A Tale of Two Cities: Florence and Rome from the Grand Tour to Study Abroad
1st Tuscan Anglo-American Festival in Florence
Florence, 9 march 2016 – Palazzo Vecchio, Salone dei cinquecento (10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.)
In North American society, travel and cultural interchange have always played a central role in the education of citizens. Travelling abroad has frequently represented the opportunity to define one’s identity in American culture, and it is precisely for this reason that the United States has constantly striven to renew and maintain cultural and economic relations with the rest of the world.
Until the end of the nineteenth century, travel abroad, particularly in Europe, signified personal and cultural enrichment for Americans. The history and culture of the Old World served as a source of inspiration for the construction of customs and habits for the citizens of the New World. Over the course of this century, therefore, numerous accounts and novels were born, inspired by the experience of travel, and even today such literature continues to beckon generations of young people overseas.
Within this context, from the beginning of the early twentieth century, several North American universities began to incorporate a period of study abroad into their educational curricula. The IRPET Report of 2013 highlighted the fact that Italy is considered a favourite student destination, while among Italian cities, Florence and Rome attract the majority of foreign students above all.
This conference discusses the myth that surrounds these two cities in the collective Anglo-American imagination: the first, Florence, by virtue of its republican political system honed during the Renaissance; and the second, Rome, for the central role it played in the Classical age.
Within the conference I will give the lecture: American Cultural Experiences in Florence and Europe: Reality and Perpetuation of a Myth.