Interview with Dr. Flaminio DiBiagi
How long have you been with Loyola?
I have been with Loyola Rome Center since 1989, a time when I had just returned to Rome from many years spent in US as a student and resident. So it is more than 23 years ago.
What courses do you teach at the JFRC?
I began teaching just one class of elementary Italian. Then I was given two classes. Then the JFRC Director asked me if I could teach a film class. Eventually I was offered a full-time position, and I now teach History of Film and Literature courses. When possible I write; then publish a book on cinema or literature.
Why is teaching at the JFRC so important to you? Why should other profs experience it?
Teaching in an American program abroad has been the most important part of my life simply because it is a gift to be around young minds that are experiencing learning, living abroad, meeting new cultures, traveling Europe and changing drastically at the same time.
How has teaching at the JFRC benefited you? Are you a better professor because of it?
A teacher will not fully enjoy the luck and strength of being an educator until s/he is exposed to such a unique environment as a program abroad, which is what JFRC does.
Why do you think it is so important for a student to study abroad?
Teaching at JFRC demands you to be alert and better, as an academic and as a person. By studying abroad students (but teachers as well) are forced to react/think faster, move in multiple directions, constantly be curious, update one’s culture and knowledge, and possibly reconsider values and priorities.
What is your favorite part about Rome?
My favorite part of Rome is still Trastevere with its alleys. It changed dramatically over the years: no longer working-class, sometimes feels like a tourist trap, yet it has its own flavor.
What is your favorite spot in Rome?
My favorite spot in Rome is the Gianicolo hill, with the statue of Garibaldi’s wife (Anita) on one side and the best panoramic view of the Eternal City on the other. But I really like the old Jewish ghetto, or the Tiberina Island, or the meadows of Villa Pamphili.
Give us a recommendation for the best spot to eat in Rome. And why?
No fancy restaurants, only my favorite pizza joint, at the beginning of Viale Trastevere. I do not know its name because Romans just call it “the morgue” for its barren marble tables!
What is a fun fact about you?
Fun facts? I still suffer “boredom attacks”, whereas I believed they were a problem of adolescence that one could leave behind with maturity. Yet, sometimes I watch the ceiling changing colors as the day goes by. I never sit when I’m teaching. I miss good NY cheesecake. Don’t ask me questions if you only have just one minute for the answer!
Is there anything you would like to tell students or other faculty members who haven't had the chance to study/teach at the JFRC?
Teaching or studying at JFRC definitely possesses a superior quality to it: often most people here are simply more “open” and not as “dutifully busy” as back in the States (not as many obligations, ties, limits, fears as back home), they usually have more time to analyze, experience, travel, discuss, read, watch: that makes a higher potential for fun, personal improvement, and intellectual mobility and growth!
Flaminio Di Biagi, Rome 2012