City Discovery: Rome, The Eternal City

Rome, The Eternal City, is associated with imperial prowess and classic Roman art.  As the capital of Italy, it is the hub of the nation’s political scene, and as such, it is a bustling modern city in the midst of ancient ruins and monuments.  For questions about Rome or Italy, please contact Anthony Viltro.

Fun Fact #1: SPQR stands for the Latin phrase, “Senatus Populusque Romanus” (The Senate and People of Rome), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official signature of the government.  This acronym is ever present in Rome today, even on the city’s sewage system.

Fun Fact #2: Rome is named after Romulus, one of two fabled brothers who were raised by a she-wolf at Lupercale, a cave at the foot of the south side of the Palatine Hill.  Romulus went on to found the city of Rome.  Today, statues of the she-wolf nursing the twin brothers can be found throughout Italy as a symbol of its founding.  They are also displayed in the US in Cincinnati, OH; Rome, GA; and Rome, NY.

Don’t miss these Discovery Compass activities in Rome



Intercultural experiences highlight exposure with the local culture, promoting a multilateral exchange of ideas, language and opinions.

Participate in an Italian cooking class hosted at the ISA Rome Office and get to the heart of Italy’s intimate relationship between its food, its land, and its people. Lessons are held several times throughout the semester with no more than ten students participating in each one to give a personal atmosphere to your lesson.  Italian chefs prefer quality over quantity which is why only four to eight ingredients are usually seen in their dishes.  You’ll prepare homemade pasta and tiramisu while learning about the rich history of these dishes and their connection to Rome.

Go out to the movies with the ISA staff and enjoy an Italian film with English subtitles at one of Trastevere’s neighborhood theaters. Italian films have won 14 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, the most of any country, as well as 12 Palmes d’Or, the second-most of any country.  The most recent Academy Award winner is The Great Beauty (2014) with much of its plot taking place in Rome.



ISA excursions and cultural activities highlight historical parts of the local culture to help students better understand their new environment.

Step back in time to ancient Rome as the ISA staff takes you on a tour of the Coliseum and the Roman Forum.  The Forum was the center of Roman public life for centuries.  It hosted triumphal processions and elections, public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches.  Today, the Forum is a sprawling run of architectural fragments and archeological excavations.

Enjoy a guided tour with ISA of the Musei Capitolini, or the Capitoline Museums. Dating back to 1471, Pope Sixtus IV (also the namesake of the Sistine Chapel) donated a collection of important ancient bronzes to the people of Rome and located them on the Capitoline Hill. Since then, the museums’ collection has grown to include a large number of ancient Roman statues, inscriptions, and a collection of medieval and Renaissance art, jewels and coins.

Trevi fountain in Rome


Sociopolitical discovery highlights social and political activities or experiences.

Grab a copy of La Repubblica from the ISA Rome office on your way to class. The newspaper is published in Rome and is one of Italy’s most popular daily newspapers. Sit in a coffee shop and enjoy your morning cappuccino while reading headlines about the latest events in the country.

Wander the streets and try to find all of Rome’s talking statues. An early instance of bulletin boards, the talking statues of Rome began in the 16th century and provided an anonymous outlet for political and social expression. Some sources suggest that the first postings were little more than schoolboys taunting their teachers, but the statues quickly became a major outlet for critiquing government and religious leaders. While on a Trastevere walking tour with the ISA staff you’ll see Pasquino, the first of the six, who became so famous that his name was turned into an English word, pasquinade, which means a satirical protest in poetry.



Professional experiences provide exposure to professional development opportunities during an ISA program.

Stay in Rome for a full academic year and participate in an internship through the American University of Rome (AUR).  Students can gain professional experience in a wide range of fields of study.

Students that participate in any of the AUR’s archaeology classes can get hands-on experience on site at various Roman ruins.



Environmental experiences expose students to different environmental aspects of the host country.

Dubbed the “City of Seven Hills” (Quirinial, Viminal, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Caelian and Aventine), head out of the city and hike one of these hills to discover the beautiful vista of Rome.

In Rome you can find around 2,500 public fountains called nasoni.  Each nasone is marked with the traditional Roman initials, SPQR.  While many don’t realize it, these fountains contain clean water that is safe for drinking, so there is no reason to buy bottled water.  Go green by carrying around your refillable water bottle and stop off at a fountain to fill up!  The water for the nasoni comes from a huge reservoir in Peschiera and runs approximately seventy miles of channels before emerging from the spout of a city fountain.  The fountain system itself is environmentally friendly because the constantly running water is recycled and not wasted.

Study abroad in Rome to discover everything that the Eternal City has to offer.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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