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Summer Institute in Rome

  • Special Programs

Sponsored by the Saint Vincent Center for Catholic Thought and Culture

May 12 - June 19, 2021


There's a new road that leads from Saint Vincent College to Rome!

Students of Saint Vincent College are invited to apply to be part of the inaugural SVC Summer Institute in Rome. Live in the historic and beautiful Benedictine monastery, Sant'Anselmo, atop the famous Aventine Hill; take SVC courses with your friends; explore Rome's cobblestone streets, lively markets and iconic ruins; enjoy some of the finest food, cappuccino and gelato the world has to offer; marvel at the history, both secular and sacred, that is intertwined on nearly every street; and grow as a student and person as you are nourished by the great ideas, art and faith that have made Rome the center and heart of Western Civilization.

As a student involved in the Summer Institute in Rome, you will have time to explore the city and experience Italian culture and heritage. You will join your peers on a weekend trip to Florence to study its art and to see Galileo's telescope. This is an excellent opportunity to fulfill three core courses and to be immersed in the history and beauty of one of the world's most historically important and influential cities, one very much still at the center of the Catholic intellectual tradition.

After five weeks, you will know your way around Rome, and feel that it is, at least in part, your city!

The Summer Institute in Rome is open to all Saint Vincent students including those who plan to graduate in May 2021.

And though we expect that the worst of COVID-19 will be far behind us by May, all necessary and appropriate precautions will be in place to keep students and faculty safe and healthy.

Applications are open and will be accepted on a rolling basis through January 2021. Early-bird discounts apply for those whose applications are complete by November 1. Click on the Green Button above to apply.

Live in Rome, Learn in Rome, and you'll find yourself Loving Rome!

Living in Rome

Sant'Anselmo all'Aventino

Chiesa di Sant'Anselmo all'Aventino

Students who attend the SVC Summer institute in Rome will live in a guest wing of Sant'Anselmo monastery atop the historic Aventine Hill. Nestled in a quiet and safe residential neighborhood, Sant'Anselmo is an easy walk to all the famous places in Rome that we will be studying and visiting. It is just south of the Circus Maximus, the ancient Roman Forum, and the iconic Colosseum. The beauty of the views of the city and St. Peter's Basilica from the Aventine are difficult to exaggerate!

Sant'Anselmo is home to an International College and it is the Primatial Abbey of the Order of Saint Benedict. Monks from around the world stay in this abbey when they are studying in or visiting Rome, making it an incredibly diverse and culturally rich religious house. Students will have the opportunity to attend daily prayer, mass, and confession.

The rooms we have reserved at Sant'Anselmo are on two floors -- one for men and one for women. All rooms are singles, and each floor will have a prefect. Many of our meals will be with the monks at Sant'Anselmo, but we will also have dinners away from campus in family-owned restaurants. Students will get to know the Aventine and surrounding areas exceptionally well!

Come and live in Rome for five weeks and experience the beauty of the Aventine Hill and the peaceful setting of Sant'Anselmo.

Learning in Rome

Liberal Education in the Eternal City

The Summer Institute in Rome is open to all SVC students and allows them to complete required coursework during an accelerated semester in Rome.  

All students will register for a one-credit course called The Italian Way, and then two or three courses from the following list:

     Roman Political Thought
     Images and Evangelization - Christian Art in the City of Rome
     Galileo and the Development of Modern Science (Astronomy with Lab)
     The Bible and Rome: Two Witnesses to the God Who Acts in History
     Intermediate Italian II

All courses fulfill SVC core.  We will have classroom space at Sant'Anselmo, but much of our course time will be spent in museums, churches, and historic sites like the Roman Forum, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Pantheon. We will also travel as a class to Florence, learning how its politics, art, and science drew inspiration from Rome.

Though we will return to the Unite States June 19, the official end-date of the Summer Institute will be August 1, 2021, allowing some assignments and tests to be due after our return. 

Explore the tabs below for more information about the courses that are being offered.
  • Roman Political Thought


    Ancient Rome’s contributions to civilization are legion. Among the most visible are the ideas and practices that continue to influence the political philosophy and civil and legal institutions of many nations, including the United States. This course seeks to understand the Roman conceptions of such things as statesmanship, law, citizenship, virtue, rhetoric, civil religion, and imperialism, through a close reading of primary sources written by those who shaped or later reflected upon Rome. Authors might include Cicero, Lucretius, Livy, Virgil, Tacitus, Marcus Aurelius, Plutarch, St. Augustine, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Gibbon, and Publius.

    This course can be taken as either a politics or a philosophy course, thus fulfilling either a social science or a philosophy core requirement. Three credits.

    Foss Headshot 5

    The course professor is Dr. Jerome Foss, associate professor of politics, Director of the Saint Vincent Center for Catholic Thought and Culture, Director of the SVC Summer Institute in Rome, and Fellow of the Center for Political and Economic Thought. Dr. Foss earned his B.A. from the University of Dallas and his M.A. and PhD from Baylor University. He has published several articles and two books: Flannery O'Connor and the Perils of Governing by Tenderness (Lexingtong, 2019) and Constitutional Democracy and Judicial Supremacy: John Rawls and the Transformation of American Politics (Cambria, 2016).

  • Images and Evangelization - Christian Art in the City of Rome

    San Clemente

    This class explores the city of Rome as the cradle of the Christian tradition in the visual arts. From the earliest paintings in the catacombs to the monumental installations of the Baroque, the Christian community in Rome engaged with the arts as a form of evangelization. While at first, art was strictly tied to theology, the Middle Ages saw art collaborate more closely with the imagination of the artist culminating in the glorious productions of the Renaissance and the Baroque. Through readings, site visits and classroom lectures, student will learn the history of Christian imagery in Rome, the techniques and methods for making art, the rudiments of iconography, and also explore the question of defining "Christian" Art. Site visits will include the Catacombs of Priscilla, the Sistine Chapel, St Peter's Basilica, St Mary Major as well as a trip to Florence.

    This course will fulfill students' Fine Arts requirement for the core. Three credits.


    Dr. Elizabeth Lev is an American-born art historian who lives and studies art in Rome. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 1989, and earned her graduate degree from the University of Bologna in Northern Italy. She is the author of three books and has published numerous articles for First Things, Sacerdos, and Inside the Vatican magazines, the College Art Association, and Zenit News Agency.

  • Galileo and the Development of Modern Science


    Follow in the Italian footsteps of Galileo Galilei -- one of the most influential and controversial figures in the history of science.

    From his early scientific work in Pisa, to his triumphs in Florence, to his 1633 trial in Rome by the Inquisition, students will trace the life and work of Galileo, while exploring scientific topics crucial to the story. Students will examine the competing models of the solar system, uncover the operation of telescopes, explore the Sun, Moon, and planets, and learn how the understanding of gravity has shaped our view of the universe. What was it about the times, the discoveries, and the man that continue to stir up debate some four centuries later?

    How does the Galileo affair shed light upon the relationship between science and religion, between reason and faith? Through the words of Galileo, his supporters, and his detractors, students will trace the development of scientific ideas, and ideas about science. Our classroom will be within walking distance of many of the important Galileo sites in Rome. In addition, we will tour the Galileo museum in Florence, and visit the telescopes at the Vatican Observatory.

    This course fulfills one of the natural science requirements for the SVC core. Three credits plus a one-credit lab.

    Dan VandenBerk

    The course will be taught by Dr. Daniel Vanden Berk, who earned his PhD from the University of Chicago and has published more than 130 publications in astronomy. He studies gamma-ray bursts, quasars and active galaxies, the intergalactic medium, and ultraviolet astronomy.

  • The Bible and Rome: Two Witnesses to the God Who Acts in History

    Creation of Man

    This course will use the Bible to present the idea that God works concretely in history, and Rome has played a crucial part of that history. The course will review the main components of Catholic biblical exegesis. Examples from the Old Testament will be given to show how God has worked in human history, followed by a demonstration of how the New Testament has carried forward this belief. The course will conclude with the lives of Roman saints to show the continuation of God's activity in the world.

    This course fulfills the 200-level core theology requirement.

    Matthew Lambert

    The course will be taught by Fr. Matthew Lambert, O.S.B. Fr. Matt earned a bachelor of arts degree in English literature in 2008 from Florida State University and his master of divinity degree, magna cum laude, from Saint Vincent Seminary, and the baccalaureate of sacred theology degree, magna cum laude, conferred through the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’ Anselmo, Rome, in 2016. He entered the novitiate of Saint Vincent Archabbey in 2009 and made simple profession of monastic vows on July 9, 2010, and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 2013. He was ordained to the priesthood May 21, 2016. He is working on his doctorate in theology at Notre Dame University. Fr. Matt will also serve the students of the Summer Institute in Rome as chaplain.

  • IT 204 Intermediate Italian II

    Int Italian

    Students in this course will develop their Italian language skills while living in Rome! Students will work toward understanding and using all the tenses with emphasis on the subjunctive mood in both the spoken and written language. The course will include eadings, written and oral exercises, and discussion.

    Prerequisite for 204: satisfactory completion of IT 203 or appropriate score on the College's language placement examination. Three credits.

    Instructor to be determined.

  • The Italian Way

    The Italian Way

    All students enrolled in the SVC Summer Institute in Rome will take The Italian Way, a course designed to aid students in their exploration of Rome and, more generally, Italy. Students will engage in seminar-style discussion, attend local events, sample food, visit museums, learn about Italian art and music. The course will also include a brief introduction to the Italian language.

    As part of this course, students will travel as a group to Florence to learn about its history, art, and culture. Other group trips are pending.

    The course is one credit and pass/fail.

    Foss Headshot 5

    The course professor is Dr. Jerome Foss, associate professor of politics, Director of the Saint Vincent Center for Catholic Thought and Culture, Director of the SVC Summer Institute in Rome, and Fellow of the Center for Political and Economic Thought. Dr. Foss earned his B.A. from the University of Dallas and his M.A. and PhD from Baylor University. He has published several articles and two books: Flannery O'Connor and the Perils of Governing by Tenderness (Lexingtong, 2019) and Constitutional Democracy and Judicial Supremacy: John Rawls and the Transformation of American Politics (Cambria, 2016).

Loving Rome

Fall in Love with Rome

The SVC Summer Institute in Rome is not just about taking classes -- it is about experiencing the rich heritage and beauty of a culture very different from that of the United States. We are accustomed to a very fast-paced and hectic lifestyle.  But in Rome ... it's different!

Rome is unlike any other city in the world, and there are few nations that can rival Italy's food or festivity. Daily life is slower and more reflective. Meals tend to be longer and more conversational. Living in Rome for five weeks will give you the chance to immerse yourself in this Italian way of life. You will take in the language and culture as you breath in the Mediterranean air and walk the cobblestone streets -- the same streets that have been walked by countless saints and martyrs, poets and painters, statesmen and rhetoricians, and students just like you.

Explore these tabs to get a taste of what your time in Rome will be like.
  • Culture

    The SVC Summer Institute in Rome allows students to experience Rome firsthand. Students will be able to live like a Roman for five weeks. As a student in the Eternal City, you will find that Roman culture is more than ancient artifacts. Rome is a modern city that celebrates the past and has preserved the traditions from multiple generations.

    Castel San'angelo

    You are surrounded by history and beauty everywhere you turn in Rome. In America, a 200 year-old building is a marvel; but in Rome much remains from 2,000 years ago. Many ancient buildings have been repurposed, as Rome continues to be a living and developing city.

    This image of Castel San'Angelo is a good example of what you will find in Rome. It was originally built as a tomb for the Emperor Hadrian, and later turned into a fortress to protect the Pope during invasions. Today it is a museum with a modern restaurant at its top. Touring Castel San'Angelo is like walking through time. Its foundations are ancient, its upper walls are medieval, and its top has a modern function. And the bridge that leads to it from the ancient city is adorned by angelic statues from the studio of the Baroque sculptor Bernini. Thus from the cafe atop the castle you are sitting upon 2,000 years of history, with St. Peter's Basilica to your right, Bernini's art upon the bridge directly below you, and Rome upon your leftward gaze. You'll see painters stationed upon the Tiber River trying to capture the scene. Listen carefully and you might hear the whispers of an opera being sung in the distance. And you can take all of this in while enjoying a cappuccino and engaging friends with conversation.

    This is what it is like to be in Rome!

  • Food


    Roman cuisine is fresh, seasonal and simply-prepared. You will find that Romans take their food very seriously. Not only does it provide nourishment, it also enriches friendships and conversation.

    Most of your meals will be at Sant'Anselmo with the monks, but we will also eat weekly at local, family-owned restaurants. You'll find the food at both the monastery and the restaurants delicious!

    The Italian attitude toward alcohol is different from that of most Americans. Wine is typically served at both lunch and dinner, and is meant to compliment the meal. As part of the cultural experience, the SVC Summer Institute will host a sommelier to provide you with a basic knowledge of Italian wines.

    While most meals are included in the cost of attending the Summer Institute, you will have a few opportunities to explore the city on your own, which will include eating on your own. Make sure to bring some extra money in case you need a snack while walking the cobblestone streets. Street vendors are popular in Rome and most offer on-the-go sandwiches and refreshments. For those with a sweet tooth, prepare to see gelato and cappuccino around every corner. The food in Rome is something that you will crave even months after returning to the United States. Come to Rome with an open mind and a desire to extend their palate!

  • Excursions

    Florence Cathedral

    Although the Eternal City has much to offer, you will have the opportunity to see more of Italy. We plan to spend a weekend in Florence, exploring its cultural heritage and rich history. Florence is a short two hour train ride from Rome and the city is known for its Renaissance art, architecture, and monuments. Students will become immersed in the city's architecture by visiting the Santa Maria del Fiore, Palazzo Vecchio, and Ponte Vecchio. The trip will include academic content -- viewing the Christian art in Florentine museums and churches, and seeing Galileo's telescope -- but there will also be time for you and your friends to explore the city and take in its beauty.

    We are also looking into the possibility of other day trips around Italy as a class, such as Subiaco, Monte Cassino, or Assisi. But we want to also give students the chance to see Rome and Italy at their own pace. At least a couple of the weekends will be free for you to see more of Rome or travel elsewhere in Italy. We will help you learn how to use the public transportation within Rome, and the trains that carry passengers throughout the nation.

Costs and Scholarships

  • Cost of the Program

    The SVC Summer Institute in Rome is an excellent opportunity to learn and live in Rome - a once in a lifetime opportunity for most people!  Our goal is to make this experience as affordable as we can.

    The cost of the trip depends upon the courses selected and their accompanying credit hours. Pricing includes tuition, a study abroad fee, airfare, housing, group travel within Italy, and all group meals. It does not include the cost of books or independent expenses such as travel and meals on one's own.

    The costs are as follows:

         Credits          Cost          Nov. 1 Discount
              7             $8,000              $7,000
              8             $8,500              $7,500 
             10            $9,500              $8,500
             11            $10,000            $9,000

    We know that the situation of every student is different, and therefore are very happy to offer additional need-based scholarships to reduce the cost of the program. Those students admitted into the program will be given the chance to apply for further funding.

    To determine credit hours, consider the following arrangements of class:

    A student enrolled in The Italian Way + 2 Three-Credit Classes will be taking 7 credits.
    A student enrolled in The Italian Way + 1 Three-Credit Class + The Galileo Affair will be taking 8 credits.
    A student enrolled in The Italian Way + 3 Three-Credit Classes will be taking 10 credits.
    A student enrolled in The Italian Way + 2 Three-Credit Classes + The Galileo Affair will be taking 11 credits.

    Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Jerome Foss, Sara Hart, or Samm Firestone if you have any questions about the program or its costs.

    You may also send questions to

  • Questions?

    Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.  We are here for you! 

    Email the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture or any of the follow:

    Jerome C. Foss, PhD
    Associate Professor of Politics
    Director, The Saint Vincent Center for Catholic Thought and Culture
    Director, The SVC Summer Institute in Rome
    Fellow, Center for Political and Economic Thought

    Sara Hart
    Director of International Education

    Samantha Firestone
    Coordinator, The Saint Vincent Center for Catholic Thought and Culture
    Coordinator, The SVC Summer Institute in Rome