Harvard Summer Program in Milan and Siena, Italy
10/1/20: In light of the significant and prolonged uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Harvard Summer School is closely monitoring the feasibility of operating our 2021 summer study abroad programs. The health and safety of our students and staff is paramount and we will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide more information as it becomes available. For further travel resources, please visit the Harvard Global Support Services website and Harvard’s coronavirus website which is frequently updated and contains the latest announcements, guidance and resources.
Spend one month in Milan and one in Siena, Italy, studying the intersection of aesthetics and innovation.
Contemplate beauty, its meaning, its history, and its connection to technological innovation and economics in two of Italy’s most beautiful cities. You study aesthetics, cultural economics, smart cities, storytelling, fiction, Italian film, fashion, and creative industries as an indispensable vehicle for change and sustainability.
In this program, you explore how and why beauty and culture are critical for real innovation, social change, and sustainable economic development. Classroom instruction is accompanied by numerous field trips, excursions, and activities for you to explore Italy's artistic heritage and contemporary culture.
Note: Non-credit Italian language instruction is available for interested students.
To learn more, visit the Milan and Siena program website.
ITAL S-190 Study Abroad in Milan and Siena, Italy: Beauty, Leadership, and Innovation (33199)
The purpose of this course is to show that culture and aesthetics are indispensable for real innovation, social change, and sustainable economic development. Students read and discuss the main thinkers that defined the concept of beauty, from Plato and Immanuel Kant to John Dewey and Elaine Scarry. They are introduced to topics such as storytelling, fashion, transgression, material culture, and contemporary art. One of the leading experts in cultural economics, Professor Pier Luigi Sacco, teaches several classes on smart cities, new modes of cultural production, and creative industries. Outside the classroom, numerous activities and trips constitute an integral part of the course. We taste olive oil, aged vinegar, wine, and saffron, and we learn the techniques for making espresso and latte art and also encaustic paintings. We visit Renzo Piano's eco-friendly district in Trento as well as the oldest bank in the world still in operation (Monte dei Paschi) and the Vittoriale, the eccentric house-museum of the poet Gabriele d'Annunzio, overlooking Lake Garda. We attend seminars on identity design, on innovation, on tourism and territorial management, and on comics and video games. We visit fashion showrooms, concept stores, and spaces dedicated to the production, exhibition, and enhancement of contemporary culture such as Armani Silos, the Triennale Design Museum, and the Piaggio Museum. We participate in the momentous preparation for the Palio, which takes place each year and has been Siena's most important event for centuries. A detailed syllabus can be found here.
Where You Live and Study
You spend one month in Milan—a world capital of fashion and design—and one in Siena, a perfectly preserved medieval city that included the creation of beauty as part of its original constitution. These Italian cities are ideal for experiencing and examining beauty.
You also have the opportunity to:
- Watch the Palio, the horse race that for centuries has taken place annually in Siena, and participate in the momentous preparation for it.
- Visit Monte dei Paschi, the oldest surviving bank in the world.
- Work with Inarea, a cutting-edge network specializing in the creation and management of identity systems.
- Explore poet Gabriele d'Annuzio's eccentric house-museum overlooking Lake Garda.
- Tour fashion studios, concept stores, and spaces dedicated to the production, exhibition, and enhancement of contemporary culture such as the Armani Museum, HangarBicocca, and the Vespa scooter collection of the Piaggio Museum.
In Milan, you stay at the Residence Pola, just half a mile from the city’s main train station and a half-hour walk to Piazza del Duomo, at the very center of the city. All double rooms have a private bathroom, free wi-fi, TV, air conditioning, and a fully equipped kitchenette. Classes are held at IULM University, which can be reached with a short subway ride.
In Siena, you stay in double rooms at the Collegio Santa Chiara, the collegiate residence of the University of Siena. You have access to the common areas of the Collegio, including a kitchenette, computer room, tea room, and the gardens. Classes are held in a nearby building. This beautiful residence is in the historic center of the city—a five-minute walk from Piazza del Campo.
You may apply to no more than two programs; if applying to two programs, you will be asked to rank your two applications in order of preference (first and second choice). Any applications submitted in excess of the maximum of two will be automatically withdrawn. You will be notified of your admissions status in each program by late February.
A complete online application includes:
- Basic personal information
- A statement of interest
- Your most recent transcript
- Program-specific requirements (if applicable; may include letters of recommendation, audio or video submissions, etc.)
Interviews may be requested at the discretion of the program.
Harvard College students applying for funding from the Office of Career Services (OCS): Please note that the OCS funding application is separate. OCS funding awards are tied to a specific program, and cannot be transferred to another program.
If you have questions about the application, please contact the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at (617) 998-9602.
Cost & Expenses
The program fee includes:
- Scheduled program activities
- Some meals (the program will provide further details)
You will also need to budget for a number of expenses not covered by the program fee. The amounts listed below for these out-of-pocket expenses are approximate, and you may incur additional expenses not noted here. Your actual expenses will depend on a number of factors, including personal spending habits and currency exchange rates. Note that for 2021, expense categories--especially airfare--may be subject to significant fluctuations.
- International airfare ($1,300 - $1,600)
- Ground transportation ($200)
- Meals ($1,500)
- Personal expenditures, communications, course materials, and miscellaneous ($500)
If you have specific questions about personal budgeting, please contact the program directly.
See Funding and Payment for information on how to submit payments and funding options.
Please note that 2021 program information is subject to change
Francesco Erspamer, Laurea in lettere e filosofia, Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
Find a program
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