The Italian Rennaissance

  • Rome: Tour begins

    Rome: Tour begins

    After your arrival, get acquainted with your amazing Roman neighborhood. Check in, meet your Rome guide, and head out to see many of the sights just around the corner from where you are staying, from markets to the Tiber River. Time permitting, step inside some local spots for an up-close look at Italian life before ending the evening with a welcome dinner at a traditional Roman restaurant with your fellow Punahou alumni.

  • Rome: From Michelangelo in the Renaissance to Bernini in the Baroque

    Rome: From Michelangelo in the Renaissance to Bernini in the Baroque

    Begin your morning with an introductory lecture in your hotel by Dr. Nelson on the history of the papacy and the crucial role of the popes as patrons of the Renaissance. Then, head over to the Borghese Gallery to see works by Raphael, Titian, Bernini, and Caravaggio firsthand. This stunning “suburbana” villa, built for Cardinal Scipione Borghese in 1605, still serves its original purpose: as a display space for the cardinal’s amazing art collection intended to impress 17-century VIPs. Afterward, […]

  • Rome: A Walk through Ancient Rome

    Rome: A Walk through Ancient Rome

    With your Rome guide leading the way, visit some of the most important sites of ancient Rome to uncover the layers of history below your very feet. Head first to the Colosseum to learn about the violent spectacles of the arena and the most famous architectural remnant of the Roman Empire. Afterward, find yourself in the midst of the ancient forum and walk up to the top of the Capitoline Hill for the full view of ancient Roman life. Last […]

  • Florence: Michelangelo and the Renaissance

    Florence: Michelangelo and the Renaissance

    After a morning introductory lecture in your hotel (on the history of Renaissance Florence) by Dr. Nelson, visit the stunning and massive Franciscan Basilica of Santa Croce and its many famous works, including the Bardi and Peruzzi chapels, both frescoed by Giotto, the tombs of Galileo and Dante, as well the marvelous and recently restored Pazzi Chapel, designed by Leon Battista Alberti. Pay homage at the tomb of Michelangelo to prepare for the afternoon’s final stop: the stunning David, Michelangelo’s […]

  • Florence: Medieval Beauty in the Tuscan Countryside

    Florence: Medieval Beauty in the Tuscan Countryside

    Take a day trip outside of Florence to see the famous Tuscan countryside. Enjoy a wine tasting and curated lunch at the stunning Castello di Verrazzano to learn more about the area’s main exports. Afterward, travel to the breathtaking medieval city of Siena. Stroll through its picturesque streets, just in time to take advantage of its excellent shopping and food, or step inside some of its artistic splendors, most notably the cathedral, a masterpiece that took 200 years to complete.

  • Florence: Painting at the Birth of the Renaissance

    Florence: Painting at the Birth of the Renaissance

    Start your morning with some of Italy’s most beloved artists, from Giotto and Botticelli to Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael in Florence’s renowned Uffizi galleries. After lunch on your own, explore the studios and ateliers of Florence’s talented artisans. Learn about the age-old art of paper marbling and bookmaking and see the still-cherished practice of jewelry making with the city’s most talented artists. The perfect tour for some last-minute shopping on your last day in Florence!

  • Venice: Arrival Day

    Venice: Arrival Day

    Get acquainted with Venice … the Venetian way. Following a morning introductory lecture with Dr. Nelson, meet your Venice guide and begin your afternoon with a tour of the city by boat. Stop at San Giorgio Maggiore to climb its tower for the ultimate view of the Venetian lagoon. Then see Saint Mark’s Square, and the Bridge of Sighs before breaking for dinner.

  • Venice: The Serenissima and the Venetian Islands

    Venice: The Serenissima and the Venetian Islands

    Visit the majestic islands of the northern lagoon by boat – Murano, Torcello and Burano. Your guide will take you first to Murano where you will see a glassblowing demonstration at one of the only handful of workshops working today. Continue on to Torcello where you will visit the 1,000-year-old basilica and view its incredible Byzantine mosaics. Break for lunch at Torcello and then head to Burano, a multicolored shot of pastel-colored houses and shimmering canals. Then sample their famous […]

  • Departure Day

    Departure Day

    Hotel check-out Departure to Airport or Next Destination

The Italian Renaissance has held sway over the western imagination for centuries, forming the foundations of any humanities education.

This exclusive experience for Punahou alumni in November 2017 was led by Dr. Sean Nelson ’99. The 10-day VIP trip through Rome, Florence and Venice offered travelers special-access visits to some of Italy’s most famous sites – Sistine Chapel, St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Florence Duomo Terraces – in the quiet privacy of our alumni group.


Lisa Morrett ’72 Reid 
We are still here in Venice and it is the tail end of our trip, which has been absolutely superb. I have to say that I returned to Italy on this chosen trip because the idea that we had an art historian – or several throughout – on the trip. I had been to Italy before, but never with an art historian. I loved coming with Punahou. I knew before I started that I would have some comraderie with other people and I knew that there would be a really lovely comfort level, not just because of Punahou, but also because of Hawaii. And it’s been true. We’ve had a very homogenous group and just so much fun together and we really melded as a group, so that has been lovely. Our guides have been off-the-charts good, and I feel like a little sponge that has learned so much from these very studied, yet great storytellers who have opened up the history of Italy, but also of the Renaissance. And that has been a great joy, as I was an art major while in college and also did a lot of art when I was at Punahou. The highlights have been food, art history, fun shopping, beautiful cities off season and that has been better for us I think in the beautiful fall colors. It has been a superbl trip all-around, and I would recommend it to anyone.

I also want to say that the Select Study organization was first-cabin, and Carrie and Sean were not only accommodating, but really great guides, nurtured our group, led our group and the people that they brought in, along with Sean’s superb knowledge of the Renaissance, made this trip more than just a travel trip. It was really a snapshot of an educational renaissance. The trip for anyone who is interested in more than just sightseeing, this is truly a wonderful trip.

Iris and Russell Tokuyama ’70
We just had the most incredible 10 days of our lives here in Italy. Our heartfelt thank you to Carrie, Sean and Kellen of Select Study Abroad who put together the most incredible tour that we could possibly imagine. What attracted us to this tour was the fact that we were going to have an art historian taken us through this tour. Sean, as well as the others, did an incredible job not just taking us to Italy’s best attractions, but explaining the history and significance of what we were seeing so we could truly appreciate it. We bonded with and made wonderful friends with the people on this tour, and I don’t think it’s just the Punahou connection, although we did have that instant rapport. But the spouses and friends who didn’t go to Punahou all turned out to be such incredible people, and we had a wonderful time with them. And I can’t say enough how Sean, Kellen and Carrie put together the most carefully crafted tour. Every need we had was seen to, where they took such wonderful care of us, we were treated like VIPs, everything from the hotels and restaurants that they picked out, all to give us a totally Italian experience. We didn’t have to worry about anything, it was all taken care of. Grazie, ciao!

Richard Lovelace (spouse of Susan Groom ’71 Lovelace)
We went on this trip because five years ago we had planned a trip to Italy and weren’t able to make it at that time. We got an invitation from Punahou and Select Study Abroad, and we said ‘ok, let’s go.’ The trip is on its last evening now, and I have to say it’s been one of the best vacations of our our lives. We have been immersed in the world history and art history of Italy, a major educational experience for us. And a lot of fun too. Dr. Sean Nelson is a great expert in art history. He could point out lots of meaningful things that we saw. They engaged other tour guides to help in some places, and they too were all very good. Some of them had very interesting senses of humor, which contributed. The logistics were handled absolutely seamlessly. There was no point in this trip where we had a problem and didn’t know how to get it solved. In one particular dire moment for the trip, we had a biblical rain while we were standing in the Coliseum, and on the fly, the people who were planning the trip were able to come up with contingency plans and get people who were cold and wet back to places that were comfortable. It wasn’t all business. We had a fun night learning to cook, and we made a wonderful side trip to the Ferrazanno winery in Tuscany. We saw the beautiful Tuscany scenery, had a beautiful lunch and lot of really good wine and a sleepy ride home. It was just marvelous, and we’ve seen all that we could have expected to see. And now we get to go home and sort it out in our minds and see how much we remember.

Martin Inn ’62
After graduation, I went to Syracuse in New York, and after that I went to xxx Firenze where Sean attended. Going through that program was a life changer, it changed my life, it changed their lives. What is particularly special about this trip, this Select Study Abroad trip, was the passion, communication and emotion that all of us experienced and that is being communicated to all of us on this trip. It is again life changing. My wife said, ‘Let’s go to Florence instead of Paris, and I agree with her.’ I think Dr. Sean Nelson with his brilliant commentary, with Carrie’s mothering of everybody and pulling all the stops out with everything that they did in terms of accommodations, the pace of the trip, everything was top-notch. The food was unbelievable. I think that this is an important aspect of any trip that I have ever taken. I have taken many trips abroad, and this tops everything else. It goes over the top. I recommend that this is for anyone who wants to understand the art history of the Renaissance and the development of art in Italy, this is the most important trip you could take. If there is a second trip that goes into more detail about the development of the Renaissance, I’m in. Definitely, I’m in. Grazie, mille et bravissime, Dr. Nelson and Carrie.

Haydn Hite ’07
This trip has been the most amazing, once in a lifetime experience. It’s been incredible to see and learn everything in these three major cities in Italy. It’s been unbelievable opportunities in access to these various treasures that are here. I’ve just had the best time connecting with alumni and learning everything that I can about art history.

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