Grand Tour Redux



“These several remains have been so copiously described by abundance of travelers … that it is very difficult to make any new discoveries on so beaten a subject. There is however so much to be observed in so spacious a field of Antiquities, that it is almost impossible to survey them without taking new hints, and raising different reflections, according as a man’s natural turn of thoughts, or the course of his studies, direct him…”

– Joseph Addison, Remarks on Several Parts of Italy

This project requires students to study the past in order to discover their contemporary selves. Just as the founders of the United States looked at Rome as a guide and artists studied the Renaissance for inspiration, students of the Honors College will reflect on their commonalities and differences with classical and Renaissance culture. Edward Gibbon, author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, stated, “According to the law of custom, and perhaps of reason, foreign travel completes the education of an English gentleman.”

The nature of student reflection must be broad and profound, and not exclusively personal. Students should address connections in society and culture across time. This project should not be a diary. Research must be rigorous.

Students will form groups of 3 to 4 students. Each group will be assigned one section of each respective city.  Groups will have the duration of the stay to explore.  Student groups must explore the history, culture, location, contemporary people of their respective location/institution.

Although exploration is done in groups, projects are individual.

Students must create a webpage with text and images and/or videos. The research must be thorough. The webpage must be public. Students can use any number of free web hosting services.

The text of the project must also be submitted as a Word document to

All research must be properly cited: text, photos, and videos. If you look at it, cite it.

Similar to a research paper, all sources must be cited for an artwork, photograph, or film. If you utilize an existing image for inspiration or incorporate clips or pictures from someone else, you cite those source. Failure to do is plagiarism.

These following factors will be considered in determining the project grade.

Research! Knowledge of subject
Engagement with Big Ideas (do not shy away from controversial subjects)
The nature of the connection between student and subject
The broader context of the student’s reflection (Can others relate to the points made in the project)
Originality of content


The following are suggested topics and questions students may explore. The inquiry should include, but not be limited, to these. The topics below primarily list the United States for comparison, but other countries may be used.

(Many of these questions are copied directly from the National Constitution Center’s guide “Ancient Rome & America: The Classical Influence That Shaped Our Nation.”)

Are we Rome?
Will America’s rise to world leadership last for a thousand years?
Or will our nation come to ruin, like the great Empire of ancient Rome?
How is Roman civic structure a model for the United States (or another country)? How is it different?
Compare a Roman’s loyalty to Rome to an American’s to the US. What does it mean to be a citizen? What should a citizen expect from the state and visa versa.
What parallels exist between Rome and the US in foreign relations?
Many of the founding fathers found individual characters to identify with (Cincinnatus and Washington). Which do you identify with? Why?
How does Roman religion compare with contemporary notions?
What lessons and symbols of Rome would be beneficial to contemporary society?
Are Americans today willing to sacrifice their individual interests for the common good?
Do Americans have a sense of unity and common purpose?
What brings Americans together? What pulls them apart?

The Renaissance placed the human at the center of thought and experience. How has this impacted your view of the world?
Compare Renaissance objective beauty with contemporary subjectivity.
Renaissance scholars and artists strove to understand the surrounding world, rather than focus on an abstract, spiritual world. How has this changed? How has this not changed?
Is there a contemporary parallel to Galileo’s trial?
Several Renaissance figures placed personal excellence above all, including relations with other people.
Venice and Florence were ruled by secular states. How has this influenced the modern world?
Venetians placed trade above all. Some historians associate the rise of capitalism with Venice.

These are to be claimed on the class discussion board.

Please refer to the following pages for the Roman Quartieri

Mercado Centrale
Piazza della Repubblica
Santa Croce
Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazza della Signoria

Cinque Terre
Monterosso al Mare
The Cinque Terre trail

Venezia (Sestieri)
San Marco East (east of Rio S. Moise, Rio de l’Barcaroli, Rio de S. Luca)
San Marco West (west of Rio S. Moise, Rio de l’Barcaroli, Rio de S. Luca)
San Polo
Santa Croce

Stephanie Sepúlveda’s “Voi Siete Qui”: Stephanie Sepulveda’s Grand Tour Redux project is a model of what a successful project should be. Stephanie’s reflections are personal yet universal and do not shy away from the big ideas and tough questions. Her scope is also interdisciplinary in nature.
Allison Vargas’ “Aspects of Freedom”: Allison Vargas’ Miami España project is an in-depth honest reflection on the cultural contrasts and commonalities of Miami and Spain. Allison discusses religion, sexuality,  and just about everything that can make one uncomfortable-nothing is too controversial.

Stephanie Sepúlveda & John William Bailly  01 May 2018

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