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Florence: Italian Renaissance

Italian Renaissance Art and Literature: The Culture Explosion

  • Florence, ITALY: June 2-22, 2019 (3 weeks)
  • TRAVL-UG 9202/TRAVL-GG 2060 | 4 credits | Instructors: Bella Mirabella (NYU Gallatin) & Cecilia Martelli (University of California, Florence)
  • LEVEL: Undergraduate & Graduate, NYU and non-NYU students
  • TOPICS: Literature, art history, architectural history, and more

Info Session

Meet Prof. Mirabella and learn more about the course! Location: 1 Washington Pl. (Gallatin Building)

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 12:30–1:30pm, Room 801

pastel-colored buildings next to a river and bridge

Italy’s location in the Mediterranean Basin, with its proximity to Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey, helped make Florence a place of international trade and intellectual exchange and hence the center of the Renaissance in Europe with regard to art, culture, literature, economics, and politics.

These global influences on Italy (and Europe) permeated all aspects of the Italian Renaissance—from Dante’s philosophical ideas and his conception of the afterlife, to Machiavelli’s advice on politics, to a revolution in science and mathematics, to early conceptions of capitalism, to innovations in art and architecture. All of these events continue to influence every aspect of our contemporary lives; hence, the complexities of the past help us understand the challenges of the present.

During a three-week interdisciplinary program in beautiful and historic Florence, students will receive a total immersion and multifaceted learning experience that is an essential beginning to understanding our modern world through the lens of the Italian Renaissance. This course particularly explores the literature, culture, art, and thought of the Renaissance from multiple perspectives.

Students will develop and present an individualized final research project based on their academic interests and background exploring how the class material and Renaissance have inspired them. This course places emphasis on the cultural, historical, political, and gendered contexts from which the literature and art of Renaissance Florence emerged.

Readings will most likely include the writing of Pico Della Mirandola, Dante’s Inferno, Machiavelli’s play, The Mandrake Root, female writers such as Moderata Fonte, as well as art texts such as Vasari's The Lives of the Artists and contemporary essays on Renaissance artists. Students will study key art concepts, such as naturalism in the rendering of the human figure and perspective, by focusing on Florentine artists such as Giotto, Masaccio, Botticelli, da Vinci, and Michelangelo in the places where these works were created.

Classes are taught in English and meet four days a week. Students will visit museums and churches such as the Uffizi, the Bargello, the Duomo, and the church of Santa Maria Novella to engage fully with the art and architecture of Renaissance Italy.

Gallatin students: This course fulfills 4 credits of the Interdisciplinary Seminar as well as the Humanities and Early Modern requirements.


  • Undergraduate & graduate students, NYU and non-NYU schools
  • Must have completed at least one full-time college semester before the course begins
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA, good academic & disciplinary standing
  • Must be matriculated at a college or university during the Summer 2019 term


*Program fee includes mandatory excursions, some meals, and mandatory international health insurance, which is provided for the program duration.

IMPORTANT: the program fee becomes nonrefundable after students confirm participation in the course. Course tuition, the program fee, and other fees above are due typically by early May, according to NYU's summer billing cycle.

Other Major Costs to Consider:

  • Round-trip airfare (students purchase their own tickets and are responsible for their own accommodation for travel beyond the program dates); students will be notified when to book flights
  • Fees for passport; fees for travel visa, if required
  • Most meals and local transportation

Financial Aid

The Gallatin Dean's Scholarship is available for this program. See our Financial Aid for Study Away page for details on eligibility and additional opportunities.

Important Travel Details

Housing: Students are required to reside in housing arranged by NYU Gallatin. Students who have questions or concerns about accessibility or disability-related accommodations should contact NYU’s Moses Center.

Travel Documents: All program participants are required to have a valid passport, and certain participants might need a travel visa. These documents should be obtained well in advance of the program start date.

Helpful Links: Lonely Planet Florence, US State Department: Travel to Italy

Contact Info

NYU Gallatin Office of Global Programs
411 Lafayette St., 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003
1 (212) 998-7133 phone
1 (212) 995-4265 fax

Social Media: Facebook | Instagram (@gallatinglobal) | Twitter (@gallatinglobal)

Past Photos from Gallatin's Florence Travel Course