University of Notre Dame

Italian Studies


Rome Seminar 2012


An International Summer Seminar on the Cinema and the City

Rome, 11-28 June 2012


The close relationship between Rome and the cinema is well known. Like other iconic cities, Rome has served as an enthralling setting for many Italian and non-Italian films. In addition, for much of the last century, it has been the center of Italian film production and distribution. The University of Notre Dame's Rome Summer Seminar,  co-sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and Italian Studies at Notre Dame, intends to explore several key strands of the complex ties that bind Rome to the cinema. The aim is to assess the ways in which film genres and traditions (comedy, the fantastic, silent and popular cinema, realism) have addressed and represented Rome. Alongside formalist, ideological and historical analysis, the seminar investigates key issues that are closely associated with the city and its depiction (and which are not exclusively the concern of the cinema): memory, gender, urbanism and tourism. Finally, the seminar considers the connection between Rome and cinematic audiences. The overarching goal of the seminar, as its subtitle suggests, is to assess the treatment of Rome within the broader theoretical and cultural debate of the representation of urban place and space in cinema. The emphasis is not so much on individual film directors’ reactions to the city, but on the ways in which the cinematic representation of Rome cuts across different periods, genres, themes and interests. The focus is thus firmly on the films, whether individually or as part of a group, whether produced in Italy or elsewhere.

The seminar is organized into ten sessions (urbanism, tourism, memory, gendered space, silent cinema, popular cinema, comedy, fantasy and reality, audiences, the landscapes of Italy). A day is dedicated to each topic; and a specialist in the particular field leads each seminar.

All lectures were held in Villa Mirafiori, in via Carlo Fea 2, unless otherwise indicated.


Week 1

Week 2

  • Monday, June 18
  • Tuesday, June 19
    • 9:30am-1:30pm - Silent Cinema: John Welle (Notre Dame)
  • Wednesday, June 20 - At the British School in Rome
    • 9:30am-1:30pm  - Urbanism: John David Rhodes (Sussex) 
    • 4:30pm - Public Lecture: “What does Antonioni tell us about Rome?” by Jacopo Benci (British Schoool in Rome) 
  • Thursday, June 21
    • 10:00am-12:00pm - Discussion Section
  • Friday, June 22 - At the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
    • 10:00am-12:00pm - "Giorni di gloria" (Luchino Visconti ,Giuseppe De Santis, Gianni Puccini)

Week 3

  • Monday, June 25
    • 9:30am-1:30pm - Memory: Noa Steimatsky (Chicago)
    • 4:30pm - Public Lecture: “CineRoma: The city as cinematic palimpsest,” by James Collins (Notre Dame)
      • Reception to follow
  • Tuesday, June 26
  • Wednesday, June 27

Individual participants were able to discuss issues with seminar leaders during specially arranged ‘office hours’.


In addition to the seminars, there were three lectures relating to Rome and the cinema:

  • A conversation with Nanni Moretti, time and location to be determined
  • Wednesday, June 13 - Giovanni Ragone (Rome),  "Il neorealismo attraversa Roma"
  • Wednesday, June 20 - Jacopo Benci (British Schoool in Rome), “What does Antonioni tell us about Rome?”
  • Monday, June 25 - James Collins (Notre Dame), “CineRoma: The city as cinematic palimpsest”

The languages of the seminar are English and Italian. A distinguished group of advanced graduate students and faculty joined us for the 2012 Rome Seminar.