The Renaissance Program

The Summer Institute in Florence, Italy

MAY 20–24, 2024

The five-day Renaissance Program Summer Institute will take place in Florence, Italy, at the end of May 2024.

The Summer Institute is limited to 20 participants. To receive further information and updates, fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Our full-service hotel and classroom is within easy walking distance of all the important sites and artworks in Florence.

Creating the Best Possible World

The Energizing Ideas of the Italian Renaissance

“We must always remember that the Renaissance was a state of mind in so many ways: The concrete effects followed from those fundamental attitudes.”— Kenneth Bartlett, University of Toronto

The core ideas that allowed the Italian Renaissance to emerge and flourish are beliefs that have deeply shaped our modern world and values. These ideas of Renaissance humanism include:

  • A belief that the study of ancient literature and philosophy can create a better society and more virtuous leaders
  • A belief in human dignity, the power to shape our own lives, and a belief that human beings can create works of lasting greatness
  • A belief that beauty is essential because it can enhance, elevate, and deepen human life
  • A belief that learning and education can make a profound contribution to human life—and that a person‘s life, and the city itself, can become a work of art

Join us in Florence, Italy, for five days to explore the energizing ideas of the Renaissance humanists and how Renaissance ideas can benefit the world today.

The Summer Institute will combine five days of presentations and discussions with visits to the most important historical sites and artworks of Renaissance Florence.

  • Day 1: (A): Petrarch, the Birth of Humanism, and the Discovery of the Modern Self; (B) The Recovery of Ancient Knowledge
  • Day 2: Civic Humanism: Creating the Best Possible World
  • Day 3: Human Dignity, Human Potential, and Shaping an Individual Self
  • Day 4: Art, Architecture, and Philosophy: Beauty, Goodness, and Harmony
  • Day 5: Thinking about the Value of Renaissance Ideas Today (at the Medici Villa Overlooking Florence). Farewell Dinner in the Evening.

Each day begins with a two-hour slide lecture and discussion. The site visits, which follow, relate to the topics discussed in the lectures. They include the Duomo (Brunelleschi’s dome), the Bargello Museum (Donatello’s David), San Marco, the Accademia Gallery (Michelangelo’s David), Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery (Botticelli and Leonardo), and an optional visit to Santa Croce (the tombs of Leonardo Bruni, Leon Battista Alberti, Michelangelo, and Galileo).

A common dinner will be held each night to continue our conversations, or you can make your own dinner plans.

To receive further information and updates on the Summer Institute, join the mailing list at the bottom of this page.

Summer Institute Presentors

David Fideler, PhD, is a writer, philosopher, and founder of the Renaissance Program. He has spent decades studying the ideas of classical philosophy and the Renaissance. He has also studied the influence of classical ideas on Renaissance art and architcture.

A former college professor, David’s writings have appeared in many publications, including The New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. His book on the Roman philosopher Seneca has been published in sixteen languages.

Chandi Wyant, MA, is a licensed guide to the museums of Florence and holds a master’s degree in Florentine Renaissance history.

Chandi is interested in the intersection between humanist and artistic innovations in fifteenth-century Florence, and she’s passionate about the ideas that brought the Renaissance into being. Originally from the United States, she lives in Florence.

Where We Will Meet

The Summer Institute will be held at The Social Hub (formerly called The Student Hotel) in Florence.

The Social Hub is located within easy walking distance of all the major sites and museums in Florence.

If you are interested in learning more about the Renaissance Program Summer Institute, please fill out the form below and we will send you information on different housing options, room costs, and how to make reservations.

Our morning classes will be offered at The Social Hub and you are welcome to stay there.

There are also several other places you could stay within a two- to seven-minute walk of The Social Hub, pending the availability of rooms.

Why You Should Attend the Summer Institute

The Italian Renaissance was one of the most incredible periods of transformation in the Western world.

Sparked by a belief that the “Dark Ages” had marked a profound period of cultural decline, the Renaissance humanists sought to recover the lost knowledge and the best values of classical civilization.

Perhaps surprisingly, their recovery of classical knowledge and values was highly successful. Not only did it lead to a belief in human dignity, but it also led to a belief that human beings could create great and lasting accomplishments—if they only set their mind to it.

In this course, we will explore the core ideas that gave birth to the Renaissance, the great works they inspired in Florence, and the potential of these ideas to enhance our world today.

By combining the study of Renaissance ideas with visits to the magnificent works they gave birth to, we have created an unforgettable event wherein participants can deeply understand Renaissance ideas and experience first-hand the enduring works they inspired.

Tickets and Entrance Fees Are Included

The cost of the Summer Institute includes tickets for the San Marco, Bargello, Accademia, and Uffizi Galleries and Museums—and to other sites in Florence that relate to the topics we will be discussing in the morning seminars.

The tickets include timed entries to the Accademia and Uffizi Galleries so it will not be necessary to wait in line. Entrance fees and transportation to the Villa Medici (see below) are also provided.

Our Visit to the Villa Medici Overlooking Florence

The Summer Institute will conclude on Friday morning, May 24, with an unforgettable visit to the Medici Villa in Fiesole, a beautiful twenty-five minute drive from our classroom. (Transportation will be provided.)

The first Renaissance villa built with a formal garden, it served as a model for many other villas and gardens that followed.

Significantly, this villa was a meeting place for Lorenzo de’ Medici and the philosophers Pico della Mirandola and Marsilio Ficino (the first person to translate Plato’s writings into Latin).

Overlooking Florence (with stunning views) and normally closed to the public, we will be able enter the villa—a once-in-a-lifetime experience—and enjoy the gardens.

During this last part of our course, we will discuss how Renaissance ideas can enhance the world today.

Video: View of the lower garden at the Villa Medici in Fiesole, overlooking Florence.

Receive Further Information

To receive further information, please fill out the form below, and we will keep you posted with updates.

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