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Summer in Siena

Siena, located in the heart of Tuscany, is known for its Medieval and Renaissance art, as well as its Palio, a colorful horse race in historic costume on the piazza. This exquisite hilltown lies within easy reach of Florence (one hour), Rome (two and a half hours), and the Mediterranean (one and a half hours).

Its unique landscape has inspired generations of painters such as Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Simone Martini (both members of the Scuola Senese), Pinturicchio and Domenico Beccafumi. Many of their works hang in the splendid Pinacoteca Nazionale. The magnificent Gothic Cathedral in black and white marbel contains, among other treasures, the Chapel of Pius II, the humanist pope, Enea Silvio Piccolomini.

The program’s classes are held at the University of Siena. Students are housed usually in double rooms with shared baths in the dormitories of the University, most of which date to the Renaissance. Lunch and dinner may be taken in the frescoed dining halls of the University.

Program Structure

The program integrates classroom study with real world experience of Italy outside the classroom. Various outdoor activities, including participation in the Palio (August 16th), and special lectures will supplement the program.

Classes at the third and fourth semester level meet 3 1/2 hours a day, Monday through Friday, for four weeks, and focus on contemporary language and culture.

This two-credit course counts towards both the Italian Major and the Correlate Sequence in Italian at Vassar College.

The program is open to students in good standing at other institutions who have completed two semesters of the elementary Italian, or the equivalent. The program is directed by Italian faculty at Vassar College.

Courses are taught by local University faculty with teaching experience in the United States.

Conditions of approval: a general GPA of 3.0, and a B+ in Italian.