Art, Food, and Society in Rome
Spring Semester

January 10 – April 29, 2023

Program Application

Discover Rome through its ancient cultures and traditions...

Study the intersection of food, art, history and culture in Italy, the country where the Slow Food Movement was born. Besides getting a first-hand look at some of the most innovative, yet traditional artisanal food products and systems, in Rome you have the opportunity to see, in person, some of the founding works of European art and architecture and get a look at contemporary issues in a European capital. Gain a perspective on how history, tradition, economics and politics contributed to the evolution of Italian society through the centuries to the present day, and how traditions can guide us into the future. 

With an interactive Italian language course built into the program, students will be well equipped to delve deeper into the local context. Program faculty include scholars, published authors, and practitioners in their respective fields who are able to leverage their networks to grant students unmatched access. Small class sizes allow students to get to know faculty, creating a lively and interactive atmosphere both in class and on-site. Academics are supplemented by volunteering and non-credit internship opportunities which facilitate further exploration of local culture and professional interests. 

With a focus on migration and urbanization, global trade relations, cultural identity, and the quest for sustainability, this program is ideally suited for students with interests in:  

  • History, Art History 
  • Italian Studies 
  • Anthropology, Sociology 
  • Food Studies 
  • Urban Studies 
  • Women’s and Gender Studies 


University of Pittsburgh students enroll through the Accent/University of California Education Abroad Program in Rome. Students will take one required 60-hour Italian language course and three elective courses. 

Courses include significant experiential learning components, with site visits around and outside Rome, visits to local organizations and neighborhoods, guest lectures, as well as meetings and conversations with local students and professionals. Projects explore key course themes within the local context and allow students to better understand the applications of their learning in Rome and Italy.  

Course Offerings

Required Courses

The Italian language course focuses on practical use and oral expression. Italian instructors use Rome as a laboratory, enabling you to engage immediately in the community around the study center. You will also participate in conversation groups and weekly “get to know Rome” outings led by Italian student interns.

Elective Courses (choose three)

Italy possesses one of the richest culinary traditions in world, with roots reaching back to ancient times. An abundant literature on Italian food allows us to explore in detail matters of food culture in a dense array of settings. Part of the course is conducted on site, exposing students to Rome’s rich network of food distribution systems, as well as touring areas in proximity of Rome to discover the close linkage between the territory, its inhabitants, and consumable food products. Throughout the course attention is paid to the role of food practice in contemporary Italian society and culture, with special attention to gender. In order to put principles into practice, the structured experience of food and wines is an integral part of the course. 

This course considers the unique aspects of Italian media and how it impacts and influences everything from cultural heritage to politics. We will explore the historical development of Italian media from the Acta Diurna bulletins sent from the Roman Forum through phases of fascism and national terrorism, all the way to the digital age. Students will play documentarian by following the media treatment of an Italian news topic of their choice, ranging from culture, fashion or food to gay rights, politics, or the economy, to fully understand how the media shapes public perception—and vice versa. Topics will include the media treatment of the Vatican, the Mafia, gender issues and sexism, fashion and food, cultural heritage, and the economy. We will also consider how Italy stacks up against media in the United States and United Kingdom in terms of press freedom, transparency, and infotainment. 

The millennium following the collapse of the Roman Empire saw the development in Europe of a radically new form of civilization that we now call ‘medieval’. With its nuns and monks, knights and nobles, troubadours and artists, plagues and famines, crusades and cathedrals, cities and castles, the Middle Ages left an indelible mark on the western world. Rome, the city of the Popes, played a key role in medieval western civilization and was the center of a long-lasting tradition of pilgrimage to the apostles’ and martyrs’ relics preserved in its many churches. This course is intended as a broad survey of medieval culture and history with a specific emphasis on Rome. It will take advantage of the city’s abundance of medieval monuments and works of art: mosaics and paintings, sculptures, and religious architecture, which will be analyzed in comparison to the artistic production of the rest of Europe, the Byzantine East, and other cultural contexts as, for example, the Islamic world. The reading of relevant historical and literary texts will complete the course. 

This course explores various themes about love and sexuality in Italian culture from circa 1350 to 1650. From the verses of Petrarch, to the writings of Ficino, Aretino and the poems by Marino love and sexuality were theorized and represented in treatises, poetry, painting, and sculpture of this period. On-site in the churches, palaces, and museums of Rome, this course will take in consideration the poetic, social and visual aspects of the subject in a word and image interdisciplinary study. The course begins with Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling. Following Leo Steinberg’s theory about the sexuality of Christ we will explore the theology of nudity in Christian art as well as the amor dei (love for God) or mystic marriage through Baroque sculptures such as Bernini’s saints in ecstasy. The second part of the course will focus on the more secular, sensuous, and even lascivious aspects by considering the revival of ancient classical culture. The course concludes with the socio-historical, gendered topics such as marriage, courtesans, male virility, female chastity, homosexuality, androgyny, and hermaphroditism through a variety of art objects. 

With an emphasis on Italy, this course will focus on the looting, destruction, and reselling of antiquities, from classical antiquity to today. Together we will consider issues such as what constitutes an art/cultural heritage crime, how ideas of value (both real and symbolic) have emerged historically and how have they changed over time, what constitutes “ownership” in the eyes of different entities, and how this has changed over the past fifty years, resulting in the current difficult and controversial issue of the repatriation of cultural artifacts which have crossed international borders. Themes considered will be the history of collecting, illegal excavation and the illicit trade in antiquities, the role of auction houses, the Church, museums and galleries, ownership and patrimony issues, international laws and agreements, recovery and repatriation, and ongoing problems with the protection and conservation of antiquities. We will end the course with a review of cultural heritage laws and the current international situation, as well as a discussion identifying challenges and providing suggestions for regulating the market of antiquities in the future. This course will include visits to relevant sites and museums in and around Rome and will include the close investigation of actual case studies throughout. 

This course will provide a core of knowledge of Italy’s post-Unification history, grounding students in the political, economic, and social development of the country. Commencing with the nation state’s formation, the analysis of issues surrounding Italy’s early identity, society and political structures will reveal many of the problems that subsequent regimes have sought to address. The course will explore the impact of World War One upon the interwar period of Fascist Italy and continue throughout the Interwar period and the Second World War. Examination of post-1945 Italy will consider the influence of America and the Cold War upon the internal battle for political control between the Left and the Catholic Right. The following period will focus on Italy’s internal crises of insurrection, terrorism, mafia activity and corruption that led to Tangentopoli, the collapse of the old political order, and the rise of Silvio Berlusconi. The course will conclude by examining the rise of the contemporary political phenomenon of the Five Star Movement and the Lega. 

The course explores the individual and group processes at the basis of human social behavior (e.g., individual differences, attitudes, social norms, social interaction), how these processes affect perceptions and choices in daily life, and, in turn, how these perceptions and choices relate to the well-being of individuals, groups, and communities. The course explores the application of social psychological theories and research to socially relevant domains such as health promotion, education, sustainable lifestyles and behavioral changes, food consumption, and education. Topics covered include research methods in social and behavioral science, perception of the social world and social cognition, implicit cognition and automaticity, stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination, self and identity, group dynamics and intergroup relations, social norms, persuasion, and social influence.  

This course analyzes the masterpieces of Roman Baroque art and architecture from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 18th century. While analyzing urbanism, architecture, sculpture, and painting by some of the major artists of the period (Caravaggio, Bernini, Borromini, Cortona), we will consider the artistic trends that characterize the patterns of patronage in Counter-Reformation and Baroque Rome. Special attention will be given not only to the literary sources that shaped art theory, practice, and criticism, but also to important issues such as propaganda, the viewer’s emotional engagement, and the artist’s social status. The unity of the visual arts, rhetorical effects, artistic rivalry, scenic urbanism, the relation between art and poetry, the use of classical and “bizarre” vocabulary, the concept of the pastoral, the representation of ecstasy, and the idealization of death will be some of the themes explored in this course.  

Recently, in the decades since the 1970s, millions of people from many countries and religions have flooded into Italy, sparking a profound change in the social fabric of the once homogenous Italian peninsula. This course reviews the key teachings and beliefs of several world religions present in Rome and introduces undergraduate students to the principles and practices of “interfaith dialogue,” using local dialogue case studies and site visits to give context to our discussions. Students grapple with the complex nature of religious and social diversity in the Eternal City, and the concrete steps many inhabitants of Rome are taking to bridge social divides. Inspired by Enzo Pace, students learn to “deal with the unprecedented religious pluralism that has been increasingly characterizing life in Italy.”  

Program At A Glance

    Program Price: $12,125

  • 12 - 15 Course credits
  • Double room in shared student apartment with other UPITT students, double room in student residence with UC and UPITT students, or single room in a homestay (includes half-board meal, dinner Monday – Thursday and breakfast daily)
  • Pre-departure and overseas orientation program,
  • Overseas Accent on-site staff support in each city
  • Rome transit pass
  • Walking tour of the Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Palatine
  • Opera performance
  • 24-hour emergency and counseling support
  • Transferable college credit through University of Pittsburg

    Unique Study Opportunities

  • Small class sizes, close relationships with faculty who accompany frequent visits and tours outside classroom
  • Visit local family run farms and artisanal food production facilities focusing on tradition as well as contemporary issues in food systems
  • See the most important works of Italian Art and Architecture and learning to interpret meaning through the lens of historical context and aesthetics
  • Descend through the layers of time at Basilica San Clemente, as you walk the ancient roman streets under the medieval church
  • Meet with notable journalists and local activists for discussions on contemporary issues in Rome

Students on the fall Rome program have the option to live in a student residence, student apartment or in a homestay with an Italian family.

The rooms in the student residence and apartments are double-occupancy with a shared living space, bathroom and kitchen.

Homestays offer students the opportunity to not only help with language learning but also provide local support as you get acquainted with life in a new city. Homestay accommodations are single bedroom in homestay and include breakfast daily and dinner Monday-Thursday.

All the apartments are equipped with:

  • Washer
  • Wi-Fi
  • Fully-equipped kitchen or Kitchenette
  • Bathroom and Bedroom Linens
  • Heating
  • Microwave and/or oven

Classes will be held at the Accent Rome Study Center located in the heart of Rome’s historic center in Palazzo Bennicelli, originally conceived in the 17th century as headquarters of the Vatican’s Bank of the Holy Spirit. The study center sits between Piazza Navona and the Vatican, just steps away from Rome’s most famous monuments.

  • Application due: with first payment
  • Second payment due: October 7
  • Final payment due: November 10
  • Departure from U.S.: January 9
  • Arrival in Rome: January 10
  • Overseas orientation: January 11
  • Classes begin: January12
  • Spring break: TBD
  • Return to U.S.: April 29

All participants must check in at the designated arrival point on January 10, 2023 between 9am and 6pm (Note: most transatlantic flights arrive one day after their departure date). Airfare is not included in the program fee. All participants will receive a transit pass.

The Art, Food, and Society Program is open to students who are at least 18 years of age at the time of application, have at least a 2.5 GPA and have sophomore, junior or senior standing. There are no prerequisite courses, and no minimum language requirements.

Program space is limited. Students should complete the online application with the $500 non-refundable first payment as soon as possible. Upon receipt of your application and first payment, Accent will provide you with additional application and enrollment forms. Applications must be received by October 1, 2022. Beyond October 1 limited enrollment is allowed when space permits

  • Round-trip airfare
  • Optional $400 supplement for single room in shared student apartment
  • Optional $550 supplement for double room in student residence
  • Optional $1050 supplement for single room in student residence
  • Optional $1325 supplement for single room in a homestay, includes breakfast daily and dinner M-Th
  • University of Pittsburgh fees
  • Personal expenses, passports, visas, books, and anything not listed as included
  • Meals, other than described
  • Travel and Personal property insurance

The health and wellbeing of all students, faculty and staff are paramount to Accent Global Learning. Accent has worked with a Medical Advisor following WHO and local health authority guideline to put protocols in place. Students will learn about Covid-19 related protocols, health resources and local regulations through pre-departure materials and in on-site orientations.

All participants are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Many European sites, restaurants, museums and other venues require proof of vaccination in order to enter.

Should a participant test positive for Covid-19, they will be required to self-isolate at their own expense.

Payment Schedule

Non-refundable first payment – $500
Second payment due October 7, 2022 – $5,812

Final payment due November 10, 2022 – $5,813

The payment schedule is the applicant’s contractual obligation. Failure to make each payment when due shall automatically cancel participant from the program one week after payment due date. All payments are effective the day they are received by the Accent U.S. Office. Accent, in its sole discretion, may reinstate an applicant subject to availability of space and late enrollment fees. Accent charges a $30 bounced check fee for each check received that is not promptly paid by your bank in the normal course of business. The program participant shall be the client of Accent for all purposes. The program price is based on 15 participants, the price may change depending on final enrollment.


Cancellation Fees:
70 days or more prior to start of program: $500
45 – 69 days prior to start of program: $3638
15 – 44 days prior to start of program: $6063
0 – 14 days prior to start of program: no refund
All cancellations must be made in writing to Accent and the University of Pittsburgh and are effective the date of receipt by Accent. Participants are liable for payments until written cancellation is received by Accent.

Ready to spend a semester in Rome?

Program Application

Accent Global Learning is not responsible for airline delays of any kind, or for expenses or loss incurred as a result of such delays. With regard to transportation/travel, regardless of the type of vehicle, Accent acts for the passenger as agent only. Accent assumes no liability for accident, injury, damage, or loss in any vehicle, or as a result of default by any person or company engaged in transporting the passenger. CST #1013432-40.