The Renaissance in Florence – Monash University

Status: waitlist

18 Nov – 16 Dec 2018


The Renaissance in Florence – Monash University
Tour Highlights

Course Overview

Institution: Monash University, Faculty of Arts, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies
Course Code: ATS2612/ATS3612
Course Coordinator & Lecturer: Assoc. Prof. Peter Howard
Course Tutor: Matthew Topp
Tutor: Depending on student numbers, there may also be an experienced tutor, expert in the history of Renaissance Florence.
Prerequisites: At discretion of SOPHIS
Offered: Prato Summer Semester A 2018
Enrolments: available for participants enrolled in an undergraduate course at Monash University or another university; for participants not currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree wishing to take the subject for credit; or for those wishing to travel and attend classes but not wishing to submit essays and give talks (ie as a ‘non-assessed’ audit student). For further details see ‘Application Procedure’.
Assessment: For assessment details, please see the online Monash University undergraduate handbook, searching under ATS2612/ATS3612

About the Course

The Renaissance in Florence places the extraordinary cultural flowering of the Florentine Renaissance in its historical context from a social, political, religious and cultural perspective. The course combines formal lectures and discussion in tutorials with lectures on site to follow the Renaissance from its earliest beginnings in the society of the medieval Tuscan city-states to its climax in the 15th and early 16th centuries under the control of Cosimo, Piero, Lorenzo de’ Medici (il Magnifico), and the later Medici Dukes. The course begins with an exploration of the city and its evolution over the centuries which is designed to penetrate our own popular vision of the Florentine Renaissance as it was shaped for us by 19th-century art critics and British travellers and writers like E.M. Forster, and in more recent popular novels like Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy. Thereafter, we plunge backwards in time to investigate the medieval visions of landscape and city life that emerged from the instability and violence of the High Middle Ages in a town such as Prato. A very few Italian city-states, including Florence, preserved their communal liberty in this period, founding a way of life that fostered the participation of large numbers of citizens, and creating an atmosphere in which statecraft, the economy, religious devotion and the arts could flourish in unique ways.

In Florence we investigate the rebirth of Western art that accompanied these developments, following the relationship between art and society as it appeared in Dante’s age in the works of such artists as Giotto, and the later masters of the Florentine Renaissance: Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Masolino, Donatello, Fra Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and many others. At every stage, the works of these artists are interpreted as part of the Florentine social fabric.

Lectures and tutorials examine and reflect upon the civic culture of Florentine men and women of all ranks, and trace changes in ideas about city life, religious devotion, the place of women, political trends and other themes. We examine the rise of the Medici, and the physical expressions of oligarchical power in the grandiose urban dwellings of great lineages including the Medici, Strozzi and Rucellai, and in the many sumptuously decorated family chapels with which these wealthy citizens filled Florence’s churches from the 14th century.

We step outside of Florence into the surrounding Tuscan countryside exploring both the imposing country villas of the patrician families, such as Caffaggiolo in the Mugello and Lorenzo the Magnificent’s Poggio a Caiano. Here we learn of the relationship between the city and country, the dependence of the Florentine economy on agriculture and the subsequent need for the city to both control and expand her territories.

In a visit to Scarperia, located at the foot of the Appenines on the road between Florence and Bologna, we examine the phenomenon of ‘New Towns’; the creation of urban centres in strategic military positions in the countryside. These themes are followed into the 16th century, when a more courtly milieu emerged, and the rule of a succession of hereditary Medici Dukes replaced the Renaissance Florentine republic. In examining the work of such figures as Michelangelo, we shall need first to understand how their subsequent reputations have affected ever since our own ideas of greatness and creativity. Similarly, by placing the Renaissance in its historical context as part of an intimate study conducted in the city of its birth, we shall come to understand the significance of this major cultural movement for ordinary people of the period, and the tremendous influence that it has exerted on our own cities, and our social and cultural life.

Prato provides a unique prism for the thematic explorations of the course. A walled town with a beautifully preserved historical centre, Prato demonstrates its own ‘cultural flowering’ in the art, politics and architecture of the 14th and 15th century. In this setting we draw together the themes explored throughout the course and ‘read’ the city of Prato – its architecture, streetscapes, neighbourhoods, families and churches – as documents of its past and continuing evolution as a city.

How the Course Works

The course combines visits to various sites in Tuscany with formal lectures, seminars and tutorials held at the Palazzo Vaj, the Monash Centre in Prato. The lecture usually deals with a general theme to be investigated during the day’s site visits, while tutorials and seminars seek to deepen the knowledge gained. Course participants will receive a course handbook with a detailed study program, assessment requirements, readings and other resources relevant to the course. Participants who are not enrolled as Monash students will not be required to complete any work for assessment after the course ends, but will participate to the full in all activities during the study program.

Taking this Course for University Credit

This course is an approved elective for Monash University degrees and has a 12 credit-point value. For further information please contact:
Assoc. Prof. Peter Howard
School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Building 11,
Clayton Campus, Monash University VIC 3800.
Tel: 03 9905 9209
Email: peter.howard@monash.edu



The Renaissance in Florence is valued at 12 credit points. In Melbourne the course effectively begins with an orientation session at Monash University (Menzies Building, Clayton) prior to departure. All formal lectures and tutorials take place at the Monash University Prato Centre’s Palazzo Vaj, located at Via Pugliese 26. The detailed itinerary given below provides an outline of the proposed daily program. The content and structure of this program may change; the present itinerary should be used as a guide only.

Meals, Entrance Fees & Public Transport

The course price includes 10 meals in various restaurants in Prato (either lunch or evening meals). Meals do not include beverages (eg. mineral water, coffee or alcohol). Breakfast is NOT included (except on the last morning of the course, in Rome). All entrance fees and public transport within cities as indicated on the official program are included in the course price.

Departure Ex Australia

Saturday 17 November 2018, Depart Melbourne

Participants are requested to commence check-in procedures at the international terminal, Tullamarine airport, three hours prior to departure. Singapore Airlines flight SQ208 is currently scheduled to depart Melbourne for Singapore at 1925hrs. Participants must check in with a Monash staff member after passing through passport control. On arrival in Singapore at 0005hrs (5 past midnight, Singapore time), students will be required to transfer to flight SQ366, departing Singapore at 0155hrs (1.55am on the morning of Sunday 18 November 2018). SQ366 is currently scheduled to arrive in Rome at 0810hrs on 18 November 2018.

Prato - 27 nights

Day 1: Sunday 18 November, Rome – Prato
  • 8:10am: Arrive Rome Fiumicino Airport and transfer by private coach to Prato and the Calamai Riverside Apartments/Residence Manassei Apartments.
Day 2: Monday 19 November – Day 27: Friday 14 December
  • The program will combine visits to various sites in Tuscany with formal lectures, seminars and tutorials held at Palazzo Vaj, the Monash Centre in Prato.
  • Students should note that Saturday 8 December 2018 will be a public holiday in Italy.

Prato - Rome

Day 28: Saturday 15 December, Prato – Rome
  • Transfer by coach to Hotel Italia, central Rome

Prato - Rome Fiumicino Airport

Day 29: Sunday 16 December, Rome – Depart Rome Fiumicino airport
  • Hotel Italia to Rome Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) airport by coach

Participants returning to Australia will take a private coach transfer from Prato to Rome Fiumicino airport early on Sunday 16 December, in order to commence check-in for their return flight to Melbourne. The return group flights to Australia are with Singapore Airlines, via Singapore. You are scheduled to arrive in Melbourne on Monday 17 December 2018.



Prato (27 nights)

Calamai Riverside Apartments
Viale Galilei 31 PRATO 59100
Tel/Fax: +39 0574 22205
The Calamai apartments are located on the first floor of a semi-converted textile mill & factory (the ground floor still consists of offices), which still maintains its historical façade. They are located 5-10 minutes’ walk from the Porta al Serraglio railway station, and a 15-minute walk from the Monash Centre and Prato’s historic centre.

Accommodation for this group will be provided in 4-bedded or 3-bedded apartments. Each apartment is open plan, divided by a mezzanine floor (accessed by a steep staircase) and is made up of kitchen with oven, hotplates and fridge; living area with dining table, TV & sitting area; 2 bathrooms (one on each floor) each with shower, toilet and sink; four or five single/sofa beds. Breakfast is not included.

Facilities include: ADSL internet connection, heating, air-conditioning, TV, weekly linen change, communal laundry available on site.

Note: A steep staircase dividing the kitchen area with the upstairs bedroom makes these apartments less suitable for anyone unsteady on their feet. For further information, or to view the apartment floor plans please refer to the website given above.

Residence Manassei Apartments
Available for twin-share or single use, upon payment of Twin or Single Supplement
Via dei Manassei 3/5/7 PRATO 59100
Tel:  +39 0574 22717/401739
Fax: +39 0574 23927
Residence Manassei offers accommodation in fully-furnished apartments located in a historic palazzo in the centre of Prato, within 5 minutes’ walk from the Monash Centre. Each apartment has a bedroom, fully equipped kitchen corner, private bathroom (incl. hairdryer), colour TV, direct-dial telephone, internet connection, and air-conditioning/heating. The building has a terrace with a view over the rooftops of Prato. Apartments include cleaning on a weekly basis, bed linen and bath towels. Breakfast is not included.

Rome (1 night)

Hotel Italia
Via Venezia, 181 ROME 00184
Tel:  +39 06 4828355
Fax: +39 06 4745550
2-star, family managed hotel, located in the historic centre and close to a wide range of restaurants, pizzerias and cafés. The Hotel Italia lies within comfortable walking distance of many of the city’s most important sites and monuments such as the Quirinale, the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Colosseum. Accommodation is in multi-share rooms (or single/twin-share rooms for those who have paid the relevant Supplement). All rooms at Hotel Italia have private facilities and buffet breakfast is included.

How to book

How to Book

Application Procedure

1. Application to Faculty of Arts
Please contact the Arts in Prato Coordinator (arts-study-tours@monash.edu or +61 3 9905 8743) if you are interested in this course.

Students should first apply to the Faculty of Arts by following the application procedure outlined on the Arts in Prato website (see link below). The Faculty of Arts will assess your application and email you the outcome within two weeks.
For more information on study in Prato see http://future.arts.monash.edu/prato/
For more information on the application and eligibility requirements please see http://future.arts.monash.edu/learning-abroad/semester-in-prato/
For questions, contact the Arts in Prato Coordinator (arts-study-tours@monash.edu or +61 3 9905 8743)

2. Complete and sign ASA Course Reservation Application
Once your application has been endorsed by the Faculty of Arts, download, complete and sign the ASA Course Reservation Application from the ASA website.
You will find a link to this document marked ‘Reservation’ under ‘PDF downloads’. There is also a copy at the end of the PDF ‘Itinerary’ document.

3. Send your ASA Course Reservation Application and $500 deposit payment to ASA.
Send your completed, signed ASA Course Reservation Application to sandra@asatours.com.au together with your deposit payment of AUD $500.00 per person.
Please see the final page of the ASA Course Reservation Application for details on how to pay by cheque, direct deposit or credit card.

Please note the following:

  • In order to secure your place in the course you MUST complete the above procedure. You will not be fully enrolled in the course until you have completed the necessary application and enrolment procedure with Monash University AND returned your completed form and deposit payment to ASA.
  • If you wish to apply to Monash for a study grant or other financial assistance, this must be done directly with the University. Please note that students usually do not receive these payments until after the final tour payment to ASA is due.
  • No participant may travel without travel insurance.
Practical Information

Practical Information

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, seven to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless, all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 29-day course involves:
  • 27 nights in Prato staying in 4-bedded or 3-bedded apartments
  • 1 night in Rome staying in multi-share hotel rooms
  • An extensive amount of walking to site visits, often up and down hills and/or flights of stairs, along cobbled streets and uneven terrain. You therefore need to be a good walker and be prepared to stand for some time on site and in front of buildings
  • A mixture of intercity coach travel and use of public transport
  • Some early-morning starts (most between 8.00-9.00 am)
  • Porterage is not included; participants MUST be able to carry their own luggage.

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you. Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the ASA Course Reservation Application Form.

Practical Information

Prior to departure, participants will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers to Italy: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Tour Price & Inclusions

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $6520.00 Course Price including return economy class airfare
AUD $350.00 Twin Supplement
AUD $970.00 Single Supplement
AUD $450.00 Audit Fee Supplement (applicable to participants not taking this subject as part of their university degree).

Course Price includes:
  • Return airfare economy class with Singapore Airlines (including taxes to the value of $183.40 AUD) (17 Nov 2018: Melbourne-Singapore-Rome; 16 Dec 2018: Rome-Singapore-Melbourne).
  • Accommodation in Prato for 27 nights at the Calamai Riverside Apartments (breakfast not included); or if paying the twin or single supplement, at Residence Manassei (breakfast not included).
  • Accommodation in Rome for 1 night: multi-share room at Hotel Italia (or nearby hotel of equivalent standard) (including buffet breakfast).
  • 10 meals (either lunch or evening meals)
  • Rail travel between Prato and Florence (19 November-14 December)
  • Arrival airport transfer from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Prato (18 November); transfer Prato-Rome (15 December); departure transfer from Hotel Italia (central Rome) to Rome Fiumicino Airport (16 December).
  • Full day excursion by coach: Prato-Mugello-Scarperia-Poggio a Caiano-Prato
  • Academic program as outlined in the itinerary
  • Entrances to museums and galleries outlined in the itinerary
  • Tips for the coach driver and restaurants for included meals.
Course Price does not include:
  • Breakfast in Prato
  • Lunches and evening meals not indicated in the course itinerary
  • Drinks (e.g. mineral water, coffee & alcoholic beverages) with lunches & evening meals
  • Personal spending money
  • Airport-hotel transfers if not travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights with Singapore Airlines
  • Luggage in excess of 20kg (44lbs)
  • Travel insurance
  • Porterage
  • HECS-HELP fees; ‘Non-Assessed’/’Audit’ fees
Tour Map

Tour Map

Terms & Conditions

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Confirmation of Your Booking

When we have received your ASA Course Reservation Application Form together with the deposit or full payment for the course, and assuming there is a place available on the course, we will send you confirmation of your booking and relevant travel details. It is from this moment that a firm contract exists between you and Australians Studying Abroad Pty Ltd (hereafter called ASA) on the basis of this itinerary, together with ASA’s general brochure, and any brochure or itinerary amendments communicated to you, these booking conditions and the travel details sent to you. If a place is not available we will return your payment. ASA does however reserve the right to refuse to accept a booking without necessarily giving a reason.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking, the following charges apply:

  • $500.00 deposit: non-refundable
  • 75-46 days prior: 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior: 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior: 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior: 100% of total amount due

We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Course

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the course, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on this course is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates or airfare taxes ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

If Monash University Cancels the Course

In the event the academic program be cancelled as a result of Monash University, in response to Federal Government travel advice, designating the locations of the program to be unsafe: participants will be charged the cancellation fees as indicated in these booking conditions (refer to the paragraph ‘Cancellation Fees’).

Travel Insurance

Monash University will provide travel insurance for all students completing the course as part of a Monash degree. Other participants will need to organise their own insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the course.

Passport Details

All participants must provide no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the program a photocopy of the front page of their current passport.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA. ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies. ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider. ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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