Mediated Rhetoric and the Technologies of Communication in Roman Tourist Sites: A Walking Panel


Welcome. This is an experimental web site describing the work of one panel at the July 1998 conference in Rome, Italy, sponsored by the National Communication Association and the International Communication Association. A program for the entire conference, and related information, are available at the web site of the NCA.



Chair: Tom Benson, Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Organizers: Tom Benson (Penn State) and Sarah Benson (Cornell University)


Abstract: Roman architecture from what we now call classical times until the present has been constructed to achieve rhetorical effects. The planning of these sites and their appeal to citizens, tourists, and pilgrims have been influenced by technologies of communication and, since the Renaissance, by the mass media--printing and printed images, photography, film, video, and the Internet. These dimensions of the sites are of potential interest to communication scholars. This panel will conduct a two-hour walking tour of several sites located at the heart of classical Rome, from Piazza Venezia, over the Capitoline Hill, through the Forum, and ending at the Colosseum, considering them from a variety of communication perspectives. In the spirit of internationalism and technology that is the focus of the conference and the theme of this panel, we will follow up by posting a web site summarizing and illustrating the tour. (Virtual tourists may find a link to the panel web site at

Members of the Rome conference are invited to correspond with this page--send us your own commentary on communication in your travel to Rome, study resources, relevant web links, or photographs. If there is sufficient interest, we will establish a listserv for followup discussions.

How to get to the tour

Further links on this web site (under construction):

At the walking tour


Roman signs, icons, and motifs

Piazza Venezia

The Capitoline Hill

The Forum

The Colosseum

Rome and the cinema


Some world wide web sites relevant to this site (note: these links will take you away from this page on the Penn State server):

Panoramic views of Rome from the Library of Congress Collection

I Gatti di Roma

Sarah B. Benson

Lycos City Guide: Rome, Italy

NERONE The Insider's Guide to Rome

MIRABILIA URBIS 2000 - Campidoglio (in Italian)

VROMA, a web resource for classical studies sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities; those who are attending the NCA/ICA walking tour of Roman tourist sites might especially like to consult VROMA's collection of materials for the study of the Roman Forum.

Roman Forum at ThinkQuest

Piazza Venezia - description on the Roma Interactive web site, including pictures and bus directions.

Colosseum - a web site developed by Professor James Higginbotham for his course Archaeology 102 at Bowdoin College.

Daisy Benson: A Roman Tour

Note on Italian phone numbers.

On June 19, 1998, all Italian phone numbers are changing. A zero will now be permanently fixed to each city prefix. Thus if one wanted to call the Vatican switchboard from the US the number used to be 011 39 6 69 82. Now you would have to call 011 39 06 69 82 [39=Italy, 06=Rome 6982=local number]. The same things goes for all local calls within a city. One can no longer dial just 69 82 for the Vatican but must attach the entire prefix 06. Thus: 06 69 82 in this case.


Thomas W. Benson
Sparks Professor of Rhetoric
Department of Speech Communication
Penn State University
227 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802

back to Tom Benson home page


this page has been accessed times since June 17, 1998