Only in the twentieth century did our lifestyles come to include creature comforts and luxuries such as private jets, electric appliances, and sleek automobiles. But in every historical age, a few citizens of regal birth or wealth resided in a splendor and style that would influence future generations. Water features in ancient times were both a luxury and much needed sanitation to be enjoyed by a few. Grandiose architectural styles became displays of power meant to impress visitors. Elaborate gates, libraries, gardens, and interior furnishings were used to convey power and prestige. Each lecture in this course will examine remarkable and splendiferous structures at two sites, twenty in total, ranging from ancient to modern times and across varying cultures, including the palace of King Minos, the Palladian villa of Venetian Daniele Barbaro, a Byzantine palace of Ottoman sultans, Versailles, Windsor Castle, and Hearst Castle. | Lecture + Q&A.