Courses & Credits

All our amazing courses as well as grades, credits, and transcripts

Over 90 percent of employers believe that students who have studied abroad are likely to possess other highly desirable skills, including: cross-cultural communication skills, independence, cultural awareness, maturity, flexibility.

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Included in the program:
Either 1 or 2 courses per session worth 3 or 6 credits, respectively.
Remember: courses fill up quickly every summer, so students are encouraged to APPLY and enroll early. To skip down to full descriptions of the courses click here.

 

COURSE SUBJECTS & COURSE DESCRIPTIONS*:

Intercultural Communication: The course, which introduces students to the basic patterns of cross-cultural psychology and communication, proposes an analysis of communication behavior in interpersonal and intercultural, individual and group environments. Along with a study of the influence of culture on identity, viewpoints, and communication, it progressively proposes all the theoretical concepts that are necessary to analyze communication in an interpersonal and intercultural context. Topics include: common communication difficulties, communication roles and proxemics. Special emphasis is placed on rituals, message patterns, clothing, myths, ideologies, and on the influence of the mass media on our cross-cultural representation of reality.

Ancient Rome: This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the history and growth of the ancient Roman empire from the early settlements in Latium, through the republican and imperial periods, to the formation of a new Roman world after the crisis of the 3rd century. A series of themes and issues will be explored: the range of primary sources available for ancient history; the political organization of the Roman state; the territorial expansion and its influence on the cultural and administrative sphere; Roman religion and the spread of Christianity; the Roman frontiers and the barbarian populations; and the end of the Roman world and the birth of a new society. In order to stimulate students’ critical skills in observing historical phenomena, a problem-oriented approach will be supported by readings of primary sources. Students will also have the chance to observe different approaches to understanding the past and will develop a sense of the role of historians and history in society.

Greek and Roman Mythology: The traditional stories about the Greek gods and heroes have always been a fundamental part of Western art and literature, especially since their “rediscovery” by Renaissance humanism. A selection of the great works of ancient Greek literature will present the most important stories, and will also show how the Greeks used myth to express the traditional ideals and personal reflections that captivated and shaped subsequent European culture. The pictorial narratives, so common in Greek and Roman monuments and objects, will introduce the sophisticated visual language created by the Greeks to tell such elaborate tales, the first such iconographic system and one which was to some extent “revived”, together with the gods, heroes and heroines, in Renaissance art. To know Roman mythology and understand its similarities and differences with Greek mythology is to understand the real essence of the ideals and aspirations of a great people that built a great empire. In particular, Virgil and Ovid, the most widely known writers of Roman mythology, and also other Roman writers, will help students develop a new interest for Roman myth, history and art.

The Age of the Heroes: Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid and the Origins of Western Literature: The course is a general overview of ancient literature through the analysis and comparison of some of the oldest works of Western civilization. Through a reading of the most significant chapters of the Iliad and the Odyssey, students will get in contact with the aristocratic world and heroes described by Homer in 8-7th century BCE, in order to reconstruct the society of early Greece in the Mycenaean period. The stories presented in the Iliad and Odyssey, considered the “Bible” of classical civilization, show how Greeks used myth to express archetypal values, which became immortal for successive generations. Myths are analyzed not only as amazing stories but also as bearers of important messages about life within society, and as primary forms of communication and instruction in a non-literate and oral society. The great influence of Greek myths on Roman legends will also be seen through the reading of some passages of the Aeneid – the national poem of Rome written by Virgil in the 1st century BCE – focusing on the link between Roman history and Greek tradition. The hero of the work, Aeneas, was the survivor of the fall of Troy and the ancestor of Rome’s leaders. A comparison between Aeneas’ and Odysseus’ wanderings will conclude the course.

Florentia: the Ancient Roots of Florence: This course analyzes the ancient past of Florence from its origins to the end of the Roman Empire. A few aspects concerning the Barbarian rulers will also be considered. The ancient town of Florentia will be discovered during each lesson through a variety of sources: written texts from ancient and medieval authors, archaeological evidence, past excavations and recent discoveries, artifacts and items housed in local museums as well as objects unearthed in recent years. Emphasis will be placed on the urban pattern by tracing and locating the main temples and sacred spaces, public buildings and private houses. Beyond acquiring a basic chronology and a timeline, students will closely examine selected topics about Roman civilization, art and architecture, lifestyle and customs. To better understand certain themes, visits and field trips are planned, including to the National Archaeological Museum of Florence and little-known archaeological areas.

Art History I: Antiquity to Early Renaissance: This course is a survey of the visual arts in Western Europe, from ancient Greece to the Early Renaissance. Throughout this course students encounter the principal monuments, artists and themes in painting, sculpture and architecture, and discover the changes in styles and taste in this period. The course explores the historical, philosophical and cultural contexts essential to understanding the visual arts and the impact they have had through the ages. Great importance is given to the interpretation of subjects and symbols, to the different techniques and styles used by artists, and to the role of public and private patrons. On-site teaching provides the incomparable experience of studying important works of art and architecture first-hand. The material is approached as an introduction to the discipline of art history, with the aim of fostering appreciation and the desire to further investigate this field.

Art History II: High Renaissance to the Present: This course is a survey of the visual arts in Western Europe, from ancient Greece to the Early Renaissance. Throughout this course students encounter the principal monuments, artists and themes in painting, sculpture and architecture, and discover the changes in styles and taste in this period. The course explores the historical, philosophical and cultural contexts essential to understanding the visual arts and the impact they have had through the ages. Great importance is given to the interpretation of subjects and symbols, to the different techniques and styles used by artists, and to the role of public and private patrons. On-site teaching provides the incomparable experience of studying important works of art and architecture first-hand. The material is approached as an introduction to the discipline of art history, with the aim of fostering appreciation and the desire to further investigate this field.

The Built Environment of Florence: This course will explore the factors that have led to the development of Florence, its architecture and open spaces. The construction of the city up to the architecture of the 19th century will be studied from the architectural and historical points of view. This course is divided into lectures in class, walking tours, visits, field trips and sketching on site, all fundamental for the understanding of the city. We will draw on the parallel history of the town of Florence to understand the growth of the city, but the main interest will be on the architecture and the way it developed. To better understand the historical development of the city the course will also focus on the history, the artistic productions of the time, the philosophical currents and the powerful families that ruled and determined different architectural choices.

Lifestyle in Renaissance Florence: Important Renaissance works of art, paintings, sculptures, and art objects like wedding chests and furniture, ceramics, and jewels and luxurious clothing are often characterized by coats of arms, by family, individual, or wedding emblems, and by symbols that are deeply related to their powerful commissioners (such as the Medici, Rucellai, Strozzi, and Pitti families in Florence). The course will illustrate and investigate their possible meanings and connections with history, families, and artists of the Renaissance, as well as with philosophy, astrology, and iconography from the end of the 15th to the 16th century.

Mysteries and Sacred Knowledge in Architecture: This course explores the architecture of various past cultures relative to their belief systems, and links this to contemporary practice. It reads buildings and spaces as the products of diverse forms of special sacred knowledge or wisdom, whose language can be reconstructed, understood, and enjoyed. Key themes include: esoterism; concepts of harmony, proportion and geometry; numerology; astrology and cosmology; the architect as creator; symbolism; ornament. Cultures examined include ancient Egypt, classical antiquity (Greece and Rome), ancient India (vaastu), ancient and modern China (feng shui), medieval, Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe. From the proportions of a pyramid to a freemason’s lodge, from the capitals of a cathedral to the planning of a residence or square in ancient or Renaissance Rome, the course seeks common elements that may connect all cultures. Students discover new interpretative keys that offer profound perspectives on the art and craft of architecture, from antiquity to today.

Palaces of Florence: The aim of this course is to introduce students to the history of the palaces of Florence from 13th to 17th centuries. Public and private palaces had an important role in the life of the city through the centuries, and, by studying them, students will have the opportunity to understand not only the development of their architectural style, but also the social, economic, cultural, and political history of Florence, in an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. Students will study the evolution of Florentine palaces directly in front, and inside, of the buildings: many of the lessons will be held on site, and site visits form a crucial dimension of the learning experience.

Renaissance Art at the Italian Courts: This course explores all aspects of artistic activity at the major Italian courts during the fifteenth century. This analysis will not only be confined to an art historical approach, but will also consider various aspects of court life - the chivalric tradition, hunting, jousting, scholarship, and court festivals - which have an influence on the visual arts. Comparisons will be made with Northern European courts of the same period. The main focus of attention will be Pisanello and the courts of Ferrara and Mantua, Mantegna and the Gonzaga court in Mantua, Francesco Cossa at the D’Este court in Ferrara, Piero della Francesca and Laurana at the court of Federigo da Montefeltro in Urbino, and Piero della Francesca and Alberti at the Malatesta court in Rimini. The student will become familiar with the special patronage conditions, which dictated the nature of Renaissance art at the princely courts of Italy. The student will have a detailed knowledge of the work of five court artists and a broader familiarity with three others.

Intro to Marketing: Marketing is a dynamic and an exciting field, a key tool in confronting the challenges that enterprises are facing every day. The purpose of this course is to introduce marketing principles and concepts. In this course students will learn about the “real” nature and scope of marketing management. They will be introduced to aspects of marketing, such as: Marketing Strategy, 4 P’s, Market Planning, Retailing and Wholesaling, Target Marketing, Market Segmentation, Services Marketing. You will also learn about the strategic importance of marketing to an enterprise, whether it be a profit oriented business firm or non-profit organization.

International Marketing: International competition makes international marketing one of the most critical skills for business survival. In their continuing quest for new ways to establish and maintain their competitiveness, many firms are recognizing the advantages of operating in international markets. These benefits include sourcing materials, capital, labor and expertise, relocating manufacturing, and distributing product and services to new markets. While there are many benefits, each company must identify the potentially huge risks taken when operating overseas and the uninformed company may suffer tremendous set backs before realizing any benefits. This course is an introduction to the complexities and implications of foreign markets. Emphasis is on the various economic, social and cultural factors that impact on international marketing, the 4 Ps (product, price, places of distribution and promotion) and how these aspects of marketing are influenced by international business environment.

International Art Business: The course is designed to introduce students to the arts market and the institutional networks that support and promote the art business, as well as giving them an understanding of the current art market and auction house environment. Through this course, students will meet specialists to develop the ability to identify and analyze works of art, learn how to recognize marketing opportunities, and determine appropriate strategies. The figures of the art dealer and the art administrator will be analyzed in depth, together with the main principles of the international laws that govern this special field.

Wine Business and Marketing: This course explores the business and marketing of wine, with special focus on U.S. markets. Wine trade and consumption in the US have constantly increased in recent years. If until the early 1990’s wine consumption was concentrated in a few major states, today wine is consumed by a large part of the entire US population. Italian wine, counting for 30% of U.S. wine imports, is a major part of this economic and cultural scenario. In addition, new wine markets have emerged worldwide. This growing interest has strengthened the role of traditional key players of the wine trade such as importers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, while helping to create new professional figures such as wine writers, wine club managers, and event promoters. In this course students learn skills that help equip them to take on such roles. Given the notable diversity and quality of Italian wines, students examine issues of sourcing, shipment chains and trading channels, and market impact. The course includes business simulations, and students produce a start-up or marketing project.

Event Planning: Marketing is a dynamic and an exciting field, a key tool in confronting the challenges that enterprises are facing every day. The purpose of this course is to introduce marketing principles and concepts. In this course students will learn about the “real” nature and scope of marketing management. They will be introduced to aspects of marketing, such as: Marketing Strategy, 4 P’s, Market Planning, Retailing and Wholesaling, Target Marketing, Market Segmentation, Services Marketing. You will also learn about the strategic importance of marketing to an enterprise, whether a profit-oriented business firm or non-profit organization.

Global Business and Society: This course explores challenges facing modern corporations in organizing cross border activities. Specifically, it appraises the main economic theories of determinants of international business activities, and it offers a global perspective on long-term change in the world economy and the interaction between countries. Special attention is focused on the dynamics of international trade and investment, including the relationship between trade and economic growth, trade imbalances and protectionism. The course also looks at the role of economic and political institutions (WTO, IMF, etc.) and examines the main characteristics of the emerging economies, for instance India and China. Themes include competition, development, exchange rate theory, the international monetary system, ethics, decision-making, and strategic operations in an international environment. Finally, the course examines a variety of alternative perspectives on the origins and processes of globalization.

European and Global Financial Markets: This course offers a broad introduction to the workings of the global financial system, the dynamics of the main financial markets (US, Europe and Asia), the nature and the goals of the key financial institutions and the crucial role played by central banks and regulatory agencies. An important part of the course focuses on the global economic and financial crisis, reviewing its causes and consequences, as well as evaluating the merits of the numerous government intervention schemes in the US and in Europe. The course ends with an assessment of the dramatic changes taking place in the global financial architecture as a result of the recent crisis.

Workplace Psychology: Building Effective Managers: The course examines organizational issues - such as stress, conflict, discrimination, and others - through the social lenses of psychology. Students will learn various approaches that develop the individual with the objective of improving and helping to grow the organization as a whole. In other words, the course connects individual strategy and well-being with those of organizations and the wider society. Through lectures, experiential exercises, readings and reflections, and teamwork, students will gain a thorough understanding of individual behavior, group functioning, and organizational processes and dynamics. The first part of the course focuses on the individual and teams. The second part of the course will venture into specific themes: the importance of conflict, the impact of technology, the unavoidable certainty of uncertainty, and substance abuse within an organization. Ultimately, the course enables students to move between themes with critical acumen and creativity, seeking realistic and implementable solutions to real problems.

International Business Negotiation: Over the last two decades, the rise of new powers and the emergence of the Internet have drastically changed and reshaped the face of the global economy. As the world becomes more interconnected and businesses more innovative and competitive, the demand for competent and professional negotiators has increased. This course provides students with the skills needed to communicate and negotiate effectively in the context of international business transactions. Through class lectures and practical simulations, students will learn to prepare, conduct, and manage a successful negotiation process, cope with cultural differences, and deal with the challenges of contemporary local and global markets. Specific case studies will be analyzed and discussed throughout the semester.

Intercultural Communication: The course, which introduces students to the basic patterns of cross-cultural psychology and communication, proposes an analysis of communication behavior in interpersonal and intercultural, individual and group environments. Along with a study of the influence of culture on identity, viewpoints, and communication, it progressively proposes all the theoretical concepts that are necessary to analyze communication in an interpersonal and intercultural context. Topics include: common communication difficulties, communication roles and proxemics. Special emphasis is placed on rituals, message patterns, clothing, myths, ideologies, and on the influence of the mass media on our cross-cultural representation of reality.

Event Planning: Marketing is a dynamic and an exciting field, a key tool in confronting the challenges that enterprises are facing every day. The purpose of this course is to introduce marketing principles and concepts. In this course students will learn about the “real” nature and scope of marketing management. They will be introduced to aspects of marketing, such as: Marketing Strategy, 4 P’s, Market Planning, Retailing and Wholesaling, Target Marketing, Market Segmentation, Services Marketing. You will also learn about the strategic importance of marketing to an enterprise, whether a profit-oriented business firm or non-profit organization.

Sport in Global Cinema and Television: This course will examine portrayals of sport in various forms in movies and television programs from different nations and cultures. Students will begin by examining the history of sport in film and television. Students will look at the techniques and narratives used to portray sport, noting various themes, ideas, and stylistic choices that are commonplace in the creation of the sport narrative in these mediums. Students will examine the way in which sport speaks to and exists within the society in which the film was produced, with a particular focus on similarities and differences amongst different countries and societies. The course will also explore the way in which the “other” is portrayed in sport films and programs, again looking for how this varies across the globe. Primary discussion topics include race, gender, class, national identity, and various social issues built into the sports narrative. Films and television programs will include fiction, non-fiction, as well as documentary projects focused on sport.

Literature and Journalism: This course will examine the principle relationships between literature and journalism in a comparative context, focusing on American and Italian writers. Authors extending from Poe to Buzzati, from the exponents of American New Journalism (T. Wolfe, N. Mailer, G. Talese, etc.) to postmodern writers Fallaci, Tabucchi, among others, are considered. The course gives particular attention to the reporter as a character, to fiction and nonfiction style, and to ideas and theories of information, news, chronicles, and the art of communication.

The Food of Italy: Although characterized by unique and distinctive features, Italian cuisine is still perceived as the result of many different regional culinary traditions that, although merged and diluted over the centuries, still maintain their particular flavors and distinct ingredients. The course focuses on the different aspects of regional food in Italy, from ingredients to recipe preparation and cooking techniques, with particular attention to the following factors: historical origins and developments; climate and environmental conditions; social issues; food production; nutrition; and safety and health. Emphasis will be placed on how food relates to the local lifestyle and culture. Regional economy and local resources will be analyzed and compared. Students will be introduced to the various local products through lectures and class demonstrations.

Wine and Culture: Wines of Italy: Despite its ancient origins of wine production, it is only recently that Italy has experienced a tremendous improvement in the quality of its wines. This course introduces students to wine appreciation by studying the most representative wines of the regions of Italy. The distinct historical, traditional, economic, geographical and climatic aspects of each region will be studied in order to assess their importance for the local wines. The major grape varieties and wine-making techniques will be presented and each wine will be tasted with a complete organoleptic analysis: visual, olfactory and gustative. Students will also learn how to pair wines with food. Specific information on the marketing of the wine (classification, sale, market) will also be provided. Students will also learn and understand how to read an Italian wine label and the different steps in Italian wine classification. During classes students will visit some of the most famous wine shops in Florence.

Italian Food & Culture: Pairing Food & Wine: Italian cuisine is the result of many different regional culinary traditions that, although merged and diluted over centuries, still maintain their particular flavors and distinct ingredients. Thanks in recent years to a greater availability of wines from different regions, the pairing of food and wine, always a traditional aspect of Italian cuisine, has become more important in the organization of a menu and the presentation of a meal. In this course the various ways of pairing Italian food and wine will be analyzed and used for menu planning. This involves research into aspects of both wine and food, with special emphasis on classification and technical terminology, nutritional and health issues, chemical composition, sensory and other evaluation techniques, as well as cooking skills that will be practiced regularly in class.

Current Trends in Italian Cuisine: This course explores major trends in contemporary Italian cuisine that have been emerging in recent decades. These trends, revealed in both everyday and haute cuisine, involve fresh reinterpretations of regional traditions, revaluation of local products, interest in lighter and healthier diet, and an emphasis on creativity. Driving these trends are such diverse factors as interest in other cuisines, innovations by leading chefs, and especially changes in Italian society and lifestyles. Students learn basic cooking skills as well as some specialized cooking methods and techniques. They discover how to select quality ingredients, and they compare their eating habits with those common in Italy today. Particular focus is given to the following aspects: historical origins and developments of food production, regional dishes, seasonal and environmental conditions, social issues, nutrition, safety and health. In each lesson students learn how to prepare representative recipes, with attention to ingredients, nutritional values, and presentation.

Wine Business and Marketing: This course explores the business and marketing of wine, with special focus on U.S. markets. Wine trade and consumption in the US have constantly increased in recent years. If until the early 1990’s wine consumption was concentrated in a few major states, today wine is consumed by a large part of the entire US population. Italian wine, counting for 30% of U.S. wine imports, is a major part of this economic and cultural scenario. In addition, new wine markets have emerged worldwide. This growing interest has strengthened the role of traditional key players of the wine trade such as importers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, while helping to create new professional figures such as wine writers, wine club managers, and event promoters. In this course students learn skills that help equip them to take on such roles. Given the notable diversity and quality of Italian wines, students examine issues of sourcing, shipment chains and trading channels, and market impact. The course includes business simulations, and students produce a start-up or marketing project.

The Science of Food, Health, and Wellbeing: The primary focus of this course is to analyze the biological properties of the body and the effects that foods have on it. Students learn the basics of nutrition (proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, natural supplements), including how the phytochemicals and nutrients of foods can improve health. They will also study habits, programs, and dietary regimens for healthy living. Nutritional healing and wider questions of wellbeing are also addressed. Includes hands-on preparation of healthy dishes.

Fashion Illustration: This course for beginning students explores the world of fashion illustration. Students will learn how to sketch a fashion figure, add garments, and render different materials using media like colored pencils and markers. Special attention will be given to coloring and shading. During the semester there will be site visits to such locations as the Ferragamo Museum and the Costume Gallery at the Pitti Palace, as well as fashion trade fairs and fashion design studios. Students will also learn about the job of a fashion designer and the main steps to organize a collection. In addition, they will illustrate their own designs on the fashion figure showing their own style and taste in fashion. This is an introductory level course without prerequisites, although an artistic background is helpful.

Fashion Buying Concepts: Retailing and the fashion business are stimulating, fascinating, and in a process of continual change. Understanding the dynamics and significance of retail buying concepts will be critical to the success of anyone interested in buying, selling or communicating retail consumer fashion products and services. Students will study fundamentals of fashion buying including planning, assorting, pricing and purchasing retail fashion inventories. The effect of different retail formats on purchasing, identification and evaluation of resources and discussions on ethical issues in sourcing are included. With global fashion industry constantly undergoing change, an important part of this class involves understanding current events and how they affect retail buying. This includes the luxury as well as other sectors of the industry, mass-market brands and independents. The course is targeted towards students who are looking for careers in fashion buying, merchandising, marketing, design, advertising or public relations and should have already taken classes towards these majors. The ability to work in teams and communicate orally is strongly emphasized.

Fashion Marketing: This course explores fashion marketing and merchandising. It focuses primarily on brands and their fashion marketing strategies for product development, advertising, promotion and retailing. The course analyzes the thinking behind the strategies for fashion products, paying special attention to the emotional aspects of fashion communication. Students will approach current business practices and examine new and emerging trends and issues that impact on the fast-moving environment of the fashion and textile industry, looking at the globalization of the industry, trade shows and key events. Specialized topics include the importance of the European fashion system, with a comparison to some American brands and strategies. Case studies will provide a vision of how companies in today’s environment are evolving marketing strategies to meet the new consumer’s demand, in terms of product design, distribution and communication.

Jewelry Making: This course is meant to give students a first approach to jewelry making. The main equipment and tools used (machinery, pliers, files, and saw), together with safety regulations will be explained. Students will work at the silversmith’s bench, learning the basic techniques for creating simple pieces of jewelry with design transfer, sawing, filing, soldering, polishing, and simple settings for cabochon stones. The course will also introduce the lost wax casting methods and wax carving. The aim of the projects is to develop manual and creative ability.

Love, Beauty and Natural Selection: the Science and the Myths: Evolutionary psychologists claim that men and women differ substantially in their attitudes and abilities. They theorize that beauty and attractiveness are signals of good health, good genes, or other qualities, and that all forms of human love are unconscious strategies for passing on these qualities to the next generation. These theories make excellent stories for popular science writers, which will often present them as proven facts that are very relevant to everyday life. Even a shallow examination of the theories and the data supporting them will demonstrate that many hypotheses made by evolutionary psychologists are controversial, have very little empirical evidence supporting them, and will usually have very little practical relevance to people. Throughout the course we will learn the theoretical bases of modern evolutionary biology, review the most popular theories of evolutionary psychology (e.g. psychological gender differences, sexual love, marriage, parental love, female beauty, male beauty, sperm competition, female orgasm), observe the way they are presented in the media, and critically examine the science that supports them.
Graphic Design: This course gives students a theoretical and practical introduction to graphic design in the era of the digital communication. Students follow a program based on practical applications, realized entirely with computer graphic techniques. The constant search for the harmony of shapes, colors and words goes together with the learning of the most modern digital graphic techniques. During the course bi-dimensional vector graphics will be used for the realization of all the assigned projects. The fundamental concepts of the manipulation of the images, are also taught to complete the same projects. In consideration of the great importance that advertising has in this course, students’ projects address communication issues, exploring the principal media and investigating ways of working with different targets. Curiosity and an inclination for research are the essential characteristics of students interested in this course. Student must be familiar with the computer environment. Professional printing skills are developed in a commercial printing center.
Italian Renaissance Civilization and Culture: This course explores the historical, literary and cultural developments of one of the most remarkable and vibrant periods of Italian history: the Renaissance. Students will be introduced to the main historical developments of the Renaissance period from the late 14th century to the end of the 16th century. The Renaissance is above all the age of the individual and the affirmation of his/her achievements, best summed up by the credo “Man – the measure of all things”. The focus of this course is therefore upon great personalities of the Italian Renaissance mainly in the fields of the visual arts, literature and philosophy, but also drawn from those of politics and civic life. These include key figures of the most prominent Italian families: the Medici, the Sforza, the Della Rovere; artists and architects: Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo; writers, poets and philosophers: Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, Pico della Mirandola, Machiavelli, as well as merchants and bankers. All these individuals left their mark in Italy between the early 1400s and the late 1500s.

The Quarters of Florence: History and Culture: The course offers students a first-hand experience of the historical city of Florence, which from 1252 was divided into four “quartieri” or quarters. Each quarter, which was named after the main church of the district, presents its own particular social, political and urban characteristics, and these form the central themes of the course. Students will discover the prestigious families, major buildings, artistic masterpieces, economic activities and historical events that have characterized the development of each quarter from the medieval period to the modern age. Site visits will form an essential part of the learning experience.

Ancient Rome: This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the history and growth of the ancient Roman Empire from the early settlements in Latium, through the republican and imperial periods, to the formation of a new Roman world after the crisis of the 3rd century. A series of themes and issues will be explored: the range of primary sources available for ancient history; the political organization of the Roman state; the territorial expansion and its influence on the cultural and administrative sphere; Roman religion and the spread of Christianity; the Roman frontiers and the barbarian populations; and the end of the Roman world and the birth of a new society. In order to stimulate students’ critical skills in observing historical phenomena, a problem-oriented approach will be supported by readings of primary sources. Students will also have the chance to observe different approaches to understanding the past and will develop a sense of the role of historians and history in society.

Florentia: the Ancient Roots of Florence: This course analyzes the ancient past of Florence from its origins to the end of the Roman Empire. A few aspects concerning the Barbarian rulers will also be considered. The ancient town of Florentia will be discovered during each lesson through a variety of sources: written texts from ancient and medieval authors, archaeological evidence, past excavations and recent discoveries, artifacts and items housed in local museums as well as objects unearthed in recent years. Emphasis will be placed on the urban pattern by tracing and locating the main temples and sacred spaces, public buildings and private houses. Beyond acquiring a basic chronology and a timeline, students will closely examine selected topics about Roman civilization, art and architecture, lifestyle and customs. To better understand certain themes, visits and field trips are planned, including to the National Archaeological Museum of Florence and little-known archaeological areas.

Lifestyle in Renaissance Florence: Important Renaissance works of art, paintings, sculptures, and art objects like wedding chests and furniture, ceramics, and jewels and luxurious clothing are often characterized by coats of arms, by family, individual, or wedding emblems, and by symbols that are deeply related to their powerful commissioners (such as the Medici, Rucellai, Strozzi, and Pitti families in Florence). The course will illustrate and investigate their possible meanings and connections with history, families, and artists of the Renaissance, as well as with philosophy, astrology, and iconography from the end of the 15th to the 16th century.

Interior Design: The course is an overview of the interior design profession. It introduces the student to the fundamental concepts of design, basic space planning and furnishing. Starting from the survey of an existing space, the student learns how to present it through drawings. From a simple room like a kitchen or a bathroom and ending with a small residential apartment, the student will face all the problems concerning designing; from drawing representation and the scale system, to the choice of materials and colors. Exercises and projects will be started in class under the supervision of the instructor and then continued and finished individually.

Design for Living Spaces: In this course students learn to focus their analytical and technical skills in creating design solutions for living spaces as diverse in type as contemporary lifestyles and needs (single unit, family, social care, etc.). Students produce projects that must respond to specific requirements of clients: space, technical, emotional atmosphere, accessibility, and so on. Students are encouraged to explore design solutions that reflect definite decorative and architectural approaches. Programming, building code issues, space planning, and furniture arrangement receive special attention. In the project students consider functional as well as aesthetic aspects, seeking to formulate a good solution, appropriately presented.

Aesthetics of Design: Theory and Practice: This course applies the methods and concepts of aesthetics (the investigation of what makes something a work of art) to the field of design (including product design, interior design, architecture, and graphic design). Students investigate issues relating to the creation, value and experience of design, and they analyze and attempt to resolve problems relating to design as a form of art. One part of the course concentrates on meanings of formalism and expressionism; another part explores issues that are involved in the evaluation of design such as cultural, social and political environments. Specific attention is given to Italian Design, from its Renaissance heritage to the decades that made it internationally famous (1960s-80s). Comparisons are made with Modern and Contemporary International Design. Students are encouraged to make the most of the visual and cultural experience offered by the city and by the international environment of the School.

Lighting Design: The course is an introduction to the world of light. It provides a compendium of information on illuminating design practice. The range of subjects covered is extensive. Methods of lighting design in this course include a section on lighting hardware (lamps and luminaires) and a part dedicated to practical experience through real lighting projects. The course will start with a quick theoretical overview of the different light sources, analyzing all types of new lamps currently on the market. Information about lighting objectives, visual comfort and pleasantness, color rendering, decorative, architectural and mood lighting, lighting control and application fields (offices, shops, exhibiting spaces) will be provided.

The Built Environment of Florence: This course will explore the factors that have led to the development of Florence, its architecture and open spaces. The construction of the city up to the architecture of the 19th century will be studied from the architectural and historical points of view. This course is divided into lectures in class, walking tours, visits, field trips and sketching on site, all fundamental for the understanding of the city. We will draw on the parallel history of the town of Florence to understand the growth of the city, but the main interest will be on the architecture and the way it developed. To better understand the historical development of the city the course will also focus on the history, the artistic productions of the time, the philosophical currents and the powerful families that ruled and determined different architectural choices.

Elementary Italian Language I: This course is offered for 3 or 4 credits for absolute beginner students who have never studied Italian before. Its aim is to give the basis of the language, allowing students to deal with the most common everyday situations by expressing themselves in the present and past tenses. Key grammatical topics include: definite and indefinite articles; noun-adjective agreement; present tense of regular and main irregular verbs; prepositions; direct pronouns; present perfect; possessive adjectives. Key thematic areas include: shopping for food; in a restaurant; daily life and spare time; travelling; vacations; the family.

Elementary Italian Language II: This course is offered for 3 or 4 credits and designed for students who have completed one semester (or equivalent) of Italian and already have a basic vocabulary and knowledge of elementary structures of the language. By the end of the course students should be able to complete simple and routine tasks requiring an exchange of information on familiar matters, to describe their background and issues related to everyday life. Key grammatical topics include: review of Elementary 1 course contents; simple and compound prepositions; reflexive verbs; future; imperfect tense; indirect pronouns; introduction to present conditional. Key thematic areas include: shopping in Italy; daily routine; habits in the past; Italian festivities; Italian food; in a hotel.

Intermediate Italian Language I: This course is offered for 3 or 4 credits and directed towards the acquisition of more complex structures of Italian language in order to express personal opinions and preferences. By the end of the course students should be able to enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar; to relate the plot of a book or film; to write correct texts on topics of personal interest. Key grammatical topics include: review of previous level contents; past perfect; prepositions; combined, indefinite and interrogative pronouns; present and past conditional; linking words; impersonal forms; present and past subjunctive. Key thematic areas include: Italian geography; food and cuisine; holidays; driving in Italy; dwellings; health and body.

Intermediate Italian Language II: This course is offered for 3 or 4 credits and introduces students to contemporary Italian society by exploiting different sources including literature, the media and press. By the end of the course students should be able to show a high degree of understanding of complex written and spoken texts and respond appropriately to them, both orally and in writing. Key grammatical topics include: review and expansion of contents of previous levels; forms and use of the subjunctive mood; imperative with pronouns; introduction to passato remoto; infinitive and gerund; degrees of comparison; passive voice; relative pronouns; reported speech (first level). Key thematic areas include: famous Italians; issues of contemporary history, culture and society; local arts and crafts; Italian cinema.

Italian Language Advanced: This course is designed for students who already have a solid grammatical/lexical basis. By the end of the course students should be able to understand most TV news and information on current affairs; read contemporary literary prose; write texts about a wide range of subjects; achieve the degree of confidence with the language that makes communication fluid and clear. Key grammatical topics include: consolidation of previous levels; impersonal forms; clauses and constructions using the subjunctive; passato remoto; passive forms in contrast; relative clauses in contrast. Key thematic areas include: changes in the Italian language and dialects; typical Italian products; immigration in Italy; environmental issues.

The Age of the Heroes: Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid and the Origins of Western Literature: The course is a general overview of ancient literature through the analysis and comparison of some of the oldest works of Western civilization. Through a reading of the most significant chapters of the Iliad and the Odyssey, students will get in contact with the aristocratic world and heroes described by Homer in 8-7th century BCE, in order to reconstruct the society of early Greece in the Mycenaean period. The stories presented in the Iliad and Odyssey, considered the “Bible” of classical civilization, show how Greeks used myth to express archetypal values, which became immortal for successive generations. Myths are analyzed not only as amazing stories but also as bearers of important messages about life within society, and as primary forms of communication and instruction in a non-literate and oral society. The great influence of Greek myths on Roman legends will also be seen through the reading of some passages of the Aeneid – the national poem of Rome written by Virgil in the 1st century BCE – focusing on the link between Roman history and Greek tradition. The hero of the work, Aeneas, was the survivor of the fall of Troy and the ancestor of Rome’s leaders. A comparison between Aeneas’ and Odysseus’ wanderings will conclude the course.

Italian Grand Tour: Italy through the Eyes of Famous Travelers: This course is an introduction to the literature generated by the “Grand Tour” experiences between the 18th and the 19th centuries and to its continuation and development in the 20th century. The main focus will be the textual analysis of the memoirs, letters and diaries written by some of the most famous artists, writers, and intellectuals who resided and traveled in Italy. Our selection will include British, German and American writers. Another important aspect of the course will be the study of the history, the works of art, the monuments and the folklore events of the main Grand Tour destinations: Venice, Florence, and Rome. Students will learn about the different experiences of famous foreign travelers in Italy through the centuries and will be able to understand some stereotypes, prejudices, and idealized visions about Italy and Italians that still survive today.

Italian Crime Fiction: From the middle of the twentieth century, Italian writers such as Gadda and Sciascia began to integrate into their novels and short stories certain aspects of the crime genre. By the 1990’s a new generation of writers such as Camilleri, Ammaniti and Lucarelli had developed a specifically Italian approach to an international literary genre, the “Italian noir”, which aims at revealing unpleasant truths to a vast audience in an entertaining way. The goal of this course is to explore some of the most representative works of the crime fiction genre in contemporary Italian literature, from its early forms to the present. The study of these works will also involve an analysis of the strong socio-cultural dimensions of contemporary Italy, which are the result of a complex combination of geographical, historical, political and linguistic factors. These in turn affect different forms of organized and unorganized crime, and differences in the relationship between citizens and the law. During the course students will also study the relationship between Italian crime fiction and its foreign counterparts.

Literature and Journalism: This course will examine the principle relationships between literature and journalism in a comparative context, focusing on American and Italian writers. Authors extending from Poe to Buzzati, from the exponents of American New Journalism (T. Wolfe, N. Mailer, G. Talese, etc.) to postmodern writers Fallaci, Tabucchi, among others, are considered. The course gives particular attention to the reporter as a character, to fiction and nonfiction style, and to ideas and theories of information, news, chronicles, and the art of communication.

Italian Literature and Society: 1945 to the Present: This course is two-pronged. It is both an introduction to contemporary Italian literature and society and it teaches students how to read a literary text. We will focus on works of fiction beginning with those of Leonardo Sciascia and continuing with the works of such writers as Alberto Moravia, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italo Calvino, among others. We will read and discuss both literary texts and works on Italian history and society. The readings will be complemented by a series of original video documentaries and feature films. The purpose of the videos is to contextualize the texts within the social and cultural landscape of contemporary Italy. The course methodology will be based on assignments prepared in advance by the students and on class discussions, alternated with oral presentations by the students.

Ceramics: This course is suitable for students who do not have any experience with clay or have only basic knowledge regarding hand building and wheel throwing with clay. Students will be instructed in the fundamental notions regarding this topic. Special attention will be given to the correct and healthy positions for the spine, hands, fingers and wrist. Students will receive technical information about clay and firing, and at the end of the course, they will be able to decorate their objects with slips and glazes.

Foundation of Oil Painting: This is a course for beginning students or students with no previous training in Fine Arts, wanting an introduction to the traditional techniques of oil painting. The course deals with the most fundamental principles and elements of still-life painting, with an emphasis on the perception and build-up of form, tone, and color on a two-dimensional surface. Exercises will be introduced to students in highly structured lessons, including the theory of color, supplemented by practical demonstrations. The exceptional works of art in the city of Florence will be investigated and analyzed as an integral part of the course. The aim of the course is to give students the basic knowledge of oil painting techniques.

Florence Sketchbook - Beginning: In this course students develop basic observation, drawing and watercolor skills in a refreshing way. Students keep a series of sketchbooks and develop finished drawing projects from them. After initial training in fundamental drawing techniques for pencil, pen and other media, the course is dedicated principally to sketching outdoors in the city and environs. Students develop ability in representing a variety of subjects, including the human form, architecture, and landscape. Exploiting the advantages of the site, students explore such themes as historical monuments, street life, and formal gardens. They encounter art of the past, including efforts to sketch the same or similar topics. The course equips students to efficiently capture impressions by drawing in various media at various rates and scales, keeping annotations, ideas, sketches, and analyses of artwork in a journal, and developing personal interests. Students explore the monuments and vibrant street life of Florence, and observe numerous buildings, outdoor sculptures and squares that form part of the outstanding and entrancing artistic heritage of medieval and Renaissance Florence.

Florence Sketchbook - Intermediate: This course consists of gathering research in the traditional form of sketching from the museums, streets, and environments of Florence as artists have done for centuries. This includes sketches taking inspiration from sculptures, paintings, architecture, formal gardens and squares, as well as drawing from life in streets and markets, with an in-depth study of foreshortening and perspective. Students will be encouraged to write annotations and observations as well as to investigate their areas of interest. Students gain firsthand knowledge of original works by direct observation in situ, learn drawing and painting skills in a refreshing way, and learn to create sketchbooks that may serve as source material for future projects.

Intro to Italian Philosophy: The course examines the evolution of the main schools of Italian philosophical thought beginning with the Middle Ages, covering the rich philosophical debate in Renaissance Italy, and reaching the Counter Reformation and the 18th century Age of Reason. However, since the problems discussed by these Italian schools of thought emerged in ancient philosophy and are directly drawn from it, it is initially necessary to review the ideas of Greek and early Christian philosophies. Key thinkers include Plato and Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Petrarch, Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Machiavelli, Giordano Bruno and Campanella. The course ends by looking at the revolutionary philosophical thought that marks the beginning of the Age of Science and Reason, embodied in Italy by Galileo Galilei.

Mysteries and Sacred Knowledge in Architecture: This course explores the architecture of various past cultures relative to their belief systems, and links this to contemporary practice. It reads buildings and spaces as the products of diverse forms of special sacred knowledge or wisdom, whose language can be reconstructed, understood, and enjoyed. Key themes include: esoterism; concepts of harmony, proportion and geometry; numerology; astrology and cosmology; the architect as creator; symbolism; ornament. Cultures examined include ancient Egypt, classical antiquity (Greece and Rome), ancient India (vaastu), ancient and modern China (feng shui), medieval, Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe. From the proportions of a pyramid to a freemason’s lodge, from the capitals of a cathedral to the planning of a residence or square in ancient or Renaissance Rome, the course seeks common elements that may connect all cultures. Students discover new interpretative keys that offer profound perspectives on the art and craft of architecture, from antiquity to today.

Introduction to Digital Photography: The course provides a basic approach to how the photographic digital camera works. Students gain a broad knowledge of the history of photography and an appreciation of aesthetic concerns that enable them to express themselves in a more cohesive and creative manner. Basic classic photography skills including an understanding of focal length, aperture, shutter speed, composition, and quality of light are integrated with techniques specific to digital capture and the manipulation of images in Photoshop. Photoshop software is used to process and print photographic imagery. During the course, specific assignments will help students to learn all basic digital techniques. In the course students acquire confidence in knowing how to use their camera well, increased technical control of the medium, and a more critical eye. At the Florence site only this course is 80% digital and 20% film and darkroom, with some basic black and white developing and printing techniques. Note: each student must be equipped with an SLR digital camera with manual function and with at least one lens.

Principles of Fashion Photography: The course provides a basic approach to photographic practice, with a focus on the essentials of fashion photography. A broad knowledge of the history of photography and major aesthetic concerns, combined with an overview of fashion photography to the present time (techniques, culture, esthetics, trends), help students increase their expressive and creative capacities. The course concentrates on the main technical aspects such as lighting, settings, locations, use of flash units, portable and studio units, and light metering. Students learn basic and creative classic photography skills (including an understanding of the use of the camera) and digital techniques for fashion applications, with emphasis on color digital photography using Camera Raw and Photoshop (used to process and print photographic imagery). Particular attention will be given to on-location shooting and studio photography activities, with practice photographing models. As far as possible students collaborate with the Fashion Department to develop fashion photography projects. For such projects students shoot pictures to meet the fashion application requirements of the project development team, thus experiencing a real working situation. This course is 70% digital and 30% film and darkroom. Note: each student must be equipped with a SLR digital camera with manual function and with at least one lens.

Love, Beauty and Natural Selection: the Science and the Myths: Evolutionary psychologists claim that men and women differ substantially in their attitudes and abilities. They theorize that beauty and attractiveness are signals of good health, good genes, or other qualities, and that all forms of human love are unconscious strategies for passing on these qualities to the next generation. These theories make excellent stories for popular science writers, which will often present them as proven facts that are very relevant to everyday life. Even a shallow examination of the theories and the data supporting them will demonstrate that many hypotheses made by evolutionary psychologists are controversial, have very little empirical evidence supporting them, and will usually have very little practical relevance to people. Throughout the course we will learn the theoretical bases of modern evolutionary biology, review the most popular theories of evolutionary psychology (e.g. psychological gender differences, sexual love, marriage, parental love, female beauty, male beauty, sperm competition, female orgasm), observe the way they are presented in the media, and critically examine the science that supports them.

Psychology of Crime: This course approaches the knowledge and understanding of criminal behavior and its impact upon individuals and society from developmental, cognitive-behavioral, and other psychological perspectives. The basic premise of this course is that multiple variables affect people’s behavior and for this reason this study requires attention to personality factors and how they interact with situational variables. Topics include: criminological theories, biological and psychological models of criminal behavior, crime and mental disorders, human aggression and violence, sexual assault, and criminal homicide. Students will acquire a new framework for interpreting criminal behavior. Students will be familiarized with different perspectives on criminal behavior as well as etiology, risk factors, assessment and treatment in relation to different criminal behaviors. Recent research findings will be incorporated.

Workplace Psychology: Building Effective Managers: The course examines organizational issues - such as stress, conflict, discrimination, and others - through the social lenses of psychology. Students will learn various approaches that develop the individual with the objective of improving and helping to grow the organization as a whole. In other words, the course connects individual strategy and well-being with those of organizations and the wider society. Through lectures, experiential exercises, readings and reflections, and teamwork, students will gain a thorough understanding of individual behavior, group functioning, and organizational processes and dynamics. The first part of the course focuses on the individual and teams. The second part of the course will venture into specific themes: the importance of conflict, the impact of technology, the unavoidable certainty of uncertainty, and substance abuse within an organization. Ultimately, the course enables students to move between themes with critical acumen and creativity, seeking realistic and implementable solutions to real problems.

Organized Crime: Sociology and History of Italian Mafia: “Mafia” is one of a long list of words – like “pizza”, “spaghetti” and “opera” – that Italian has given to many other languages across the world. It is commonly applied to criminals far beyond Sicily and the United State; places where the Mafia in the strict sense is based. “Mafia” has become an umbrella label for a wide array of gangs – Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Chechen, Albanian, Turkish, and so on – that have little or nothing to do with the Sicilian original. This course is a history of the Mafia in Sicily. Some of the most famous American mafiosi, such as Lucky Luciano and Al Capone, will also be taken into consideration because the history of the Sicilian Mafia cannot be understood without telling the story of the American Mafia to which it gave birth. The course analyzes the Sicilian Mafia through a historical, social, and cultural perspective, tracing its progression from the unification of Italy to the present day. An analysis of the sociological aspects of the Mafia will be considered, including “the language of the mafioso,” “code of silence.” the ways of violence, the social relationships within the organization, messages and messengers, structures of power, profits and losses, and the relationships between the Mafia, politics, and religion.

Italian Family and Society: The course explores the Italian family from a sociological point of view, placing the family in the context of Italian tradition and culture. It is subdivided into two main sections. In the first section we will begin with an historical analysis of the Italian family from the Romans to the present age, in order to analyze changes and traditions through several centuries. We will see that the patriarchal system underlies the entire history of the Italian family until recent times. We will analyze the meaning of the family at the present time and the importance of marriage in the past and cohabitation in present society. We will also consider key moments of transition in the life cycle of families, such as the constitution of a conjugal agreement, the place of children, divorce, the elderly, and adoption. The impact of immigration on the development of family lifestyles will also be examined. In the second part of the course each class will analyze in detail the single members of the family. We will investigate rights and duties of wives, mothers, husbands, fathers and children in the family and we will evaluate the relationship between tradition and change in the evolution of these roles. We will also compare the traditional and conservative southern family to that of northern Italy.

Travel Writing Throughout history, Italy has inspired writers and poets to wax lyrical in ways that few other countries have done. Countless English- language novels, stories and poems have woven a bel paese of words around the Italian experience. This course provides an opportunity for students to focus first-hand on the art and craft of travel writing, with particular emphasis on cities in Italy, but also with excursions into other worlds – real or imaginary. Through reading, writing, and visits in and around the city center, students will explore places of historic, artistic, cultural and personal interest. They will learn “by example” from a selection of great travel literature from the world in general, and from Italy in particular. And they will learn “by doing”, via a series of guided exercises and assignments that explore the distinctive qualities of travel writing – its combination of history, culture, information, rumination, musings and memory – and the ways in which this particular art can lead to a deeper understanding of their own experiences and cultural identity.


Disclaimer:

*Course offerings are subject to change and vary between each session. Please contact us for any questions about a specific course or session schedule.

**Some courses may require students to purchase books or other courses materials or include additional fees for equipment. These fees are the student’s responsibility and are to be paid once in Florence.


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