The Grand Tour of Italy                                


Is Italy on top of your wish list? Have you already been there, but you guessed the tour was somehow superficial and you'd like to know more? Would you like to discover art, culture and food of two beautiful regions?

If the reply is 'yes', enrol in The Grand Tour of Italy and prepare yourself for a new and unexpected challenge!

Aims by discovering the heritage of six cities, we will have a closer look at some of the best artworks ever produced. Also, we will understand how to examine and discuss a work of art in a practical and non-academic way.

Mode of delivery blended. One part runs online, with a focus on a different city every week (you can have access to it anytime). Another one will be arranged through Skype sessions (around 90 min each). Both of them will ask your contribution in reading/watching the materials and studying the pictures given.

Intensity: around 6 hours of work per week. You will be asked to go through a set materials and get ready for the live sessions. The tutor will NOT lecture participants; rather, he will distribute tasks and provide help.

Patterns of interaction: The online activities will be divided into individual ones, pair-work and group-work.

Programme details

First impression (Ind/w)



What shall we look at?

Food and  wine


Padova and its medieval tradition

Walking tour

Cappella degli Scrovegni


Palazzo Bo

Galileo's Podium

Mantegna, Adorazione dei Magi, 1495-1505

Bellini, Portrait of a young senator

Giusto de' Menabuoi, Baptistry frescoes, 1375-6

Veronese, Martyrdom of St Giustina

Altichiero, Crucifixion, 1365 ca


How are objects or people are arranged in the image? Is the naked eye enough to reach good results?  We will try to find answers to these questions.

Markets and aperitivo


Bigoli with duck ragout

Pazientina cake

Merlara wines


The capital of Renaissance architecture: Vicenza

Walking tour

Olympic theatre

Palladian villas

Villa Trissino Marzotto

J. da Bassano, I rettori di Vicenza, 1573

Veronese, The Supper of St Gregory the Great, 1572

Fondazione Bisazza


This is about how the illusion of depth, or the impression of a scene being flat, is reached. We will see how this  relates to physics and mathematics as well as optics.

Baccala' mantecato

Bussola' biscuits

Soave wine


A world on its own: Venice

A quick tour

Top travel guide to Venice on a budget

Venice and the Ottoman empire

Oil paint in Venice

St Mark's basilica

The Doge's Palace

The Lagoon

Lotto, The Alms of St Anthony, 1542

Carpaccio, Vision of St Augustine, 1502

G. Bellini, Portrait of Mehmed II, 1480

G. Bellini, Portrait of Doge Mocenigo, 1478

G. Bellini, Procession in San Marco, 1496

Titian, Suleiman the Magnificent, 1530-40

Venice Biennale


This refers to the study of what colours are composed of and why certain combinations may look better, or more appropriate, than others. Physics and chemistry are heavily involved, as well as our cultural understanding of the world around us.

Asparagus with soft boiled egg

Calf liver and onions


Vanilla merengue cake

Prosecco sparkling wine


The Republic of Pisa

A walk through the city

The leaning tower

Masaccio, St Paul

Gentile da Fabriano, Madonna of Humility

Gozzoli, Madonna col bambino e donatrici 1480 ca


This refers to the lightness or darkness (shades, levels of darkness etc).

Ribollita soup

Beef ragout

Vernaccia wine


The first modern democracy: Siena

Passeggiata e aperitivo

The Palio

Piazza del Campo


Duccio da Buoninsegna, Madonna and Child with saints, 1300 ca

Martini, Annunciation, 1333

A. Lorenzetti, Good government frescoes, 1339

Puccinelli, St Michael enthroned with saints, 1360 ca

Sassetta, Madonna della Neve, 1430


Why does a striped T-shirt look good? Why and how are shapes onto a carpet repeated many times?  



I ricciarelli

Siena and Tuscany wine country

Week 6

Firenze in the hands of the Medici

Florence artisans

A closer look with a professional guide

Medici Chapel


Gates of Paradise

Gentile da Fabriano, Adoration of the Magi, 1423

Fra Angelico, San Marco altarpiece, 1440 ca

Bronzino, Portrait of Eleanor of Toledo and her son Giovanni de' Medici, 1545

Vasari, Lorenzo de' Medici receiving gifts, 1556

Leonardo da Vinci,

Adorazione dei Magi, 1482 ca


This refers to the people or things represented in an artwork and the reasons why they are there.



The ultimate Florentine steak

Chianti wine

Recommended reading

On it is possible to find several cheap books about Italian art. Among others,

Peter Mantin, The Italian Renaissance (Heinemann)

Fernando Checa, Titian and Venetian painting of the 16th century (various editions)

Frederick Hartt, Botticelli (various editions)

Stefano Zuffi, Leonardo da Vinci (in Turkish - Art Book)

Monica Girardi, Michelangelo (in Turkish - Art Book)

For a theoretical approach,

Patrick Doorly, Sanatta Hakikat (Sanat ve Kuram)


Francesco Cisternino (UG Dip in the History of Art, University of Oxford)

Course aims

- To raise awareness among the participants about Italian art and culture;

- To study and practice the formal elements of art (composition, tone, colour and so forth) in virtual class exercises.

- To understand what objects and situations portrayed actually mean by an introduction to iconography and symbolism.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, participants will be expected to:

a) discover and appreciate several masterpieces made in two regions, the Veneto and Tuscany;

b) learn how to look at paintings and mosaics;

c) discuss the topics and themes suggested with their partners, and select the best ideas in view of future travel experiences or even art purchases.


Francesco Cisternino WORK EXPERIENCE 01/09/2018–30/06/2020 Assistant butler, All Souls College (Oxford) Household management duties, including looking after fellows and guests, catering tasks, administration of bills, inventories. Editor of minutes, proposals and internal documents. Designed and tutored an online course about tea and its culture aimed at fellows and co-workers. 24/09/2017–30/06/2018 CLIL/ESL teacher and course designer, EF Language Campus, Oxford Taught IELTS and Cambridge exams preparation, Academic writing, General English. Also in charge of tutorials and cultural excursions. Designed and taught courses in History and International Affairs aimed at teen-agers. 01/10/2016–30/06/2017 English teacher, educational coordinator, administrator at TEOL school of languages, Rize (Turkey) Teaching ESL to teen-agers and adults. Organising excursions. Reporting about learners' performance according to CEFR. In charge of syllabus, assessment and lesson planning coordination. Administrative duties (clerical tasks, office management, archive). 30/09/2014–30/04/2016 Deputy director of studies, ESL teacher, course designer at the British Culture institute, Konya (Turkey) Responsible for syllabus creation, assessment, evaluation of improvement, students accommodation, international programmes. Administration duties. Supported the sales office. 09/03/2012–29/09/2014 Language teacher, assistant to the residence manager for Ferrero Agrigeorgia LTD, Zugdidi (Georgia) Designed and taught courses of English for Agriculture and Business English exam preparation sessions. Residence management included welcoming guests, menu planning, housekeeping. 24/09/2012–15/06/2013 Lecturer in Business English at the Dept. of Business Administration, University of Zugdidi, Georgia Designed and put into practice a blended course based on both online and class activities. Ensured that the communicative components were privileged. Administered tests and exams. 01/01/2012–31/12/2012 English and Italian teacher for the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia Assisted local teachers with their ELT classwork. Also prepared and taught a seminar on American Literature for the local Teachers' Association. 12/10/2008–11/04/2009 Assistant to the Cultural attache' at the Institute of Culture, Italian embassy in Damascus (Syria) Helped the office to organise and arrange cultural events. Liaised with local authorities; booked rooms and transport tickets for staff and guests. Responsible for the guests' welfare throughout their stay in the country. EDUCATION AND TRAINING 03/10/2020–Present BA (Hons) Arts and Humanities, The Open University (candidate) RQF Level 6 Comprises one module in the domain of Art History (Art and its global histories, A344) and one in Religious studies (Why is religion controversial?, A332). 01/10/2017–30/08/2019 UG Dip in the History of Art, University of Oxford RQF level 5 European culture-centered, with glimpses towards the East. Year 1: High Renaissance, Baroque and 20/5/20 © European Union, 2002-2020 | Page 1 / 2 Curriculum vitae Francesco Cisternino Rococo'. Year 2: Middle Ages (including notions of Byzantine and Islamic history), Early Renaissance. 07/08/2017–03/09/2017 CertTESOL, Trinity College London RQF level 5 Covers skills and knowledge needed to take up posts as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. Includes extensive teaching practice observed and assessed by professional trainers. 01/03/2014–30/09/2016 UG Cert.HE in the History of Art, University of Oxford RQF level 4 Focus on Byzantine / Islamic culture in the late middle ages. Also: Early Renaissance, Academic writing, Study skills, History of Religions, American Literature, Assyrian Archaeology. PERSONAL SKILLS Mother tongue(s) Italian, English Foreign language(s) UNDERSTANDING SPEAKING WRITING Listening Reading Spoken interaction Spoken production Spanish B1 B1 B1 B1 B1 French B1 B1 B1 B1 B1 Arabic A2 A2 A2 A2 A2 Turkish A2 A2 A2 A2 A2 Levels: A1 and A2: Basic user - B1 and B2: Independent user - C1 and C2: Proficient user Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - Self-assessment grid Communication skills Through extensive teaching and customer services experience, I have the ability to build a rapport and to remain relaxed in social situations. Organisational / managerial skills I enjoy hard work and do not pursue personal glory. Moreover, my planning abilities and my commitment to complete the task ensure that a job is done to the highest standards. Job-related skills VOLUNTEERING 2020 (ongoing) Checking and uploading entries for the Heberden coin room, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford; 2018/9 Contributing editor of the Oxford University Middle Eastern Review (; 2014: Mentored English teachers for TKT Cambridge English qualifications, NGO Atinati Zugdidi ( 2011 Assistant to the Collection manager of the Museum of Ethnography in Tbilisi for a scholarly collection catalogue. LANGUAGE CERTIFICATES Cambridge: Proficiency, Cambridge: BEC Higher (Business English), Toefl iBT. Digital skills SELF-ASSESSMENT Information processing Communication Content creation Safety Problemsolving Independent user Independent user Independent user Indep

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