students in the lab

On Location: Rome

Italian History, Art, Architecture, Language and Culture

Summer 2019 Application Opens in December

Brown Pre-College Location-Based Programs are immersive and rigorous academic experiences with selected course content and learning locations designed to prepare students for the increasingly complex challenges of the 21st century.

Brown University, in affiliation with the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (the Centro), offers this unique two-week summer program in the heart of Rome. Students explore Roman life and culture through a wide range of disciplines – archeology, history, literature, language, and the arts.

In this program, students are immersed in seminars, site visits, and workshops, supplemented with weekend excursions to Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, and the island of Capri. Course highlights include a private guided tour of the Colosseum, a first-hand look at an excavation site in Ostia, and an exploration of the Blue Grotto sea cave.

Learning Goals

  • A basic knowledge of Italian language
  • A secure grasp of Roman history, from the Bronze Age to the present
  • A knowledge of Roman topography
  • An exposure to college-level lectures, with attention paid to cultivating learning skills for college
  • A finished written project at the college level

Program Dates:

Two Week Session June 24 – July 7, 2018

Eligibility: For students completing grades 10-12, ages 16-18 by June 2018

Note: This is a physically active program. Students will spend most of their time at site visits.

Passport/Visa Requirement: A passport is required. US and EU citizens do not require a visa.

Application deadline: Friday, April 6, 2018

Fees: $5,997

Financial Aid Available »

Immersive Italian
The Many Faces of Rome

Jump to...

Chairlift Ride

Residential and Student Life

Located in the quaint Monteverde Vecchio neighborhood, the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (the Centro) is the academic and residential center of the program. The ICCS Center is situated on one of the main streets of the Janiculum, near shops and cafés, and only minutes from the Piazza Venezia, Vatican City, and downtown Rome.

Students will stay in the residential building of the Centro which houses classrooms, a library, a dining room, a kitchen and residential rooms. Students reside in shared double rooms with communal bathrooms. Amenities include: air-conditioned classrooms, linens (sheets, pillow, blanket, towels), laundry room, and Wi-Fi throughout the building.

During the week, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the dining hall at the students’ residence. On the weekend trip, students reside in hotels with their Residential Advisors and the On-Site Director. Breakfast will be at the hotels. Lunch will be at local eateries. Group dinners will be at local restaurants.

The On-Site Director and Residential Advisors reside in the residence hall with students, providing an atmosphere that supports student success by emphasizing community building and individual responsibility.

Your program fee includes:

  • Tuition fee for all courses
  • Residence hall and hotel accommodations during the program
  • All meals
  • Site visits as described in the program description
  • Transfer from/to airport on day of arrival and departure

Not included in Program Fee:

  • Air travel to/from Rome, Italy
  • Textbooks
  • Items of a personal nature

Sample Week

Monday: Having settled into their accommodations, students gather for a welcome dinner at a neighborhood trattoria nearby. Students will sample a range of locally-sourced and produced antipasti and pasta dishes and learn to eat as Romans eat.

Tuesday: The day begins with an immersive Italian class, with a walk around the treed neighborhood of the Aventine and an introduction to basic conversation and vocabulary. Students return for an orientation session and lunch in the Centro. The afternoon takes us across the street for a brief introduction to the ancient city at the site of Rome’s Hippodrome, where chariot racers once vied for victory, and a walk up to the Capitoline Hill—the site of some of the city’s earliest Bronze Age settlements and now a seat of local government.

Wednesday: We begin class with an archaeology walk through the city’s oldest landmarks, from the Republican temples at the Largo Argentina to the Palatine Hill. After lunch, students have some time to work in Centro’s library on their reading, before a lecture on Rome’s Republican and Imperial history. After dinner, Italian class will be a trip to the outstanding nearby gelateria.

Thursday: Immersive Italian takes us this morning to Rome’s colorful and historical Campo dei Fiori open-air market and a snack at one of the city’s best bakeries. A lecture on the first emperor, Augustus, and the birth of imperial Rome will prepare students for an afternoon visit to the city’s Augustan monuments, including the Ara Pacis and the Mausoleum of Augustus. After dinner at the Centro, there will be organized games and activities on campus.

Friday: Ever wonder what it would be like to be a field archaeologist? We’ll take a trip down the Tiber to Ostia Antica, Rome’s “Pompeii,” where we’ll meet with archaeologists working on excavating this ancient port city. After a picnic lunch on-site, students will have free supervised time at Ostia’s beach on the Mediterranean. Return to Rome in the late afternoon, with the evening off for students to work on homework, read, and prepare for the weekend trip to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast.

Location-based programs are academically rigorous. Given the intensity of the program, there is minimal free time.

Onsite Learning
Museum Dell'Ara Pacis, Rome

Course of Study

Students in the Rome program enroll in two courses:

Immersive Italian

Why learn Italian only in the classroom when you’re in Italy? The city of Rome will be our classroom as we take our course out onto the street for a unique and immersive learning experience. Students learn Italian organically, by hearing, reading, and speaking the language in a fun and low-pressure environment. Ordering cappuccino, shopping excursions, and gelato “crawls” will be part of your coursework. This course is taught in Italian.

The Many Faces of Rome

This intensive course introduces the complexities and beauties of Rome, an ancient and vibrant metropolis. Designed for participants without prior experience in Rome, the course introduces students to workshops and lectures by world-class Brown faculty, as well as immersive Italian language studies, all in the heart of Rome. This course is taught in English.

In addition to coursework, students participate in lectures, workshops and field trips to round out their experience and dive deeper into academic course content:

On-site lectures: Few cities present as long a history of continuity and change as Rome, and this course takes full advantage of the city’s sunny climate and accessibility. Each day, students will spend hours seeing Rome, both key public sites, such as the Vatican and St. Peter’s, and sites generally closed to the public and made available only to students in this course.

Micro-workshops: The topics of the course’s unique “micro-workshops” change yearly to take advantage of local opportunities and events, but each introduce students to a unique way of seeing Rome—through the eyes of historians, engineers, artists, activists, and storytellers. These micro-workshops will take place both on-site and at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies.

Field Trip: Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii
Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in 79 AD that led to the burying and destruction of the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and several other settlements. The objects that lay beneath provide an extraordinary detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana.

Field Trip: Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is a stunning landscape of picturesque towns that cling dramatically onto the mountainside. It's a perfect place to experience southern coastal life and culture.

Studying Abroad

Program Faculty

Professor Nicola Denzey Lewis has taught at Brown since 2007. An award-winning lecturer and teacher, Professor Denzey Lewis has made the city of Rome her special area of expertise for the past twenty years. She is dedicated to introducing the city in all its complexity to students of all ages, but particularly enjoys using Rome as a vibrant learning environment to introduce pre-college students to the range of courses and concentrations available at the college level.

Rachel Toncelli has been teaching about language and culture for over 20 years. Her teaching career started in Italy many years ago and she is currently Assistant Professor at Rhode Island College, where she works both in the Department of Educational Studies for the M.Ed. in Teaching English as a Second Language Program and in the Department of Modern Languages where she is an adjunct instructor of Italian. Rachel is currently pursuing her doctorate at Northeastern University.

Ashley Patton is an art history PhD student at the University of Minnesota, where she focuses on Italian Renaissance and Baroque art. Previously, she worked at the Getty Research Institute as a Research Assistant. She studied abroad in Rome as an undergraduate student, and as a graduate student she conducted research in Rome for her master’s thesis. This is her fourth summer with Brown University’s high school study abroad program in Rome.

Students in Rome
Ostia Antica

Admission Criteria

Summer 2019 Application Opens in December

Prospective students must apply for admission. When evaluating applications, the Admissions Review Committee looks for academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, social maturity, self-motivation and a readiness for participation in an independent academic environment.

A Complete Application Consists of the Following Items:

  1. A Completed Application Form
    Parents and Students: Please be sure to create only one account per applicant.
    Your application provides basic information about you. In addition, students should be prepared to write an essay telling us:
    • what you hope to learn in the program to which you are applying;
    • why this is of interest to you;
    • what contributions you hope to make;
    • and any further information you want to convey to us.
  2. A Non-refundable Application Fee (payable securely by credit card within the Student Portal)
    One application fee per application submitted
    Before 3/2/2018: $50
    3/2/2018 to 4/29/2018: $75
    4/30/2018 and after: $100
  3. An Academic Transcript or Grade Report
    Applicants must submit grades for the 2017-2018 academic term and two previous academic years. Acceptable forms include, but are not limited to, progress reports, report cards, transcripts and unofficial transcripts. Documentation must include your full name and an explanation of the scoring system in English. Applicants will upload this material in the student portal after they have submitted their application form. Academic records do NOT need to be submitted by your school or guidance counselor.
  4. A Teacher Recommendation
    Within the application applicants must submit the name and email address of a teacher who can attest to the applicant’s capabilities in a classroom setting. An email will be sent to the recommender to provide feedback to the Admission Review Committee.

Please note:

  • In some cases, additional application materials may be requested. Additional materials may include transcripts, essays, or teacher recommendations.
  • Applications will not be reviewed by the Admission Review Committee until they are complete.
  • Program admission does not guarantee enrollment in a specific course.
  • Courses may be cancelled at any time due to unforeseen circumstance.
  • Please wait to make travel arrangements until the program is confirmed.

Notification of Admission Decision

Applicants will be notified by email to log into their Student Portal to view their admission decision once it has been made.

May 2018 Update: Our admissions team carefully reviews each application submitted. Due to the high volume of applications and selectivity of our programs, admissions decisions will be made within fifteen business days of receipt of a complete application.

Confirming Attendance with a Program Deposit

Accepted students must confirm their attendance by submitting a $300 non-refundable program deposit. Students attending more than one program must submit a $300 non-refundable deposit for each program. Students will not be able to enroll in courses until a program deposit is received.


Student and parents are encouraged to review our Policies page to learn about important payment deadlines, refunds, code of conduct, and more.

Important Information for International Students

Brown University Pre-College programs welcome applications from international students. Learn about English language proficiency requirements, Immigration Guidelines, Deadlines for Submitting Documentation, How to Apply for a Visa, and more on our International Students page.

Rome Cityscape