The Renaissance Program

The Renaissance Program in Florence

The first Renaissance Program in Florence was a notable success. Twenty people participated in the program from around the world, including the United States, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Italy.

For an illustrated account and reflections about what took place, please read:

For an overview of the entire program, please see the original description below.

To receive information on future programs, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page, and we’ll send you updates as they become available.

The Renaissance Program in Florence, Italy

THE RENAISSANCE PROGRAM IN FLORENCE
NOVEMBER 13–17 AND 18, 2023

To receive information on future programs, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

The five-day Renaissance Program takes place in Florence, Italy, from November 13–17, 2023. Additionally, we have added a bonus sixth day, the Renaissance Symposium, on Saturday, November 18, 2023, for those who wish to participate.

The Florence program is limited to only 20 participants, and the 2023 program is now closed. To receive information on future programs, please 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 program will combine five days of presentations and discussions with visits to the most important historical sites and artworks of Renaissance Florence. We are also arranging special guest presentations.

  • Day 1: The Birth of Renaissance Humanism, the Discovery of the Modern Self, and the Recovery of Ancient Knowledge
  • Day 2: Civic Humanism: Creating the Best Possible World
  • Day 3: What Did it Mean to be ‘Human’ in the Renaissance?: Human Dignity, Human Potential, and Shaping a 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.
  • Day 6 – Bonus Renaissance Symposium on Saturday, November 18, 2023: For those interested in staying an extra day, the Renaissance Symposium will take place at Palazzo Rucellai, designed by the great Renaissance humanist and architect Leon Battista Alberti. We will have scholarly discussions and presentations at the symposium, including the influence of Stoicism and Neoplatonism on Renaissance thought. See the section on the Renaissance Symposium below for further information.


Each day of the Renaissance Program 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 the Medici Villa overlooking Florence. Other optional visits are available on Friday afternoon, Day 5.

A common lunch will be available to continue our conversations, or you can make your own plans.

Short video clip: Preparing for the Renaissance Program

Renaissance Program Presenters

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 Renaissance Program 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.

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.

You can read about all these options by following the link at the bottom of this page.

About Our Wednesday Morning Class

Our Wednesday morning class will be held in the Acton Library of the British Institue of Florence.

This presentation is entitled “What It Mean to be Human in the Renaissance: Human Potential and Shaping a Self.”

This morning will explore everything “human” and relating to humanity in Renaissance thought.

The British Institute of Florence is located just a few minutes away on foot from our normal meeting space, The Social Hub.

Following this presentation and lunch, we will visit the awe-inspiring David of Michelangelo and the nearby San Marco Monastery, site of the first public library in Renaissance Europe.

  • Read about the talk here, which will explore the profound connections between the optimism of the Renaissance, ideas of human potential, and the objectives of Renaissance education.

Why You Should Attend the Renaissance Program

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 program includes tickets for the San Marco, Bargello, Accademia, and Uffizi Galleries and Museums, and transportation and entrance to the Medici Villa (see below).

The tickets include timed entries to the Accademia and Uffizi Galleries so it will not be necessary to wait in line.

Our Visit to the Villa Medici Overlooking Florence

The Renaissance Program will conclude 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 could enhance the world today.

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

The Renaissance Symposium: Saturday, November 18

Palazzo Rucellai in Florence: The façade was designed by Leon Battista Alberti.

The Renaissance Symposium: The Ideas, Figures, and Influence of Renaissance Humanism

The optional Saturday symposium will take place at Palazzo Rucellai, a landmark work of Renaissance architecture designed by Leon Battista Alberti, whose life and work we will explore in the course.

The Renaissance Symposium will include discussions about how the ideas of ancient philosophy influenced the birth, development, and culture of the Renaissance. It will also include short talks by noted guest speakers on topics related to the Renaissance:

The cost of the symposium, held at this unforgettable location, is included in the cost of the course, and it is located just a short walk from our hotel rooms.

The Renaissance Symposium is held in cooperation with the International Studies Institute in Florence.

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Join Us for this Unique Experience in Florence

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime event.

The comprehensive course fee of $1,000 includes:

  • A welcome gift
  • Engaging morning lectures
  • Informative course handouts
  • Timed-entry museum tickets, eliminating the need to wait in line
  • An exclusive visit to the Medici Villa with a stunning view of Florence, including transportation and entrance fee
  • A memorable farewell dinner on Friday, November 17
  • A certificate of completion for the course, The Renaissance Program in Florence, 2023
  • The Renaissance Symposium on Saturday, November 18, if you opt to extend your stay

We’ve made every effort to keep the program’s cost as affordable as possible, and November offers the most budget-friendly accommodations in Florence.

For detailed information, please explore the links below, and secure your spot by enrolling today. The course is limited to 20 participants.

Special note: If you already live in Florence and you don’t require the museum tours, you may attend the morning lectures for half the cost of the full program (or $500). Just let us know when making your payment.

Any questions? Please contact us by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.


For further information and to enroll, click the buttons below

To Receive Further Information

To receive further information, please fill out the form below, and we will keep you posted with updates. We’re also happy to answer any questions you might have.

Of course, you will receive further information and ongoing updates when you enroll in the program.

Thank you for your interest and for your support of the Renaissance Program.

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The 2023 Renaissance Program in Florence gratefully acknowledges the help and support of our friends in Florence and around the world who have helped to make this event possible, including the International Studies Institute (ISI Florence), the British Institute of Florence, The Social Hub in Florence, the owners of the Medici Villa in Fiesole, Plato‘s Academy Centre in Athens, the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents program at the University of Amsterdam, the Temenos Academy, and other supporters and donors. Without this support, the Renaissance Program in Florence would not be possible.

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