatican and its beautiful Sistine Chaptel. Interestingly enough, this visit was also the occasion of a discussion about the effects of mass tourism on historical landmarks. Like many other sites, such as the Acropolis or the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel is a must-see that attracts visitors and necessitates regulations so that all can see it. Thinking about the positive sides of affordable traveling and its drawbacks gave the students a better understanding of what they were experiencing.
Conversely, the next day was spent at the beach of Santa Severa near Rome, a spot untouched by tourism and where the students were in contact with a more authentic side of Italy. For those who had language skills, this was truly the time to use them! This day at the beach was followed by an evening at the Baths of Caracalla, attending Verdi’s opera La Traviata. As I told the students, opera is not optional if you want to understand Western Civilization.
Today, we moved on to Naples, beginning with its impressive archaeological museum where all the finds of Pompeii are to be seen (including the famous Alexander mosaic) and continuing with Neapolitan pizza, enjoying it the way it was always meant to be. We then arrived to the beautiful coastal region of Sorrento, taking in the far-away view of Mount Vesuvius, the ominous volcano that destroyed the city of Pompeii, preserving it for us to see throughout the millenia.
Right now, students are stargazing from the balconies of their rooms, spotting shooting stars and reflecting on their experience that already led them from Athens to Rome and to this remote and peaceful place where they are now.
Hi everyone! My name is Matthieu Abgrall and I will be leading, with my colleague Nicole Jacoberger, students through their cultural experience across Europe towards the discovery and understanding of the foundations of Western Civilization.