Past Program

Italy: See Naples and Die - Panorama and the Poetics of City

Vedi Napoli e poi muori ("See Naples and then die") was a common expression, echoed most famously on his grand tour by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, to identify Naples as the most naturally and artistically beautiful city in the world; so beautiful that one needn't look upon anything else after seeing it.


Wintersession Travel Course
  • Naples, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
Winter 2019

Course Dates: Jan 3, 2019 — Feb 6, 2019

Open to RISD students, Brown University students
Academic Credits
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Literary Arts & Studies
Course Numbers
  • LDAR-W625
  • LAS-W725

Includes accommodation, field trips, local transportation, all meals, museum entrances, health and travel insurance.

Italy: See Naples and Die
Naples, Italy 2019
Italy: See Naples and Die
Naples, Italy 2019
Italy: See Naples and Die
Naples, Italy 2019

About this travel course

Few cities embody the Empedoclean elementality of Naples: situated in a volcanic landscape dominated by Mount Vesuvius, beside an enormous bay and natural harbor that opens onto the Tyrrhenian Sea under an endless sky, it marks a dramatic convergence of earth, wind, water and fire. The art, literature, history, politics and economics of Naples are equally "elemental" in the way that their constitutive and conflicting cultural forces are manifest in a dynamic, frequently paradoxical system of social relations. Students will engage this compelling city and its environment through the twinned graphic practices of drawing and writing, with particular attention given to the mediums of panoramic landscape, scientific illustration, philosophical speculation and fictional narrative. The LAS component of the course will survey literary discourses from antiquity to the present that imagine Naples and its environment. Readings (in English translation) will consist of selections by Virgil, Pliny (Elder and Younger), Livy, Tomasso Campanella, Giambattista Vico, Giacomo Leopardi, Matilde Serao and Walter Benjamin. The primary texts around which the course will be built are Susan Sontag's Volcano Lover, Roberto Saviano's Gomorrah, and contemporary Neapolitan noir fiction. Students will have read and written on Volcano Lover before convening in Naples, after which work will commence on a term project produced in tandem with travel and studio projects.

Co-Requisite Courses

This is a co-requisite course. Students must plan and register for LDAR-W625 and LAS-W725. Students will receive 3 studio credits and 3 liberal arts credits.

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