Art Appreciation Rome Trip
A group of ten study abroad students and four local Webster Geneva students visited Rome from 26-29 November, led by art history professor (GCP), Dr. Maryvelma O’Neil.
Dr. O'Neil explained, "Except for a metro ride from our hotel on the Quirinal hill to the Vatican, we walked miles and miles over ancient cobblestones during three days. On the first day our Roman expert, Bruno Paparello, guided us to the treasure laden Vatican Museums, with focused attention on the chambers painted by Raphael and awe at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, through cavernous St. Peter’s Basilica to the monumental Castel Sant’Angelo. On the second day the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine and Capitoline hills were toured under azurite blue skies. At a group dinner Saturday evening in the highly rated Hosteria Grappolo d’oro, plates of steaming pasta flowed to our table: delizioso! During our final day we craned our necks to view the dome of the Pantheon, Baroque illusionistic frescoes in numerous churches, as well as Caravaggio masterpieces; we then wandered through the Piazza Navona to the Trevi Fountain where we tossed our coins hoping to return again to Rome. We ended our voyage of discovery by sharing a meal of freshly made dishes and organic produce purchased at a Farmers’ Market near the ancient Circus Maximus."
Haley Hogenkamp, a study abroad student from Milliken University, summed up the experience. “The study trip exceeded my expectations in every way possible. I expected to gain immense amounts of knowledge about Rome and Roman art, but I did not expect to experience Rome in the ways that we did. We were entirely immersed in the cultural history. We wandered the streets, enthralled by the beauty that we were able to appreciate deeply and fully. Dr. O’Neil was our mother and inspiration; she gave her love and knowledge to every student, not just by offering information and details, but by sharing things like a pat on the back, an elaborate story, or a moment of true and genuine appreciation for art and life."
During the trip the class hand-delivered a letter to the Italian Parliament that was addressed to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, stating that they wanted to make a symbolic gesture in support of his bold initiative to spend a Euro for culture for each Euro to be dispensed for heightened security in the wake of the Paris attacks. Each student contributed one Euro and signed the letter (which had been translated for them). A response was received on 3 December 2015. He expressed his “gratitude for our action on behalf of Italy and its cultural heritage” as well as his “sincere appreciation for the spirit with which the gift was made.”
"What happened in Paris signaled a step-up in the cultural battle that we are living," Renzi affirmed in a speech at the Capitoline Museum in Rome on 25 November 2015. "They imagine terror, we answer with culture. They destroy statues, we love art.”