At the end of February, nine members of Helicon packed their bags for an exciting transatlantic adventure to the Città Eterna—Rome, Italy. Accompanied by the History of Art Chair Elizabeth Sears and U-M lecturer and LSA adviser Catherine Carver, we enjoyed a comprehensive and captivating tour of Rome’s archaeological sites, piazzas, churches, and monuments. Fueled by our passion for art and history—as well as a dedication to finding the city’s best gelato—we relentlessly set out to both the extensive history of Rome and its contemporary culture. Our daily excursions included walks down the Via Giulia, through medieval neighborhoods like Sant’Eustachio, and into stunning baroque spaces like Piazza Navona. In the evenings, we would gather in Trastevere’s piazze for lengthy dinners where we reflected on the events of the day over the staples of Roman cuisine: carciofi (artichokes), spaghetti carbonara or bucatini all’amatriciana.
Our days spent walking through Rome were like walking through time. We would begin with the monuments of ancient roman emperors like Augustus and Trajan, move through the city as shaped by renaissance masters like Michelangelo, and finish up with a discussion of 20th century fascist-era architecture. Our every step was steeped in the past, which left us feeling in awe of what is perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Rome: how one can gaze out across time and history on the landscape of the city. Certainly Roma, the city which eternally makes its impression on the western world, left us similarly impressed.