Italy.. Discussion Questions

Italy.. Discussion Questions

250 word minimum per question.
Catholic Italy
* Overall, do you find that the Vatican as an institution has helped or hindered Italy?
* Choose a religious festival celebrated somewhere in Italy and present it to the class. Does it reflect regionalism? OR Choose an Italian saint and present it to the class. Include a small picture. In what way can the reliance on saints be interpreted as a typically Italian attitude?
Dante’s Inferno
* Let’s create an overview of Dante’s Inferno. Mention one significant aspect of the structure of the Divine Comedy or the Inferno.
* Choose a punishment and briefly explain how it exemplifies the law of contrapasso. Include a relevant quote from Dante’s work and a link to a picture.
* How does the Inferno relate to the importance of spectacle? How does it relate to Catholicism?
The Italian Renaissance
* Look through the collection of artworks and select one of the paintings. Explain how the work moves towards, perfectly represents, or begins to move away from Renaissance aesthetics. Pay particular attention to realism vs. idealism, the reproduction of “human” space, and the use of mythology. You may choose a painting not included in the collection if you find it is particularly representative. The Website: Overview of Italian Painters from 1200 to 1850 is a great resource for finding other Italian Renaissance artists.

Small picture


Saint Andrew (Detail of Pisan Altarpiece)






Getty Center Museum, Los Angeles

Relation to Renaissance

“Moving towards the Renassaince”

Brief description

Saint Andrew, characterized by the cross and a book, is represented in profile.


Certain medieval characteristics are still evident, for example the gold background and the subject matter.
However, Saint Andrew’s body seems to jut out from the background: he is tangible as opposed to a flat figure. His green cloak creates mass, making him look chunky. His somewhat droopy eyes also make him more of a human than saintly figure.
The cross is particularly symbolic of the shift to the Renaissance. This classic Christian symbol is shown here in perspective – it is no longer simply a symbol but an actual object in (human) space.

* In Renaissance paintings, beauty represents philosophical principles. Do you think beauty can be more than just appearance? How would you relate this to Italian identity?
Making the Italians
* What are you most proud of when it comes to your country? How does this compare to Italy?
* What is the difference between a nation and a government? How is Italy peculiar from this point of view?
* Garibaldi and Cavour – Who is better suited to become a national hero? Explain. Why do you think Italians don’t really have political heroes? How does this attitude compare to the American notion of the Founding Fathers?
Criminal Organizations
* Some sociologists have claimed that Italians are actually subconsciously proud of the Mafia – to a degree at least. How would you explain this stance? How do you think the Italian government should tackle such a problematic attitude?
* Summarize Pasquale’s feelings toward “the System” at the end of the chapter “Angelina Jolie.” What has the Camorra made possible? What has the Camorra taken away? The post Italy.. Discussion Questions first appeared on Discussion Questions was first posted on December 1, 2020 at 2:12 pm.©2019 "". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at

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