The Italian Renaissance
This 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 riven 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
Overview: The Summer school program begins with a welcome reception and dinner.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Overview: The tour will end after breakfast.
What’s included in our Tour
- 6 nights in full en suite accommodation in central Hobart.
- 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.
- Return airfares to and from Hobart.
- Airport transfers to/from your Hobart Hotel
- Costs of a personal nature.