Pre-College Programs
Roman Architecture and Culture

Rome, Italy | Course Details

Global Programs | Location-Based Courses

An Immersion in Roman Life and Culture

Rome students enroll in two courses: Immersive Italian (CRN: 10888) and The Many Faces of Rome (CRN: 10869)

Learning Goals

Global Programs: Rome

Immersive Italian

Why learn Italian only in the classroom when you’re in Italy? The city of Rome will be our classroom as we take our course out onto the street for a unique and immersive learning experience. Students learn Italian organically, by hearing, reading, and speaking the language in a fun and low-pressure environment. Ordering cappuccino, shopping excursions, and gelato “crawls” will be part of your coursework. Italian instructors are Brown faculty and graduate students, often native speakers.

The Many Faces of Rome

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 Assisi.

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 at 9:00 a.m. for immersive Italian lessons. 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 unique 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.

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 de 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.

Daily Schedule




Italian Language & Culture




Many Faces of Rome


Site visits/Community Building




Study Hall






Field Trips

Brown University Global Program in Rome, Italy

Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii

Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in 79 AD that led to the burying and destruction of the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and several other settlements. That eruption ejected a cloud of stones, ash, and fumes to a height of 20.5 miles. The objects that lay beneath the city had been preserved for centuries because of the lack of air and moisture. These artifacts provide an extraordinary detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana. Pompeii was lost for about 1,500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is a stunning landscape of picturesque towns that cling dramatically onto the mountainside. It's a perfect place to experience southern coastal life and culture.


Located in the hills of Umbria and best known as the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi, the well-preserved medieval town of Assisi holds religious, historical, and artistic significance.

How to Apply »

Deadline: April 8, 2016