Any time in the Fall and Spring semester is great to have visitors! The weather is nice and sunny in the earlier part of the fall and the later part of the spring. Generally students have a two-week Christmas and Easter break, which is always a great time to have friends and family visit them; however, if students plan on traveling during their two-week break, then it will be better for parents or friends to come at other times during the semester.
Plenty! You are in Rome! The city itself is a laboratory of so much history and culture. We strongly encourage you to discover Rome: Visit museums, monuments, art galleries and churches, and integrate into the local life. Travel by train to the many beautiful towns and cities around Italy.
We have a whole bookshelf of travel books in our computer lab area where you can get information about Rome and other places in Italy or Europe. Many students in the past have done a great deal of traveling over their Christmas or Easter break. You can find a lot of info (i.e., flight deals, traveling sites, hotels, etc.) online. This will be a great experience for you to learn how to book flights, find good deals on airfares, reserve a hotel, find cool places to eat and sleep, etc. on your own. We can also recommend a travel agency or travel Web sites to you.
There is an ancient tradition in Rome of attending each of the different station churches throughout the season of Lent. Each day of Lent, the North American College sponsors a Mass in English at the specified church for that day (a mass in Italian usually occurs in the afternoon). The English masses often start quite early but for those who are willing to wake up a little earlier, it is a wonderful way to celebrate Lent and to see some of the most beautiful and most ancient churches in Rome, some of which are only open during this liturgical season. Mass is always finished with plenty of time to get to grab a quick breakfast and get to class in time. More information can be found on the North American Collge website.
The cheapest way to travel the streets of Rome is to walk! Romans walk everywhere and it is by far the best way to take in all that Rome has to offer. A student can typically walk to St. Peter's Square in about 20 minutes from Bernardi and the walk to the Angelicum is about 40 minutes. Alternatively, Metro passes are €1 per ride or the monthly metro pass costs €30, whether or not you are a student. The metro pass student discount is only for the Italian students. The Metro system makes getting to the farther locations in Rome very easy. The closests Metro stop to Bernardi is "Lepanto".
There is tyically one or two students assigned by the Director each semester to handle the ticket requests. These students will either visit or send an email to Casa Santa Maria to place orders for tickets to papal events such as the Wednesday morning audiences, Christmas or Easter masses at St. Peter's Basillica, and other special events. Each student will be responsible for communicating with the designated person for obtaining a ticket to these events. Tickets are usually free but must be requested in advance.