Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Greetings from Rome

Hello all!

We have been busy since we last wrote! On Friday, the whole group made a trip to Ostia Antica, the archeological site of an ancient Roman port city that was deserted after a flood and re-direction of the Tiber. Students worked on short stories, took photos and studied the ruins. After lunch and a walk through the on-site museum, it was time for a trip to the nearby beach. Everyone enjoyed the chance to cool off in the water, listen to music and hang out on the beach.

Saturday was Massimo’s last night with us and also the fourth of July! In the morning we split up into On Assignment groups for individual projects; the Photography group went to a popular Roman wedding spot to shoot photos, Archeology students visited the National Museum and Journalism students stayed at St. Stephens to create their own blog,, to allow them to share their work with friends and family. Check it out if you haven’t already!

After a relaxing outing in the Borghese Park during the later afternoon, we headed back to St. Stephens for a 4th of July and 'Good Bye to Massimo' barbeque. After some expert grilling and a delicious dinner, we headed inside for a talent show where everyone shared something unique and fun. The night included acrobatics, ballet, Greek dancing and (how could it not?) a group Jackson Five jam session!

On Sunday we split up with one group traveling south to Pompeii and another heading north to Florence. After a long train ride, the Pompeii group arrived around 10:30 am and spent a long morning exploring. Afterwards, they stopped in Sorrento for lunch and some relaxation. The Florence group started their morning off with a walk through the San Lorenzo market, a relaxing lunch and then walked over to the Uffizzi Gallery where they checked out famous works like Bottecelli’s 'Birth of Venus.' The rest of the afternoon was a tad rainy, but students wandered around the beautiful center and the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

After many day trips, we decided to take it easy on Monday with a late wake up and breakfast, followed by a trip to the Campo dei Fiori market for fruit. Back at St. Stephan’s, we colored, played tennis and basketball, made sandwiches and watched Ben-Hur. Monday also happened to be Jimmy’s birthday so that evening we took a walk into the center of Rome, got gelato and a two-man band to serenade him “Happy Birthday” in Piazza Navona.

On Tuesday morning we focused on On Assignment work. The Archeology group went to the Capitolini Museum, the Photography students took portraits of people at the Termini train station, and the Journalism group worked on profiles and a restaurant review in Trastevere. In the afternoon, the Archeology and Photography groups teamed up while Journalists worked on their blog.

Our last day in Rome, Wednesday, began with a trip to the Cappuccini Monk’s Crypt, where the bones of scores of monks have been rearranged into art to line the catacomb walls. Next, we walked to Castello St Angelo for some free time, followed by a relaxing boat ride down the Tiber. Then it was lunch and back to St. Stephen’s to pack. Tonight is our last dinner in Trastevere and everyone is getting dressed up!

Until next time. . . from Greece!

-Breena, Matt, and Rachel

the whole crew!

A farewell barbeque for our National Geographic Expert, Massimo Bassano (center)