In Spring 2013, a group sponsored by Shepherd University plans to explore the connections between various places in Italy and the plays of William Shakespeare. Whether Shakespeare himself ever visited Italy is a topic of scholarly speculation. But many of the Bard's plays have Italian settings and the locations that he wrote about correspond closely with the dramatic texts.
Verona is, of course, the home of "Romeo and Juliet." It is also the location of Shakespeare's early comedy "Two Gentlemen of Verona." In addition to the usual tourist sites, the group will visit the Villafranca Scaliger Castle where the prince summoned the heads of the feuding Capulet and Montague families.
Venice today is still closely connected to the historical background of both "Othello" and "The Merchant of Venice." In addition to the Doge's Palace where Othello presented himself before the Senate, the group will seek out the private meeting place of Desdemona and Othello, as described in the text.
Also, the group will see Shylock's penthouse, located in the Jewish ghetto, and pass by Portia's residence at the Villa Foscari, known as Belmont in the play. In Florence, in addition to the Uffizi Gallery and other attractions, travelers will be able to coordinate the paths of Bertram and Helena as detailed in "All's Well That Ends Well."
In Padua, the group will visit the Church of San Luca and the nearby canal bridge where much of "The Taming of the Shrew" takes place. In Rome, the itinerary will include locations alluded to in "Julius Caesar" such as Area Sacra, believed to be the site of Caesar's death, the Roman Forum where Antony gave his funeral oration and Palatine Hill where Caesar lived. Also, the group will visit the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountains and many other places of interest.
There will also be ample free time for travelers to explore on their own.
The tour will include round-trip airfare, airport taxes, accommodation in three-star hotels, expert tour guides in each location, pre-booked admissions to museums and cultural sites, breakfasts each day and most dinners, as well as transportation by private coach for airport transfers and inter-city travel.
A public meeting to discuss the tour and answer questions is scheduled for Wednesday Sept. 12 in Knutti Hall Room 205 at 5 p.m. Anyone interested, including non-students and family members will be welcome to attend!
For more information, contact Dr. Jim Lewin at 304 876 5269 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.