Cover Photo Image

Michelangelo's Italy

Location

Florence, Rome, Italy

Program Description

“Michelangelo’s Italy” provides first-hand knowledge of the art and architecture of Italy through on-site visits to the archeological sites, monuments, and museums of Florence and Rome.
 
We begin our study by tracing Michelangelo’s origins in Florence, a city still devoted to its most famous son. Often referred to as the cradle of the Italian Renaissance, Florence is celebrated for its contributions to Western art, literature, philosophy, science, politics, and cuisine. We will traverse streets and piazzas once familiar to Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo, all of whom honed their artistic skills in the workshops of Florentine masters.
 
After a week in Florence, we will follow Michelangelo to the Eternal City, where he became deeply invested in the study of classical antiquity and managed the demands of multiple popes. Over the course of two weeks, we will consider the evolution of Roman art and architecture, beginning from its days as a small settlement on the banks of the Tiber River, one that became the seat of the Roman Republic and Empire, where Julius Caesar was both assassinated and deified. We will make our way through the Renaissance of the "divine" Michelangelo and his papal patrons. Our journey concludes with the Baroque glories and dramas of Bernini and Caravaggio as they redefine the conventions of painting, sculpture, and architecture.
 
Class meets each day on-site for 2 sessions (approx. 3.5 hours each), in the morning and afternoon. A small number of pre-departure, on-campus class meetings will be required during the Spring 2018 semester.

Students will gain a working knowledge of the history of Florence and Rome, their artists, and patrons. Above all, the program aims to provide a deeper understanding of the specificity of images and sites—that is, their materials, colors, textures, scale, size, and proportions. It also aims to instill a full sense of the importance of Florence and Rome for the understanding and interpretation of the centuries of Western art and architecture that followed, up until the present day.

Location Description

Location 1: Florence, Italy (1 week)
 
Florence has long been celebrated as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, home to artists, writers, and thinkers who had a profound influence on the Western tradition. Built around the banks of the Arno River, the small scale of the city allows for an unhurried exploration, encountering Florence’s rich cultural heritage at every turn. In a single piazza one finds the intersection of Italian genius across six centuries – the haute couture Italian powerhouse Salvatore Ferragamo faces off against the church of Santa Trinita, home to Ghirlandaio’s 15th-century frescoes for the Sassetti family. It’s only a few steps more to Ammannati’s Ponte Santa Trinita, destroyed in 1944 and rebuilt with stones raised from the Arno.
 
Program itinerary includes:
Cathedral & Brunelleschi’s Dome
Uffizi Gallery
Accademia Gallery – Michelangelo’s David
Palazzo Medici
Santa Maria Novella
 
Given the small size of Florence, daily transportation will be on foot.
 
Location 2: Rome, Italy (2 weeks)

Often referred to as the Eternal City, Rome has been a site of continuous cultural development and change for several millennia. Though Rome is the largest city in Italy and a bustling center of modern life, evidence of its past can be found everywhere, woven into the fabric of Roman daily life. A visit to the Feltrinelli bookstore at Largo Argentina reveals ancient temple ruins now converted to a cat sanctuary, a stroll down the shaded Via Giulia meanders past Raphael's house, a gelato from Giolitti is best enjoyed while sitting on the low walls next to the Pantheon. This is our classroom. 
 
Program itinerary includes:
Roman Forum
Colosseum
Golden House of Nero (Domus Aurea)
Pantheon
St. Peter’s
Vatican Palace & Sistine Chapel
Villa Borghese

Daily transportation will utilize Rome’s extensive public bus lines. The subway, necessarily limited by Rome’s status as a sprawling archeological site, will be used on occasion.  The cost of public transportation passes is included in the program fee.
 
Admission fees for all sites visited as a group are included in the program fee. 

Director

Jessica Stewart | stewa2jl@jmu.edu | Art, Design, and Art History

Accommodations

Accommodations will be provided through furnished apartments with 2-4 students per room. (One bed per student.) Housing will be centrally located, with easily accessible public transportation. Students will be able to take advantage of vibrant summer markets, as well as a wide array of open cafes, ice cream shops, and outdoor entertainment.

Students will be allocated a meal stipend, which will be distributed every 3-5 days. We will have two group meals (welcome and farewell dinners). 
 
Italian cuisine is among the most celebrated in the world, and summer markets are teeming with fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, and meats. Students will be able to explore an abundance of cafes, espresso bars, bakeries, gelaterias, and pizzerias. 

Additional Items to Consider

Travel to Italy:
A current passport is required. Daily flights are available from Dulles International airport in Washington, DC.
 
Mobile service:
US cellphone plans can be extended to Rome through the student’s carrier.
 
Language:
No knowledge of Italian is required for this program. Italian is the native language, but English is widely spoken and common on signs and menus.
 
All logistics, including these, will be fully discussed in group meetings leading up to the program.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Open to all majors

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Faculty Letter of Recommendation
  • Interview with Program Director may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU and first semester transfer students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

apply now

Application Deadline

Dates


All dates are tentative and subject to change

Courses

HUM 250: Foundations of Western Culture: Rome (3 credits)

ARTH 205: Survey of World Art, Prehistoric to Renaissance (3 credits)

ARTH 389: Special Topics in Art History: Rome and Florence (3 credits)

ARTH 459: Special Topics in 17th and 18th Century Art: Patrons and Curators: Building Italy's Greatest Collections (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.

Cost

Back to Top