CLASSICAL AND RENAISSANCE ITALY:
THE LEGACY OF ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME
March 12-23, 2016
The trip begins in the area around Naples, using Sorrento as a base from which to visit the magnificent Greek temples at Paestum, the city of Herculaneum and Villa of Oplontis, which were buried and preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and Cumae, where Aeneas consulted the Sibyl about next steps in his quest to found a new Troy in Italy. Not only is this area one of the richest sources of archaeological information about ancient Roman civilization, it was also a popular resort, where such figures as Julius Caesar, Brutus, Cicero, Augustus, and Nero all had villas. It provided the setting for key events in both the mythological and actual history of Rome and inspired such poets as Vergil and Ovid.
We will then spend several days in Rome, visiting monuments and viewing works of art, some that date back to Roman times, others from later centuries, particularly the Renaissance. As we visit such places as the Colosseum and the Forum, students will have the chance to practice their Latin by reading some of the inscriptions that are found everywhere in the city. We will walk in the footsteps of Cicero and Julius Caesar and see the place on the Palatine Hill where Romulus built his first settlement and the emperor Augustus and later emperors built their palaces. We will also see the magnificent Bernini sculptures of Aeneas, Persephone and Hades, and Daphne and Apollo in the Museo Borghese, the paintings and sculptures in the Vatican Museum, and works of art in a number of Roman churches.
The last stop on the trip is Florence. There is a consensus that the Renaissance began in Florence in the 14th century. The term Renaissance, literally means “rebirth” and is the period in European civilization characterized by a surge of interest in classical learning and values. We will see the principal surviving works of Filippo Brunelleschi, one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance: the Duomo, the Pazzi Chapel at Santa Croce and the church of Santo Spirito. The Galleria degli Uffizi, which holds the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art, is easily the best collection of Italian paintings on earth. Michelangelo’s David, possibly the most famous sculpture in the world, is in the Galleria dell’ Academia as well as other sculptures by Michelangelo. In addition, we will visit the Bargello Museum, and the Medici tombs in the church of San Lorenzo.