Explore the Bard’s favorite Italian towns for seven nights with Katherine Rowe, professor of English, Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Smith College. William Shakespeare never traveled to Italy. But that did not stop him from using the fabled landscapes and sophisticated cities of Italy as the backdrop for many of his plays, from Much Ado About Nothing to Romeo and Juliet. Italy was the perfect backdrop for intrigue, beauty, and drama, and Shakespeare utilized it many times while crafting his narratives. Katherine Rowe is both a Shakespeare scholar and a great admirer of Italy, and she will lead this unique journey through Northern Italy that combines history, literature, poetry, and art. Based for a full week in lovely Vicenza, we will meander the literary landscapes of Lombardy and the Veneto. Readings from Shakespearean plays will be frequent while we visit the cities that animated the authors’ works: Verona, Mantua, Padua, Ferrara. We will learn about the Italy of Shakespeare’s day by focusing on Italian art, architecture, and theater of the 16th and early 17th centuries, encountering great contemporaries like Titian, Palladio, Veronese, Monteverdi, and the poet Torquato Tasso. Throughout the tour, delicious meals at fine restaurants will enrich your stay. Special doors will be opened, providing private access to Palladio’s stunning Villa La Rotonda and Giotto’s amazing frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel. Fascinating local people will open the doors of their private homes for delightful meals and visits.

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Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy lectures and readings by Provost Katherine Rowe, a highly acclaimed scholar on Shakespearean literature
  • Wander through enchanting old streets on specially designed walking tours in beautiful old cities like Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, and Mantua – bringing the Italy of Shakespeare’s era to life
  • Outside of public opening hours, join the owner of Palladio’s great Villa La Rotonda for a private tour of his remarkable country home
  • Gain special access to beautiful places that are off limits to tourists – from private ducal apartments in Mantua to magical private homes
  • Unpack once and relax in a lovely, just-renovated four-star hotel in elegant Vicenza – our home for the duration of the tour

Smith Faculty Speaker

Katherine Rowe, Ph.D., professor of English, Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Smith College
View Smith Faculty Speaker Profile

Trip Details

  • Duration: 8 days
  • Activity Level: Moderately active; two to three miles of walking per day on average
  • Cost: $4,995 per person, based on double occupancy
  • Single Supplement: $895 per person
  • Deposit: $1,000 per person, payable to International Seminar Design, Inc.

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