Pre-College Programs
Roman Architecture and Culture

Global Programs: Rome, Italy | Course Details

An Immersion in Roman Life & Culture

Roman Life & Culture

This intensive two-week course introduces the complexities and beauties of Rome, an ancient and vibrant metropolis. Designed for high school students without prior experience in Rome, the course introduces students to workshops and lectures by world-class Brown faculty, as well as immersive Italian language studies, all in the heart of Rome. By taking this pre-college course, students will become aware of the many ways that scholars can study Rome, from its classical past to its complex political landscape today. A series of one- to two-day “micro-workshops” may include Renaissance art history, digital photography, fascist architecture, visual art, and the neighborhoods of Rome then and now. The course includes weekend trips to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, as well as Tuscany and Umbria.

Global Programs: Rome

Days are long for this course, but there are abundant opportunities for breaks and fun, as well as quiet study and free time. We begin most mornings at 9:30 a.m. for either immersive Italian lessons or on-site lectures from a variety of local specialists and Brown faculty. Although structured and organized, the content of each day’s site visit is different, planned by a series of local experts or visiting Brown faculty—all experienced and skilled teachers and public speakers with an in-depth knowledge of hidden Rome— overseen by a single member of the Brown faculty.

On-site lectures
: Few cities present as long a history of continuity and change as Rome, and this course takes full advantage of the city’s sunny climate and accessibility. Each day, students will spend hours seeing Rome, both key public sites, such as the Vatican and St. Peter’s, and sites generally closed to the public and made available only to students in this course.

Immersive Italian: Why learn Italian in the classroom when you’re in Italy? We take Italian class out onto the street for a unique immersive introduction in fun and low-pressure environments, including lunches, shopping excursions, and gelato “crawls.” Students learn Italian organically, by hearing, reading, and repeating. Italian instructors are Brown faculty and graduate students, often native speakers.

Micro-workshops: The topics of the course’s unique “micro-workshops” change yearly to take advantage of local opportunities and events, but each introduce students to a way of seeing Rome—through the eyes of historians, engineers, artists, activists, and storytellers. These micro-workshops will take place both on-site and in St. Stephen’s School’s air conditioned and state-of-the-art classrooms and lecture halls.

Learning Goals:

Rome students enroll in two courses: Italian Language and The Many Faces of Rome (CRN: 10820)

Sample Week

Monday: Having settled into their accommodations at Rome’s prestigious and beautiful St. Stephen’s School in the center of the city, students gather for a welcome dinner at La Villette, a neighborhood trattoria nearby. Students will sample a range of locally-sourced and produced antipasti and pasta dishes and learn to eat as Romans eat.

Tuesday: The day begins with an immersive Italian class, with a walk around the treed neighborhood of the Aventine and an introduction to basic conversation and vocabulary. Students return for an orientation session in the St. Stephen’s School auditorium and lunch in the cafeteria. The afternoon takes us across the street for a brief introduction to the ancient city at the site of Rome’s Hippodrome, where chariot racers once vied for victory, and a walk up to the Capitoline Hill—the site of some of the city’s earliest Bronze Age settlements and now a seat of local government.

Wednesday: We begin class with an archaeology walk through the city’s oldest landmarks, from the Republican temples at the Largo Argentina to the Palatine Hill. After lunch, students have some time to work in St. Stephen’s library on their reading, before a lecture on Rome’s Republican and Imperial history. After dinner, Italian class will be a trip to the outstanding nearby gelateria.

Thursday: Immersive Italian takes us this morning to Rome’s colorful and historical Campo dei Fiori open-air market and a snack at one of the city’s best bakeries. A lecture on the first emperor, Augustus, and the birth of imperial Rome will prepare students for an afternoon visit to the city’s Augustan monuments, including the Ara Pacis and the Mausoleum of Augustus. After dinner at St. Stephen’s, there will be organized games and activities on campus.

Friday: Ever wonder what it would be like to be a field archaeologist? We’ll take a boat trip down the Tiber to Ostia Antica, Rome’s “Pompeii,” where we’ll meet with archaeologists working on excavating this ancient port city. This hands-on workshop will introduce students to the more technical aspects of modern archaeology, including mapping, laser-scanning, and digitizing. After a picnic lunch on-site, students will have free supervised time at Ostia’s beach on the Mediterranean. Return to Rome in the late afternoon, with the evening off for students to work on homework, read, and prepare for the weekend trip to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast.

Sample Day




Italian Language & Culture




Many Faces of Rome


Site visits/Community Building




Study Hall






Field Trips

Weekend trips include visits to Pompeii, Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, and Umbria. Program staff members accompany the field trips and supervise students at the off-campus sites.

Global programs are academically rigorous.

Given the intensity of the program there is minimal free time.

Program details »