Dante Abroad by Dante Alighieri Siena
Study Italian in Italy - Authentic Italian experience

In our Study Abroad Program students are encouraged to fully take advantage of their stay in Italy. Learn Italian not only in the classroom but through your everyday life in Siena. Our on-site lectures, academic excursions, visits to museums, field trips, hands-on cooking classes and internships will surely broaden your learning experience. Culture courses and seminars are taught in English so you can fully understand subjects we cover such as: Art history and Architecture, Italian History, Performing Arts, Literature, Anthropology, Economy, Health and Nutrition amongst others.

Art history and architecture - Department of Art history and architecture


Upper division programs - 45 hours in 8 weeks

ART HISTORY I - from 476 to 1300
The course examines art in the periods belonging to the so-called Early Middle Ages (476 AD - 1000) and the High Middle Ages (1000 - 1300) according to the subdivision proposed by Henri Pirenne and Johan Huizinga. The course aims to provide students with tools for analysis and study of Tuscan and Italian periods mentioned above paying particular attention to the artistic patrimony of Siena and the Sienese territory. Issues related to restoration and conservation of archaeological heritage are discussed and in particular, as well as the ages in question, Etruscan and Roman heritage. Given the vastness of the subject matter and the important social and historical references, the participation in at least one seminar in history is required. Just as in the Art History II course, most classes will be offered on-site in order to develop the autonomous art "reading" by students.
Total hours: 60

ART HISTORY II - from 1300 to 1555
This course is structured as a continuation of Art History I but is not required for enrollment. The course program analyzes the works of art from 1300 to 1555, the year of the final conquest of Siena from Florence. 250 years that saw profound cultural, social and artistic changes and that produced the so-called Renaissance.

HOW TO READ A CITY I - Siena in its past
The study of architecture is no longer confined to analysis, even if detailed, of techniques and construction materials, but is combined with disciplines such as urban planning and landscape. The subject of this course is inspired by Siena, its urban appearance and the landscape that surrounds the city to expand to other cities such as Florence and Rome. What were the construction techniques of the Middle Ages? Where were the materials from that were used to built Palazzo Pubblico or the Duomo? Was there a policy for urban planning? What was the relationship between the landscape and the city and why did the Sienese landscape become iconographic of Tuscany and Italy? The course aims to answer all these and other questions to determine how we can "read" the city to rebuild the technical, social and economic factors that have characterized Siena and its territory.

HOW TO ‘READ' A CITY II - Siena in the new millennium
The challenge Siena faces in this century is to combine a meticulous preservation of architectural heritage inherited from the past together with the development and the needs of those living today in this city. The content of the course, an ideal extension of HOW TO READ A CITY I, analyzes the techniques of architectural restoration and recovery but also addresses issues such as urban transformation by those who live not only in Siena, but in the so-called "Cities of Art". The challenge to combine past and present is one of the most difficult that the "Old Europe" is facing and Siena represents a huge open-air laboratory.

"IL COSTITUTO SENESE": The Sienese Constitution and the history of Siena from the low Middle Ages to 1555
It was 1309 when the Commune of Siena decided to translate in vulgar, the set of rules and laws governing the public life so as to make them understandable even to those who knew no Latin. A testimony is the book that orders "have the "expese" of the City of Siena write, a statute of the City, again in vulgar in big letters, well legible and well formed, in good sheep paper [...] el quale statuto sia et stare debia legato ne la Biccherna, acciocché le povare persone et altre persone che non sanno grammatica, et li altri, e' quali vorranno, possano esso vedere et copia inde trarre et avere a loro volontà." (D. I, rub. 134) The copy would be exposed to the public and should therefore be written in clear and legible letters, and had to be "linked", that is attached to an iron chain in order to prevent from theft and tampering. The result is a sort of "constitution" that was written for the first time in a language accessible to a wide audience, with the intention to make each citizen feel even more his the "public thing". A careful analysis of the document not only gives a huge amount of historical data but also tells about the modernity of a city that had its greatest splendor right in the Middle Ages when because of its size and population was one of the 10 largest cities of Europe, and was in the vanguard in many areas.

150 YEARS OF ITALIAN IDENTITY: The unification and the role of Tuscany
The celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Italian Unification opened a broad debate on the meaning of "Italian identity" and the full acknowledgment of the Risorgimento movement and the actions of our founding fathers. After 150 of Italian Unification, Italy is facing growing claims of separation from many areas of the peninsula. The achievement of "making Italians" and creating a national identity has been considered a difficult task, not fully completed, by many historians and political commentators. With special focus on Siena and Tuscany, this course will analyze the concept of "being Italian" before the Unification and the historical developments of Italian society from 1861 until recent years. The aim of the course is to explain the difficult creation of a national Italian identity through the analysis of the Liberal State, the nationalist Fascist regime and the democratic Republic.

FASCISM AND WAR WORLD II IN ITALY: The role of the United States in the Liberation War and Reconstruction
Designed as a road map of contemporary Italy for students studying abroad, this course will describe historical developments of Italian society, culture, and politics over the past century. The course will focus on crucial moments of contemporary Italy such as the rise of the Fascist regime, the organisation of Fascist society, the anti-fascist Resistance and post-war Reconstruction. The decisive role of the United States in the rebirth of democracy in Italy from the ashes of WWII will be deeply analyzed with special attention to military strategies, the administrative measures taken by the Allied Military Government in the liberated regions, the support to the partisans' actions and the generous economic aid during the Reconstruction. Lectures of this course will introduce a rigorous analysis of documents, photos, songs and clips from classic movies of Italian Neorealism such as Roma città aperta and Paisà till recent contributions such as Miracle at St. Anna. The course will also offer field trips to the Museum Stanze della Memoria in Siena and to the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial.

CONTEMPORARY ITALY: Identity, Culture and Society
The multifaceted nature of Italian society can be bewildering. It is often a rather difficult task for foreign observers to understand the complex dynamics of Italian society and politics. Designed as a road mapof contemporary Italy for students studying abroad, this course will focus on historical developments of Italian society, culture, and politics over the past seven decades. The course will analyze crucial moments of contemporary Italy such as the rebirth of democracy from the ashes of WWII, the "economic miracle", the subversive attacks against the State, the dissolution of the traditional political parties and the end of the "first Republic". With a rigorous analysis of documents, this course aims to deepen students' knowledge on contemporary Italy and to dismantle some cliché images of Italian society.

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The city of Siena

The city of Siena

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Dante Alighieri, Siena
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