Dignitaries from Montepulciano, Italy, held a reception for Kennesaw State students earlier this month to celebrate their work digitizing thousands of documents and records from within the town’s archive over the summer.
Some of the handwritten documents date all the way back to the 14th century, and the records contain information about the construction of the church of San Biago, which KSU Professor of Art History Philip Kiernan said is an “important Italian Renaissance church that was designed and built by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder between 1518 and 1540.”
Kiernan and 14 of his students were recognized by Montepulciano’s mayor during the recent reception for their work, which was part of an art and archaeology summer course.
The reception was held in Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Enoliteca, an educational building near the KSU in Tuscany facility, according to KSU’s website. Although the reception was held abroad, students on the Kennesaw campus could also witness the celebration through a live video link given through KSU’s division of global affairs.
Along with documents relating to the construction of the church of San Biago, students also documented a book of letters found in the town’s archives.
Kiernan said that the letters were “written by Tuscan rulers, bishops and popes to the town of Montepulciano in the 16th century, many of which are signed by members of the powerful Medici family.”
Kiernan said that students also documented and photographed a collection of ancient Etruscan and Roman inscriptions and relief carvings that were found on the side of the Palazzo Bucelli in the early 18th century as part of another project during the summer course.
Sophomore Arts Major Jesse Huskey said that traveling to and working in Italy with the class “ … was a really amazing experience. The work we were doing was very important, and with that and our professor, who is highly knowledgeable on many subjects within art history, I felt really privileged to be a part of it all.”
Historical Society of Montepulciano President Riccardo Pizzinelli also took the time to recognize the students at the reception.
“The students’ work gave us new insights into our past,” Pizzinelli said. “Thanks to all the students from Kennesaw State. Digitizing makes these documents available to people everywhere now.”
Pizzinelli also showed his gratitude toward KSU and their partnership with the city of Montepulciano.
According to KSU’s website, KSU students have been traveling to Montepulciano since 1999 for opportunities to learn abroad.
The university has since partnered with a consortium within the University System of Georgia that develops programs in Italy for students. Consortium members also include Georgia College and State University, Georgia Highlands, Georgia Southern University and Valdosta State University, according to KSU’s website.
“It’s incredibly important to live and learn abroad, especially as a young person, because it forces you to leave your comfort zone and step into a world that’s completely unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before,” Huskey said.