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Eleven students at the Polytechnic University took the opportunity to travel to Italy to complement
their cultural studies about the country with practical workshops in Mediterranean sculpture and cuisine

Rome, Italy, October 5, 2012 – Establishing professional and educational ties in the Eastern Hemisphere, eleven students from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR) crossed the Atlantic Ocean for a summer educational and cultural trip to Italy.

This student trip, organized by the Department of Social and Humanistic Studies and endorsed by the PUPR, is part of the dynamic academic curriculum offered during the summer session. During class in Puerto Rico, the students studied about the history, architecture, archeology, culture and customs of the places planned to visit in Italy. Then, students Hyram Rivera, Keissa Morales, Jean de Jesus, Luis Hernandez, Hector Velazquez, Andrés Muñis, Chris Franco, Paola Rivera, Felix Padua, Juan Diaz and Karen Diaz, led by Prof. Dominique Forina, met with Prof. Giovanni Cancellaro for a cultural exchange between the two nations, and two-week giro di Italia. During their stay, the students took Mediterranean sculpture and cuisine workshops, and continued to practice their Italian lessons.

Some of the sites visited included: the City of Rome; the Roman Coliseum; the Imperial Forums; the Pantheon; the Piazza Barberini and the famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini fountains; the Vatican; the Sistine Chapel; the towns of Amalfi and Positano in the Costiera Amalfitana; the Isle of Capri, the Grotta Azzurra and the Coral Grotto; the restored Abbey of Monte Cassino; the Il Vulcano Buono shopping mall and leisure center; the museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci; the archaeological site of Pompeii; the Baptistery Paleocristiano of 309, where the first Christians were baptized; the Cathedral of St. Andrea, starting point of the Crusades; the Salerno Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Matthew; the City of Salerno and its marine, currently under construction, and designed by architects Bofill, Calatrava and Zaha Hadid; the Temples of Magna Graecia in Paestum; the medieval village of Padula, where the Charterhouse of San Lorenzo is.

“It was in the ‘Certosa di San Lorenzo di Padula’ in 1310 where the first scientific studies of physics, botany, medicine, astronomy and mathematics began,” said Prof. Forina. “For this reason the Certosa kept secret for 260 years, its famous Library, known as the Forbidden Library. The director of the Cultural Heritage of the Campania granted us permission to access the Forbidden Library, its spiral staircase, and its famous underground of the Knights Templar, which are closed to the public.”

Other research topics of the course were: Italy’s major agricultural products; contemporary Italian industries, such as Ferrari, Fiat, Maserati and Lamborghini; famous Italian songwriters, such as Verdi, Vivaldi, Enrico Caruso and Pavarotti; Italian cinema; and relevant characters of Italian history, such as Giuseppe Garibaldi, Camillo di Cavour Conte, and the kings of the House of Savoy. The students got to live some of their historical lessons, participating in festivities, dressed in Roman and medieval costumes.

“We hope to renew this wonderful summer experience in July 2013, adding paint and ceramic processing on the Amalfi Coast with the ceramist of Vietri sul Mare, Giuseppe Bisogno,” said Prof. Forina. “In addition, we plan to offer cooking workshops led by the president of the Order of Campania chefs, Alfonso Benincasa, in his own restaurant/school, Paon D'orè.”

This student trip was organized by the Department of Social and Humanistic Studies and endorsed by the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. For more information on these and other opportunities to study abroad, contact the Department of Socio- Humanistic Studies at 787-622-8000 ext. 230 or Prof. Dominique Forina at 787-645-4173.

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