Orientation was just one and a half weeks ago, but we have already begun exploring all parts of Rome. It seems like there will never be enough time in a day to see what you want to see. After the first week, all of us have also had our first classes in Rome. There were many interesting course offerings to choose from, and after the first week, I couldn’t have been happier with my choices.
Studio, mandatory for architecture students, of course, is on Monday and Thursday. After a couple moments of excitement and uproar from finally seeing everyone together for the first time after the summer, everyone gathered eagerly in the lecture hall to hear professor Caroline O’Donnell present to us this semester’s program and syllabus. What is to be the focus of this semester’s study is Rome’s Consular Roads; thus the theme –All Roads Lead To Rome. It is through studying the ancient system of the roads linking Rome with its neighboring provinces as well as the commercial, social, political, and historical significances associated with it, that we can start to understand the foundation on which Rome emerged as a great empire and city.
I thought it was a very provocative and stimulating program, and at the same time very ambitious. Many of us had no idea what were the Consular roads of Rome, let alone where to start and analyze this incredibly complex system. After splitting up into 4 sections, we were coupled up and assigned to one of the six Consular roads that were chosen to be studied: Via Tuscolana, Via Prenestina, Via Nomentana, Via Flaminia, Via Aurelia, and Via Ostiense. Each has very distinct characteristics –historically, spatially, socially, and perceptually. We left our orientation excited to explore our streets and to venture to the places we normally would not have thought of exploring.
Classes outside of studio have been just as adventurous. Every class seems to consist of a site visit or excursion into the city of Rome, whether to visit the ancient ruins in the Roman forum or to see the beautifully carved sculptures in Musei Capitolini. With all this walking and learning, at least there’s no need to worry about getting enough exercise here in Rome!!