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Italy’s Most Beautiful Cities
Curious Minds Speaker Series
Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023 1:00 PM
You know Roma. You know Milano. But what about the Italian cities beyond the tourist guides? Join Dr. Kenneth Bartlett for a colourful journey across Italy’s great regional cities.
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Reserved Seating Ticket - $13.27

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Wednesdays, May 24- June 28, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Pro-rated registration for the remainder of the course is available at the box office. Tickets for each individual class go on sale the week prior.

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You know Roma. You know Milano. But what about the Italian cities beyond the tourist guides? Join renowned scholar and Hot Docs favourite Dr. Kenneth Bartlett (Venice: The City of Dreams, The Italian Renaissance) for a colourful journey across the great regional cities of the Italian peninsula. As we explore the rich history, art and architecture of these hidden gems, we’ll experience La Bella Italia as we’ve never seen it before.

Led by Dr. Kenneth Bartlett, Professor of History and Renaissance Studies at the University of Toronto. A celebrated Canadian academic, Prof. Bartlett has published numerous influential books and over 40 articles on the Renaissance, most recently “The Renaissance in Italy: A History,” and won world renown for his 5 video series for “The Great Courses.” A recipient of the prestigious 3M National Teaching fellowship among other such awards, he regularly leads tours to Italy for museums and cultural organizations.

Promotional Partner: Istituto di Italiano Toronto

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May 24: Siena

Long a political and economic rival to Florence, Siena is a jewel on the map of Tuscany, widely considered Italy’s most lovely medieval city. In our series opener, Dr. Bartlett surveys the grand buildings, palazzos and churches that emerged from the city’s unique traditions of religious and secular power—a history as colourful as the stunning frescoes that line its walls. .

May 31: Arezzo

Built on the foundations of an Etruscan settlement in eastern Tuscany, the city of Arezzo was a free city until the 14th century, when it was sold to the Florentines, and it still retains a unique, and stunning, architectural legacy. In his second lecture, Dr. Bartlett examines this important, yet sometimes overlooked, centre in the history of Italian art, the birthplace of the legendary painter Giorgio Vasari and the home to the Legend of the True Cross, a 15th century fresco cycle that is one of the greatest masterpieces of Renaissance painting in Tuscany.

June 7: Perugia and Assisi

The Umbria region in Central Italy is often called the Land of Soldiers and Saints. But despite its tumultuous history, the capital of the region, Perugia, has retained beautifully preserved medieval streets and facades, breathtaking frescoes and one of Italy’s most elegant squares, the Piazza Quattro Novembre. After visiting this stunning provincial city, we’ll take a quick jaunt to nearby Assisi, the world-renowned home of St. Francis, where the town itself has become a work of art, with frescoes by Giotto, painted arcades and a splendidly preserved Roman temple of Minerva.

June 14: Ferrara

Ferrara in the region of Emilia-Romagna was the centre of the splendid court of the Este dukes, whose patronage of painting and architecture can still be clearly seen in this elegant walled city. From the lovely little Palazzina di Marfisa d’Este and the grand pleasure palace of La Schifanoia, with its frescoes illustrating the astrological year, to the huge, moated Castello Estense, the grandeur of a dynasty that lived for art as much as war is evident. Dr. Barlett will guide us through a city that is a living history of architecture.

June 21: Padua

Nestled along a picturesque river in the Northern Veneto region, Padua remains one of the greatest centres of art and learning in Europe. In this lecture, we’ll take a journey through the centuries, surveying a stunning chapel painted by Giotto, an equestrian statue by Donatello, a 16th century anatomical theatre (and lectern used by Galileo), and the historically and architecturally important 19th century Caffè Pedrocchi, which remains a magnet for cultivated local and foreign patrons.

June 28: Palermo

Palermo, the capital of Sicily, is one of the glories of Italy. Founded by the Phoenicians, conquered by the Greeks, Romans and Arabs, and home for centuries to a cosmopolitan culture of Christians, Muslims and Jews, the city has retained a dynamic culture in the years since Italian unification, when it expanded to include wonderful public buildings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dr. Bartlett closes our series by celebrating a city with a repository of truly great art and hypnotizing baroque palaces—a world brought to thrilling life by one of its its most famous noble citizens, Giuseppe di Lampedusa, in his his classic novel, The Leopard.

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