Immerse yourself in the beauty and innovation of Renaissance Venice through its architecture, art, and music. Our “slow travel” approach offers you full week of exploration: Visit famous and lesser-known sites at a pace that allows you to fully benefit from the expertise of our guides and leave with a rich understanding of what made the Venetian Renaissance unique.
Start with the Basilica of San Marco and its own version of the Gothic, with touches of the Byzantine. With our local guide, trace the architectural history of the city from the exquisite Ca’ d’Oro (Palazzo Santa Sofia) to the top of the towering Campanile. And then to the grand classicism of Palladio, whose influence is still felt throughout the Western world. Feel the resonance of Palladio’s great churches — San Giorgio Maggiore and Il Redentore.
We’ll have other wonderful guides, too. Writings by Goethe, Ruskin and Palladio himself will offer the perceptions and responses of fine eyes and minds.
Move on to experience the beauty of Venetian painting, from the charming style of Carpaccio to the enigmatic artistry of Giorgione, from Titan’s graceful figures to the dark power of Tintoretto. The colour harmony of Giovanni Bellini’s altarpieces has rarely been equaled. Titian, his student, mixed realistic techniques from the North with traditional Italian classicism. Of Renaissance painters, Velázquez said that above all others, “Titian wears the crown.” Then came Veronese, whose decorative paintings in the Doge’s Palace celebrate Venice’s wealth and power, a republic that lasted 1,000 years despite countless wars on sea and land. And Tintoretto, whose gigantic, powerful Biblical scenes in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco were painted to mark Venice’s recovery from the plague.
Venetian artists, more than Florentine ones, used brilliant colour and strong contrasts of light and dark. The lavish colours available to Venetian artists came from the republic’s maritime trade with the Eastern Mediterranean and the Far East. Ultramarine literally means “beyond the sea,” and refers to the blue pigment made with lapis lazuli from Afghanistan. Venetians also used such pigments to make rich textiles and their famous glass.
Finally, listen to the marvelous music being written and performed. Like his fellow artists and architects, Claudio Monteverdi looked to classical sources when he created Orfeo, the first great opera. Monteverdi used tone painting to create colour and drama in his music. He has an emotional affinity with Titian, a topic we will explore in our seminar discussion. During our stay in Venice we will have the opportunity to enjoy concerts in beautiful locations (subject to schedules.)
Venice is a city unique in the world: stone emerging from water, winding canals and winding streets. A city of reality, of illusion, of East and West, of domes and towers, sparkling sunlight, and strange mists. An inspiration for so many writers, artists, and travellers over the centuries. An inspiration for you.