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Location & Facilities

The Rome Program Studio is located in the historic center of Rome at the Palazzo Cenci-Bolognetti.

Studio Address
Iowa State University Rome Program
Piazza delle Cinque Scole 23, int. 3
00186 Rome, Italy

View a map of the studio 

All mail for student participants must be sent to the studio address. Students are unable to receive mail at individual apartments.

Student Housing

Apartments in Rome are arranged by the College of Design through Boarding House International. Apartments will be located in the area of Via Ippolito Nievo in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome.

Housing costs are charged to the Rome Program in euros and will appear on the U-bill as an amount that has been converted to dollars, which will depend on the constantly fluctuating exchange rate between the euro and the dollar. Housing costs are €25/day for each student (for programs under 30 days it is €30-38/day/student). Actual housing costs after all deposits and payments are made could be higher or lower than what is stated in the estimated budget. Sometimes fluctuating exchange rates require the college to make a second smaller charge to the U-bill to accurately reflect the total amount charged to the program. Regardless of the estimate stated, the U-bill will be charged the actual housing cost.

The college also charges each student an escrow until the cost of utilities is determined for each apartment after the semester. The apartment rent daily rate already includes up to €250/apartment/month in utilities costs. If the utilities costs exceed that amount, students will have a deduction made from the escrow. If the total exceeds the escrow, the additional cost will appear on the U-bill as a separate charge.

The escrow is also for potential damages and housing provider procedure violations. If a student causes damages to the apartment or to the studio, the cost will be deducted from the escrow of the responsible student. If no one accepts responsibility for apartment damages or housing provider procedure violations, all students in that apartment will be charged equally. If no one accepts responsibility for studio damages, all students will be charged equally. The housing provider will give a list of procedures, violation charges and replacement costs for damages to students. If the total exceeds the escrow, the additional cost will appear on the U-bill as a separate charge. If no additional costs for utilities, damages or procedure violations are incurred, the escrow will be refunded in full to the U-bill after the end of the term.

You will be provided with information about your housing options in the semester prior to the program. You will be asked to organize yourselves into groups according to the number of apartments and how many beds are available in each. Typically, apartments accommodate six or eight students. Apartments will be distributed on the basis of student preferences whenever possible, and flexibility on everyone’s part will make the distribution process run much more smoothly.

All of the apartments are furnished and come supplied with dishes, cooking equipment, towels and linens. Of course, if you are particular about the quality of the linens you use, you can choose to bring basic twin bed sheets and a towel. Ikea is also a popular choice where students purchase extra items after arrival. Note that having your own towel is advantageous when traveling outside of Italy, as those in hotels, if provided at all, seem to get smaller the further east you travel. Washcloths, or face cloths as we know them, are provided by BH International, but as a general rule these small towels do not exist in Italy.

A Brief History of the Palazzo Cenci Bolognetti

By Dr. Patricia Osmond de Martino

Palazzo Cenci Bolognetti, in which our ISU College of Design Rome Program is located, is, like the city of Rome itself, the result of several layers of history and numerous transformations. In its present appearance it dates mostly to the period from the late 16th to the late 17th century, when it was built on and around a cluster of medieval houses and towers, constructed, in turn, on an artificial mound of Roman ruins, known as monte dei Cenci.

In the 14th century, much of the area around the little hill or monte was already the property of the Cenci family, and documents of the 15th century describe a large family house or domus magna paterna. In the late 1500s the older part of this domus, facing onto the piazzetta del Monte Cenci, acquired a new, more orderly facade, and in the same period the family church of S. Tommaso was restored and frescoed. Finally, in the 17th century the palazzo, which in the meantime had been extended along one side of the present Piazza delle Cinque Scole, a large market area bordering the Ghetto, was enhanced with a new facade. Later in the same century the magnificent spiral staircase was built to a design by Giovanni Antonio De Rossi (1679-1688), the architect of Palazzo Altieri.

In the early 18th century, Virginio Cenci, through his marriage to Maria Anna Bolognetti, became heir to the properties and titles of the Bolognetti, principi of Vicovaro and marchesi of Roccapriora, and the names of the two families are inscribed over the main door. The last heir of the family left most of the palazzo to the Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, a scientific research institute connected with the Institut Pasteur in Paris and the University of Rome.

The Cenci had accumulated their wealth through trade and banking, and, thanks to papal connections and positions in the Curia, they also acquired vast properties outside the city and titles of nobility. By the late 16th century, the family consisted of four branches, and over 200 members of the family, household and servants occupied several palazzi encircling the monte de Cenci.

One notorius member of the family was Francesco Cenci, remembered not only for rebuilding much of the palazzo on the piazzetta Monte Cenci and for restoring the church of S. Tommaso, but also as the father of Beatrice Cenci, who, in September 1598, plotted with her brother, stepmother, and two accomplices, to murder him at the family castle of Petrella Salto, northeast of Rome. A man already convicted on numerous charges of assault, rape and murder, Francesco had terrorized and brutalized his own children and wife, but Pope Clement VIII refused to grant the assassins a pardon. After being imprisoned in Castel Sant’Angelo, Beatrice was executed in 1599, along with her brother and stepmother.

From then on, the tragic figure of the young Beatrice, only 18 years old, has inspired stories in literature, art and cinema, from the celebrated portrait ascribed to Guido Reni to Percy Bysshe Shelly’s The Cenci, Stendhal’s Les Cenci, and a long series of Italian and French films of the last century, combining facts and fantasy, legend and history.

Bibliography: Mario Bevilacqua, Il Monte dei Cenci (Rome, 1988); Guide rionali di Roma. Rione VII- Regola, pt.1 (Rome, 1980); Beatrice Cenci: la storia il mito (Rome, 1999). (PJO, VIII-05)

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