William & Mary

Discovering the Ancient City: 2012 Summer Program Offers an Insider's View of Rome

All students enrolled in the basic course for the program: CLCV 489, “The Ancient City.” All instruction in this course is conducted at archaeological sites or in museums:  around the Bay of Naples for the first week, and in Rome and its environs for the second two weeks of the program.  The highlights of these excursions including descending into the Grotto of the Sibyl at Lake Avernus, getting inside the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius near the Ostiense train station, and visiting the Roman cemetery underneath St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.   In their final essays on the program, many of the students commented on how this direct experience of the remains of classical antiquity had a profound effect on their understanding of the ancient world. 

at the Upper Tier of the Colosseum

In addition, four of the students in the program also enrolled in the optional research course, CLCV 494, “Undergraduate Research Abroad.” These students selected their research projects based on their own interests generated through their experiences in the Ancient City course.  They wrote fascinating papers on their chosen topics, including the column of Trajan, Roman military dedications, the cult of the Egyptian goddess Isis, and the religious office of the Roman pontifex maximus. 

Students also were able to experience life in modern Italy throughout their stays at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma on the Bay of Naples, the Motel of the Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii, and the Center for Intercollegiate Classical Studies in Rome.  During their time away from classes and research, students explored some of the “non-classical” attractions of Italy.  During their stay in the Bay of Naples, many took a ferry to visit the island of Capri, famous for its spectacular views and excellent food.  On their two days off in Rome, students went out to explore by city on foot and visited many of its famous tourist sites, including Trevi Fountain, the picturesque neighborhood of Trastevere, and the magnificent piazzas of the city, such as the Piazza Navona and the Piazza Venezia.  Many of the students proudly reported learning enough Italian to “get by” and were thrilled to find that, armed with this knowledge, they could traverse a foreign city on their own.

Hard hats were necessary at the Columbarium Scipionis

All the students testified that they had learned a tremendous amount while on the program and had a great time while doing so.  Some are already planning to participate in the department’s other new study abroad program, which will be held this summer in Greece, headquartered in Athens and Nauplion, and will explore these cities and their surrounding areas of  Attica and the Peloponnese.

Check out our Photo Gallery to see more pictures of our students in Rome and Pompeii!