North Carolina

The Beautiful and the Powerful of the Italian Renaissance

The Medici’s, Mona Lisa and St. Peter’s Basilica are Italian icons, but how did they come to be? Explore and discuss the origins, artists and legacy of the Italian Renaissance.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22994RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

The serene Blue Ridge Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for a journey back to a time of extraordinary artistic achievement and cultural resurgence. Scholars and art experts paint a portrait of life of the artists of the Italian Renaissance, whose rise and fall were controlled by powerful benefactors. From the 14th to the 17th centuries, cities including Florence, Siena and Venice thrived and wealthy financiers sponsored some of the world’s greatest masterpieces. In this course, discover how cultural forces come together to create paintings, sculpture and architecture which not only symbolize the power of their time; they have become icons of western civilization.
Activity Level
Easy Going
Long periods of sitting during lectures. All facilities are in one building, with approximately 300 yards walking required; a few stairs. Outside areas are mountainous, with inclines and uneven terrain.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Examine the wealth and power of the Medici family — believed to have been the wealthiest family in Europe — and their influence as patrons.
  • Compare and contrast the different artistic schools of Florence, Siena, Venice, Naples and Rome.
  • Discuss the influences, techniques, designs and styles of the Renaissance’s most prominent artists including Botticelli, Brunelleschi, da Vinci and Michelangelo.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room. Opportunities are available for traveling companions to attend a different program at Montreat during the same week. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Laura Johnson
Laura recently returned to her hometown of Chicago after living in Florence, Italy for nearly 20 years. She organized Road Scholar’s independent study program and served as an instructor for other Road Scholar programs. A former director of education, Laura combined her master’s degrees in museum studies and early Christian and Byzantine art history to tell the history of humankind through art and artifacts. Her passions are the influences of the Italian Renaissance in Russia and traditional and contemporary South African bead work and music.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image
Tracy Bailey
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Laura Johnson
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Suggested Reading List
View 11 books

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback