Catania & Taormina, Sicily, Saturday, November 25

This field learning activity focuses on the historical impacts of the plague in the lively city of Milan.Emphasis is placed on both arts and sciences in orderto remark the interlinked nature of areas such asmedicine, religion, art history, and architecture. The two main Italian figures who will be explored are thegreat Leonardo Da Vinci and the renowned writer Alessandro Manzoni. Da Vinci travelled to Milan toredesign the city during the plague’s first wave. He was asked to come up with a plan that could lower the spread of the disease in Milan. While in Milan, he painted The Last Supper while simultaneously conducting his architectural research aimed at incrementing social distancing. His project can be paralleled to measuresadopted during Covid-19. Secondly, Manzoni set hismasterpiece The Betrothed in Milan, during the years of the plague. The key locations of the novel will beland marks of the walk within Milan and they will allow to discuss the social fabric of the city during its darkesthour, while emphasizing how Milan was able to restoreits former wealth and social enthusiasm through the following centuries.


Early departure from Florence to Milan. Walking tour and guided visit of the historical locations tied toEarly departure from Florence to Milan. Walking tour and guided visit of the historical locations tied tothe plague in Milan, and a visit to the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where Leonardo’s Last Supperis housed. Free time for lunch in the city center. Return to Florence in the early evening.

The activity includes:

  • Round-trip transportation by train
  • Entry fees and guided visit of selected sites

The activity does not include: 

  • Meals
  • Entrance fees or costs associated to the sites visited on own during free time

Learning outcomes:

  • Identify the permanent structural changes in the city
  • Identify the permanent structural changes in the cityof Milan as a consequence of the plague.
  • Be able to create parallelisms between isolation measures adopted during the plague and Covid-19.
  • Understand the role of religion and scriptures in both framing disease and alleviating pain.
  • Recognize the Christian themes of admonition and display of relics.
  • Become familiar with the substantial role of Leonardo Da Vinci as an artist and architectin Milan.
  • Become familiar with the famous novel The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni, and the ways it depicts the plague in Milan.
  • Learn about the sequestration of ill individuals inrelation to the plague, Covid-19, HIV/AIDS.

For availability and payment deadline, please contact EFL office at