Our 2011 Six-Day Getaway to Florence with W&L art historian George Bent was so popular that we feel compelled to offer another Getaway in Italy-as soon as possible. Our destination will be the eternal city of Rome. But which Rome? Eternity comes in many levels.
Like Florence, Rome is inexhaustible, so the thought of visiting it for only six days carries with it a measure of shame. There is the Rome of the Caesars: the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, and the River Temples. Medieval and Renaissance Rome will draw us to the city's wealth of magnificent churches: Santa Maria Maggiore, with its astonishing mosaics; Santa Maria sopra Minerva, where Galileo was tried for heresy; and San Pietro in Montorio, with its exquisite Tempietto, Bramante's masterpiece of Renaissance symmetry. Here we must also include Castel Sant'Angelo, originally Hadrian's tomb later converted into a Papal fortress and prison, whose ramparts are the dramatic setting of the final act of Puccini's Tosca.
Visually, Rome remains a largely Baroque city. Such masterpieces of Baroque architecture include St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in Christendom, the vast treasure house of the Vatican Museums, Villa Borghese with its marvelous gardens, the Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain, among many other memorable destinations within the city.
As with all Six-Day Getaways, you'll have some time for independent explorations and ample opportunity to sample the delectations of Italian cuisine in the Trastevere. We'll also have the option of an excursion outside the city and the enviable pleasure of following Professor Bent on afternoon strolls. Our package includes round-trip airfare from Dulles International, gratuities, and five nights at the Quirinale Hotel in the heart of the city.
Art Historian George Bent is pleased to return to his favorite ship and familiar seas for this voyage. A graduate of Oberlin College with a PhD in Art History from Stanford University, George came to Washington and Lee University in 1993 and has been a member of the faculty ever since. He teaches courses in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque art history, and specializes in 13th- and 14th-century Italian art and culture. A two-time holder of Fulbright grants to Italy, he has written about artistic production, the function of liturgical images, and institutional patronage in early Renaissance Florence, and in 2006 published Monastic Art in Lorenzo Monaco's Florence. More recently, he completed the filming of a DVD lecture course on the art and life of Leonardo da Vinci for the Great Courses Company. He co-founded Washington and Lee's interdisciplinary program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, chaired it from 2000 to 2003, and served as Associate Dean of the College from 2003-2006. He has chaired the Department of Art and Art History twice, from 2001 to 2003 and from 2008 to the present.