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Fellowship through Art

Director-led trip to Italy
Alexander J. Noelle, Assistant Curator of European Paintings and Sculpture, 1500–1800
February 16, 2024
City with sun above

Piazza del Campo, Siena

This past October, director William M. Griswold led 20 trustees and CMA supporters on a 10-day journey through central Italy. We traced the development of Italian art from the medieval era to the Renaissance, Mannerist, and Baroque periods, with particular emphasis on major artists in the CMA’s collection, such as Botticelli, Andrea del Sarto, Caravaggio, and Annibale Carracci.

In Florence, participants toured the city’s major museums—including the Galleria degli Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia, Palazzo Pitti, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, and Museo dell’Opera del Duomo—and met their directors. We also enjoyed behind-the-scenes private viewings of masterpieces under restoration, including a visit to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure to see bronze sculptures by Donatello and—a true highlight of the trip—the rare opportunity to climb the temporary scaffolding in the Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine and come face-to-face with the renowned frescoes by Masaccio, Masolino, and Filippino Lippi.

While in Tuscany, we explored the countryside, visiting a number of stately villas and spending a day in Siena, where we toured the cathedral and its museum as well as a private palace. In both Florence and Rome, we were granted special access to collections that are ordinarily inaccessible to the public and were received by Italian nobles to dine at their ancestral palaces, many of which date to the Renaissance period.

Chiostro dello Scalzo, Florence: Director Bill Griswold presents the frescoes of Andrea del Sarto. 

By way of high-speed train from Florence, our group journeyed south to Rome for the second portion of the trip to experience all that the ancient capital has to offer. Highlights included a viewing of Annibale Carracci’s frescoes in Palazzo Farnese, the most iconic of Rome’s patrician palaces, which today houses the French Embassy; and a private reception at Palazzo Odescalchi for an intimate viewing of The Conversion of Saint Paul by Caravaggio. We also explored the Capitoline Museums with Seth Pevnick, CMA curator of Greek and Roman art, and traveled by boat to Isola Bisentina for a special tour of the island once inhabited by the Etruscans and then the Romans. Rounding out the Rome itinerary were visits to Palazzo Barberini, Palazzo Colonna, and Galleria Borghese, where we were enraptured by Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s magnificent masterpieces in marble.

Two women on a rooftop balcony overlooking a small town featuring ceramic rooftops and a belltower in the distance
CMA supporters Sally Gries and Viki Rankin at the private palace of Rocca Farnese in Ischia di Castro in the Roman countryside

The museum is pleased to continue to offer international travel opportunities to its members. Priority registration for future trips begins at the $10,000 Leadership Circle Collector level and the $2,400 Emerging Collector level. For more information, contact Allison Tillinger, associate director of leadership and annual giving, at atillinger@clevelandart.org or 216-707-6832.

A group of 25 well-dressed people on the steps of a palace  surrounded by marble columns roman statues, gold leaf architectural elements and a large frescoe overhead
CMA trip participants after a private tour of Palazzo Colonna, Rome