Early every fall semester, Rome students pack their bags and board buses in preparation for a trip to Campania, a region in southern Italy. The overnight junket, led by faculty and staff, is meant to introduce students to the kind of educational travel that so enhances classroom studies on the Rome Campus by providing an opportunity to explore the region's abundance of Greco-Roman art and history.
The bus ride to Naples provides a magnificent view of the volcano Vesuvius -- a reminder that the mountain's eruption in A.D. 79 rocked the Roman world and destroyed cities like Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Students visit the archaeological site at Paestum, studying its well-preserved Greek temples, as well as the processes of colonization that brought the Greeks to the Italian peninsula.
The trip also includes a visit to the National Archaeological Museum in Naples to admire its renowned antiquities collection. There, under the guidance of Rome faculty, students spend a few hours studying art and objects from the ancient world, in particular those frescoes, mosaics, and objects of daily life recovered from excavations at Pompeii.
For many students, the highlight of the trip is a day spent in the ancient city of Pompeii. Covered by pumice and ash when Vesuvius erupted, the city was rediscovered in the middle of the eighteenth century and is still under excavation. Again led by UD faculty members, students stroll the ancient streets, visiting bath complexes, theaters, temples, political buildings, houses and villas.
The trip is designed to encourage just-arrived fall Romers to fully immerse themselves in ancient culture. In this way, the weekend experience provides a complement to classroom work, in particular the curriculum that is pursued in the first weeks of the Rome semester, when study focuses on ancient Greek, Roman, and Early Christian history, art, literature, philosophy, and religion.