Courses in Italy

Academic Program

This is an academic study program. Students are required to take 15 credits in the following courses.

Course Descriptions

Italian Life and Culture

The Italian language part of this class is taught by local Italian instructors focusing on beginners' level conversational Italian language, and the cultural part of the class is taught by an English speaking instructor and English-speaking guest lecturers focusing on and including separate lectures on historical, political, economic and cultural aspects of Italy and Florence. This is a humanities course and no Italian language credit is given.

Art History Survey: Renaissance

Art History Survey: Renaissance is an introduction to the history of art with its epicenter in Florence. Students will learn about the art and architecture of Western Civilization (with a focus on Renaissance through Baroque periods), becoming familiar with the major artists, their media (painting, drawing, sculpture, and architecture), and their ideas in the context of world history.
The ability to look critically at a work of art is a skill that will be useful to anyone, even those in other fields. Observing a work of art (looking For patterns and relationships; asking what, how, and why questions; and making creative hypotheses) is similar to the way scientists observe their subjects. In today's interdisciplinary and global society the visual literacy and critical thinking skills developed in an art history class are more important than ever.

The Renaissance provides the foundation for understanding many other periods of history. Being in Florence, with the ability to study from the masterworks of the great Renaissance artists in the Uffizi, the Accademia, etc., provides an ideal place for learning. While much of art history is taught using digital images, there is no substitute for the real thing. This course, when paired with Drawing and taught on location in the birthplace of the Renaissance, will be an unforgettable and invaluable experience.


Drawing I introduces students to the principles of drawing from observation. Students will be exposed to various media (graphite, charcoal, Cont6 Crayon, ink, colored pencil, etc.); and will study line, perspective, shading, and techniques for drawing figures, interiors, landscapes, and architecture. Students will keep a sketchbook for continually recording observations and will work toward a final project that communicates a personal viewpoint in a unique way. Drawing is the most foundational skill for artists, but students in other disciplines will find it useful as well. The ability to communicate with images is tremendously helpful, especially in the STEM fields.

Drawing skills (which anyone can learn) enhance new ways of thinking, and increase one's ability to focus on details and identify the essential and the abstract. With proper instruction, context for use, and repetition, students will be surprised at their new found abilities. Florence is an ideal setting for this class, as students will be taught the historical context of the craft, so much of which developed at sites they will be able to visit in person. We will learn linear perspective while standing in the exact spot at the Duomo where Brunelleschi worked out the system. Students will study important works of public sculpture and architecture around Florence and visit local museums to see, first-hand, some of the greatest works of art ever created.

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Detailed brochures and applications are available for each program. Information meetings are arranged as needed. Group orientation sessions are scheduled prior to departure.


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