Allow me to introduce myself: I am Professor Claudio Fogu. I was born in Italy but have studied and taught the cultural history of my country in the United States for over fifteen years, during which time I have come to recognize that traveling to other lands is as much a part of the Italian identity as are pizza and pasta. Over the last two centuries, millions and millions of Italians have spread out across the globe, adapting to their new environments while at the same time keeping close ties to their hometowns in Italy. All of this coming and going in successive waves of migration to and from Italy has, however, a very ancient origin that owes much to the country's peculiar geographical position: stretching out into the Mediterranean, Italy is at the very center of the history of this sea. This is what I want you to discover in the three weeks you will spend with me on the beautiful island of Procida.
Volcanic in origin, populated since prehistoric times, colonized by the Greeks in antiquity, plagued by Barbary Coast pirates and slave traders in the early Middle Ages, and finally used as a hunting reserve by French and Spanish rulers, Procida is the smallest of the three islands facing Naples. Along with Ischia and Capri, it forms the archipelago of the Phlegrean islands in the Bay of Naples. Procida thus offers an ideal vantage-point for appreciating the rich relationship between Italy and the Mediterranean Sea. In our program we will study its history, its culture, and its way of life. You will discover the rich history of Mediterranean Italy by exploring the island itself, as well as nearby classical archeological sites such as Paestum, Pompeii, and Capri, medieval maritime city states such as Amalfi, and, of course, the historical and artistic treasures of Naples. The aim of this program is to foster a new image of Italy for those of you who are studying its culture and language. Although the concept of the 'nation-state' has traditionally been used to organize knowledge of Italy, we will instead try to understand the area around Naples as part of a Mediterranean network of relations stretching from Spain to North Africa to Turkey, which for centuries was in tension with the centripetal forces of nation-state formation on the peninsula and elsewhere.
Our program will be hosted by the "Orientale" University of Naples, one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious universities dedicated to the study of foreign languages and cultures. The classrooms are situated in the oratory of a spectacular and recently restored monastery dominating the island from the hilltop known as the "Terra Murata" (Walled City). There you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the Bay of Naples from every window: the building's state-of-the-art teaching facilities include a language lab with twenty computer stations and wireless internet.
Our program offers an intensive language course in Italian (for beginners and/or advanced students) and one upper division seminar on "Italy in the Mediterranean." Alternating daily lectures with seminar discussions, this course will take you from the time when the "Peoples of the Sea" roamed the southern Italian coasts, to the epic era in which Rome and Carthage first co-existed and then contended with each other for control over the Mediterranean basin immigrants entering southern Italy today. The core of the course will consist in a set of field-trips guided jointly by me and leading scholars from the University of Naples, which will take you to the most famous sites around Naples, including Paestum, Pompeii, and Capri. Integral to our program, these excursions will be a physical reminder of that quintessential movement of "leaving in order to return, and returning in order to leave," in which many have identified the kernel of Mediterranean-ness.
I am certain that you will leave this program with the desire to return!
Associate Professor of Italian Studies
Italy Travel-Study Program Director