Culture Courses

A different selection of the following courses is offered each term based on student enrollments and is confirmed at the time of registration.


  • Made in Italy: Marketing the Italian style


    This course examines the notion of “Made in Italy” as an intangible asset, how the image that accompanies the idea of “Made in Italy” abroad was created in the 1950s in Florence and how it evolved over time. The main aim of the course is to explore how “Italian Style” has evolved and how it is marketed. To this purpose, innovative marketing and branding strategies utilized by the most important Italian brands in specific sectors – fashion, food, wine, design and art - will be analyzed and discussed in order to understand the most relevant qualities that define the notion of “Made in Italy” as a brand globally recognized. The focus will be on key Italian cultural products, their significance and symbolism, as well as the notion of “Country Branding” within the industrial, leisure, food and fashion sectors. An array of educational tools – readings, lectures, guest lectures, in-class discussions, fieldtrips and visits to food and fashion retailers, fashion museums, design studios, and more – will allow students to acquire an in-depth knowledge of trend-setting marketing strategies. Students will experience products associated with the idea of “Italianness” first-hand, from concept to consumption.

  • Entrepreneurship - The Italian Way


    This course provides an in-depth study of the creative chaos of Italian entrepreneurship. From the Medici, who made a fortune and lost it again within a century, to Ferrari, the consummate entrepreneur; from Armani, Ferragamo, and Gucci to Luxottica and Del Vecchio’s sunglasses empire, students investigate the essence of Italian entrepreneurship. In addition, this course scrutinizes examples of family businesses, in which each new generation exhibits entrepreneurship (FIAT, Ferrero etc.), as well as instances of entrepreneurial endeavors that were not successful (e.g. Parmalat). The world of entrepreneurship is evaluated from the perspectives of management, finance, and marketing as well as incorporating sociological skills required to understand these enterprises. The course uses a large array of texts and academic sources that the students assess via real life case studies. Students visit a wide range of entrepreneurial contexts and have the opportunity to interview first hand a number of entrepreneurs and those that support entrepreneurship. Students also critically evaluate major issues such as globalization, sustainability, and ethics, which affect entrepreneurships today.

  • Unity in Diversity: The Definition of Italian Identity Through Food

    ANTH 111 / ITAL 111 / HIST 111
    Peter Fischer

    This is a challenging course on one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of food. We will trace the historical evolution of Italian food culture in the geographical and cultural context of the Mediterranean from the times of the classical civilizations until today. The focus will be on understanding the extraordinary significance of food for the definition of “Italianness”. Pasta, pizza and cappuccino have become some of the most recognizable signs for Italian identity and they contribute to the creation of a coherent, unified image of Italy. To fully explore the evolution of this fascinating relationship between “Italianness” and food, a cornucopia of historical, cross-cultural and theoretical views is offered, drawing from history, anthropology, sociology, as well as from geography. Lectures and class discussions will be supplemented by special food workshops in which we will explore the history, culture and taste of some Italian key products: bread, wine and olive oil as well as coffee. Emphasis will be placed on developing a methodological and structured approach towards how to taste these food items, covering all of the essential elements of the subject, from the physiology and experience of the senses to tasting techniques, tasting vocabulary, and quality assessment.

  • Genius and Innovation in Italian Renaissance Art

    ARTHS 113 / ITAL 113
    Cecilia Martelli

    This course is designed for students interested in an in-depth exploration of the artistic production of Italy from the 14th to the 16th centuries, with a special focus on Florence and its social, political and devotional context. Starting with the Gothic, the course will follow the development of different forms of art – painting, sculpture and architecture – up to the middle of the 16th century, thus covering the period known as the Renaissance. This time underwent an extraordinary renewal in all fields of human knowledge, from literature and philosophy to the visual arts, the latter being considered a fundamental instrument for the investigation of nature and of human experience. The course analyzes how the recovery and study of ancient sources and the work of contemporary humanists inspired and stimulated painters, sculptors, and architects. For the analysis of the Early Renaissance, special emphasis is placed on such figures as Giotto, Ghiberti, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Masaccio, and Fra Angelico. Moving on to the High Renaissance in the second part of the course, the works of Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, the young Raphael and Giorgio Vasari are considered in the light of the Medici family political rule and artistic patronage. Through lectures, class discussions, and frequent site visits, the course aims at training students to study works of art in their original context, to recognize iconographic features and subjects and distinguish the different styles and techniques used by the artists.
    * Not offered in Summer

  • Pre-ILP Practicum*

    ITAL 110
    Mariarosa Mettifogo

    The aim of the pre-ILP Practicum is to strengthen the language and intercultural skills of students enrolled in EAP immersion programs at Italian universities and to help them succeed in the Italian academic environment. Students learn about the organization and structures of Italian universities and the main differences between the American and Italian university system. They train to study effectively in Italian and to prepare for written and oral exams. They practice communicating appropriately with Italian students and professors and managing other practical aspects of their life in Italy, such as looking for accommodation, locating university facilities and resources, navigating websites, using libraries, and more.
    * Offered only in Summer