Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

Study Trips: Spring 2016

Ostia Antica & The Catacombs

6 February

The beautifully preserved ruins of Ostia Antica, Rome’s ancient seaport, lie twenty miles from the modern metropolis, in the meadows between the Tiber River and the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was founded, probably in the 4th century BC, as a military colony to guard the river mouth against seaborne invasions. Later, during the centuries when virtually all imports reached the Capital via the Tiber, Ostia gained prominence as the domestic landing for cargo boats. By the 2nd century AD, it had become a flourishing commercial center inhabited by upwards of 100,000 people, whose apartment buildings, taverns, and grocery shops are still intact. This day-long study trip will include a guided tour of the ruins and catacombs of this ancient city.

Estimated Cost: €35* (The cost includes bus transportation to and from Ostia, tours, and a meal.)



19-21 February

To bring the month of February to a close, SLA Elly will be leading a group of students to Sicily. Professor and Dean of Faculty, Dr. Sander Evers will provide lectures to students on archaeological treasures left by the Greeks and Romans. These archaeological treasures include an acropolis, an agora, and numerous temples in the city of Selinunte. The ruins have lain abandoned along the Mediterranean Sea for over 2,000 years. Another highlight of the trip is a visit to the Temple of the Olympian, Zeus, in the Valle dei Templi. A former student said, “this trip was literally a perfect combination of fun, academics, and peace.”

Estimated Cost: €280 


Italian Invasion and Roman Resistance in World War II

27-28 February

Learn about the role of Rome and Italy in World War II history from two distinguished JFRC alumni – historian Phil O’Connor, PhD, and former West Point instructor Jim Centner. Students will visit several historically significant sites World War II Italy. These two daytrips include visits to Anzio and Nettuno, and areas of Rome not seen by the average tourist. During the visit to Anzio and Nettuno, students will see the US Military Cemetery and understand what young American men and women did during the Italian Invasion. In Rome, students will hear about the Roman Resistance, visiting the site of an attack against Nazis at Via Rasella. Other visits include the former Gestapo Headquarters and the Fosse Ardeatine – caves just outside the city where 335 Roman civilians were executed by the Nazis as a reprisal for the Partisan attacks on Via Rasella.

During both days, outstanding meals will provide an opportunity to discuss what was seen and a chance to get to know Phil and Jim, the two very generous sponsors and leaders of the trips. Students can also review Phil’s publication specifically designed for this trip – A Loyola Rome Student’s Guide to World War II in Rome & Italy.

Estimated Cost: €50 or €25/day (Cost includes all bus transportation and lunch for both days. Although students can sign up for one day, they are strongly encouraged to attend both days. This cost is to be paid in full at time of registration.)



4-13 March (Spring Break)

Tour Guide Philippi

This journey takes you off the beaten track through northern Greece to discover and experience a region at the crossroads between east and west – following in the footsteps of legendary figures such as Alexander the Great and St Paul while visiting historic sites and places of extraordinary natural beauty along the way.  Our journey begins in Thessaloniki, the cultural capital of the north where we shall travel through the ages and empires visiting monuments from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras. We follow in the footsteps of St. Paul and read from his letters to the Philippians in the ancient city where he preached and further westwards to the charming town of Xanthi with its cobbled streets, mosques and 19th century mansions. We will follow the Via Egnatia, the ancient Roman road the to the birthplace of Alexander the Great in Pella, and to Vergina where his family is buried with its remarkable golden treasures. We will trek to lovely waterfalls in Edessa and through the ethereal landscape of Meteora’s orthodox monasteries precariously perched on extraordinary rock formations. While staying near the village of Litohoro in the luxurious seaside Cavo Olympo we will hike to the home of the gods on Mythical Mount Olympus, with its sheer rocky peaks and dense forests and visit the Castle of Platamonas with its dramatic vistas over the Thermaic Gulf. For those who love food and wine you are also in for some wonderful gastronomic experiences with many multicourse meals to introduce you to the best of traditional Greek cuisine as well as wine tastings through Naoussa, one of the most important wine regions in the country. From museums to mountains, temples to taverns our peregrinations lead us through historic regions for onsite guided lectures where the line between history, myth and legend is blurred, leaving ample time to roam and explore on your own as well.

*This itinerary has been created for students and travelers seeking deeper insights into the many diverse aspects of Greek culture seldom experienced by undiscerning holiday tourists. The 10-day trip is lead by two Loyola professors and Oxford graduates: Dr. Sander Evers, ancient historian and dean at JFRC and Dr. Ioanna Kopsiafti art historian, food and travel writer and sommelier (the latter living in Greece for the last 15 years). They have been organizing and leading JFRC study breaks together for almost a decade.  

Estimated Cost: €1,200 


Best of Western Balkans 

5-11 March (Spring Break)

The frequently referred to “Western Balkans,” bordering the Adriatic Sea, includes the countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Croatia. This Spring Break, take a fascinating in-depth exploration featuring the “Best of the Western Balkans” into the countries of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our exploration starts in Belgrade, Serbia with a few days of escorted tours with a friendly local hand guiding our way. During our explorations in Belgrade we visit the Niokla Tesla Museum and focus on his global contributions as a Serbian American. We continue a recount of overlooked global history with a trip to Novi Sad to explore churches and fortresses that were once home to three civilizations – those of Christian East and of Christian West and of Islam. The exploration continues to the cities of Sarajevo and Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This study trip allows you to tread lightly and support smaller industries, giving you a deeper personal understanding of the history, culture and greatness of these stunning countries.

Estimated Cost: €660  Maximum of 16 students (Includes airfare to Belgrade, lodging accommodations, ground transportation, group meals, entrance fees and tour services.)


Assisi Pilgrimage

2 April


Once a semester, the JFRC community loads onto a bus, and heads up to Assisi for a day of prayer, reflection, and a look into the lives of Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi. The pilgrimage takes students through the Basilica of St. Francis, where they are given an opportunity to visit and pray at his grave. From there, they have the opportunity to visit the San Damiano Cross, and visit St. Clare’s childhood home. The pilgrimage ends at Santa Maria Degli Angeli, which houses the Porziuncola, the humble chapel that contained the beginnings of the Franciscan order. The night concludes with a delicious dinner at a local agriturismo, where the community is able to celebrate the day. Throughout the day, the community prays the Divine Office. 


Estimated Cost: €35 (Includes transportation, guided tour of the Basilica of St. Francis, and dinner)



8-10 April


From April 8-10 students will have the opportunity to come face to face with the refugee influx entering Western Europe through Malta. Since 2004, nearly 18,000 migrants coming from war-torn countries like Somalia, Eritrea, and Syria, have applied for refugee status in Malta, of which, just over 50% have been granted subsidiary refugee status. During the weekend, students will work closely with representatives from the Jesuit Refugee Service, participating in a variety of site visits, refugee meet-and-greets, a service project, and culminating in a mass with the refugees. Students will stay in a 3 star hotel in the Maltese capital, Valletta. Trip costs include flight, lodging, on-site transportation, and 2 meals a day. 


Estimated Cost: TBA