Consider now an opportunity to be a visiting scholar in Rome, more specifically, at the American Academy:
A few years ago I took a sort of leave of absence from my employer. For three months I was in Chicago, and I taught an online course on the topic of XML. For three more months, I was in Philadelphia where I studied Italian, went to drawing classes, and performed modern dance. For the last three months I stayed in Rome and I worked at the American Academy. Of all three stints, the time at the Academy was by far the most rewarding. I had more stimulating, intellectual, and academic conversations in Rome than in Chicago and Philadelphia combined.
The American Academy in Rome is just that, an academy. All sort of people from all sorts of disciplines come to the Academy to study in a historic collegial atmosphere. On a regular basis I was discussing history, architecture, connoisseurship, and philosophy with people who spoke Italian, English, French, Spanish, etc. There were art exhibits, literary performances, and concerts. It is a humanist's paradise.
While I was there I worked in the library for Sebastian Hierl, who, ironically, I had worked with during my previous tenure at North Carolina State University. More specifically, I wrote a system to automatically update bibliographics by examining added entries in MARC records, applying distance algorithms (such as Levenshtein) to similar entries found in sets of linked data, and re-writing the MARC accordingly. The Academy's library is substantial and a true core to the Academy's mission.
There are very few places like the American Academy. Located just outside a part of Rome called Trastevere, the view from around the corner is spectacular. The Academy itself is a beautiful building. Inspirational. If you go there, you will participating in a tradition dating back to Classical Greece. Think Plato's Academy. Think Renaissance. It was an honor and a privilege to work and study there.
Sure, the process of actually living in Rome -- even for a short while -- can seem daunting, but I have absolutely no doubt the time you spend there and at the Academy will positively effect you and your career for the rest of your life.
Attached are a few photographs taken a stone's through away from the Academy's front door.
Eric Lease Morgan
Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship
University of Notre Dame