In the 17th and 18th-centuries the wealthy completed their formal education by traveling from Great Britain and America to Italy. Their goal was to directly encounter the Italian cultural legacies about which they had read and studied.
In honor of the 40th anniversary of the founding of St. Olaf’s Great Conversation Program, this program showcases some of the most significant sites, artifacts, and works of art that captivated those early tourists—in Rome, Assisi, Florence, and Venice. You do not have to be an alumnus or alumna of the Great Con to travel with us, but for those who want to read or re-read the texts encountered in St. Olaf’s classrooms, we will provide extracts tied to our sites (for example, the historian Livy’s “The Founding of Rome,” Dante’s Divine Comedy, the Little Flowers of St. Francis) as well as diary excepts and essays of tourists who went before us (like Mark Twain). We will compare their experiences to our own in today’s multicultural Italy, while traveling and sometime in groups gathering before dinner.
Given the leaders’ interests, the tour will focus on the intersection of literature, art, and architecture. And oh, yes, good food!
See the draft Itinerary.