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  • Locations: Rome, Italy
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Rome, Italy
Early Fall 2017
August 23 – September 22, 2017
 Estimated    Program Fee $4,300
 Credits 5 UW credits
 Prerequisites None
 Program      Directors Claudio Mazzola
 Program  Manager Darielle Horsey |
 Application    Deadline March 1, 2017
 Information  Session(s) February 15, 2:30-3.30pm, PDL 242-C
  General The purpose of this seminar utilizes moving images to assess the shifting relationship between perception and meaning, history and culture, aesthetic systems and urban experience. The idea is to explore first¬ hand the role of film and visuality in the representation and construction of Rome-to mobilize, and hence to reinvent, the Grand Tour.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships

  Visas This country is part of the Schengen area. Please click here to learn more about important rules and restrictions for foreign visitors to this area.

Italian Rome 1

Program Description

Few cities in the western world offer a more complex site of historical meaning and visual display than Rome . Indeed, for the European aristocracy and American elite of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries , a trip to Rome was considered an almost necessary step in any proper education, a requisite stop on what was commonly called the "Grand Tour." Galvanized by the intellectual curiosity that characterized the Age of Enlightenment, foreigners' interest in Rome as a key site for studying the history of western civilization-for viewing the structural remains of the Roman Empire as well as the more recent artistic achievements of the Renaissance-could be perceived as inaugurating a tradition that continues today in the form of "exploration seminars," in which traveling as a means of enhancing students' education is paramount.

The equation between traveling and education, however, is historically determined and often questionable with the benefit of hindsight. As the letters of anonymous wealthy travelers and the erudite diaries of writers like Lawrence Sterne, W. H. Howells, Henry James, and Mark Twain reveal, foreign visitors established a fascination with Roman monuments and aesthetic structures most often detached from the city's economic, political, cultural and spatial complexities. Whether an isolated sketch of the Coliseum, or an outline of St. Peter, iconic representations of Rome were feverishly reproduced through stereoscopes, postcards, and world exhibitions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, ultimately fueling the logic of modern-day tourism.

This seminar reinvents the logic of the Grand Tour by exploring Rome and its historical significance as the western world's "Eternal City" through the aspect of film and space. Given the cinema's capacity to utilize the constant change and movement of images as a formal principle, it bears a unique relationship to the complexity of perception and affectivity inherent to the flow of urban space. "The great promise of the cinema," writes Abbas Ackbar, "is that it does not have to give us 'pictures' of the city, although this promise is not always kept. Admittedly, there will always be films that use the city as mere setting and that close down the movement of cities and images by drawing on recognizable urban landmarks as stable points of reference. " The relationship between the many "stable" representations of Rome produced by an American film industry, and a tradition of Italian filmmaking that alternately maps what we call "uncertain" space-a volatile, culturally conflicted, and highly contingent urban landscape-provide the basis of this course. Ultimately, we will use our study of cinema to explore the city, and our explorations of the city to heighten our study of cinema. Both aspects of our learning enterprise will be enhanced by a series of creative exercises, including the seminar's production of a short city¬ film, the details of which we will return to momentarily.

Before doing so, a cursory glance at our proposed schedule provides a clarifying outline. Each week includes two formal class sessions held at the University of Washington Rome Center. One of these days will include a film screening followed by a detailed discussion. The second formal class day will take the form of a lecture organized around the historical conditions of the respective film's production, a consideration of the director 's larger body of work, and the scrutiny of clips from related films in that particular filmmaking movement or tradition. Each week will also include a series of organized group excursions in which we will trace (by walking and by mass transit) the various spatial maps virtually produced in the films under discussion.

It makes sense to begin our seminar with the "stable" map of Rome emblematized by Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953) and reiterated in an American filmmaking tradition that stretches from the vivid Three Coins in the Fountain (Jean Negulesco, 1954) through contemporary popular fare such as When in Rome (Steve Purcell , 2002) and The Lizzie McGuire Movie (Jim Fall, 2003). Here the capacity of continuity editing techniques to elide space (to suggest the virtual proximity of sites such as the sixth century church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin with the Coliseum, or the via Condotti and its famed window shopping pleasures with the Ponte Sant'Angelo) , will inaugurate our assessment of cinematic strategies even as our tours of these spaces force us to rethink the spatial arrangement of the city's visually intoxicating structures.


In week two, we transition to the visually intoxicating aesthetic innovations of Italian neorealist directors in the years immediately following World War II. Together, Roberto Rossellini's Roma citta aperta (Rome Open City, 1945) and Vittorio de Sica's Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves, 1948) employ quasi-documentary images of Rome to construct the city as a space for the viewer to contemplate critically . This is not the Rome that tourists see-although characters in Ladri di biciclette do venture to the flea market at Porta Portese, where the hero first catches sight of the thief, and even more go to Trastevere, where the thief is finally tracked down. But the film's definitive space is the working-class suburbs and the old popular center, districts later frequented by Italian directors such as Federico Fellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini whose films provide diverse itineraries that we will track in the final two weeks of the course. The concept of"tracking " deserves emphasis here, since the mobility ofthe camera and the relentless tracking shots that galvanize a volatile cinematic landscape in these films also produce a complex statement about the ambiguity of reality in differing historical and cultural contexts .

The ambiguity of our position as both "foreigners" and "students" in Rome generates a unique perspective that we will reflect upon through a series of creative exercises. In the first two weeks, seminar participants will produce an array of sketches, photomontages, and written descriptions reflecting their spatial and affective experiences of our group excursions as well as their individual experiences living with Italian families in different parts of Rome. During the last two weeks the class will be divided in groups of four or five students and each group will draw from these materials the storyboard of a short "city film" and present their concept to the class. During the last ten days and after the approval the students will be on the streets of Rome shooting their documentary. Other meetings with the groups will be scheduled to monitor the progression of their work before the final screening.

Ultimately, the purpose of this seminar utilizes moving images to assess the shifting relationship between perception and meaning, history and culture, aesthetic systems and urban experience. The idea is to explore first¬ hand the role of film and visuality in the representation and construction of Rome-to mobilize, and hence to reinvent, the Grand Tour.


Rome, Italy

roma foro


Amalfi and Rome


The UWRC will assist the program in finding suitable apartments near the Rome Center

Italian Rome 2


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

Students interested in cinema, Italian culture, Architecture, Sociology, Communication and History are the primary target for this seminar, although, since no previous experience in film-making is required, the course is open to students of other disciplines . I must add that from the success the program had in the previous years, students from every background enjoyed and worked well in the environment we provide.

There are no physical restrictions.

film making


5 Credits


CMS 320 or ITAL 366 (5 credits)

This course is divided in two parts: a theoretical one and a practical one. During the first part we will analyze the way in which Italian and American directors framed the city of Rome in their movies (we will screen approximately 5 or 6 movies). Some specific reading from different disciplines (architecture, art history, sociology, cinema, etc.) will help understanding the relation between characters (tourists, visitors) and space in cinema and in other disciplines. After some specifically oriented excursions through the streets of Rome, during which we will familiarize with the sense of space and the monuments in Rome, students will be asked to write and shoot a short documentary on Rome. No previous shooting experience is needed.

Learning Goals: 

To allow students to familiarize with the way cinema uses stereotypes to perpetrate certain aspects of a foreign culture and by making their own documentary students understand the active role they can take in breaking with stereotypes or continuing using them in representing the foreign culture with which they have become very familiar.

Program Directors & Staff

Claudio Mazzola, Department of French and Italian Studies, Program Director


Program Expenses

Cost: $4,300

Estimated Program Fee of $4,300, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food (about the same you would spend in Seattle), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,400 - $1,600* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 October 13, 2017
Program Fee Balance $4,300 October 13, 2017


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.