Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Rome, Italy
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description:

italy border
Full photo program guide*: Italy Before Rome Program Information .pdf

*Subject to change

Please note, the application deadline for this program is April 1, 2021.

Program Budget: Virtual Summer Art History in Italy Budget.pdf
Learn more by watching this brief program video!

Q: What is this course all about?
The term “ancient Italy” brings to mind images of togas and gladiators, but between the 9th and the 2nd centuries B.C., this pivotal area of the Mediterranean was home to a wide variety of peoples who flourished prior to the rise of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, these populations, ranging from the Greeks and Phoenicians, who colonized the south, to the Etruscans and Celts, who dominated the north, have left us no surviving written sources other than very brief texts, often dedicatory in nature. Thus, our knowledge of these civilizations is based on inherently biased references in the writings of outsiders, often mainland Greeks and later Romans, and what we can glean from the rich archaeological record. This six credit-hour course explores the history and cultural achievements of pre-Roman Italy to reveal the splendor of the regions that inspired and fueled what would become one of the greatest superpowers in world history. This program is taught entirely online, and the interdisciplinary approach of the program is intended to sharpen students’ observation and critical thinking skills through the analysis of ancient textual, visual, and material culture.
Q: A Virtual Study Abroad Course?!? Is that not an oxymoron?
This program is an immersive “summer camp”-style experience unlike any other online course you might have taken before. Beyond more traditional lectures by the professor, you will participate in sessions with world-renowned archaeologists and art historians, virtual tours, experimental archaeology projects, movie nights, cooking classes, and much more. All class sessions are synchronous and will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 AM – 1 PM and 2:30 – 5 PM. Optional movie nights will be held on Fridays starting at 7:00 PM. Course materials for the various hands-on activities (including a substantial care package of Italian foods to try) will be sent to you prior to the start of the course. Each day will focus on answering a main question about the lives of the different peoples occupying the Italian peninsula and Sicily prior to the Roman conquest. We will also highlight more recent cultural traditions and unique geographical features of central and southern Italy daily.
Q: Who is the professor?
Keely Heuer is an Associate Professor of Art History at SUNY New Paltz. Her research concentrates primarily on the iconography of Greek vase painting and the interrelations between Greek settlers and indigenous populations of pre-Roman Italy. She has presented talks on a wide variety of imagery found in South Italian art at conferences in the United States, Europe, and the Near East. Her current book project is a study of iconographic connections between South Italian and Etruscan vase painting, and she has published articles in Athenian Potters and Painters III, supplemental volumes of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, the Metropolitan Museum Journal, and more. Professor Heuer’s courses cover the breadth of ancient Mediterranean visual culture, with a particular focus on the art of Greece and Rome. She has excavated at the Sanctuary of the Great Gods at Samothrace and is a summer alumna of the American Academy in Rome and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. Prior to arriving at New Paltz in 2013, Professor Heuer taught at Hunter College and New York University. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including one for the 2021-2022 academic year, and from La Trobe University in Melbourne.
Q: How can I use the credit hours I earn?
Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, the six credit hours earned can be applied to a wide variety of degree programs in Anthropology, Ancient World Studies, Art, Art History, Art Education, Elementary/Secondary Education, History, and Italian Studies. These credits also count towards Honors Program seminars as well as General Education requirements in the areas of ART, HUM, and WEST. 
Q: What will we do during this program?
From the comfort of your home, you will experience an immersive investigation that few tourists experience when visiting Italy. Below is a brief overview the planned activities:

Please note, this schedule is subject to change
May 19th: Introduction to the Peoples of Ancient Italy
  • Morning session:
    • Review of the course syllabus and assignments
    • Presentation: Indigenous ethnic groups of Italy
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: Greek and Phoenician Colonization
    • Craft Activity: Making cornicello charms
May 21st: How Were Cities Organized?
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Urban planning in Greek and Etruscan cities
    • Group Exercise: Reading archaeological site plans
  • Afternoon session:
    • Guest Speaker: Maurizio Forte, William and Sue Gross Professor of Classical Studies at Duke University, director of the Vulci 3000 Project
    • A Taste of Modern Italy: Making traditional southern Italian desserts
  • Friday Night Flicks (Optional): Il Primo Re (2019)
May 24th: How Did They Govern Themselves?
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Politics in Magna Graecia and Sicily – Constitutions, Tyrants, and Governmental Architecture
    • Treasures of Italian Culture: Marionettes of Sicily
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: Politics in Etruria and Early Rome – Legendary Kings and the Dodecapolis
    • Treasures of Italian Culture: Traditional Crafts of Florence
May 26th: How Did People Conceptualize Their World?
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Mythology and Ancient Italy
    • Presentation: Philosophy and the Greek West
  • Afternoon session:
    • Guest Speaker: Nancy de Grummond, M. Lynette Thompson Professor of Classics at Florida State University, director of excavation at Cetamura del Chianti
    • A Taste of Modern Italy: Making Bruschette
May 28th: Who and How Did They Worship? Part I
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Sanctuaries and Temple Architecture in Pre-Roman Italy
    • Presentation: Decorating the Divine – Architectural Sculpture in Pre-Roman Italy
  • Afternoon session:
    • Virtual tours: Syracuse, Agrigento, Selinunte, Paestum, Veii, and the Ara della Regina at Tarquinia
  • Friday Night Flicks (Optional): Cabiria (1914)
May 31st: Who and How Did They Worship? Part II
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Altars, Cult Statues, and Votive Offerings – Public and Private Devotions
    • Treasures of Italian Culture: Exploring Norman Sicily
  • Afternoon session:
    • Guest Speaker: Jaimee Uhlenbrock, Professor Emerita of Classical Art and Archaeology at SUNY New Paltz
    • Group Activity: Taste-Testing Italian Junk Food
June 2nd: What Did Their Homes Look Like? Part I
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Domestic Floorplans and Building Materials in Pre-Roman Italy
    • Guest Speaker: Anthony Tuck, Professor of Classics at University of Massachusetts, director of excavations at Poggio Civitate (Murlo)
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: Equipping the Household – Domestic Items and Furniture
    • Treasures of Italian Culture: Il Palio and Calcio Fiorentino – Extreme Sports of Tuscany
June 4th: What Did Their Homes Look Like? Part II
  • Morning session:
    • Guest Speaker: Hilary Becker, Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at Binghamton University
    • Presentation: Fresco Painting in Ancient Italy
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: Mosaics in Ancient Italy
    • Experimental Archaeology Project: Making Stone Mosaics
    • Virtual tours: Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, and the National Archaeological Museum in Naples
  • Friday Night Flicks (Optional): Spartacus (1960)
June 7th: What Was the Literary Culture Like?
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Writing in the Greek West
    • A Taste of Modern Italy: Pasta Dishes of Rome
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: The Mysterious Etruscan Language – Inscriptions and Linen Books
    • Treasures of Italian Culture: The Christmas Presepe of Southern Italy and Sicily
June 9th: What and How Did People Eat and Drink?
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Metal, Clay, and Glass – Vases and Their Functions in Pre-Roman Italy
    • Presentation: The Greek Symposium and Its Adoption in Ancient Italy
  • Afternoon session:
    • Guest Speaker and Ancient Cooking Lesson: Farrell Monaco, independent scholar and author of the award-winning blog Tavola Mediterranea
    • Virtual tour: The Vibrant Volcanoes of Italy: Mt. Vesuvius, the Phlegrean Fields (Solfatara Crater), and Mt. Etna
June 11th: How Did They Maintain Their Health?
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Lookin’ Good – Cosmetics, Hairstyling, and Mirrors (including ancient hairstyling tutorials by Janet Stephens)
    • Virtual tour: Villa Romana del Casale di Piazza Armerina
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: Stayin’ Healthy – Bathing, Athletics, and Healing Cults
    • Treasures of Italy: The Trapani Salt Pans
  • Friday Night Flicks (Optional): Julius Caesar (1953)
June 14th: How Did They Dress?
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Making Textiles in Pre-Roman Italy
    • Experimental Archaeology Project: Spinning Wool and Reconstructing Ancient Garment Types
  • Afternoon session:
    • Guest Speaker: Gretchen Meyers, Associate Professor of Classics at Franklin & Marshall College, director of archaeological materials for the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project (Poggio Colla)
    • Presentation: Golden Delights – South Italian and Etruscan Jewelry
June 16th: How Did They Engage in Commerce and Trade?
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Evidence of Industry in Pre-Roman Italy
    • Experimental Archaeology Project: Reading Ancient Coinage
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: The Market for Imported Luxury Goods
    • Guest Speaker: Sheramy Bundrick, Professor of Greek and Roman Art at the University of South Florida
June 18th: How Did They Fight?
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: A History of Major Historical Conflicts in Pre-Roman Italy
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: The Warrior in Pre-Roman Italy
    • Virtual Tour: The Glories of Renaissance Florence
  • Friday Night Flicks (Optional): The Twelve Tasks of Asterix (1976)
June 21st: How Did They Entertain Themselves? Part I
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: The Architecture of Entertainment – Theater, Athletic Games, and Gladiatorial Combat
    • A Taste of Modern Italy: Making Granita
  • Afternoon session:
    • Guest Speaker: Tom Carpenter, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Classics at Ohio University
    • A Taste of Modern Italy: Making Risotto
June 23rd: How Did They Entertain Themselves? Part II
  • Morning session:
    • Experiencing Ancient Theater: Screening of Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (1957 performance)
    • A Taste of Modern Italy: Sicilian Arancini
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: Ancient Italy at Play – Music, Poetry, Dance, and Games
    • Mythological Trivia Bingo Bowl
June 25th: How Did They Bury Their Dead?, Part I
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: A Home for the Hereafter – Tomb Types and Funerary Markers in Pre-Roman Italy
    • Virtual tours of Etruscan cemeteries
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: Tomb Painting in Southern Italy and Etruria
  • Friday Night Flicks (Optional): Gladiator (2000)
June 28th: How Did They Bury Their Dead?, Part II
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Sacred Boxes – Sarcophagi and Ash Urns
  • Afternoon session:
    • Guest Speaker: Bice Peruzzi, Assistant Professor of Classics at Rutgers University
    • A Taste of Modern Italy: Panelle
June 30th:  How Did They Bury Their Dead?, Part III
  • Morning session:
    • Presentation: Taking It With You – Grave Goods in Pre-Roman Italy
  • Afternoon session:
    • Presentation: Mystery Cults and Afterlife Beliefs in Ancient Italy
    • Program Recap Discussion
Q: What are the assignments on which my grade will be based?
Grades will be based on class participation, weekly quizzes, a creative project in designing an original ancient Greek colony, and a final exam in which students will interpret ancient artifacts as an archaeologist would, based on the material we have studied together.
Q: How much does the program cost? What expenses does that cover?
Virtual Summer Art History in Italy Budget.pdf
Expenses covered by the program include tuition, all supplies necessary to participate in the experimental archaeology projects, and shelf-stable Italian food specialties necessary for the cooking classes.
Q: Fantastico! How do I apply?
Applying for the program is easy! Simply complete and submit the basic information form available on the SUNY New Paltz Center for International Programs’ website at Students are accepted on a rolling basis until the application deadline on April 1, 2021. A maximum of 30 students will be admitted into the program.
For further information, please contact Professor Heuer at or study abroad advisor, Catherine Collado at
Hope you can join us for this one-of-a-kind Italian adventure!

This program is currently not accepting applications.