“On my first visit to Rome, some 40 years ago, I fell instantly,
  deeply and lastingly in love.”
Rome: The City of My Soul
On my first visit to Rome, some 40 years ago, I fell instantly, deeply and lastingly in love. Not with a person, but with the city itself. Maybe it was in my blood. My Italian grandmother grew up in a little town in the Sabine Hills north of Romeó this same countryside was the birthplace of the emperor Vespasian. And, years later, I learned from the Oxford Classical Dictionary that my family name hasnít changed a letter in 2,000 years; a jurist named Gaius Trabatius Testa was a contemporary of Julius Caesar. Is it any wonder I feel almost mystically at home in Rome?

After that initial visit I returned to Rome often, at first just for a couple of days between trips to other places where I was engaged in research during my career as a professor of art history at Northern Illinois University.
Finally, in 1992, I studied in Rome for two months, with a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The course, held at the American Academy, was on the development of the city throughout history, and it was during that stay that the layout of Rome started to make sense to me. A few years later I began taking groups of students there for a month-long course and since my retirement I spend 2 or 3 months of each year in Rome, where I now know my way around better than I do in Chicago.

See my Blog page for more about the Eternal City.