The art, architecture, and archaeological sites of Rome and Florence have fascinated travelers for the past 500 years. In this program most lectures will be given on site, transforming these Italian cities into experiential classrooms and learning labs. We will engage in two approaches: in one, students will have the unique opportunity to experience artworks as their original viewers did and as their creators intended. The other approach unpacks the artificial environments for viewing works of art created by figures ranging from Roman emperors, to Renaissance Popes, to the Fascist dictator Mussolini. You will become familiar with the cities of Rome and Florence neighborhood by neighborhood as we visit museums, archaeological sites, churches and palaces. Day trips to Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli, the Tuscan town of Arezzo and the beautifully preserved Medieval center of Siena will expand the participants understanding and appreciation of artworks and their display.
Art and Memory in Rome and Florence is a four-week study abroad experience, which satisfies two important GMU undergraduate requirements: Mason Core Synthesis and Mason Core Arts requirement. This program then provides students the chance to complete two essential requirements for graduation in under a month, during the summer between semesters, and with the additional benefit of a global education perspective.
Centered in the Eternal City of Rome and Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance, this program embraces its cities as our classroom. Must-see attractions include:
Nero’s Golden House
Famous ancient Roman works of sculpture, including the Laocoon, Dying Gaul and Bronze Boxer
St. Peters and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Palace
Paintings by Caravaggio
Day trips to Hadrian’s Villa, the Villa d’Este, a Medici fortress, a small Roman amphitheater, the Piazza Pubblico in Siena where the famous Palio horse-race runs, and the whimsical yet peculiar ‘Monster Park’ (Parco dei mostri) at Bomarzo
Program fees include breakfasts, Monday through Friday dinners in Rome. You will also have some free days to travel and explore on your own.
All undergraduate students are welcome to apply including students who do not attend George Mason University. Minimum 2.2 GPA.
Tentative Course Options
ARTH 342: The High Renaissance
ARTH 394: The Museum (Antiquity on Display)
ARTH 303: National Traditions
ARTH 398: Study Abroad in the History of Art
HIST 387: Topics in Global History * Global Understanding
HIST 388: Topics in European History
HIST 398: Study Abroad in History
SOCI 395: Special Topics in Sociology
SOCI 377: Art and Society
Tentative Program Dates:
May 23 – June 20, 2021
Sunday Arrival Day:
Afternoon neighborhood walk: Monte Verde Vecchio and Parco Garibaldi
Monday Day 1
AM: A brief History of Rome (Gregg)
A brief History of Artistic Styles 13th-17th cent. (Bauman)
PM: San Clemente and introduction to the Centro Storico (Gregg)
Tuesday Day 2
AM: Aventine and Testaccio (Gregg/Bauman)
PM: Forum Boarium to Campo de’ Fiori
Wednesday Day 3
AM: Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps (Bauman)
PM: Villa Giulia
Thursday Day 4
AM: Palazzo Massimo: ancient paintings, mosaics and copies (Gregg)
PM: Monte and Quirinal neighborhoods
Friday Day 5
AM: Centro Lecture: Rome e renovatio: The Ambitions of Julius II (Old St. Peter’s)
PM: Ara Pacis Museum and Piazza Imperatore Augusto (Gregg)
Saturday Day 6
Farnesina Villa Visit (Bauman)
City scavenger hunt, due Day 9
Sunday Day 7
Monday Day 8
AM: Centro Lecture on Sistine Chapel and Last Judgment (Bauman)
PM: Vatican Museums with permesso for Gregorio Profano (Gregg)
Tuesday Day 9
AM: Domus Aurea (Gregg)
PM: Column of Trajan and Markets of Trajan Museum (Gregg)
Wednesday Day 10
Day trip outside of Rome:
AM: Hadrian’s Villa (Gregg)
PM: Lunch and Villa d’Este in Tivoli (Bauman)
Thursday Day 11
AM: Palazzo Altemps (Gregg)
PM: Campo Marzio (Gregg) around Piazza Navona:
Friday Day 12
AM: Visit to St. Peters
PM: Peer Review of notebooks
Saturday Day 13
AM: Campo Marzio redux
PM: Afternoon off
Sunday Day 14
Off-set Weekend: Free weekend for travel/leisure in Rome
Monday Day 15
Monday as a Weekend day
Tuesday Day 16
AM (later start): Capitoline Hill (Bauman)
PM: Capitoline Museums (Gregg)
Wednesday Day 17
AM: Centrale Montemartini Museum: autoptic museum ‘quiz’ (Gregg)
PM: On your own—packing and farewell to Rome
Thursday Day 18
Transfer to Florence/Bomarzo (Parco dei Mostri, Gregg/Bauman)
Friday Day 19
AM: Walk from Piazza Signoria (republic) past Oratoria San Michele (guilds) to Duomo (church) (Bauman/Gregg)
PM: Santa Croce and Brancacci Chapel
Saturday Day 20
PM Accademia and Michelangelo
Sunday Day 21
Day trip to Siena
Monday Day 22
Day trip to Arezzo
Tuesday Day 23
AM: The Medici (Bauman)
PM: Uffizi – the classical world (Gregg)
Wednesday Day 24.
AM: Florence and the classical world
PM: Uffizi – Renaissance painting (Bauman)
Thursday Day 25
AM: Piazza della Signoria: Michelangelo, David; Bandinelli, Hercules; Cellini, Perseus; Ammannati, Neptune; Giambologna, Sabines (Bauman/Gregg)
PM: Afternoon off. Notebooks due Collecting notebooks before dinner. Timelines should be extremely close to complete at this point and all notes, worksheets and assignments do this point should be included in the notebook.
Friday Day 26
Saturday Day 27
Sunday Day 28
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.
Summer 2021: Coming soon!
tuition for 6 credits
entrance fees/tours/guides as described in itinerary
international emergency medical insurance
Meals: all breakfasts in Rome and Florence; dinners Monday through Friday in Rome.
Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, some meals, required textbooks and/or course materials.
You will also have some free days to travel and explore on your own. If you plan to travel on your own, this should be included in your personal budget.
*Note: This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email. The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights.
When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will be recommending the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance.
Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.
Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by March 20. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.
Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by April 10. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."
For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students: Payments
GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply: Scholarships
Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.
Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.
Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.
Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.Application requirements:*
Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:
Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.
Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.
* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.
** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.