The Guide to Essential Italy

Rated 5 out of 5 by from I thoroughly enjoyed this course. Excellent use of photos, maps, and video along with an outstanding lecture.
Date published: 2020-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wish we had watched before our trip to Italy We bought this to remind us of our great trip to Italy last summer. And to get more in depth information than we did on our own. Now I wish we had had this before! We are learning about some gems we missed. But we did a good job on our own and love seeing the places we visited and hearing the history again. The professor is easy to listen to and provides good coverage of the history and importance. Of course we could always hear more about our favorite places. This is not a tourist video or even a history class but a good combination of both.
Date published: 2020-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful pictures and interesting facts I’m very happy I purchased this course. The narrator did an excellent job by making Italy come to life and keeping you wanting to learn more about the treasures and history of the beautiful country.
Date published: 2020-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's Like Being There!! I have taken three courses so far, The Introduction to Archeology, the Foundations of Western Civilization and Guide to Essential Italy. All of the Courses are well done and I have learned a lot. However, I found the Guide to Essential Italy, my favorite. Professor Bartlett has a pleasant voice and shows you Italy, using Film, Google Earth and Illustrations, it really engages you. I have watched some of the lectures several times already. The History of the buildings and the documentation of his discoveries are very thought provoking. It is impressive how long the buildings have been there and that they have withstood so much over time. After completing the course I felt like I had just completed a trip to Italy. My dream would be, to go with Professor Barlett on one of his tours some day, and see it all in person, once COVID19 is behind us.
Date published: 2020-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful whirlwind tour of Italy A great tour of key locations in Italy without the crowds and guided by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though perhaps taking a miss on a couple of the churches would have sufficed since their is a bit of redundancy in architecture and art. Nonetheless, a lot of great information and visual pleasures.
Date published: 2020-07-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lots of History If you enjoy lots of history, this is a course for you! As for me, I did enjoy most of it, but it was a little too much history of buildings and art. I wish there had been less chapters on Rome and Venice and, instead, chapters on some additional cities, since I have not yet visited Italy. Also, I would have enjoyed hearing about wine production, and local foods.
Date published: 2020-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Will Definitely Visit Rome again.... I haven't finished yet, but have decided we missed so much in Rome that we need to go back (such a hardship). Well presented material with a well-spoken professor. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2020-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Educational, unlike any other travel progrram. We learned more about Pompeii, for example, than we did from visiting the actual site!
Date published: 2020-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Impressed! I am really happy with this course - If you can't go to Italy right now, this is the very best next thing. The Instructor is very clear and engaging, pointing out places and people and the stories behind them. The shipping was super fast, and the customer service should be an example to all retailers and sellers. A+++
Date published: 2020-05-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Detailed Look at Italy’s Past This is an extremely detailed look at the treasures of Italy and would be of interest to folks who enjoy history of art, archaeology, church history, and power politics in Ancient Rome through the Medici. I found myself zoning out after about the third session on Rome: information overload. The professor is learned and obviously speaks Italian fluently. I think the course would be more captivating if it were organized on a theme basis (such as Etruscans, Roman Republic, early church) rather than a street-by-street basis.
Date published: 2020-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Traveling Italy from at HOME! Leaving for Italy soon and this course gave me a great introduction to the experience I have coming. The instructor is so knowledgeable, speaks the Italian words with just perfect pronunciation and presents the information in an organized manner. Thank YOU for this course and the others that are equally valuable.
Date published: 2020-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Fascinating Overview Essential Italy, of course, concerns the three major cities: Rome, Florence and Venice. The series concentrates on those. Having visited Italy nine times, I know that there is a vast amount to see that is not even discussed. For instance, there is no information on Milan, Turin, and the Piemonte, on cities along the Adriatic, Sicily, Cinque Terre, Capri, and so on. I would call this guide a "beginner's guide." And I hope that a second volume can be developed to complete the "Essential Italy."
Date published: 2020-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from so much to learn! Very interesting professor who gives a personal tour of Italy. We are planning an ocean cruise to that part of the world and can really use an informative guide as not to miss anything. Photography is great and will make us aware of what we are looking at when we visit.
Date published: 2020-02-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A bit too academic for us We bought the course because we are heading to Italy soon. We thought it would give us an overall picture of Italy. It seems to focus primarily on Rome so far. We are over a third through watching the videos. Though very educational it’s a bit too academic for us. I’m sure that if we were able to spend months in Italy this very detailed walking tour format would be very useful to us.
Date published: 2020-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great perspective before first visit to Italy I bought this a month ago and watch one or two engaging lectures per evening in preparation of an upcoming trip to Italy.
Date published: 2020-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Guide to Essential Italy I was pleasantly surprised with how well done the courses and explanations were done. In May, I will be going to Italy and wanted help to choose sites. Kudos... Excellent work.
Date published: 2020-01-31
Rated 1 out of 5 by from We didn’t order a DVD because your advertising made it appear that it was no problem viewing it on our big screen TV without a DVD. As a result, we haven’t watched it yet because we can only watch it on our phone or tablet. We are disappointed in the lack of platforms you support on big screen TVs. If you send a dvd at no charge, then we will watch it using our DVD player. Since you asked, we are disappointed.
Date published: 2020-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Informative I bought the DVD as a present for someone else, but am watching the course online myself. Its very informative and entertaining. The instructor is very knowledgeable and the course moves at a nice pace.
Date published: 2020-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A really nice walk through Italy. I'm not sure I will ever get to Italy physically but I have mentally with the Essential Guide to Italy. It's like walking the streets and the country with an expert tour guide! The history and the myths behind the different areas of Italy are fascinating. My family comes from Italy so it is really nice to see the areas where they live. The only thing that could make this course better is to be able to download Italian food and wine while you're watching!
Date published: 2019-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Put on your walking shoes... Prior to my trip to Florence (my first to Florence, but third to Italy...Rome and Venice included) I decided to bone-up of the history Italy's Renaissance in general and immersed myself in Bartlett's ITALIAN RENAISSANCE and ITALIANS BEFORE ITALY. After reading Jacqueline's review of this course, I decided to splurge and watch (I mostly prefer audio lectures) Dr Bartlett's guide/lectures in this set, especially for Florence. I watched the entire series, however, wishing that I had do-overs for my Rome and Venice trips. Maybe someday. I found the Florence lectures intriguing and highly detailed. Often when a person is touring they have limited time and rely on the "ten most important" sites and skim over the often more subtle places. Dr Bartlett won't stand for that. His tour of Florence (I'm concentrating on this city) is a sometime sinuous route through the winding, often chaotic narrow streets of the city. He points out features, buildings and even subtle nooks and crannies that have wonderful stories and historical meaning that I would have easily missed. I tried to review his lectures nightly while in Florence in order to plan out the next day's visits. I saw a lot...but was unable to see it all. A return visit is a must. (I followed-up my visit buy getting THE GREAT ARTISTS of the ITALIAN RENAISSANCE by Professor Kloss which, to an art neophyte, is just splendid!) If you are planning a trip to Italy, I recommend watch these lectures at least once...but you'll need multiple viewings, trust me. There's a lot there. To mitigate the expense, take advantage of those half-off employee sales when you have a'll be able to score for much less than a buck a lecture. Just sayin'.
Date published: 2019-09-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Essentially all of Italy Lots of good information, but the lectures move at a fast pace and the lecturer doesn't seem to leave many stones unturned. It would be much better if he slowed down and focused on the "Essentials" rather than overwhelming the viewers with so many places and areal maps showing the path he is taking the them.
Date published: 2019-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative and engaging I learned a lot about Italy in this course and I was pleased at the professionalism and engagement of the material.
Date published: 2019-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb Lectures As a CEO who has worked in Europe all of my life, I have been educated in Europe (France, Oxford, Italy); worked for decades as a strategist; and, rented houses, primarily in France and Italy. This course is wonderfully insightful: professor is witty and learned, perfect in my estimation.
Date published: 2019-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Accurate with good details about history, architec This is my third Great Course and I love them all!
Date published: 2019-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is great! We have been to Italy many times and are returning again in September. When you think you know a lot about Italy, you really don't! The professor is great and he makes you want to know more. Can't wait to get back there and visit some of the out of the way places and little known places he takes you to in this course.
Date published: 2019-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from We've watched it over and over! When we were planning our trip to Italy a few years ago, we borrowed this from the local public library 3 different times. We're planning another trip so we borrowed it again! Since we're borrowing it so much, we figured it was time that we bought it and kept it for ourselves. The course is a combination of travel and history lesson: the professor walks you all over Rome, Florence, and Venice and points out all the history and artwork at each location. In fact, it almost becomes overwhelming because there's so much artwork in so many places in Florence. If you're planning a trip, I definitely recommend taking notes about the landmarks. In fact, we when watched this the first time, we made a note about where to get some gelato in Rome... and then we easily found it when we got there. The only thing I don't like is that the map rotates while the professor travels around the city. This makes it a little confusing to follow, especially when a north-south road is shown left-to-right instead of up-down. But this is a minor issue since it's fairly easy to just find the landmarks on a map. And we love how we're able to watch the entire course as streaming videos! We installed The Great Courses app and we're watching it on our phones! :)
Date published: 2019-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazingly useful before a trip! I bought this a month before a trip to Venice, Rome and Pompeii, and it was amazingly useful. Once someone explains what you are looking at/for, it is so much easier to navigate the cities and understand the depth of history there. We are newly returned from our trip, and the knowledge I gained from this course was integral in our enjoyment.
Date published: 2019-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I haven't been to Italy...yet! I got this out of curiosity to see what the course would have to offer, and to my amazement, it offered everything! The lectures are comprehensive and the overhead shots give a "sense of place" to someone touring through the area and are handy in the tours and suggesting what to look for while passing by. The buildings are highlighted so as not to miss anything, and the professor describes the entire area, so one feels that they are taking the tour with him. He describes the places in Italian so a person going to Italy would have a sense of pronouncing these correctly while they are there. Great scenes, good art and a friend to guide you through Italy has me approving this Course wholeheartedly.
Date published: 2019-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Do not visit big cities of Italy without doing this first. Especially Venice and Floremce!!! EXCELLENT!!!!
Date published: 2019-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Summarizes the course very well. I bought this course a few years ago and have viewed it several times. The course is an excellent guide to several of Italy's treasures and can be used to establish an itinerary for visiting Italy. Logically organized and very well presented.
Date published: 2019-03-24
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The Guide to Essential Italy
Course Trailer
Rome: The Eternal City
1: Rome: The Eternal City

Begin your journey with sites along the Tiber River, which tells the story of Rome through the ages. Climb the Monte Caprino, one of Rome's seven hills, to see monumental sculptures, Michelangelo's magnificent piazza and palaces, and the outstanding decoration and artworks of the Church of the Aracoeli....

30 min
The Capitoline and the Colosseum
2: The Capitoline and the Colosseum

Learn about the marvels of Roman hydraulic engineering, and visit the massive Circus Maximus and the spectacular ruined baths nearby. Then discover the great palace complex of Domitian, with the emperor's private quarters and ceremonial rooms; the houses of Augustus and Livia; and the Renaissance Farnese Gardens....

29 min
Imperial Palaces of the Palatine Hill
3: Imperial Palaces of the Palatine Hill

Learn about the marvels of Roman hydraulic engineering, and visit the massive Circus Maximus and the spectacular ruined baths nearby. Then discover the great palace complex of Domitian, with the emperor's private quarters and ceremonial rooms; the houses of Augustus and Livia; and the Renaissance Farnese Gardens. ...

30 min
Pompeii: A City Frozen in Time
4: Pompeii: A City Frozen in Time

Take a detour to the amazingly preserved city of Pompeii, with its fascinating view into the lives of ordinary Roman citizens. Envision the grandeur of Pompeii's forum, with its temples, municipal buildings, and public baths. Explore luxurious mansions, brothels, and bakeries; the theatre, outdoor gymnasium and arena; and the beautiful Villa of Mysteries. ...

30 min
The Roman Forum
5: The Roman Forum

Learn about the history of this monumental public space, the epicenter of Rome's empire. Visit essential sites of the Forum, including the Temples of Venus and of Rome, the Arch of Titus, the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, and the House and Temple of the Vestal Virgins....

30 min
Along the Via Sacra to the Capitoline
6: Along the Via Sacra to the Capitoline

Continuing with highlights of the Forum, grasp the economic and civic functions of the Basilica Aemilia and the Basilica Julia. Take in important pagan shrines, the Curia or Senate House, and the Arch of Septimius Severus, and learn the remarkable stories of the Church of Saints Mark and Martina and the Mamertine Prison....

29 min
The Via del Corso and Princely Palaces
7: The Via del Corso and Princely Palaces

Delve into the history of this famous street, and how it was named. Visit the Palazzo Doria Pamphili (containing a superb private art museum), the Palazzo Odescalchi, and the vast Palazzo Colonna, and learn about the lives of princely families. Discover the frescoes of the Galleria Sciarra, one of Rome's little-known gems....

29 min
The Trevi Fountain and Baroque Rome
8: The Trevi Fountain and Baroque Rome

A beloved symbol of Rome, the dazzling Trevi Fountain was a showpiece for Baroque papal power. After exploring the fountain, walk to the Piazza Quirinal, and visit its two majestic Baroque palaces. Also visit churches by Bernini and Borromini, highlighting Santa Maria della Vittoria, which contains Bernini's Cornaro Chapel and Ecstasy of Santa Teresa....

30 min
Above and Beyond the Spanish Steps
9: Above and Beyond the Spanish Steps

Walk down the famous Via Veneto to Bernini's Fontana Tritone fountain, continuing to the massive Palazzo Barberini, now a superlative art museum. Explore the picturesque Spanish Steps area, highlighting the Villa Medici, the elegant Via Condotti, and the great Palazzo Borghese, one of Rome's most lavish princely dwellings....

29 min
At the Bend in the Tiber
10: At the Bend in the Tiber

The Piazza Montecitorio comprises the political heart of Rome. Begin with the Palace of Montecitorio, a Bernini masterpiece now housing the Italian parliament. Marvel at the storied Palazzo Chigi, the imposing Temple to Hadrian, and the sublime interior of the church of Sant'Ignazio, and the Solarium Augusti, a gigantic sundial....

30 min
The Pantheon to Campo dei Fiori
11: The Pantheon to Campo dei Fiori

Immerse yourself in the lore of the iconic Pantheon, the resting place of Raphael and other celebrated Italians. Explore architectural treasures including splendorous Gothic and Renaissance churches en route to the teeming Piazza Navona, center of Roman social life. Also visit the Palazzo della Cancelleria, the finest early Renaissance palace in Rome....

31 min
Piazza Farnese to the Ara Pacis
12: Piazza Farnese to the Ara Pacis

Begin at the Piazza Farnese, one of Rome's most majestic squares, and visit its great Renaissance palace. Then take in the Palazzo Spada, with its ingenious Borromini interior, and discover one of Rome's greatest jewels, the Villa Farnesina. Conclude with two hugely important ancient sites, the Mausoleum of Augustus and the Ara Pacis....

30 min
Piazza del Popolo to San Clemente
13: Piazza del Popolo to San Clemente

Here, admire the lovely church of Santa Maria del Popolo, with its magnificent frescoes, and the lovely Villa Museo Borghese, boasting masterworks of Bernini, Titian, Raphael, and Caravaggio. Linger at the fabulous papal basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, the Scala Santa (Holy Stairs), and the extraordinary three-level church of San Clemente....

29 min
The Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica
14: The Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica

Learn the history of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, one of the most important repositories of art in the Western world, and savor treasures including the superlative Rooms of Raphael and Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling. Conclude your Roman tour at the Renaissance Basilica of Saint Peter, the world's largest church and the seat of Roman Catholicism....

30 min
Orvieto, Siena, and San Gimignano
15: Orvieto, Siena, and San Gimignano

En route to Florence, discover three idyllic Italian towns. First visit Orvieto, with its glorious cathedral, vast Palace of the Popes, and intact medieval quarter. Continue to the UNESCO world heritage site of Siena, an astonishing medieval time capsule, and the exquisite San Gimignano, of dramatic towers and historic churches housing sublime frescoes....

30 min
Florence: Politics in Art and Architecture
16: Florence: Politics in Art and Architecture

Begin your tour of Florence by delving into the history of the feudal clans and merchant class that built the city. Visit the Uffizi, another of the world's greatest repositories of art; the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, with its dramatic Medici history; and the Orsanmichele, a building central to the medieval Florentine economy....

31 min
From the Piazza del Duomo to San Marco
17: From the Piazza del Duomo to San Marco

Walk to the magical Piazza del Duomo, which encompasses all of Florence's rich history. Admire the vast Duomo (cathedral), with its world-famous dome, one of the wonders of the Renaissance. Marvel at the Baptistery's extraordinary doors, Ghiberti's masterpiece, before exploring the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, home to treasures including the superb Medici Chapel....

31 min
Santa Croce and the Pazzi Chapel
18: Santa Croce and the Pazzi Chapel

Begin here at Florence's Accademia, home to Michelangelo's David, before visiting other superlative Florentine museums. In particular, explore the magnificent preaching church of Santa Croce, containing a stunning spectrum of artistic riches, including works of Donatello, Giotto, and della Robbia. Finish at the Pazzi Chapel, a masterwork of architectural geometry....

30 min
En Route to the Ponte Vecchio
19: En Route to the Ponte Vecchio

Travel the streets of Florence, beginning with the Via del Proconsolo, one of the city's most historic thoroughfares. Enjoy architectural and historical treasures such as the Abbey of Florence, Dante's house, the fascinating Museum of the Old Florentine House, and the gorgeous Palazzo Bartolini-Salimbeni, before reaching the romantic Ponte Vecchio....

30 min
The Pitti Palace
20: The Pitti Palace

Learn the colorful history of the Palazzo Pitti, which now contains several extraordinary museums. Focus on the renowned Palatine Gallery, a veritable treasury of Western culture featuring Flemish and Italian masterpieces of painting. Then savor the delights of the Boboli Gardens, a vision of a Renaissance and Baroque paradise....

30 min
The Oltrarno
21: The Oltrarno

Hear the romantic story of the house of Bianca Cappello, a tale of Renaissance intrigue. Then explore the great basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito, with its dazzling altar canopy and 38 family chapels. Also enjoy the decoration of the nearby Brancacci Chapel, one of the most important examples of Renaissance painting....

30 min
Walking to Santa Maria Novella
22: Walking to Santa Maria Novella

Begin at the beautiful Ponte Santa Trinità bridge, dating from the 16th century, and grasp its political and civic symbolism. Then walk the fashionable Via Tornabuoni to the vast Dominican complex of Santa Maria Novella. Explore the complex's great preaching church, with artistic treasures including the Tornabuoni Chapel, one of Florence's great masterpieces....

29 min
From Santa Maria Novella to San Lorenzo
23: From Santa Maria Novella to San Lorenzo

Continuing at Santa Maria Novella, view the superlative frescoes of the Green Cloister and the Spanish Chapel. Visit Europe's oldest operating pharmacy, founded in the 12th century, followed by the Medici Fortezza da Basso fortress, en route to the Basilica of San Lorenzo, whose Old Sacristy is a masterwork of Brunelleschi's geometric design....

30 min
The Medici Legacy
24: The Medici Legacy

Now discover Michelangelo's New Sacristy, burial place of Medici nobles and a brilliant integration of sculpture and architecture. From there, take in the spectacular Chapel of the Princes, resting place of the Medici monarchs; view the phenomenal Laurentian Library, pride of the Medici clan; and learn the intriguing history of Florence's old markets....

30 min
The Ognissanti, Palaces, Parks, and Villas
25: The Ognissanti, Palaces, Parks, and Villas

Travel the Borgo Ognissanti, an important historic entry into Florence. Admire elegant palaces on the way to the church and monastery of Ognissanti, with their splendid frescoed Vespucci Chapel, Sacristy, and refectory. Enjoy the lush beauties of the Cascine Park and the Bardini Gardens, and visit the Jewel Villa, where Galileo lived....

30 min
Romantic Views: San Miniato and Fiesole
26: Romantic Views: San Miniato and Fiesole

Here, visit one of Italy's most beautiful Romanesque churches, San Miniato al Monte, highlighting the collective artistic genius of the Chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal. Then travel to the hillside town of Fiesole, with its beautiful Villa Medici, Romanesque cathedral, and spectacular views over the city of Florence below....

30 min
Arezzo, Perugia, and Assisi
27: Arezzo, Perugia, and Assisi

On a leisurely route to Venice, stop at three romantic hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria. Begin with Arezzo, with its picturesque Piazza Grande and glorious, art-laden churches. Then discover the magnificent guildhalls, Palace of the Priors, and papal fortress of Perugia, and Assisi's Temple of Minerva and sublime Church of St. Francis....

30 min
Venice: The Center of Power
28: Venice: The Center of Power

As an introduction to Venice, contemplate the political and commercial history that gave rise to one of the world's most phenomenally beautiful cities. Then learn about the Molo, Venice's quayside entry point; the Doge's Palace, a brilliant masterpiece of Gothic architecture; and the Basilica di San Marco, a triumphal monument to Venetian glory....

31 min
The Drawing Room of Europe: Piazza San Marco
29: The Drawing Room of Europe: Piazza San Marco

On the magical Piazza San Marco, take account of the Renaissance Procuratie Nuove, housing Venice's Procurators (municipal officials), and Napoleon's grand neoclassical palace. Discover the remarkable clock tower, with its two beautiful and ingenious public timepieces. View artistic treasures adorning the exterior of the Basilica, and learn about Venice's historic cisterns and wells....

30 min
The Basilica of San Marco
30: The Basilica of San Marco

The interior of this great basilica is one of almost hypnotic magnificence. Enter through the atrium, and admire the symbolic floor mosaics and the gilded mosaics of the vaults, among the greatest anywhere in the world. Study the church's sublime decoration, highlighting the sacristy doors, the Golden Altarpiece, and the Cappella dei Mascoli....

28 min
The Ducal Palace
31: The Ducal Palace

Begin your visit to the palace at the monumental Staircase of the Giants within the regal palace courtyard. Enter the rooms of state by the Golden Staircase, leading to the elegant ducal apartments. Learn about the lifestyle and role of the Doge, as you view majestic rooms glorifying Venetian power and myth....

30 min
Venetian Civilization
32: Venetian Civilization

Enter the palace's Hall of the Great Council, called the most dramatic room in Europe, and learn about the Venetian republic's governing body of patrician representatives. Visit the palace prisons and the famous Bridge of Sighs en route to the Correr Museum of Venetian Civilization, which celebrates the republic's institutions, customs, arts, and trades....

29 min
Along the Giudecca and Grand Canals
33: Along the Giudecca and Grand Canals

On the glorious Venetian waterways, take a vaporetto to view Palladio's churches and the resplendent Santa Maria della Salute, which dominates the waterfront. Stop at fabulous palace museums along the Grand Canal, such as the great Galleria Accademia and the Casa Rezzonico, a stunning evocation of 18th-century Venetian life....

29 min
The Upper Grand Canal and San Marco on Foot
34: The Upper Grand Canal and San Marco on Foot

Among further riches of the Grand Canal, visit sumptuous waterside palaces, the former Jewish ghetto, and view the sweep of historic commercial buildings from Venice's maritime past. Then explore the San Marco district, featuring magnificent Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, and learn about the lore of the Venetian gondola....

30 min
The Rialto and Sestiere San Polo
35: The Rialto and Sestiere San Polo

Begin at the enchanting Rialto bridge, a defining landmark of Venice. From there, walk the San Polo district, a historic mercantile quarter, and visit streets and edifices recalling Venetian trading. Finish at two extraordinary treasure houses of art: the Frari, a great Franciscan church, and the glorious Scuola Grande di San Rocco....

29 min
Sestiere Castello and the Outer Islands
36: Sestiere Castello and the Outer Islands

Within the treasure-laden Castello district, discover one of history's greatest equestrian statues, the astonishing ducal tombs of the church of San Zanipolo, and a jewel-box church where wedding parties arrive and depart by gondola. Finally, take a vaporetto to picturesque islands in the lagoon, home to the traditional crafts of glass-making and lace-making....

37 min
Kenneth R. Bartlett

In short, and in almost every way that matters, historical Europe was the laboratory in which the world you now live in was conceived and tested. And you'll be living with the consequences of those experiments for the rest of your life.


University of Toronto


University of Toronto

About Kenneth R. Bartlett

Professor Kenneth R. Bartlett is a Professor of History at the University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto in 1978. He was the first director of the University of Toronto Art Centre and founding director of the Office of Teaching Advancement at the university, a position he held until 2009.

Much of Professor Bartlett’s career has been devoted to bringing the culture of European history into undergraduate and graduate classrooms. He has taught regularly in the University of Toronto Summer Abroad programs in Europe. He has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards, most notably, the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, awarded by the Canadian Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and the inaugural President’s Teaching Award from the University of Toronto. In 2007, Professor Bartlett was one of the 10 finalists in TVOntario’s Best Lecturer Competition, which pits students’ favorite instructors against one another in a battle of charisma, clarity, passion, and conviction. That same year, the professor was recognized with an inaugural Leadership in Faculty Teaching Award by the government of Ontario.


Professor Bartlett is the author of The English in Italy, 1525–1558: A Study in Culture and Politics; The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance: A Sourcebook; and most recently, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance. He is also coeditor or translator of five other books, including Humanism and the Northern Renaissance (with M. McGlynn), and author of more than 35 articles and chapters on European history and culture. He has been the academic consultant and occasional on-camera commentator for the Illuminated Filmworks videos about the Vatican Library and for such television series as The Naked Archaeologist and Museum Secrets.


Together with his wife, Gillian, who herself holds a Ph.D. and is the author of seven books, Professor Bartlett regularly leads tours to Europe for major museums, universities, and cultural organizations.


Professor Bartlett’s other Great Courses include The Development of European Civilization, The Italian Renaissance, and The Italians before Italy: Conflict and Competition in the Mediterranean

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