In Mantua, looking for Romeo.

We are going to give a special tour for a group from the “Bryn Mawr Alumnae Association”. This visit will be a part of an extensive tour provided by International Seminar Design INC, focusing on Shakespeare’s Italy. The group will be led by Katherine Rowe, (Ph.D., Harvard), Professor of English, Director of the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center and Director of Digital Research and Teaching. As the tour program says, Renaissance Italy looms in the imagination of Shakespeare and his contemporaries: nearly a third of Shakespeare’s plays and poems mention specific sites and events in the country, or adapt Italian sources and literary models. During the past, Italy offered to English writers a cultural model to admire, imitate, and seek to surpass. Modern Italy has returned the passion, making fictional Shakespearean settings into real pilgrimage sites. 

Mantua has been chosen as a step of this tour for three main circumstances:
  • Mantua and the Forest of Mantua are specified settings in two Shakespeare plays: The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Act IV, scene 1 and Act V, scene 3), and Romeo and Juliet (Act V, scene 1).
  • Giulio Romano, the architect and painter who designed, built and decorated Palazzo Te, has the distinction of being the only modern artist mentioned by Shakespeare: the Bard called him “that rare Italian Master” (The Winter’s Tale, V.2.96-8).
  • Mantua has been used as a splendid movie set for the upcoming film adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The tragedy has been adapted by the Oscar-winning director and writer Julian Fellowes, and the movie, directed by Carlo Carlei, is going to be a traditional version similar to Franco Zeffirelli’s adaptation of the tragedy. The cast includes hot stars-in-the-making such as Douglas Booth (Romeo), Hailee Steinfeld (Juliet) and Ed Westwick (Tybalt).The movie is going to be on the screens on the day of St. Valentine (14th February 2013).

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