dollorNinth Annual Design and Architecture in Italy Travel Study Program Florence 2009
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Program Overview:

Join us for a memory filled, two-week adventure to the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence, Italy.  Trip participants will live in the heart of the ancient city in comfortable, air-conditioned, fully furnished three-star apartments with unobstructed views of the beautiful Arno river. Our trip allows us plenty of time to walk the streets, shop in the markets, and visit the city's many wonderful churches, museums and palaces. Our itinerary is planned to ensure our guests will be able to experience the Florence that tourists do not usually see yet is a relaxing trip including two free weekends. A three-day weekend getaway to Venice or Lake Como is planned as an optional package, or for our more adventuresome guests, independent travel is always encouraged.

In addition to daily walking tours and excursions, two group dinners and an evening celebration commemorating the Festival of San Giovani are planned. What better way to experience Florentine pageantry and a spectacular evening fireworks display over looking the Arno River from the comfort of your own apartment windows.
The program, now in its ninth year, is lead by Andrew Anker and Jim Kenney, architects and professors with the CSU, Sacramento Department of Design. Professor Anker has lived in Italy, where he studied and taught architecture at the Venice Institute of Architecture. Professor Anker will lead the history portion of the program and is the Instructor of Record. Professor Kenney is a retired architect and is the Program Director and will lead the trip’s artistic pursuits.

Course Overview:

The Design and Architecture in Italy Travel Study Program in Florence is essentially an architectural history course taught in a comfortable and informal style, and is complimented by several sketching sessions, making the learning experience fun and memorable. We never formally meet in a traditional classroom setting, rather we gather at Dante’s statue at the steps of Sante Croce and discuss the days topics and activities and venture on. Prior to entering a church, villa, palace or museum we discuss the historical and cultural aspects of the architecture and art we are soon to embrace, and because we are a small travel group, we are able to continue our discussion and activities inside as a group. We always allow ample time to relax, enjoy and wander on your own. A detailed course reader and additional supplemental materials are provided to compliment the history discussions and sketching activities.  

We will study the history of Florentine architecture by touring the city’s great buildings—from early medieval churches, through the works of Renaissance masters, to Giovanni Michelucci's modernist buildings.  We will follow the development of Renaissance architecture as we move from the understated interiors of Brunelleschi’s 15th-century churches of San Lorenzo and Santo Spirito to the elaborate Mannerist interiors of Michelangelo’s 16th-century Medici Chapel and Laurentian Library.  In the city's many churches and museums, we will also be able to enjoy paintings by Giotto, Masaccio, and Fra Angelico, as well as sculptures by Michelangelo and Donatello. We will of course ascend the 460 steps to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome and take in the 360 degree panorama of the city, visit Ghiberti’s Baptistry doors that Michelango said were beautiful enough to be the gates of Paradise.

Excursions through Tuscany:

Our stay in Florence will be complemented by three full-day excursions into the beautiful countryside of Tuscany were we will visit many wonderful hilltowns and villas. Our first excursion through Tuscany takes us first to Arezzo, where Giorgio Vasari was born and where the movie Life is Beautiful was filmed.  Here we will see Piero della Francesca's famous fresco cycle depicting the Legend of the Cross.  Piero’s remarkable paintings combine the Renaissance’s fascination with classical imagery with his love of mathematically correct perspective drawing.  From Arezzo we travel to Cortona, a medieval hill town where we will have time to roam the winding, climbing streets. 

On our second excursion we will once again tour the Tuscan countryside, this time visiting the small hill towns of Pienza and Montepulciano.  In the morning, just outside of Montepulciano, we will visit Antonio da Sangallo's San Biagio---a wonderful example of a Renaissance ideal centrally planned church.  We will have time to walk the steeply sloped streets of the town, visiting the wine, cheese and olive oil shops.  After lunch we will make the short drive to Pienza.  In the mid-15th century the great humanist Pope Pius II turned this out-of-the-way hill town into a testing ground for the most advanced Renaissance ideas about urban planning. 

Through much of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, Sienna rivaled Florence for artistic and political dominance in central Italy.  Today, as we walk the winding streets of this remarkable hill town, we will enjoy the artistic fruits of this rivalry.  Our first stop is the Piazza del Campo, the heart of the city, where each year rival neighborhoods complete in the Palio--the horserace around the plaza's perimeter.  In the adjacent Palazzo Pubblico we will enjoy frescoes by Simone Martini and Lorenzetti depicting the glories of life in medieval Sienna.  Our next visit is to the Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana. This museum, which houses one of the most beautiful proto-Renaissance panel paintings-- Duccio's multi-paneled alter piece, the Maestà, is actually located in the abandoned walls of what was to have been Italy's largest cathedral.  Our morning ends by climbing to the top the never-finished cathedral’s front wall for a spectacular view of the city. 

Please join us at one of the slide show presentations scheduled each month beginning in October and continuing through April.

Program Dates:   June 13 – June 28, 2009
Program Fee:   $3,400.00. Includes: fourteen nights in a three-star Florence apartment, 3 units of University credit, all ground transportation, entrance fees, an evening celebrating the Festival of San Giovani and two group dinners.
Department Website:   To view additional program information and payment deadlines, please visit:
Contacts:   Professor Jim Kenney
Phone: (916) 278-6375
or Professor Andrew Anker
Phone: (916) 278-5019


Policy on Price Changes:

The published trip price is based on a travel group of 12 participants, if the trip reaches it's maximum size of 16 participants, the trip price will be reduced. Prices are confirmed in US Dollars based on the rate of exchange of 1.59 EURO/USD (The date of the exchange rate is from September 22, 2008). For currency increases greater than 5%, a surcharge will apply. For currency decreases greater than 5%, a discount will apply. Any major currency changes will be reflected in the final invoice with prices held upon final payment. It is the travel agent and clients' responsibility to check currency fluctuations prior to submitting final payment.