The Idea of Beauty across Art, Business, and Science: A New Interdisciplinary Travel Course in Florence

Florence, the birthplace of the European Renaissance, continues to represent Western ideals of civilization and artistry across the globe. The period that marked the beginning of modernity–a monumental shift in ways of thinking and managing politics, economics, and the arts–is inscribed in the very stones of the City of the Lily and continues to inspire new creations and ideas. It’s the quintessential site for examining how beauty impacts political, cultural, and economic processes.

This January, a group of Chapman students across different university departments designed and carried out individualized research projects while visiting Florence’s major museums and signature establishments of the city’s creative industries. The travel course is the fruit of a partnership between Chapman University and the International Studies Institute of Florence. Students availed themselves of the mentorship of Dr. Federico Pacchioni before, during, and after the stay, interviewed experts in various sectors of the arts and business, and collaborated with Italian peers from the University of Florence.

Below, students reflect on their experience:

“My travel course experience in Florence brought experiential learning to a new level through engaging group adventures and the remarkable knowledge of our faculty. The time I’ve spent here has reignited my passion for exploration and learning and has motivated me to continue my academic pursuits through travel in the future” – Mac Francini

“On this trip, I had the opportunity to tap into the artistic ecosystem of Florence and use the complexities of such a historic city to draw ideas for my own work. From the workshops and museums, I learned how to listen for inspiration.” – Ashleigh Cohan

“I feel so grateful to be able to engage with Florence to such an immersive degree. This class has been such a unique experience that I feel has expanded my perspective in a way that I could not have gotten traveling on my own!” – Marissa Thompson

“Being one of the most influential experiences of my Chapman journey, I have learned so much about myself and the world beyond our own. It has been an incredible opportunity with personalized education like no other, thanks to Dr. Pacchioni.” – Emalia Katelanis

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