Italian Studies

Elementary Italian

ITALIAN 101 – A basic introduction to the Italian language. Participants will learn basic phrases and be able to form sentences in order to satisfy concrete and simple needs. Students will also learn how to introduce themselves and how to ask and answer personal questions on such topics as where they live, people they know, and things they own. The course will also focus on interactions with other students, vital for improving fluency and developing a basic vocabulary. During the course, most of the classroom time will be spent in practicing speaking and listening skills through interactions. Simple written exercises will also be carried out.

ITALIAN 102 – The objective of the course is for participants to arrive at a level of comprehension of common sentences used with high frequency on such topics as work, family, personal information and simple geographical directions. The main focus is on communication. Participants will improve their ability to speak, providing simple information (about family, sport, and work) and asking for similar information from their peers. Students will learn how to describe themselves and where they live. They will also be able to use correct verb tenses in order to speak about events in the past, the present, and future.

Intermediate Italian

ITALIAN 201 – The purpose of these courses is to learn Italian as a communicative skill and to become more proficient in both speaking and understanding within a greater variety of situations. Comprehension: Students will be able to understand content referring to basic personal background information and needs, such as lodging, transportation, and shopping, as well as personal interests and activities. Speaking: Students will be able to speak about themselves and family members, ask and answer questions, and participate in simple conversations on topics that go beyond immediate needs, such as personal history and leisure time activities. Reading: Students will be able to read and comprehend descriptions of people, places, and things in the areas of personal interest or knowledge. Writing: Students will write about topics related to personal experience, such as preferences, everyday events, and daily routines.

Advanced Italian

The Advanced Italian Language Course is ideal for people focused on improving their language skills with an ideal mix of grammar and communication with content tailored to their needs, in a friendly and creative atmosphere.The course is based on a wide variety of topics related to Italy current affairs, curiosities, cultural awareness as well as a variety of practical and sensory experiences. The purpose is to improve speaking, listening and thinking in Italian while absorbing the Italian life style and culture through creative experiences, reading clubs, creative writing and interactive activities. Comprehension and Speaking: Students will be encouraged to increase their understanding and speaking skills through a variety of participatory experiences as well as class activities such as : Caffè & Notizie- a look at daily newspapers with a coffee in full Italian style, Cosa NON fare quando in Italia: cultural awarness & thought- provoking advanced conversation. Reading and Writing: Students will be able to practice and reinforce language and grammar with a series of activities designed to increase and develop the vocabulary while reinforcing grammar. Activities such as Falsi Amici & altri Tranelli : will be introduced to explore idioms, phrasal verbs, false friends in order to tackle more advanced grammar points. Students will be also encouraged to choose topics of personal interest and write about them in order to generate material that can be shared with the other students for exchanging opinions and further class conversation.

Dante’s Divine Comedy

This course will explore the Middle Ages as a historical, cultural, and literary period through Dante’s “The Divine Comedy.” Students will read, analyze and discuss several cantos taken from “Inferno,” “Purgatorio,” and “Paradiso” to understand the structure of the world inside the “Commedia”, the characters, and the moral implications in order to define the characteristics of the Middle Ages as a great moment for Italian literature. Students will increase knowledge through reading and analyzing several cantos from “The Divine Comedy,” and learning how to make connections and establish relationships between texts and historical periods. During the course, students will develop an understanding of the main features of the Middle Ages and demonstrate intermediate proficiency in reading and discussing “The Divine Comedy.”

Arts & Humanities

Italian History and Civilization

This course aims to provide students with a general knowledge of Italian history. The principal idea is founded on the claim that Italy has been a divided country since antiquity. Following this criterion, the course will focus on the main events of ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary issues, giving particular preference to the latter (especially from Unification until the last decades). Moreover, students will watch and analyze movies and documentaries linked to a precise historical period: including “La vita è bella,” “Vincere,” “Mio fratello è figlio unico,” and “La meglio gioventù.”

Art and Architecture

This course aims to provide the student with a full comprehension of the cultural, religious, and artistic movements that flourished during the 12th and 13th centuries and, above all, the crucial role played by Sienese artists in the development of Italian Gothic style and the fundamental importance of the Florentine artists in the birth of Renaissance art. Students will increase their knowledge of art history through regular classroom lessons and excursions, during which students will be able to enjoy the beauty of artworks by witnessing them first-hand. This program includes visits to the major artistic landmarks and art galleries of Siena (Duomo, Palazzo Pubblico, Museo dell’Opera, Battistero, Cripta, and Spedale Santa Maria della Scala) and Florence (Duomo, Battistero, Museo dell’Opera, and Galleria degli Uffizi).

Philosophy- Materialism versus Dualism

For centuries philosophers and scientists have been discussing the very essence of humankind: are we made of two distinct parts, mind and matter, or do we consist of one part, the physical form visible to everyone? The answer to this question has been sought after not only in philosophy, but also in modern psychology, neuroscience, and science technology. Starting with the latest results in science, the course will deal with the positions of two contemporary philosophers who are complete opposites in their beliefs: Daniel C. Dennet defends the materialistic view, supported by many experiments, often referring to laboratory experiments; whereas, David Chalmers wants to give a scientific defense to the mind and its taking a decisive role in our everyday actions. In this course, we will also examine other philosopers’ views, such as Paul and Patricia Churchland and Thomas Nagel, notably different in their ideas but fascinating for their experiments and contributions to the debate. In the end, students will outline the results of these studies in order to draft their personal ideas on this intricate question.

The Art of Medieval Painting

This course aims to provide the student with knowledge of “miniature code”: the illustration of capital letters in the medieval style. During the course, students will visit the Libreria Piccolomini (located within Duomo of Siena) to draw inspiration for their first work: creating a drawing of the first initial of their name followed by realizing it on “pergamena” paper using the medieval technique. The second work will be a painting of a small detail of a medieval masterpiece by a famous artist, such as Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini among others. The program includes visits to the instructor’s art studio and the Pinacoteca Nazionale, where students will choose a detail to reproduce for both a personal work and for the final work using the egg tempera technique.

Drawing and Painting Siena

This course focuses on traditional methods of representing reality, such as those used by the Italian classical masters. Students will work mainly from life, outdoors in Siena’s medieval streets, alleys, and squares, and from the works of the Sienese masters found within its museums. Students will also have the unique opportunity to work from the school windows, which look out onto the magnificent Piazza del Campo, famous worldwide for its beauty and clamshell shape. The course’s goal is to provide students with a solid understanding of painting fundamentals, such as composition, space, color usage, brushwork, etc. Students will learn the technique of oil painting on canvas and be introduced to acrylic color painting, palette knife work, mixed media, and oil pastels. Students will be provided with the basics of drawing as well.


The course explores clay as a medium of expression and aims to provide students with experimentation in forming methods (pottery and sculpture), firing, decoration and glazing, and theory. Students will study shape and function. Through this discipline, students will apply the methods, technologies, and processes of ceramic art in order to create pieces ranging from common use objects to unique sculptures. Both art majors and non-art majors are welcome. The course is designed for beginners; however, students with previous experience may also attend. They will be asked to show their portfolios to the instructor at the beginning of the semester. Variations to the course program, depending on individual needs and the level of the students, are possible.


Hospitality Marketing

According to the World Tourism Organization, the tourism industry is one of the biggest and fastest growing sectors in spite of major worldwide economic and political crises, the reason being that people continue to want to travel and live new experiences. The goal of this course is to understand the global context, learn the basic principles of hospitality marketing, and encourage students towards flexible thinking and innovative approaches in tourism planning. At the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate essential industry knowledge in the area of tourist marketing
  • Understand major trends and tourist behaviors
  • Improve their effective communication and marketing skills
  • Apply critical thinking and problem solving abilities
Tourism Management

Tourism Management is a multidisciplinary field of study with the purpose of preparing students with the expertise, commitment, and skills for management, marketing, and organization in the expanding industry that provides food, accommodation, and tourism services to people away from home. The objective of the course is to support students in the development of management capabilities through interdisciplinary subject exposure: problem identification, basic concepts, decision-making, and management strategies. Lessons are organized into subject-specific units to help students improve their understanding of the hospitality industry, effective management techniques, organizational behavior, ethical issues, and more. Covering topics such as management functions, management theories, and diversity, these lessons will help current or future hotel managers stay on top of their game.

Wine Essentials

During the first two lessons of this course, the instructor will introduce students to a “special” pre-tasting focusing on flavors and aromas related to wine. Students will taste blackberries, pineapples, and apples and smell leather, chocolate, and yeast in order to shape or recover their olfactory memory. The same method will be used to explain “sparkling wines,” with a pre-tasting of sparkling water for the students to become familiar with different kind of bubbles. A sparkling or “spumante” wine will be the opening wine of the tasting sessions. Students will also become acquainted with Italian culture and geography through the tasting of wines from different Italian regions, following a regional geographical criterion from northern to central to southern Italy. A special focus is devoted to Tuscany (a tasting of three wines) and to international wines (a tasting of three wines from other European countries). Field research will be carried out with a visit to the main wine shops of Siena. Several of the primary marketing concepts will be introduced and explained during each lesson; however, lessons are predominantly focused on wine marketing, with special regard to case histories (small family businesses/famous wineries).

Fashion Branding

Students will begin with acquiring knowledge of the basics of graphic design and branding for fashion. Influences, case histories, and artistic references of branding in the fashion industry will also be covered. In addition, students will learn how to interpret a brief and decode the identity and needs of the client in order to transform them into attractive and creative ideas. The course will also provide guidelines for presenting projects accurately while, at the same time, making them look fabulous. This course is designed for all those who want to delve into the world of branding and go beyond the name and logo of a brand, approaching it from both a strategical and visual image point of view.

Wedding Planning & Event Management

The goal of this course is to develop a full set of skills for weddings and events planning. It is divided into different units starting from Italian culture and moving on to planning, budgeting, negotiating with vendors, etc. During the class students will be introduced to local traditions and make visits to local vendors. At the end of the course students will possess all the tools necessary for becoming a wedding and events professional.

Courses on demand

  • Mixed Media Art
  • Installation Art
  • Photography
  • Graphic Design
  • Web Copywriting
  • Comics & Graphic Novels