Italian Cultural Studies

The Generoso Pope Italian Cultural Studies Program is a rigorous, two-year cultural immersion experience for juniors and seniors that raises awareness about Italian culture and language while enhancing the mission of Holy Child's Global Studies Program. As part of the program, students participate in a college-level seminar course exploring the history, art, language, literature, architecture and politics of Italy. Field trips, attention to current events, and cultural programming complement classroom instruction. The first year culminates in a research tour of Italy during which students explore topics they later expand into their individual research projects as seniors. Ultimately, all students produce an original analysis of an issue in Italian studies that contributes to the field.

Program Overview

Year One:

  • Year-long, interdisciplinary Humanities course covering Italian culture since Antiquity
  • Field trips to various museums and other relevant sites, including The Met, the Cloisters, Saint John the Divine, and Little Italy
  • Year-long Italian language instruction
  • Extensive research tour of Italy in June
  • Affiliation with the Westchester Italian Cultural Center

Year Two:

  • Develop thesis for an independent research project, under the supervision of the Program Director
  • Weekly group sessions as a scholarly community
  • Regular communication and bi-weekly, individualized research direction
  • Extensive writing instruction, content critique and production assistance
  • Continued Italian language learning and cultural programming
  • Continued affiliation with the Westchester Italian Cultural Center
  • June presentations and online publication

2018 Italian Cultural Studies Italy Immersion

Italian Cultural Studies Program in Italy for Summer Immersion
Italian Cultural Studies Program in Italy for Summer Immersion

Holy Child's Italian Cultural Studies Program is on its two-week summer immersion. To check out images from the trip so far, click on the slideshow below. To follow along on the adventure, follow Melissa Dan, Head of School, on twitter and Instagram @hcheadofschool. To read a log of the trip, see below.

Trip Log:

Day 10

Greetings from Rome!

We had a busy Italian day. We again had to go with the flow due to the day of the week and the Name Day of Peter and Paul.

We started at the museum and heard the last of our speeches from Molly and Alex. After lunch by the Four Rivers Fountain, we had a private hop on/ hop off tour of the city. Thank goodness because today was incredibly hot!

We had some time to shop and rest before our final dinner together. After dinner, we strolled to the Trevi Fountain and ate our last gelato of the trip.

The girls keep saying they can't believe it is time to leave! I concur. The trip has flown by.


Day 9

We left the villa today after lunch. Last night as the sun set Kristy, Sam C, and Isabella A gave their presentations. Their speeches were great, and the scenery was spectacular. We even had an orange full moon that we looked down on. Simply stunning!

We are now in Rome. We walked around a bit before we ate outside with loads of other people watching the World Cup. Of course, we stopped for gelato and macaroons on the way back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we are off to explore the treasures of the ancient world!


Day 8

We left Florence this morning after Valana gave her presentation from Ms. Dan's balcony. Before we left, we toured one more church to see where the Medicis were ambushed and one monastery to see where the Medicis went for penance. Then, we arrived in paradise.

Our villa is truly amazing! We even have the entire place to ourselves. We just had lunch and are enjoying the pool and the countryside. Everyone is doing their own thing. Some are drawing, some are napping in the sun, and some are wandering through the vineyards. In a few hours we will learn how to make homemade pasta before we have three more presentations.

I think this is our best day yet!!!


Day 7

We had a busy action-packed day!

We heard three amazing presentations from Catherine, Emily C, and Ally all on location at the Duomo, Medici Palace, and Uffizi respectively.

We saw several paintings that we studied in class and toured the old city. We ate lunch in an Osteria before breaking to shop. During our free time, one group of girls even ran into someone we met in Voltera!

Tonight one of the Professor's friends, who is a professor at the Florence School of Design, joined us for dinner. We dined outside in a restaurant that was established in 1733. After dinner, the girls and I rode the carousel before they left in teams of five for a Scavenger hunt.

We leave in the morning for day under the Tuscan sun!


Day 5

Greetings from Florence!

We had another busy day. We began this morning in Siena and arrived tonight in Florence via Perugia and Assisi.

Highlights from Perugia include: the chocolate store, a delicious lunch, coffees, churches, walking through the underground on the ancient Etruscan city streets, and having a lecture from the Professor in the Palazzo Pubblico. But the best part was touring the Collegio del Cambio and seeing the spot where Christopher Columbus asked for and got his funding for his voyage to the new world.

Highlights from Assisi include: seeing all of the different art styles in the Basilica, seeing the tomb of St. Francis, touring the city, going to the home of St Francis and hearing Claire's inspiring presentation on his life, and eating dinner on the top of the mountain made for us by one of the Professor's friends. She is one of the pioneers of the garden-to-table movement and gathered the mushrooms for the risotto and the berries for the dessert in the field this morning.

Day 4

Today we toured two different towns. The first was San Gimignano where we ran into the Ryan family on the steps of the Basilica. Annie Ryan brought her family (including Grace) to hear the presentation she gave last year in the town. It was so nice to see HC girls from years past!

I bet by now you can probably guess what we did in San Gimignano! We toured two churches, climbed a bell tower, ate, and explored the architecture of the town center. Bella M also did an excellent job giving her presentation on the St. Augustine frescoes. The rain came at the end of our time in the town, and we hurried for cover in our bus.

The other town we toured was Voltera. We hiked down the mountain to see the Western world's oldest door. We then went to my favorite shopping spot of the trip, an alabaster factory. We were treated to an artist making a vase using traditional methods before we shopped. After that, we looked at a Roman amphitheater, toured two churches, saw frescos in an abandoned chapel that are being destroyed by water damage, and toured an ancient Roman law building converted by early Christians into a baptistery. Finally, we took a break for gelato before boarding the bus back to Siena.

Tonight we ate dinner on top of the racetrack that will be used in this weekend's palio and enjoyed the still amazing weather. In fact, most of us wore sweaters and jackets to dinner to stay warm!!

The girls are packing now, as we leave in the morning for three nights in Florence. Tomorrow, we stop in Perugia and Assisi before we reach Florence.

Day 3

Most of today was spent at the Abbazia di Monte Oliverto Maggiore, a cloistered abbey. The girls heard a wonderful presentation from Sam M on the frescoes in the cloisters depicting the life of St. Benedict before Mass. We attended a Gregorian Mass with the monks that a few girls said was a highlight of their day. For lunch we ate the most amazing pasta at the Abbey. All of the ingredients are made within the walls.

We also visited the Monk's apothecary shop. Afterwards, Emily H gave an interesting presentation of Medieval herbs and plants. She has been inspired to grow Medieval plants in our HC garden.

Our last outing was in the beautiful town of Pienza. We toured the church and palace built for the Pope. We also shopped, ate gelato, and took lots of amazing photos. Please see Ms. Dan's Instagram to take in the vistas.

Tonight we ended our day with dinner in the campo. The weather has been so amazing that we have eaten al fresco the last two nights. Tonight is the last night for the girls to see the stone road of the campo, because in the early morning they will begin to lay down the clay for the racetrack.

Luckily, tonight is Sunday and the contradas (neighborhoods) take a break from the drumming and marching. Fingers crossed, we should all be able to sleep well into the morning.

Tomorrow we explore an ancient Roman town and a Medieval stronghold, but before we embark, we are going for Italian coffee in the campo.

Day 2

Today we spent the majority of our time in the Cathedral. We went around it, in it, and under it. Meaghan did a great job delivering her presentation on Duccio as we stood in front of his Maesta.

We spent part of the afternoon in the Palazzo Pubblico seeing how art influenced the Medieval government. We also explored where Catherine of Siena meditated and toured all of Santa Maria della Scala. We talked about Sacred geometry and watched a painting come to life and move before our eyes. We ended the night with an opera in town.

For lunch today, we dined at a Medieval restaurant that cooks using traditional Medieval methods.

The town is busy preparing for the palio. All day and night the streets are filled with flag throwers, drummers, processions, and singing. The city is really coming alive. In addition, during our time walking around Siena we saw three weddings and several graduates. We learned that the men walking around wearing laurel wreaths obtained a degree in poetry. The tradition dates back to Petrarch and is worn in place of a graduation cap. Finally, we saw a Cardinal honoring one of his predecessors with an elaborate procession. At first, it looked like a typical start to Mass until you noticed the Cardinal walking through the streets was followed by four priests holding up the relic of a Saint dressed in vestments. The Professor told us this was to show respect for the Saint.

Tomorrow we are off to an Abbey and to visit a few smaller towns in the Tuscan countryside.

Day 1

We are finally back in our hotel getting some much deserved sleep!

Our flight was the best type-- uneventful. All of the luggage arrived, and we had a quick coffee and bus picnic lunch on our way to Orvieto.

One of the first things the girls did was to go down St Patrick's well, the only double helix well in the world. They loved it and said you could see the water at the bottom and each other when they came up!

Before we left Orvieto, Professor Rutigliano took us on a tour of the Etruscan town. At one point, we walked in a single line through the medieval part of town to the cathedral. The duomo is famous for many reasons; one of which is that it was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, the noted architect of Florence. We visited the chapel which houses the cloth from the Miracle of Bolsena.

Of course, no tour of a town would be complete without a trip to the local gelatiera. Afterwards, we rode the funicolare down the mountain to our private bus that took us to Siena. Once we arrived, we quickly unpacked and headed to dinner. A highlight of the meal was the Pici pasta, a Sienese specialty.

Tomorrow, the real walking begins. We are canvasing the city on foot and will begin our presentations.