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A photo of a group of students in Rome, Italy.

Foundations of Christian Culture: Italy

Travel back in time to more deeply appreciate the past and present—join Catholic Studies on a tour of Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, and Rome!

You've learned about the interplay between Italian culture and Christian life, but have you witnessed it for yourself—from the beginnings of Western civilization through today? Join Dr. Ines Murzaku for a 3-credit study abroad tour of sites in Italy that have been most significant to Christian history. We will fly to Rome and take a connecting flight to Catania, beginning our exploration of Sicily. After a visit to Mt. Etna, we will spend time in Taormina, Noto, Siracusa, Piazza Armerina, Agrigento, Erice, and Palermo, touring sites that date from Greek civilization on the island, as well as Catholic cathedrals; the world’s most extensive collection of Roman mosaics; and remains of Norman, Phoenician, and Saracen influences. 

After a short flight to Naples, we will admire the world-renowned Veiled Christ statue in the San Severo Chapel Museum, tour the ruins of ancient Pompeii, and savor a ride along the picturesque Amalfi Coast. Three glorious days in the Eternal City will round out our trip. Highlights of our time in Rome will include a guided tour of a guided tour of the Spanish Steps; Trevi Fountain; Navona Square; the Pantheon; the Colosseum; the Roman Forum; and the Basilicas of St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran, and St. Mary Major. The pinnacle of the trip will be Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and noon Angelus with Pope Francis. Interested students should contact Dr. Ines Murzaku with any questions.

What students have to say:

"Words truly cannot describe the feelings that I experienced upon experiencing the Angelus with Pope Francis. The moment that put this trip over the top was being in the presence of the Pope and hearing what he had to say. Pope Francis's blessings, words, and presence that day forever changed my life and made me truly appreciate this trip as a Catholic." - Danielle Federico, '19

"I reflected on my entire Italy study abroad experience throughout my undergraduate education in my prayers. I felt comforted being in the presence of the greatest shrines, relics, and churches in the world." - Nick Cozzerelli, '19

"I could only imagine what things were like when being taught in school and reading books about my Catholic faith. All of that came to life during my study abroad experience in Italy. I realized that my dear Catholic faith has a deep, rich history that I can see and feel while walking the streets of Rome. The experience was uplifting for the mind, heart, and soul. It allowed me to see and feel things in a different light. It changed my perspective." - Jean McArthur, '20

Program-Specific Information

Term: Spring Semester (Spring Break Travel)

Program Dates: March 2 to March 14, 2022

Country: Italy

Program Itinerary: Click here to explore the program!

Course: CAST 3994 Foundations of Christian Culture – Italy (syllabus)
This course is cross listed with CORE 3748, RELS 3208, and HONS Seminar.

Program Fee: $3,950

Housing Accommodations: Hotels

Air Travel: Round-trip air travel is included as part of the program fee, as are connecting flights to and from Sicily. 

DSS Info: Students at Seton Hall University who have a physical, medical, learning or psychiatric disability, either temporary or permanent, may be eligible for reasonable accommodations during their study abroad program. In order to receive such accommodations, students must identify themselves at the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS), provide appropriate documentation and collaborate in the development of an accommodation plan. Students seeking accommodations on a study abroad program, are encouraged to begin the process with the DSS office at least 6 months in advance of the program start date. Click here to learn more.

Faculty Leader

Ines MurzakuDr. Ines Murzaku is Professor of Religion and the Director and Chair of the Catholic Studies Program and Department at Seton Hall University. While her research and teaching have taken her around the world as a visiting professor, a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researcher, a recipient of the SSHRC Grant, and a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar, Dr. Murzaku has a special love for Italy. She earned her doctorate at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, part of the Pontifical Gregorian University Consortium. She has served as a visiting professor at the Universities of Bologna and Calabria in Italy. Her hundreds of publications include dozens of articles about Christian history in Italy, as well as three books specifically about the interaction between Eastern and Western Christianity in Italy, including Life of Saint Neilos of Rossano (1004) (Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University Press 2018) and Italo-Greek Monasticism from St. Neilos to Bessarion (Ashgate-Routledge 2018). Her latest book, Mother Teresa: Saint of the Peripheries (Paulist Press, 2021), provides a sweeping view of St. Mother Teresa's spirituality and influence, frequently focusing on ties to devotions that arose in Italy—spanning from the medieval period to the present day. Dr. Murzaku has worked for or collaborated with the Associated Press, CNN, Voice of America, Relevant Radio, The Catholic Thing, Crux – Taking the Catholic Pulse, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation (Canada), Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, The Record, The Stream, Analyst for Vatican Radio International Programs (Vatican City), and The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN-Rome).