Five years ago, in the early days of April 2015, I was in Rome with my friend Crystal in anticipation and then celebration of Holy Week.
Since one of my favourite activities is reading texts in the places where they were written or in the places they describe, my friend and I devised a Literary-Experiential Quest through Florence and Rome.
Here were some of the texts we read at specific sites:
- The first canto of Dante’s Inferno in Italian in Via Dante (Florence)
- Excerpt from Machiavelli’s “Mandragola” outside of Santa Croce Basilica (Florence)
- Poems of Michelangelo in the Duomo (Florence)
- “Ode to a Nightingale” in the room where John Keats died in Rome
- “Ode on a Grecian Urn” in Antico Caffè Greco in Rome
- Excerpt from Virgil’s “Aeneid” on Aeneas coming to Rome (in front of the painting of Aeneas fleeing Troy in the Galleria Borghese)
- Excerpt about the Coliseum in St. Thérèse’s Story of a Soul at the Coliseum
- Latin excerpt from Cicero’s “On Old Age” at the Roman Forum
- Excerpt about St. Monica from Augustine’s Confessions outside of St. Monica’s church in Rome
- Chapter from Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth: Part Two Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection before Palm Sunday mass in St. Peter’s Square
Two of my favourite organizations that offer this kind of experiential learning that really brings texts to life are the Paideia Institute and Greek Studies on Site. Check them out and join their email lists.
Now is a great time for reading books connected to the places I most want to visit, including: Armenia, Georgia, Lebanon, and Morocco.
Have you had some You-Are-There-Reading experiences? What would you most like to read and where? Let me know!
And, to see more of my favourite You-Are-There-Reading experiences from around the world, click here.