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History teacher Russel Cailey and I teamed up with host city specialist Jill Romanelli to provide an intensive weXplore focused on Empires. We studied the Roman emperors, the Roman Catholic Church, and Benito 'Il Duce' Mussolini's rule in Italy. Students learned in the places they were learning about from the Roman Forum and the Colosseum to the Vatican. 


“One can have no greater mastery

than mastery of oneself.”


– Leonardo Da Vinci

I think not. Our semester in Florence, Italy was an unforgettable one. We learned about the Medici family while walking in their footsteps. We marveled at the fruits of art          patronage, and painted our own works.




Students wrote biographies of great Renaissance painters and studied the power of one when discussing Florentine citizens like Lorenzo de Medici,Bruneleschi,Savonarola, Machiavelli and Galileo at our villa. I had the opportunity to travel through the beautiful islands of Sardinia and Sicily. 

Is there anywhere in the world better to study the Italian Renaissance? 

In the downtime, students stuffed their faces with delicious pasta, pizza and gelato. We had the opportunity to host two guest speakers in Anthropology this term. One was Alfonso Bonafede, a lawyer and politician in Italy's anti-corruption party the Five Star Movement. Alfonso spoke to us about corruption and the need for transparent politics. This blog, written by colleagues, provides an overview of the Mr. Bonafede's presentation. Christian Felber also joined us in Florence to explain his plans for the Economy for the Common Good. He impressively broke down the anthropological purposes of economics and how they have been 'perverted' over time. 




Watch his Tedx Talk on the economy for the common good below. 

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