This past weekend marked the end to the week-long orientation on the Rome campus. After a morning of classes, students and staff left campus for a walking excursion along the Via Appia Antica (the Appian Way). The students learned about the historical importance of the Appia both as a route traveled by Roman troops during the years of the Republic, and as a neighborhood where privileged Roman and early Christian families often built their palaces and mausoleums. During the short walk, the group stopped briefly at the Circus of Maxentius, before continuing on to San Sebastiano (Saint Sebastian at the Catacombs). Dr. Hatlie and Dr. Siegmund both lectured on the religious and historical significance of the catacombs, and then students were led underground through the ruins of the catacombs.
Upon returning to campus, students were treated to a special evening of wine tasting and delicious Italian food. Our resident wine expert (Monsignor Fucinaro) taught the students about how to properly taste wines. First on the menu was prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine often compared to champagne. Next, the students were introduced to a nice white wine, as well as a delicious spread of Italian antipasti which included cheeses and meats. As a special treat, the mensa also prepared some very traditional Roman delicacies: coratella (the lungs and heart of lamb, served with artichokes), fegato (veal liver), and cervelo. Many of the students were adventurous enough to try these unusual foods, and many even enjoyed them! The night concluded with a Roman dinner and two very nice red wines. A good time was had by all, and the students enjoyed the end of their weekend with a day off on Sunday. Many of the students took advantage of the free time by attending mass in Rome and getting a head start on some academic work.