Kent in Rome Events 22nd and 23rd March 2017

Kent has one of the highest concentrations of PhD students studying the Roman world in the UK, much of their work is focused on ancient Rome. At the same time, Kent has also undertaken fieldwork at the very centre of Rome, and is developing new projects, such as studying the Tiber, as well as anticipating exhibitions celebrating the life of the artist Raphael.

On Wednesday 22 March, guest are invited to attend a special event at the gallery Academia Nazionale di San Luca.

There will be presentations from a number of Kent PhD students in Classical and Archaeological Studies within the gallery specifically showcasing new research on ancient Rome ranging from the building of bridges over the Tiber, the social life of bars, the Christianisation of the family to the end of Rome’s pagan temples, whilst bringing us up to date with the study of cultural heritage in Testaccio. Prospective students will also be in attendance to find out more about the University.

On Thursday 23 March there will be a unique opportunity to take part in guided tours in central Rome from 10.00 to 15.30 with special stops along the way.

These tours will be led by Kent PhD students in Classical and Archaeological Studies studying at the University of Kent in Rome. Each PhD student will lead a tour to some of the sights of Rome which play a prominent role towards inspiring our PhD students’ theses including topics such as ‘Sounds and Smells in the Bars of Ancient Rome’ and ‘Commemorating the Dead – Inscriptions in the Capitoline Museums’.

Tours link:…/rome–excursion–23-march-2017


Italian Renaissance Document Site now open


The Italian Renaissance Document Site (IRDS) has been launched at With support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation’s Digital Resources Grant Program, this website makes available full transcriptions of primary documentation for ten Italian Renaissance artists: Piero della Francesca, Benozzo Gozzoli, Benedetto Bonfigli, Pietro Perugino, Bartolomeo della Gatta, Luca Signorelli, Giovanni Santi, Francesco di Giorgio, Neroccio de’ Landi, and Raphael. It has an English and an Italian language version, and every document is accompanied by details of its location and a basic bibliography, acknowledging the transcription author as appropriate (in some cases transcriptions have been supplied, in others published transcriptions have been followed, and the project team were also responsible for numerous new transcriptions or for revising published transcriptions from the original). There is a full-text search facility, and the increased richness of the database allows students and researchers to make connections in this documentation more easily than before. The flexibility also allows for documents to be added, or transcriptions corrected, in the future and there are plans to add photographs and possibly translations, as well as to extend the number of artists included.

This project has been directed by Tom Henry, Professor of History of Art at the University of Kent and Director of the University of Kent, Rome. Three researchers have worked on the project: Margherita Cinti, Matteo Mazzalupi and Valentina Ricci-Vitiani.


Sky Arts Docudrama features Professor Tom Henry

Tom Henry, Professor of History of Art and Director of University of Kent in Rome, was interviewed on Sky Arts’s docudrama ‘Raphael: In Search Of Beauty’: . Raphael’s enduring fascination prompted the documentary’s investigations into the sources of his art. With footage of some of his greatest works, the programme ranged from recent documentary research to imaginative interpretations of the artist’s interests (and loves).


European Summer Schools success

The European Summer Schools at the University’s centres in Paris and Brussels have just taken place for the fourth time since they were first created in 2013 as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations.


Scholarships were awarded to Kent Undergraduate students and external applicants to spend a fortnight participating in academic sessions and cultural activities in these two major European capital cities.

Students in Brussels studied on the theme of ‘Europe and the World’ benefitting from dynamic sessions including those on International Migration, European Neighbourhood Policy and a discussion with a member of the British Embassy on the EU referendum result and the future of the EU.

Students also had the chance to visit the European Parliament to discuss the EU with a current MEP, as well as to take part in an all-day guided tour of the battlefields of WW1 in Ypres, Flanders. Here, students learned about the human cost and political impact of the First World War and discovered how it helped to shape today’s Europe.

Students in Paris studied on the theme of ‘Revolutions’ immersing themselves in French culture by exploring the city’s art, architecture, film, drama, writing and philosophy. Through a series of interconnected lectures and excursions guided by academic specialists, students visited a wide range of culturally and historically significant sites including the Pompidou centre, Versailles and Picasso Museum.

At the end of the Summer School, the students had developed close friendships with each other and had gained analytical and intercultural skills that they can take with them into their studies and out into the job market. The programme has also helped to promote Kent’s European Centres.

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the generosity of the programme’s sponsors, including Student Project Funds.

Sophie Punt, Academic Division

Kent’s Hi-Tech Archaeologists are working in Rome


A team of postgraduates are collecting new data in the Markets of Trajan adjacent to the Imperial Forum built by Trajan in the second century AD.


The data is collected with a portable Xray Flouresence (pXRF) analyser. This provides indications of the geo-chemical composition of paving stones from the site.  In turn, this will allow researchers at the University of Kent to establish from which lava flow the stone was quarried.  The machine is placed on each paving-stone for 90 seconds without any damage or destruction to the material.

Two PhD students taking part in this work, Julia Peters and Catherine Hoggarth, studied for their MAs in Rome, whilst Tabitha Rose is currently taking the MA. They will be working alongside a geologist, Mike Worthing and Lloyd Bosworth – the Department’s Archaeology Technician.

The project is led by Professor Ray Laurence and informs his research on Roman roads in Italy. His previous publications on this topic include The Roads of Roman Italy: Mobility and Cultural Change.

Professor Laurence commented: This work will provide us with new insights into the pattern of supply of stone for paving the streets of Rome.  The team has worked hard to calibrate the equipment to replicate in the field, what might only be achieved in a large laboratory or via the destruction of archaeological materials. pXRF is a neat solution to provide a lot of data quickly using a small team.

Kent in Rome – Raphael events 2016


To coincide with the death of Raphael 496 years ago, the University of Kent held one of its annual European alumni events at the American University of Rome (AUR) on Wednesday 6 April 2016. This event was the second of a planned series of annual workshops building up to the 500th anniversary celebrations of Raphael’s death in 2020.

Two events took place at the University of Kent in Rome in April 2016; the first was a lecture delivered by Professor Arnold Nesselrath to mark the 496th anniversary of Raphael’s death, which presented the principal findings of the 30 year restoration campaign that he oversaw in the Raphael Stanze. This was then followed by a drinks reception. The next day, our Academic Director of Rome programmes, Professor Tom Henry, organised a study excursion to Tivoli for MA staff and students of Art History and Classics courses to mark the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s visit to Tivoli in April 1516. The study excursion visited the Sanctuary of Hercules Victor, the Villa d’Este and the Villa Adriana before returning to central Rome.

Professor Arnold Nesselrath’s lecture entitled “In the light of Raphael” focussed on how Raphael made use of light in different ways to convey emotion and depth. The lecture was well attended by AUR staff and students, alumni and University of Kent staff and was followed by a drinks and canape reception in the garden of AUR. This presented an excellent networking opportunity for guests to mingle and discuss the lecture over some delicious Roman catering!

The following day, the study excursion saw 35 students and staff board the coach to Tivoli, a city north-east of Rome. The first site we visited was the Sanctuary of Hercules Victor, only recently opened to the public in May 2015, located at the foot of Tivoli. Within the 3,000 square meters of the sanctuary is a large sacred area in the shape of a square, a theatre, and a temple which originally housed the statue of Hercules. The group then went on to the Villa d’Este, a Renaissance palace with stunning gardens and water fountains, which was originally built in 1550 for Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, the son of Lucrezia Borgia and Alfonso d’Este. The garden is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its significance in the history of garden design, and its fountains find acclaim worldwide.

At this point, the group stopped for lunch at the Ristorante Sibilla, beside the Temple of Vesta. Lunch was served al fresco under a canopy of wisteria, looking out over the falls of the Aniene river in the blazing sunshine. Afterwards, the group walked around the Temple of Vesta and saw beautiful panoramic views down to the Villa Gregoriana. Our last visit was to the Villa Adriana, the site chosen by Emperor Hadrian for a huge palace set in acres of countryside. The group wandered around the extensive ruins which included a theatre, a stadium, many water features and thermal baths. Perhaps the most awe-inspiring site was the Canopus- a large rectangular pool measuring 121.4 metres long by 18 metres wide. The pool gained its name from an island in the Nile in Egypt that was the sanctuary of Serapis, the god of the Underworld, and is surrounded by chalk replicas of the original Roman copies of Greek sculptures from the Severa age.


Both the lecture and study excursion attracted a number of academics from various institutions, which provided a valuable opportunity for students and indeed staff to discuss what Raphael would have seen on his visit to Tivoli. Each location throughout the study excursion prompted a new area of discussion and encouraged future collaborations between AUR and the University of Kent; such as developing studies in Renaissance Art and Classics programmes.

Dr Philippa Jackson wrote that “the mixture of expertise of the professors, the ability to discuss across humanistic disciplines and periods, and the enthusiasm of all was an exemplary example of the importance of site visits and time for discussion which have always aided the development of such studies. As a cultural historian I was particularly interested in the archaeological knowledge imparted and a chance to discuss matters of the Renaissance in the light of the classical past. I would like to thank everyone involved in the arrangement of the lecture at the American university and the trip to Tivoli.”

Arrivederci Roma

Arrivederci Roma

The University of Kent in Rome Spring Term is over and we’ve said our goodbyes after a fabulous 12 weeks in Rome. Our 12 students were quickly into their strides with lectures and visits. We started all together in the Forum, and we ended all together at Tivoli – lunch under the purple wisteria at the Temple of Sibilla was spectacular (watch out for the video once it has been edited and uploaded on the Kent in Rome website!).

The Ancient Historians and Archaeologists were often in the Forum, and had been out to Tivoli earlier in the term with Dr Valerie Higgins, so they were well prepared. Prof Ray Laurence had also arranged a series of other visits, and they all attended the Roman Archaeology Conference in March.


Prof. Ray Laurence teaching in the Forum

Meanwhile the Art Historians had some astonishing visits: to the restoration scaffolds in front of Raphael’s frescoes in the Sala di Costantino in the Vatican, and to Raphael’s loggia and the Cappella Niccolina (all usually off-limits and all thanks to Prof Arnold Nesselrath), as well as to the rest of the Vatican Museums. We visited so many museums and churches and exhibitions across Rome, and the students’ end of term presentations in the church of S.M. della Pace were exemplary. Visits out of Rome to Ostia, Orvieto, Spello, Perugia and Florence were memorable, as was Kate Ganz’s tour of the Palazzo Farnese.


Prof. Tom Henry teaching ‘Raphael’ in the Vatican Museums

At the end of term Kent in Rome hosted a lecture by Prof. Arnold Nesselrath ‘In the light of Raphael’ and a study visit to Tivoli, 496 years after Raphael’s visit with Castiglione, Bembo and others. This visit – see also the report at – brought together students from all of our programmes, together with academics spanning the range of areas that we teach in order to create a dialogue between the Ancient Historians, Archaeologists and Art Historians.

We’ll be back in January 2017 with a new cohort of students, but for now, in the words of the song, it is: Arrivederci Roma!

Prof. T.F.K. Henry

Professor of History of Art

Director, University of Kent, Rome


The Art Historians in Ostia with Dr. Claudia La Malfa


Art History trip to Florence

The Rome MA History of Art students spent two days in late February racing around Florence in the company of Prof Tom Henry (Academic Director, Kent in Rome) and Dr Claire Van Cleave (independent Raphael scholar). They tracked down where Raphael is said to have lived when in the city, the original locations of his paintings and of the many works of art he studied whilst there. The question repeatedly asked was ‘What would Raphael have seen when he came through that door?’. Everyone got stuck in to a deeply thought-provoking discussion.



Kent’s Academic Director for Rome guest speaker on Italian Radio

On Sunday 14 February Professor Tom Henry discussed Luca Signorelli’s Lamentation over the Dead Christ in Cortona on RAI 3 (Italian state radio) in a series entitled the Museo Nazionale. Links follow below (n.b. this programme is in Italian). The short English summary is that this picture, in which the figure of Christ may have been based on the artist’s drawing after his adult son, assumed special importance to Signorelli after his son’s death later that year.

The programme

And the podcast