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IEX J-Term 2020: The Golden Age: Renaissance Art and Architecture in Italy
Arezzo, Italy; Florence, Italy; Pisa, Italy; Pompeii, Italy; Rome, Italy; Siena, Italy; Venice, Italy; Vinci, Italy (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: January Interim
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Program Partner:
Gustavus Adolphus College
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Program Term(s):
January Interim
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Minimum GPA:
Program Description:
Program Description:
OverheadUsing Florence, Italy as our home base, this course studies the progression of  Renaissance Art and Architecture and its impact on our contemporary Western society.

  1. We will begin our study looking at the classical roots of the Renaissance in Rome including the Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon, the Capitoline Museums and remnants of the buried city of Pompeii near Naples.
  2. For the majority of the trip, we will stay in Florence, the historical center of the Renaissance.  We will take day trips throughout Tuscany to Siena, Arezzo, Pisa and Vinci as points of cultural comparison and exploration.
  3. Our study will offer the opportunity to see many of the most revered artworks ever created, including Michelangelo’s David and Sistine Chapel, Alberto Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation, Sandro Botticelli’s La Primavera and Raphael’s School of Athens.
  4. Architectural highlights of our trip include climbing to the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence and the leaning tower of Pisa, experiencing the awe of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Cathedral, entering through the secret doorway in the Uffizi to Vasari’s hidden corridor over the famous Ponte Vecchio, touring the Roman Colosseum and Forum, gliding along the back canals of Venice in a gondola and walking through the ruins of Pompeii, buried by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD.
  5. We will travel to Venice for a weekend excursion to explore the High Renaissance in an Italian port city, including visiting San Marco and a gondola ride through the storied canals.
  6. Living in Florence for three weeks creates an intimate experience for our students, promoting familiarity with the Italian culture and allowing time to develop an understanding of the intersection between the historical and contemporary city of Florence.
  7. Students will be provided the opportunity to travel and explore on their own to nearby cities during the last weekend of the program.
Using Florence, Italy as our home base, this course studies the progression of  Renaissance Art and Architecture and its impact on our contemporary Western society. We will spend four days in Rome studying the classical roots that inspired the "Golden Age", a weekend in Venice, as well as embark on day trips to Pompeii, Siena, Vinci, Arezzo and Pisa. Class will be structured around walking investigations of the city and site visits, including the Uffizi and Duomo in Florence, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum and Forum in Rome, Leonardo da Vinci's home and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Course requirements include keeping a daily reflective journal, blog posts, student led discussions and a final paper.

Palazzo Vecchio
  • Florence: We will immerse ourselves in this city as a way to not only understand the impact of the Renaissance, but to experience how it shifted the human experience through architecture and art
    • Highlights: Uffizi, Bargello, Climb to the top of Brunelleschi's Dome, Ponte Vecchio, Vasari's Corridor, Boboli Gardens, Piazza Michelangelo,
  • Rome: Rome is a tapestry of old and new. Our course will explore its classical roots.
    • Highlight: St. Peter's and the Vatican Museum (include Sistene Chapel), Roman Colloseum, Forum, Capitoline Museums, Giolitt's (best gelato in Rome), Pantheon
  • Vinci: The homestead of Leonardo da Vinci where his studies come to life through museums that offer insight into his inventions and paintings, see where Leonardo was born!
  • Arezzo: Situated atop a Tuscan hillside and along the ancient via Cassa (Roman Road) Arezzo offers examples of ancient Roman architecture and Renaissance artwork. We will be studying the Mural cycle of Piero della Francesco which includes the first painting of a nighttime scene.
  • Siena: Siena’s town center is designated as a UNESCO world heritage site and is a stunning example of Medieval architecture.
    • Highlights: Duomo, baptistery, Piazza del Campo
  • Pisa: Visiting Pisa on our trip offers us an opportunity to experience another city along the Arno and contrast it to Florence
    • Highlights: climb the leaning tower, see Duomo and baptistery, Campo Santo
  • Venice: The city of canals! The winding walkways and bridges of Venice open up into breath-taking piazzas.
    • Highlights: gondola ride, St. Mark's Cathedral, opportunity to visit glass blowing workshops in Venice
  • Pompeii: The city was buried after an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD and lay undiscovered until 1748. It is one of the most well-preserved examples of ancient Roman life and includes an amphitheater that accommodated 20,000 people, bath houses, and elegant villas with vivid wall frescoes.

Academic Calendar
Expected Dates
On-campus orientation: TBD, Fall 2019
Study away arrival date: Jan 7, 2020
Study away return date: Jan 31, 2020

Faculty Leader(s)
BetsyBetsy Byers, Associate Professor and Chair in Art and Art History
Betsy Byers holds a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies with an emphasis in painting from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  She received her B.A. from St. Olaf College and her k-12 Art Education Licensure from St. Catherine University. Byers is currently an Associate Professor and Chair of the Art and Art History at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. Before arriving at Gustavus, she taught at MCAD, St. Catherine University and St. Cloud State University. Betsy’s work has been shown both nationally and internationally. She has exhibited at the National Gallery of Scotland, Minnesota Museum of American Art, De Vos Art Museum, Hillstrom Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Intermedia Arts, Guilford Art Center, The Soap Factory, Burnet Gallery in the Le Méridien Chambers Hotel, Augsburg College, and University of Minnesota Morris.  Byers was awarded a 2018 Mcknight Mid-Career Artist Grant, 2015 and 2009 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant , as well as a Jerome Foundation Grant for a month-long residency at the New York Mills Cultural Art Center.  Byers was featured in the film Painting the Place Between, produced in 2013 by Carbon Mouse Studios. She is represented by the Kolman & Pryor Gallery and Rosalux Gallery in Minneapolis.

Anticipated accommodations will include hotels and group-style housing.

Program Costs
The program fee will cover lodging, transportation within Italy, an average of two meals per day, instruction and guides, entrance fees, activities, excursions, and accident and sickness supplemental insurance. We estimate the final fee to be between $5,300 and $5,800 per student depending on final arrangements and the total number of students enrolled. Students will be responsible for the cost of round-trip airfare to Rome, one meal per day, and personal expenses. CICE can offer advice about air tickets and will share a suggested itinerary for students who would like to fly with other students on the program.

All Gustavus Adolphus College students who meet the general study away requirements are welcome to apply. 

Application Deadline
Students must complete the online application by May 1, 2019. 

Entry visas and passports
US citizens are allowed to travel to Italy and to all other members of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days without a visa. All students who are not U.S. citizens should contact Bryan Messerly to check about possible additional visa needs. All program participants must have a passport that is valid through at least July 31, 2020, by the start of Fall 2019 semester.

The information in this online brochure is subject to change. Please contact CICE with questions.Venice

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This program is currently not accepting applications.