Italy is the quintessential travel destination for anyone interested in art, culture, and history. Known as one of the fonts of Western culture, it was the center of the Roman Empire and the place where the Renaissance flowered. Today, it remains a mecca for cultural travelers, uplifting, fascinating, and enchanting all who travel there. Italy contains a stunning panorama of history, architecture, art, and culture, all within settings of astonishing beauty. From its epic history and fabulous art to its luminous landscapes and incalculable jewels of architecture, it would be hard to exaggerate the riches of this extraordinary country. Working with experts from Smithsonian and their renowned cultural travel program, Smithsonian Journeys, The Great Courses created a "Grand Tour" that explores Rome, Florence, Venice, and other culturally rich locations, such as Pompeii and Perugia; highlights countless masterworks of artistic genius; and examines the impact of Italian history on the rest of the world. You'll make extensive visits to many points of interest, led by Professor Kenneth R. Bartlett, who has devoted much of his career to bringing Italian culture and history into classrooms and has led tours of Italy for more than 30 years. If you plan to visit Italy, this course will introduce you to the incomparable gems you can't miss while you are there. And if you prefer to explore the world from the comfort of your home, we'll bring Italy to you. Either way, this new, visually splendid tour of Italy will expand your education in the sources of Western art, culture, and history.