Italy and Greece

Faculty: Brooks Lampe and Dana Robinson
Class meeting time: Mondays from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Trip Dates: May, 2024

A view of a tree and the ocean


The purpose of this trip is to introduce students to the cultural environment of early Christianity in the Greek and Roman world, with special emphasis on art, architecture, and religious history of Classical and Late Antiquity.

Students will experience a five city tour of Rome, Assisi, Ravenna, Athens, and Kalabaka, and day trips to Bologna, Corinth, Aegina, and Tzoumerka Park. The trip will focus will be on Christianity in the Late Roman and Byzantine Empires, and thus we will focus activities on historical and archaeological sites, as well as art and architecture. We will tour the glorious ruins of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Catacombs, Parthenon, and the Acropolis, and pay particular attention to the architecture, frescoes, and mosaics of early Christian sites. With class readings and guided tours, students will encounter the cultural environment in which early Christinaity developed. At the same time, there will be time to take in great works from other periods, such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling and the Vatican, and tine to relax in the picturesque towns such as Assisi and Kalabaka. Finally, but of no small significance, students will be able to enjoy the regional cuisine, for which Italy and Greece is well known.

Museum tours, architectural treasures, and historical ruins abound in every city we will visit, and students will be given the preparation needed to equip them to more fully appreciate these treasures as they come into contact with them.  Assignments will include readings dealing with major archeological sites, artistic works, and events that shaped Christianity in the late Roman empire. Students will work on cultural projects related to significant sites that we will be visiting. In addition, students will gain an appreciation for the culture and the people of Italy and Greece by having weekly class lessons in learning practical Italian and Greek that will allow them to use common greetings, introduce themselves, ask for directions, and carry on small talk.  They will also be instructed in how to order meals, understand bus and train schedules, and be aware of cultural norms of Italian society. 

Tentative Itinerary

Day 1 Depart PDX
Day 2 Arrive in Rome
Day 3 Rome: Roman Forum, Colosseum, Palatine Hills. Paul’s prison. Arch of Septimus se Verus, Arch of Titus, Arch of Constantine, Pantheon
Day 4 Rome: Catacombs, [ … ]
Day 5 Rome: Free day, suggested: St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chape, Castel Sant’ Angelo, The Vatican
Day 6 Rome: Bus to Assisi, Basilica of St. Francis, Roman Forum, Santa Maria degli Angeli
Day 7 Assissi: Church of San Damiano, Basilica di San Francesco, Half free day
Day 8 Assisi: Bus to Ravenna: Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna: Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery
Day 9 Ravenna: Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe
Day 10 Ravenna: Free day: suggested: Day trip to Bologna
Day 11 Ravenna
Day 12 Ravenna: Fly from Bologna to Athens
Day 13 Athens: Archaeological Museum, Irodian Theatre
Day 14 Athens: Acropolis, Parthenon
Day 15 Athens: Day trip to Aegina or Free Day
Day 16 Athens: Day trip to Corinth
Day 17 Athens: Drive to Kalabaka, half free day
Day 18 Kalabaka, Visit Meteora Monasteries
Day 19 Kalabaka: Day trip, Hiking in National Park of Tzoumerka
Day 20 Kalabaka: Return to Athens – Free Day, shopping, get ready for the trip back home
Day 21 Athens: Fly back to PDX