An Italian Grand Tour

10 week course: 14th January - 25th March

INTRODUCTION: We are delighted to announce a new 10-week online course starting in January, combining lectures by specialist art historian and National Gallery lecturer Siân Walters with guided walks and museum visits streamed live from Florence, Milan, Naples and Venice, led by expert art historians, archaeologists and guides. Each week we will explore a different city - our course includes a livestream walking tour in Venice; a exclusive, especially arranged visit to the Brera Art Gallery in Milan (see photo above); a gallery visit in Florence; a Caravaggio-themed walk in Naples, and a special guest lecture on Rome by Dr Ross King, award-winning author of Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling.

All lectures and tours broadcast from Italy are live and interactive, allowing you to ask questions.  Siân and all her expert colleagues are known for their informative but informal approach, combining erudite commentary with an entertaining and approachable delivery.  The lessons, streamed on Zoom Webinar, will enable you to gain special access to sites and galleries in Italy whilst at the same time providing a wonderful opportunity to travel virtually from home. Our visits will also support both galleries and individuals working in the cultural sector and a percentage of the course price is reserved for supporting other cultural institutions in need of assistance.

CONTENT: Our lectures will include a study of the Gonzaga dynasty and their role as art patrons in the city of Mantua where they ruled for nearly 400 years, surrounding themselves with the greatest architects, scholars, poets, musicians and artists of their day including Giulio Romano, Mantegna and Alberti. Another session is devoted to Arezzo with special reference to Piero della Francesca’s famous frescoes dedicated to the Finding of the True Cross in the 13th century church of San Francesco. Other lectures explore masterpieces of art, architecture and sculpture in the cities of Siena and Bologna.

We have also arranged exclusive access to a number of museums and important art collections such as a unique visit to the Brera in Milan where we have been granted a special privilege by the director, allowing us to broadcast a live, guided tour. This will be led by the distinguished scholar and art historian Dr Antonio Mazzotta. Dr Luisella Romeo will lead a guided walk from the Giudecca island in Venice, once the site of many convents and monasteries and now home to a lively mix of archaeology, quiet corners, modern architecture and gorgeous gardens. There will be a walking tour and museum visit in Florence with Dr Lucia Montuschi, and a Caravaggio-themed week in which we study the artist's career in Naples. Our guided tour here will be led by Dr Raffaele Romano. We are also delighted that the award-winning author Ross King will join us for a special guest talk on Raphael and Michelangelo in Rome.

There will be no crossover with any previous courses or livestream visits - all the sessions are new so they can be enjoyed by those who have followed our other online courses as well as newcomers who are always most welcome!

Our guided walks use the most up-to-date technology to provide you with the best possible virtual experience. You will feel as though you are exploring the city yourself with the running commentary given by our guide, with the possibility of admiring details of the artworks in high resolution as we move around the galleries.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Tune in from anywhere in the world or enjoy a recorded version if you cannot watch live. A link to the recording will be sent soon after the end of the session if you cannot watch live, enabling you to watch on catch up after the session any time until Monday at midnight.*  Each session will last approximately 1 hour 45 minutes including a short break and two question/answer sessions. Students will be provided with a full course outline and a suggested reading list/online resources approximately one week in advance of the start date - these will be sent by email.  Students also receive an informal weekly newsletter with news, reading suggestions, recipes and website links.

* Recordings are only available to those who miss a live session.

You are welcome to join the course at any point however, please note that you will only be able to see the recording from the previous session if you join after the course start date.

Live streamed lectures are on Friday mornings and all sessions run from 11.00 - 12.45.(UK time). There is no session on 18th February (half-term). The cost includes museum entrance fees and donationsA full course outline will be emailed to all attendees approximately one week before the first session.

Please refer to the Further Information panel below for booking details.

TESTIMONIALS: Here are just a few comments following recent similar courses:

I just want to thank you for your brilliant course on Venice which I have enjoyed enormously. The combination of your fascinating lectures and Luisella’s wonderful tours has been so enlightening.  I feel that I have actually been to Venice!...

Your course.. is splendid - the combination of lectures and virtual walks/visits works brilliantly....

Thank you again, Siân, for arranging these lovely sessions which we look forward to all week....

A big thank you for the very much enjoyed Virtual Venice ...  It is certainly the highlight of the week leaving us with so many happy memories and positive thoughts ....

I absolutely love your courses Sian! I am learning so much about art, history and the world .. but above all it is your unique style that is so enchanting and keeps me coming back for more! As an expert in your subject you have great knowledge but also the gift of making your lectures accessible to a wide range of participants through your wonderful use of language and lovely sense of fun. Thank you!

During these challenging times the Friday lectures have provided an oasis of calm and an opportunity to enjoy the delights and the good things that life has to offer. It has been a very positive and mindful experience! 

Art History in Focus is proud to have initiated the concept of online tours in a number of major Italian museums and historic sites including the Castello Sforzesco and Palazzo Bagatti Valsecchi in Milan, The Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, the Ca’ Rezzonico and the Basilica of San Marco in Venice and the Palazzo Medici in Florence. We are delighted to have developed these collaborations which continue to raise important funds for the galleries and cultural sites.


Further Information


1. BOOK.

Click on the gold “Book This Course/Event” button on the right hand side now, fill in the online booking form and pay online. Please use a UK account/card (if you are paying using a non-UK account/card please email us to arrange alternative payment methods). You will be notified automatically by email once your booking has been accepted.

Please ensure you enter your email address correctly, as your Zoom link will be sent to this address, thank you.

The participation fee is £150 per person, if making bookings for a number of people please provide their email addresses when booking them as separate participants. The fee includes "virtual visit" fees to sites visited as well as donations to cultural institutions in Italy in need of support.


Download ZOOM once you have booked - please print/download the instructions in this downloadable link and read them carefully. 


You will receive an email approximately 24-48 hours in advance of the event asking you to register.** This is a privacy function enabling only registered participants to attend. After registering you will automatically receive the Zoom log in link - please keep this safe

** Please note that these details are sent out in office hours, so if you book on a weekend you may not receive them until Monday. You must register with the same name that you have booked under, otherwise you may not be able to watch. If you have not received your email confirmations, please check your ‘deleted items' and 'junk mail' folders or click here for advice.


Join the event at least ten minutes before it is scheduled to start, to ensure everything is working.

If you are not able to watch at the time it is live-streamed, you can still book online, as above. You do not need to advise us if you can't participate live, don't worry! You will be contacted after the event has been broadcast with instructions on how to watch on catch up (until Monday evening). Please note, the recording is only available to those who have not been able to participate live.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event. We regret that we are unable to offer technical support with Zoom but tips can be found in the attachment. If you would like to book more than one event, please book separately for each event that you would like to attend, thank you. If you are booking for more than one person, it is important that you include their email address so that we can send them the link too. We regret we are unable to offer refunds but don't worry if you are not able to attend, as we will send you the recording.

image of the Brera Gallery, Milan by Dimitris Vetsikas

I have learnt so much from you and your Italian colleagues. It has been a complete joy and privilege to have taken part in these courses. Thank you SO much”

Mrs M Walsh

Read more testimonials and comments


  • Walking tours broadcast live from Italy
  • Exclusive visit to the Brera Art Gallery in Milan
  • Lectures with specialist art historians
  • Special live access to some of Italy's most beautiful collections, included in price
  • Online - watch from anywhere in the world, either live or on catch up
  • Interactive Q&A



To book, please complete our online booking form.

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