The development of the city of Florence and that of the Church are inextricably linked with one another; Christian, and more specifically, Catholic faith provided a framework for one's life, informed the development of social institutions and governing bodies, and inspired the development and flourishing of art and architecture during the period that would come to be known as the Renaissance. In short, this faith touched every aspect of life in the Florence of centuries past, and its present is still seen, felt, and experienced when moving through the dense urban fabric of the city. This course will also investigate the ways in which religious faith permeated numerous aspects of Florentine society and daily life, from the monasteries and convents spread throughout the city, to its charitable institutions and hospitals, to the care for the souls of the condemned, and, more joyfully, to celebratory traditions that survive to the present day. Themed walks will offer an opportunity to explore these themes through engaging with works of sacred art and architecture, as well as sites and routes of religious significance. Works and structures will be contextualized within the historic period in which they were produced, allowing students to understand how and why they were executed, as well as to explore the significance they would have held for their original viewers and to discuss what they mean to beholders today. The analysis of these spaces, places, and works will highlight additional layers of meaning and interpretation: life, death, violence, popular culture, and social change, among others. Open to students from all backgrounds and academic concentrations, this course will allow participants to discover the city of Florence through a unique lens while simultaneously encouraging them to learn about Italian historical epochs and the cultural diversity of its traditions. The classroom approach of this course is based on experiencing the city of Florence as the academic space for learning and engagement. Classes are not held in a traditional, frontal-style setting; each lesson is carefully mapped for curricular content and featured locations: lectures, observations, exercises, analysis, and reflections on presented topics are held in relevant sites that are accounted for in the academic planning, syllabus, and related course material. Coursework and submissions will be regularly assessed on the MyFUA platform through daily assignments in addition to exams, papers, and projects. Learning through the on-site classroom approach fosters a deeper understanding of the cultural environment of Florence and how it is related to the subject of study represented by the course, and allows the overall experience to contribute to the students' academic and personal enrichment.
Contact Hours: 45