Renaissance Venice: La Serenissima


Venice was once among the most powerful of European states. Its power and influence sprang from its extensive trading networks in the Levant and beyond. This course looks at the city’s government and complex politics; its international relations and its social and political life. It will examine the patronage of architecture, art and music in the city and its importance in the history of the European Renaissance.

Programme details

Seminars meet each weekday morning, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study, or exploring the many places of interest in and around the city.

Origins: This session offers a brief overview of the rise of Venice in the 5th century and its main developments before the Renaissance.
Trade: We look at the main trading routes and commodities upon which the wealth of Renaissance Venice was based. Marco Polo’s The Travels will feature.

Princely Republic: This session considers how the Venetian state was ruled through the doge and its major political and military institutions.
Public and Private Life: We examine some of the principal families of the Republic and the roles of men and women in the home, in trade and politics in the city.

Venice in Peril: This session focuses on Venice’s often fraught relations with other city states in Italy, with the European monarchies. It considers how it nearly fell to them in the 15th century.
The Lion of St Mark: We look at Venice’s international relations in the sixteenth century, especially with the Ottomans and consider its complex diplomatic service and how Venice related to the rest of Europe

The Stones of Venice: Taking Ruskin’s famous book as a starting point, we look at the principal architects and buildings associated with the city of Venice and consider their major works in context.
Oil on Water: We look at the major artists who contributed to the Renaissance Venetian style, from the Bellini family to Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto, looking at their paintings in their settings and contexts.

La Serenissima: We hear some of the music of 16th and 17th centuries and consider the importance of St Mark Basilica in the political and cultural history of the city.
Our friend in the East: In our final session, we look at the changes Venice underwent in the later 16th and 17th centuries and consider the enduring appeal of the city five centuries on from the Renaissance.


Description Costs
Fee option 1 (single en suite accom and meals) £1635.00
Fee option 2 (single standard accom and meals) £1440.00
Fee option 3 (twin en suite accom and meals) £1537.50
Fee option 4 (double en suite accom and meals) £1537.50
Fee option 5 (twin set standard accom and meals) £1440.00
Fee option 6 (no accom; incl lunch and dinner) £1120.00


All fees are charged on a per week, per person basis.

Please be aware that all payments made via non-UK credit/debit cards and bank accounts are subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

Payment terms

  • If enrolling online: full payment by credit/debit card at the time of booking.
  • If submitting an application form: full payment online by credit/debit card or via bank transfer within 30 days of invoice date.

Cancellations and refunds

1. Cancellation by you

Participants who wish to cancel must inform the Programme Administrator in writing: by email to, or by post to The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, OXFORD, OX1 2JA, UK.

The following cancellation and refund policy applies in all cases:

  • Cancellation within 14 days of online enrolment / payment of fees – full refund of all fees paid.

  • Cancellations received up to and including 30 April 2022 – OUDCE will retain an administration fee of £100 per week booked; all other fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received between 1-31 May 2022 – OUDCE will retain 60% of the fees paid; the remaining 40% of fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received on and after 1 June 2022 - no refunds will be made.

Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

2. Cancellation by us

OUDCE reserves the right to cancel a course where there is good reason, for example, if exceptionally low enrolment would make it educationally unviable. In these cases we will refund the course fees that you have already paid. If we cancel a course, our liability is limited to the fees that we have received from you; this means that we will not compensate you for any pre-booked travel costs or any other expenses incurred.

Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

The status of this course will be reviewed on 1 May 2022. If it is likely that the course may be cancelled, all those affected will be notified by email within 7 days; if you have not heard from OUDCE by 8 May 2022, you should assume that your course will be running. You may wish to delay finalising your travel arrangements until after this date.

3. Travel insurance

You need to purchase travel insurance to cover the programme fee, travel costs, and any other expenses incurred.


Professor Glenn Richardson


Glenn Richardson is Professor of Early-Modern History at St Mary’s University in London. He is the author of several books on Renaissance monarchy and England’s international relations. He had lectured on Venice for many years and led many tours to the city for university field trips and for cultural tours companies. He has taught many OUDCE summer school courses on aspects of the European Renaissance.

Teaching methods

Participants will be taught in seminar groups of up to 12 people. Elements of this teaching will normally include mini lectures and presentations by tutors and tutor-led class discussions.

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


Registration closes on 1 May 2022.

Please note: most courses fill up fast so early registration is strongly recommended.

Single accommodation and non-residential places may be booked online by clicking on the “Book now” button in the “Course details” box at the top right-hand side of the course page.

If you experience any difficulties enrolling online please contact the Programme Administrator at

Those requiring twin or double accommodation should complete an application form as these rooms cannot be booked online. Completed forms should be sent:


Level and demands

The Oxford Experience is aimed at non-specialists: no prior knowledge is required, and classes are pitched at an introductory level. The courses are designed for an international audience aged 18 and over.


During your course, you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Christ Church in buildings which range from the 18th to the 20th century.

Participants should note that bedrooms are modestly-furnished, do not have air-conditioning and are arranged on a staircase of four or five floors.

The following types of accommodation are available:

  • Single en suite

  • Single standard

  • Twin en suite

  • Double en suite

  • Standard ‘twin set’.

En suite rooms include private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet). Standard rooms have their own washbasin and shaver point but bathroom facilities are shared. ‘Twin sets’ comprise two single rooms opening off a sitting room.

Please note that only single accommodation may be booked online; those requiring twin or double accommodation should complete an application form. (See “Application”.)

Please indicate your accommodation preferences (either online or on your application form), together with a note of any mobility problems.

We regret that we are unable to offer you accommodation at Christ Church prior to or following your course. Additionally, family or friends who are not enrolled in the programme cannot be accommodated in college.

We also offer places on a non-residential basis whereby participants can take classes and have meals (lunch and dinner) at the college, having arranged their own accommodation elsewhere.