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Italy has a magnificent heritage and was the home of the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church and the Renaissance. In Italy, we will see an amazing collection of architecture and art.

We plan to travel extensively in Italy and will visit Rome, Florence and Venice.


Rome is the capital of Italy, a city with seven hills. In the historic center, we will:
  • Visit the Colosseum, the amphitheater where gladiators and the first Christians combated wild animals.
  • See the Arch of Constantine, commemorating Constantine's defeat of the pagan Maxentius
  • See the Roman Forum where orators spoke and Caesar was glorified
  • Visit the church of St. Peter in Chains that houses the chains of St. Peter and Michelangelo's most important sculpture, Moses
  • Visit the Vatican complex which includes St. Peter's Square, an ellipse with a colonnade with an Egyptian obelisk and the Swiss Guard, St. Peter's Basilica (with Michelangelo's dome and the Pietà), the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel (perhaps Michalangelo's most beautiful religious art)
  • Walk from the Piazza del Popolo (with the church of Santa Maria del Popolo and the Mausoleo Di Augusto) through the Via Del Corso (Rome's Fifth Avenue) to the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps), the Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Venezzia
  • See the Piazza Venezzia with the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Palazzio Venezia (with the balcony where Mussolini used to speak), the Palazio Doria Pamphili, the Palazio Colonna and the Santa Maria in Aracoeli
  • Visit the Piazzza Navona with the Fountain of Neptune, the Fountain of the Four Rivers, and the Fountain of the Moor
  • Visit the Pantheon, built by Marcus Agrippa in the 1st century BC and reconstructed by Hadrian in the 2nd century B.C and dedicated to all Gods. It has a massive dome which Michalangelo studied before working on the dome of St. Peters


Florence in Tuscany is the city of the Medici and a Renaissance city second only to Venice. The river Arno runs through the city with the historic center to the north.

Our tour of the city starts with a visit to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view of Florence below. Crossing the river to the historic center, we:
  • Visit the Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) with its tri-colored exterior. Of note are its dome built by the architect Brunelleschi, the bell tower (campanile) built by Giotto and the Baptistry dedicated to John the Baptist. The doors are the work of Lorenzo Ghiberti.
  • Visit the Official Gallery with a beautiful collection of Renaissance paintings and sculptures. Worth noting are Botticelli's Birth of Venus and the Primavera, Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation and the unfinished Admiration of the Magi, Michelangelo's Holy Family and other masterpieces
  • Time permitting, see the Piazza della Signoria with the Fountain of Neptune, a copy of Michalangelo's David (the original is in the Academia) and the Palazzo Vecchio and the Orsanmichele church
  • Time permitting, see the Piazza San Lorenzo and the Basilica of San Lorenzo built as a Latin cross. Nearby, are the Medici Chapels with a mausoleum designed by Michelangelo, and the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi
  • See on the Arno river the Ponte Vecchio, the only Medieval bridge that survived the Nazi retreat.


Venice is about 4 kilometers from the mainland. It has about 150 canals and 400 bridges. Transportation to Venice is via vaporetto (motorboat).

We will visit:
  • The San Marcus square with the Basilica of St. Mark (Basilica di San Marco). Adjacent is the palace of the Doges, the Palazzio Ducale with its magnificent stairway (Scala dei Gigantic), several works of Tintoretto and Veronese
  • The Grand Canal has many palaces, galleries and museums that one can admire from the vaporetto.

Time permitting, we might visit some of the following:
  • Academy Gallery with work from Bellini, Giorgione, Veronese and Titan
  • The San Rocco Scuole which has many works of Tintoretto, such as the Flight into Egypt and the Crucifixion.
  • The Ferrovia (train station), the Piazzale Roma, the Rialto bridge and the Academia bridge

Note: Itinerary may change without notice. Adaptations are made from semester to semester.