Description: This tour takes its inspiration from the Dan Brown book ‘Angels and Demons' as well as themes from ‘The Da Vinci Code' and builds upon the fascinating themes that he explores. We visit the main sites visited in the book as well as the most famous monuments by the greatest artists of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Exciting stories and intrigues lead us to visit many off-the-beaten-path sites as well as many of the most famous piazzas and monuments in Rome . Dan Brown's story gives us an exciting framework within which we can explore the dynamics of the greatest artists and their main patrons - the most infamous Popes of all time- in a chaotic time when the threat of the inquisition loomed over those in pursuit of original artistic and scientific achievements . Although they were earning their bread and butter from the Popes, each of the most famous artists of the Renaissance and Baroque took their early inspiration from the exciting Pagan sculptures, paintings and architecture that were being rediscovered from the ancient past of the Romans and Greeks. Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio and Bernini were given free access to the massive collections of the Popes to study and develop their ideals of artistic beauty from these pagan antiquities. Galileo also took his inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman studies of the stars and universe and the controversial studies of Copernicus. A few of the most powerful Popes supported the use of these ancient influences that directly contributed to the Renaissance, or ‘rebirth,' of mathematical, artistic, architectural and scientific inquiry, and yet knowledge was also a thing to be controlled so as to benefit their control over the people through the political powers they wielded. New found discoveries were carefully probed and kept under the watchful eyes of the Vatican Council for Religious Propaganda and any ideas that were deemed to be against Church Doctrine were quickly condemned. Over the centuries countless people were tortured, hung or burned at the stake by the Vatican merely because their inquiries into the mysteries of the world went against church dogma- a dogma that had nothing to do with the ideas of Jesus Christ and the founding of Christianity.
Some of the themes we will explore: Why did Galileo spend the last twenty years of his life under house arrest for his scientific studies based on the ideas of Copernicus, which proved that the earth was a satellite of the sun as opposed to the center of the Universe?
Why were Michelangelo's paintings in the Sistine Chapel declared by important members of the pope's council to be indecent and in need of severe editing or even destruction? It was even recommended he be sent to the inquisition and, in later periods, many of his paintings and sculptures were ‘censored' by adding drapery to cover up the ‘unsightly' nude figures he was famous for.
In a time in which the Popes ruled over all, why was Raphael often working on pagan themes revolving around the gods and goddesses of ancient mythology- often with themes of a scandalous nature- but only in the most private chambers of the popes and cardinals?
Why were Caravaggio's controversial paintings often removed immediately after installation in chapels of churches only to be quickly bought up for the private collections of cardinals and the wealthiest men of Rome?
Why did Leonardo Da Vinci have so many problems in Rome and finally flee to France, where he stayed for the rest of his life? Bernini, the greatest and most prolific artist of the Baroque period, transformed Rome more than any other artist by leading teams of students to create his artistic visions. He played the game well with the popes, who granted him countless grand commissions and he disguised his subversive symbolism and the recognition of the theories of Galileo very well throughout the city. How did Bernini get away with being a friend of Galileo, a favorite of the Popes and earn commissions by a cardinal with the largest pornographic collection in existence at the time?
Sites to be visited on the tour: Piazza del Popolo, Santa Maria del Popolo and the Chigi Chapel, The Spanish Steps, The Palace of the Knights of Malta, The Palace of the Propaganda of the Faith, Piazza Barberini, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, The Trevi Fountain, The House of Bernini, The Pantheon, Church of Sant'Ignazio, The Collegio Romano- seat of the Inquisition, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant'Angelo, The Vatican City- Saint Peter's Piazza.