Humanities I is a required 4 credit hour course for Geneseo students, part of the core curriculum. It satisfies SUNY's Western Civilization general education requirement. Based on great works, it examines the search for moral, social, and political alternatives and meaning in the institutions, culture, and literature of Western Civilization from its beginnings to 1600. Students taking Humanities I in Rome are not only made intimate with the published works of the period, they can actually experience the location of so much of the course's content - in Rome and through trips to places such as Florence and Pompeii. There is ample free time to explore Rome and its surroundings and to take trips to places like Naples and Venice.
Students on this program will spend the first two and a half weeks of the course in Rome. The last week and a half of the course will be based in Siena, in the heart of Tuscany, with excursions into Florence and the Tuscan countryside.
A city of 3 million people, Rome is Italy's capital city and home to The Vatican. It is a treasure trove of history, providing glimpses of its 2,700 year past at every step. Ancient Rome rubs shoulders with the medieval, and the modern runs into the Renaissance. The result is an open-air museum, a city that glories in its glories and is a monument to itself. Ancient Romans, Vandals, Popes, and the Borgias, Michelangelo, and Bernini, Napoleon, and Mussolini all left their physical, cultural, and spiritual marks on the city. Today, Rome's formidable legacy is upheld by its people. Students walk dogs in the park that was once the mausoleum of the family of the Emperor Augustus, a priest in flowing robes walks through a medieval piazza talking on a cell phone. Modern Rome has one foot in the present and one foot in the past.
Siena is a more compact city of 65,000 that retains much of its 14th century character. In the High Middle Ages, Tuscany helped to invent many institutions familiar to the modern world like the hospital, international banking, tricameral municipal government, and the rise of vernacular languages for use in the writing of laws and literature. We will get out into the Tuscan countryside, take cooking lessons, and experience the rhythm of life there.
All in all, we will engage in a month of reflection on what it means to stop traveling like a tourist and instead become a pilgrim, a scholar, and an explorer.