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  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

Off to a Good Start


The rhythms and routines of living abroad have begun to establish themselves, and I finally have had time to sit down and reflect on what has happened so far and what is in store for all of us in the Cornell in Rome program.


Coming from winter break, either two weeks early to take advantage of the Italian intensive course or settling in at their own pace, students took the opportunity to explore what Rome has to offer before courses had commenced. There was a feeling of nervousness and excitement as classes began and as professors started their first powerpoint presentations and opened their lecture notes. Students found their seats in classrooms a bit more intimate than they are used to in Ithaca, and became acquainted with new faces, professors, and curricula.

Julia Zell (B.F.A 2019) working on a watercolor piece.
Photo by Andy Chen

The first day of school always holds large promises, big smiles, un-tired eyes, and the occasional disappointment. Ambitions for the semester were declared by both faculty and student, and for most classes, they ventured outside into the eternal city to explore, begin case studies, understand neighborhoods, visit contemporary art galleries, and reveal the secrets of history hidden to passersby and visible only to the attentive, trained eye. Thanks to professor Jefferey Blanchard and a 9:00 to 4:00 Saturday trip through various Roman sites, all of us are a little bit closer to having said eye. 

Jan. 25th, planning students in Rome Workshop course conducting neighborhood research in Torrevecchia, Roma, led by Prof. Greg Smith.
Photo by Esther Xie

Under the tutelage of professors Jenny Sabin and Giorgio Martocchia, the 3rd year architecture studio set out to find and study generative patterns within existing Roman masonry and architecture. The bright sky above us and the cobblestone floor below, studio began with a tangibly different note than it would have had we been in the less-than-temperate weathers of a January Ithaca. So for now, I continue to bask in the sunlight streaming through the arched windows of the Palazzo Santacroce studying and waiting for our upcoming school trip to Napoli this Thursday.


– Omar

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