Life in Amelia, Life Without Net

Posted on July 12, 2010


I’ve been slow to post over the past month because I’m in Amelia, Italy, participating in the ARCA Masters program in international art crime.  The internet is spotty at best, and when I am online it’s hard to get up to date on all the news. But I have met some amazing people who have really gotten my brain going about antiquities law and the like.  So I am looking forward to getting back to reliable internet and a little more free time in a month and have lots of ideas for upcoming posts.  I have not forgotten you, dearest CPAL readers.

One of the young ladies in the program wrote the following Week 3 synopsis, describing the coursework that week and a little party we had with Tom Flynn (pictured with yours truly at right), who I’ve raved about on this blog in the past.  It’s been great to put faces to internet personalities!  To give you a little insight into life here in Amelia, here is Renee Doucette’s synopsis of her experience in Week 3 of the ARCA Masters program…

Our assignment this week for our course in Criminology led by Edgar Tijhuis was to make a presentation, and we had three choices. We could talk about a crime case, organized crime, or create our own crime as if we were the thief. It was interesting to listen to presentations about everything from book thieves to antiquities trafficking. Learning about various areas of criminology is important when studying art crime because art criminals are often different from the criminals who commit non-art related offenses. The subject was new for the majority of the people in the room, and there was a lot of information to process, so by Thursday night with the presentations out of the way, it was time to unwind.

Thursdays in Amelia present a complication for the ARCA students. Every Thursday night, this quaint Italian town pulls down the metal security gates and closes up shop for the night. To combat this frustrating dilemma, this week we had a party. One of the students in the program, who works as a maritime conservator, had friends visiting from Belgium this week. One of these friends happens to be a designer chef. The chef offered to make appetizers at this Thursday night social gathering held at Tom Flynn’s apartment.

The apartment where the evening’s festivities were held was beautiful. Located within the walls of the old city, this professor’s particular living quarters features a big sit-in kitchen, a wonderful sitting room, and a balcony overlooking the west side of the town. In the main sitting room, the high ceiling is painted in a trompe l’oeil fresco style. It was an ideal room for a low-key Thursday night get-together in Italy. We watched the sun set while sipping on red wine and laughing over a fellow student’s presentation, made earlier in the day, in which she described in witty detail how she would go about the theft of a church reliquary.

The highlight of the evening was not the food, though it was delicious, or even the view, though it was breathe-taking, but instead, in true salon style, it was music. One ARCA student treated us to an impromptu concert by playing songs on her violin. Another student jumped in to accompany the violin with some Irish step dancing, as she was once a professional step dancer who performed with Riverdance.  Later in the night, the violin was picked up again. This time it was to accompany another student’s beautiful voice for a song. It is so great to be among so many talented people in this program. It just goes to show, do not be discouraged when the whole Italian town closes for the night because ARCA students bring the entertainment with them.