On July 24th Shakespeare in Italy students made their way into Rome to visit St. Peter's Basilica. The students were given tours of the basilica by Dr. Moran and Prof. Novinski, each of which spoke on the influences the Baroque had on the artistic contributions of Bernini, Michelangelo and Raphael in the church. Students were awed by the enormity of Bernini's Baldacchino and the massiveness of the church in general. After the tour of the main basilica, students broke for lunch, gelato and some shopping before heading back to St. Peter's Square to prepare for their Scavi tour. Students were given a guided tour of the necropolis beneath the church where they saw pagan mausoleums dating back to the 3rd century as they worked their way to the burial ground where St. Peter's bones rest. The group thoroughly appreciated the once in a lifetime experience. Upon their return to campus students had a chance to relax after the long touring day with a nice meal followed by an evening class.
The next day was a campus day for the group. They had their final classes on The Merchant of Venice and Taming of the Shrew, and students were hard at work on their final papers and sonnets they will perform tomorrow. The day ended with a lively students vs. staff soccer game on the new soccer field—students were the victors!
On the 26th Shakespeare in Italy visited the medieval hilltown of Orvieto, site of a beautiful Gothic Duomo and also the originator of the feast of Corpus Christi and the medieval mystery plays. Students learned about how the mystery plays influenced Shakespeare, performed a bit themselves, and then spent the day enjoying the town. In the evening they gave a fantastic performance of their sonnets—and were rewarded with ice cream.
Shakespeare in Italy spent the morning at the beautiful Villa Borghese on July 27th. Students wandered the museum for a few hours, enjoying the wonderful collection, highlights of which are some famous Bernini sculptures (which a few students enacted beforehand under Prof. Novinski’s direction) and Caravaggio paintings. Afterwards the group picnicked in the Borghese gardens where students ate gelato, rented bicycles, and thoroughly enjoyed Rome’s “Central Park”. Upon returning to campus Prof. Novinski and Prof. Marquette led the final class, where they had students help them brainstorm about staging the plays they have been studying. Students are hard at work on their papers, due the day after tomorrow!
Another campus day was in store for the group on Sunday. Students are hard at work on papers and studying for their exam tomorrow. After a full study day, we ended the evening with a delightful and leisurely Forno dinner (inside because of rain). It was a beautiful evening of delicious food, and students are rejuvenated for the final push!