Welcome to Due Santi! The rumored meeting place of Saints Peter and Paul, nearby the once-ancient Roman settlement of Bovillae, and the current residence of students from Irving, Texas. We will spend much of our time on this beautiful campus, fenced in by fig trees, olive bushes, and grape vines, learning about the history of the Greek and Roman people, the architecture and art trends throughout European history, the early Church Fathers and their influence on what would become the Roman Catholic Church, the intellectual insights of great Western thinkers with respect to the human person, and, finally, read plenty of plays from ancient Greek playwrights and, even from the lesser known ones, like William Shakespeare. Yet, this is just a sample of what goes on around Due Santi, our home during the Rome semester.
The dinners: the welcome dinner. the wine-tasting dinner, and the farewell dinner. Nino and Nuccia, the lovely local Italian couple who are the chefs on campus, bring to us dining at its finest; the height of the Italian experience came with our glorious encounters with, you probably guessed it, pasta. Yes, the aforementioned meals were at least 3 hours long and yes, we were served a minimum of 4 courses (LOTS of bread). Nevertheless, some of our fondest memories were created on these nights.
The wine-tasting dinner (What a wonderful and happy evening that was!) called for celebrity impersonations. As you see in the photo above, each glass was identified with a name of an American celebrity (just in case one was getting a little homesick). Along with this unique touch, Msgr. Fucinaro, Rome campus chaplain and wine connoisseur, delights us not only with his enthusiasm and kindness but also his generosity and expertise in selecting fine wines. About halfway through our meal, once the bread (crusty yet fluffy), the garden-fresh vegetables (eggplant and zucchini), the salad, the tomato pasta with cheese, the cheesy white lasagna were consumed, Msgr. invites those willing to impersonate their respective celebrities. It took a few more minutes for several students AND faculty to gather the courage to do so, but once one of the students (Johnny Depp) succeeded, others believed they could too! Now, this was not necessarily the case–some “impersonations” were big flops but we applauded their attempts anyway (these were probably the funniest!). We voted “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski winner. After these impromptu performances, we enjoyed our selections of dessert and the company of friends. Finally, with our stuffed stomachs, we each made our way back to our beds, preparing for the adventure which awaited us the coming morning.