As part of the Italian history extension project that began last year, 14 modern history students have just returned from the first home stay trip to Ragusa, Sicily. The students have been working on an innovative project and, along with their counterparts in the Giovan Battista Vico School, have explored the ongoing legacy of Mussolini’s fascist government in Italy. Ragusa is a town that was shaped by fascist rule, undergoing a considerable redevelopment during this period that continues to have a lasting theme through the town’s architecture to this day.
Students were really thrown into the Italian history and culture. Over the four days they went on a tour of the town, studying how the fascists rebuilt it during the dictatorship in the area. In the town hall they saw perfectly preserved murals dedicated to Mussolini that were painted in the 1930s. They attended classes at the school, one about the Cult of Mussolini presented by Professor Giuliana Pieri from Royal Holloway University and another on how the fascists constructed a memory of World War One through the building of war memorials presented by Professor Giancarlo Poidomani from the University of Catania.
The group experienced real life in Ragusa from the families they stayed with and particularly enjoyed the traditional food! One of the highlights was definitely a lunch cooked for them by the Sicilian students!
David Brown, Curriculum Manager for modern history said, “Overall the trip was fantastic! Students' found their studies and the whole experience hugely valuable. Hopefully this will be the first of many trips and the start of a wonderful relationship with the Giovan Battista Vico School.”