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Italian Renaissance summer school course

This Italian Renaissance Summer school course looks at the influence and contribution five key families in shaping today's Italy.

In the 15th and 16th centuries the principalities that became Italy were alive with new ideas. The boundaries of art, architecture, music, science, politics, religion and literature were pushed. It was also driven by bitter rivalry and even open warfare between the numerous independent city states. Out of this chaos and upheaval emerged a number of significant families who drove the development in their individual cities. In a number of cases their quarrels also led to the destruction of much of what they had achieved. This tour concentrates on five important Italian renaissance families and the cities they helped to build.

  • The Medici of Florence
  • The patriarch of Urbino
  • The Este of Ferrara
  • The Gonzago of Mantua
  • The Sforza of Milan

They intermarried, occasionally they were allies against the Pope, the king of Naples, the king of France and other states. Sometimes they fought pitched battles against each other.  But all five left an amazing legacy of buildings and art works.

In this Italian renaissance small group course we take the time to explore these five independent cities. We learn about the families who drove the development of each city.  You learn and gain an appreciation of Renaissance Italy. We will discuss each day the influence of each family  particularly on the palaces, churches, civic buildings built. We also look at the contribution made to the art world. Of course we also consider the role of the church.

Who were the Families?

Who were the these five families. How did these monumental changes in each principality come to be? How was the wealth created and the impact of these families on society.

In the Classroom

We will read some of the contemporary accounts from both sides and probe the lives of some of the famous figures of each family. This class will endeavour to consider and discuss the role these rennaissance cities and these families  have played and their contribution to modern Italy.

Summer School classes for mature and senior travellers

Odyssey offers a collection of week-long learning programs offered each January in Hobart, Tasmania. Courses are refreshed for each year’s programs. Classes are limited to 15 people.

Over the last twenty-five years, Odyssey’s small group Summer School Program has given countless travellers an unforgettable educational and travel experience. Each summer, we prepare and offer fun and challenging special interest courses and programs designed to give travellers the options and opportunity to learn about history, religion, Australian culture, and the arts, among many other topics. These courses are designed in such a way that enthusiasts can deepen their knowledge of a particular topic or be initiated into new understandings on a subject.

These programs offered are tailor-made for mature-aged and senior travellers who are eager to explore in-depth a particular topic. Summer school learning programs for mature and senior travellers who are and remain curious about the world. Read more about our philosophy of the Odyssey Summer Schools.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

Overview: The Summer school program begins with a welcome reception and dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart or similar

Overview: Today we begin with a number of questions essential to a study of the period. We start with a look at just what is meant by the Renaissance. We also take a look at the composition of “Italy” and its city states during the Renaissance period. Why did this fragmented Italy actually add to the development of art and learning? What was the role of the condottieri in Italy at the time? What was the role of the popes?

From there we move on to the city of Florence and the Medici family, including their triumphs and tribulations.

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart or similar

Overview: Today Dr David Daintree (TBC) takes the group for a look particularly at Renaissance art and Literature. David is a specialist in this area and will have much to add to our understanding of the period.

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart or similar

Overview: This morning, we return to Florence and explore what happened when the Medici were out of town. What part was played by the very religious Savonarola? And how did Machiavelli come to be such an important figure in Florentine political life?

In the afternoon, we take a look at the city of Urbino and its ruler, Federico Montefeltro. Urbino is off the usual tourist route (unfortunately it doesn’t even have a railway station) but is well worth a look. During the rule of the Montefeltro family the city became one of the most beautiful in all of the peninsula. It was the birthplace of Raphael and is now a UNESCO world heritage city

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart or similar

Overview: Today we’ll look at two cities, Ferrara and Mantua. Ferrara was the home of the d’Este family and they have left an indelible mark on the city. They led tumultuous lives but left behind a great legacy in art, architecture and music. This is where Lucrecia Borgias ended up as the highly respected wife of the duke and mother of his many children.

In the afternoon we’ll move on to Mantua, home of the Gonzago family. We’ll look particularly at the work of the court artist Mantegna and at the role played by Countess Beatrice d’Este.

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart or similar

Overview: This morning we look at Milan during the reign of the Sforza family. Leonardo da Vinci worked here for almost 20 years during the rule of Ludovico Sforza and it was here that he painted “The Last Supper”.

In the afternoon, time permitting, we look at a number of other aspects of Renaissance life including food and feasting and the Renaissance garden.

In the evening we conclude our course with a farewell dinner at the Customs House Hotel Restaurant, starting at 6:30pm.

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart or similar

Overview: The tour will end after breakfast.

Investigate the various triggers for each family and the source of its wealth
Discuss the impact these families had on each other and the church.
Discover the role of finance and labour in their quests to dominate each other
Learn about how success was achieved.
Consider the role of “The Prince” in each renaissance court.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 6 nights in full en suite accommodation
  • 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 2 dinners.
  • Lectures and handouts as indicated.
  • Services of a study leader and lecturers.
  • Complimentary wifi.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Costs of a personal nature.
Italian renaissance, Cathedral of Ferrara in Italy
Basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy
Italian renaissance, Cathedral of Ferrara in Italy
Duomo of Ferrara, Italy
Certosa di Pavia, Lombardy Italy
Duomo Of Milan Cathedral, Italy
Giminiano, Siena province, Tuscany, Italy
Duomo Santa Maria Del Fiore and Medici , Florence, Italy
Tour of Italy, Renaissance Sculpture Medici Lion by Vacca in Florence
Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy
Tiber River Statue Villa Lante Italy
Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy Rome-winter-odyssey