By Tiffany Gilbert

Eighteen students from Seton Hill University traveled to Rome, Florence, and Venice, Italy over the 2008 M-Term. Maureen Vissat, assistant professor of art, was the faculty member in attendance during the trip. For 12 days the students toured the three cities, visiting historical sites, museums, palaces and churches.

The trip was open for all majors. Many of the students who attended the M-Term trip were art majors at Seton Hill; however one chemistry and two business majors also attended.

“This was the first Italian experience for all of the traditional aged students on the trip and for some it was their first time even on a plane,” said Vissat.

The course credit earned was three credits in AR375 Italian Art Seminar. Aside from course credit, the students were able to see the exact art many of them had studied in the classroom.

“I believe they really liked to get the visceral response to each city and the art produced there,” said Vissat. “It is one thing to read about the Venetian painters’ approach to art being informed by their unique geography, but one gets a very immediate awareness when experiencing the Queen of the Adriatic firsthand.”

The Sistine Chapel was highlighted as a favorite attraction of the visiting students. “It is a small room (in comparison to other Roman churches) and is covered in Renaissance masterpieces with no distracting decorative materials, yet is still the most amazing thing I have ever seen,” said senior Lindsey Antolic.

The students also toured the Brunelleschi Duomo. “When students ascend his Dome between the shells, it is no longer remote art historical past but part of their living present,” said Vissat.

In addition to the diverse art culture, traveling to a high tourist area offered communication barriers. “The most important thing I learned was the value of communication. The locals were very patient with us and there were several languages being spoken and it made things more difficult than I would have expected,” said Antolic.

“Our trip was very informative, but allowed us to view the cities at our own pace. Learning the culture of other countries is very important to do, being a business major,” said senior Allison Sinisi.

The students mastered the public transportation system of Rome. They also became proficient in ordering a good meal as well as bartering for leather handbags. “These learned skills are indeed transferable,” said Vissat. “I expect each student will travel overseas again.”

Tiffany Gilbert is a Seton Hill journalism major and a communications intern in the Office of Public Information.