HWS Alumni/Alumnae and Parent Trip

Aerial view of the Vatican

Artistic and Culinary Culture in Rome

October 8 -18, 2013
(9 nights)

Tour Leaders - Elena Ciletti and Jim Crenner

Professor Elena Ciletti and Professor Emeritus Jim Crenner have been travelling, studying and living in different parts of Italy since 1975. They enthusiastically describe Rome as their favorite city, not only in Italy but in the world as far as they have experienced it.

Elena is an art historian whose academic field is Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, which she has taught at HWS for over three decades. Her scholarly activity is rooted in Italy, and she speaks Italian fluently. She currently holds the "Classes of 1964 Endowed Chair". Jim taught Creative Writing and American Literature at The Colleges from 1968 until his retirement, and held, serially, both the "Harter Chair" and the "John Milton Potter Chair" in the humanities. He is a poet with four published volumes to his credit.

Fired with youthful ardor, Elena inadvertently pioneered the HWS study abroad program back in 1975, when she took a large group of students to Venice, Florence, and Rome and single-handedly provided all their academic and support services. It almost did her in, but it lit the fuse for what has since become one of the most ambitious and wide-ranging menu of off-campus programs in the country and one of the hallmarks of our colleges.

Together and separately, Jim and Elena have copious study-abroad experience. In 1982, when Jim co-directed the London term (with Pete Beckman of Political Science), Elena went along. She conducted HWS terms in Florence in 1986 (with Prof. Martin Kelly of Psychology) and in Rome in 1999 (with Jim in a student-support capacity), and when Jim directed the Galway semester in 2003, Elena provided student support. In 2005 they co-directed both the Rome semester and a week-long alumni trip to Venice in the early summer.

Campo de Fiori Market

Trip Overview

Rome, the Eternal City. The home of legendary classics, like the Colosseum and spaghetti alla carbonara, the Vatican Museums and carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish-style artichokes), the fountains of Bernini and vino bianco from the surrounding Alban Hills.

If this list resonates with your sense of what makes Rome the glorious city it is, or if you’d like to know why it does, this is the trip for you! Join us as we explore Roman culture both through its sights and its tastes, its art and its food. The Romans have been honing their communal genius in both realms for millennia. Our program will take us to sites that are renowned the world over as well as to little-known gems.

St. Peter's Basilica

October is a wonderful time for such a trip: the summer tourist hordes are gone but the weather is still mild (temperatures in the 52-72 degree range).

You will be lodged in the historic center of the city – in the lively Campo de Fiori neighborhood, within walking distance of most of Rome’s cultural attractions. Our itinerary has been co-created with the GUSTOLAB Center for Food and Italian Culture and the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci Language School, both of which partner with HWS during the Rome semester abroad program. This means that we will get to meet and interact with HWS students studying in Rome.

On the art side, among the sites we will experience together are “classics” such as the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Forum, the Borghese Gallery, St. Peter’s and the Vatican Museum. We will have the luxury of devoting special attention to the astonishing cluster of Baroque churches and monuments of the Piazza Navona area – an ideal introduction to such notable figures as Caravaggio, Borromini and Bernini. We will visit a local antiques shop for a demonstration of restoration techniques. We will tour the famous Roman Ghetto nearby, to explore its history and culture, and have lunch to experience its unique cuisine.


We will take the culinary aspect of the trip seriously. Among our activities will be a cooking class with the resulting dinner, a wine tasting session, an ancient Roman dinner accompanied by an introduction to the cuisine of the classical era, and a lecture on food and art at the Gustolab with HWS students. A special opportunity will be an excursion into the countryside (by van) to a beautiful organic farm to experience Slow Food philosophy and practices, a cheese-making demonstration, and lunch consisting of the farm’s own products. In addition to the breakfast provided by the hotel, each day will include a group meal – either lunch or dinner or both. There will be some free time every day for independent explorations. For our group activities in the city, we will get around by walking and using some public transportation. (Participants will receive a bus and subway pass.) We will saunter and savor, poking our noses into the delicious treats that we encounter – edible, visual and historical.

Food and art, art and food. Welcome to Rome.

Note: This trip will involve a fair amount of walking, some of it on uneven, cobbled streets, so we recommend this trip only for those who are able to get around easily.

Climate in Rome

Month Average High in Rome Average low in Rome

Piazza Navona

Trip Details

Cost: $2935 per person for double occupancy and $3570 per person for single occupancy.

What is included:

  • Hotel accommodations in standard rooms for nine nights at the Hotel Smeraldo (see more details below), located near the Campo de Fiori. Note that while the rooms may be small, the location is charming and very centrally located.
  • Breakfast each morning, 5 multi-course dinners and 5 lunches/afternoon meals, some of which are multi-course affairs.

    Note about meals: Romans typically eat dinner late (i.e., often at 9 p.m. or later). We will arrange for dinners in the 7-8 p.m. range. Recommendations will be provided for independent meals and snacks.
  • Transfers to and from the airport in Rome
  • A one-week bus/subway pass
  • All tours, guides, entrance fees and transport as indicated in the itinerary
  • A handbook that includes contact numbers, packing ideas, what to do about money while in Italy, and much more. This will be sent to all confirmed participants a month or so before departure.

A meal in Rome

What's NOT included:

  • Any meals not stated above
  • International flights - we will offer an optional group flight through our travel agent. Please wait to book any flights until you see the group flight option.
  • Medical and travel insurance:
    • Every traveler needs to have medical coverage while in Italy so check with your current medical insurance provider to see if you are covered abroad. If you are not, you can purchase a short-term travel medical policy online from companies like CMI or Med Ex Assist, to name just two.
    • We also strongly recommend that everyone purchase travel insurance to cover trip cancellation (not just trip interruption) in case you are unexpectedly unable to travel after you have paid for the trip.
    • Some companies offer a combined medical/travel policy if you need both. The best place to start the search for insurance is at http://www.insuremytrip.com/plans/index.html where you can choose medical, travel cancellation or both, and compare policies from different companies side by side.


Hotel Smeraldo
Vicolo dei Chiodaroli 9,
00186 Rome
Tel: 011 39 668 75929

Rooms have LCD satellite TV, air conditioning, telephone, hairdryer and free wi-fi. Breakfast is included each morning.

Website: www.smeraldoroma.com

Note: in the event that we have to change the hotel for any reason, any substitution will be a hotel of similar quality.

The Pantheon

Reserving a place on the trip:

  • We can accommodate a maximum of 16 people on this tour, so book early to ensure your place. Our past alum/parent trips have filled up quickly!
  • In order to reserve a place on the trip, you are requested to fill out a booking form online. We will accept reservations on a first-come-first-served basis and we suggest that you reserve as soon as possible, as we expect this trip to sell out. Please note that alums and parents of HWS students have priority in booking this trip. Once we reach the 16-person maximum, we will start a waiting list.
  • Within 10 days of making the online booking, we require a non-refundable deposit of $750 per person. We prefer payment by check but credit card payment can be arranged by calling Betty Merkle in Alumni House at (315) 781-3771. The deposit will be applied to the overall cost of the trip. The remainder of the trip cost, minus the deposit, will be due by April 1, 2013.

    Checks should be made payable to "Hobart and William Smith Colleges" and mailed to:

    Sharon Walsh
    Center for Global Education
    Hobart and William Smith Colleges
    300 Pulteney St.
    Geneva, NY 14456

    Tel: (315) 781-3663
    email: walsh@hws.edu
  • Once we have received your online reservation, we will email you Part 2 of the booking form which we ask that you return promptly.

Side street in Rome

Cancellation policy:

Once you have paid the deposit, if you cancel the trip before April 1st, we may, at our discretion, refund your deposit if we are able to find a replacement for you.

If you cancel the trip after April 1, you will lose your $750 per person deposit and you will be responsible for any fees or deposits that we have paid to vendors on your behalf that are non-recoverable by us. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance (see above under “What’s NOT included.”)

Group Flight:

We will provide a group flight option through our travel agent once the fares for October are available. We expect round trip fares from New York City to Rome to be approximately $1000 - $1200, not including the fare from your originating city to New York. Our travel agent can also book the trip from your originating city if you wish. You are not required to purchase the group flight, although if you choose to book elsewhere, we suggest that you book the same flight (or a flight that arrives earlier than group), so that you can be included in the transport from the airport to the hotel. If you arrive later than the group, you will be responsible for making your own way to the hotel. Please do not book any flights until we have contacted you about group flight options, so you are aware of the flight times, etc.



Dates: October 8, 2013 – October 18, 2013

Cost: $2935 per person for double occupancy and $3570 per person for single occupancy. Airfare not included.

Register/Deposit: Complete and submit the online registration form now to reserve your spot.


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