The Art History Department has led Spring Break study tours to Europe for more than a decade, providing Manhattanville students from many backgrounds with the chance to get to know some of the most magnificent cities in the world, and experience the power of art and architecture when viewed in context.
Participants enjoyed a broad range of Roman sites and museums, including the Colosseum and Forum, the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica, The Capitoline Museums, Villa Borghese, and the Pantheon. Professors Cifarelli and Rafanelli designed the itinerary to let students experience art and architecture from ancient Rome through the Renaissance/Baroque periods. According to Vincent Triolo, a sophomore Art History major and Pre-Health minor, "the most fun aspect of the trip was our excursion to Tivoli and particularly to Villa D'Este." At Tivoli, students explored the ruins of Emperor Hadrian's villa, as well as the magnificent gardens at the Villa D'Este, in the countryside outside of Rome.
After each day's scheduled activities, students had plenty of free time to explore Rome. During these "down" times, many students visited additional sites with Professors Rafanelli and Cifarelli, explored, shopped, and most importantly, enjoyed amazing food in Rome. Professor Cifarelli commented "We thought it was important for the students to spend a full week in Rome, it gave them the opportunity to really learn to navigate the city on their own."
The trip brought together a diverse group of students who enjoyed the social, cultural and educational experiences together, while learning valuable lessons in intercultural awareness. Junior Art History major Gaby del Vecchio believes that "the trip can give a student perspective on things like lifestyles, culture, economy, and history beyond our campus." Greg Lico, a Junior History/Education major, is a veteran of the Art History Department's Study Tours to Italy. "I learn so much and am able to add to my Manhattanville experience." Gina Viggiano, a sophomore Art History major, said that, for her, the most rewarding and life-changing aspect of the trip was "seeing the artwork I've learned about in person."
The requirements for the three-credit course included an on-site presentation, an exam and the submission of a daily journal that documented the places they had visited. Gaby del Vecchio found the active learning approach to the course beneficial, "In Rome, we were learning while doing. We had the chance to research our trip before we left, and because we kept a journal during the trip we were able to reflect on the things we've learned."
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