Food and Culture: The Italian Experience

Siena, Italy

Itinerary - Courses and Credit - Schedule & Fee - To Apply - Faculty - Request More Information

This award winning 2-week study abroad program will be a faculty-led experience to one of the most beautiful and culturally significant regions in the world — Tuscany, Italy. The course will be an intensive, full-immersion academic and cultural exploration centered on the theme of Food and Culture in the perfectly preserved, magical medieval city of Siena. No previous knowledge of Italian is required; all that is required is a love for Italian food and culture!

Students will also enjoy exciting field trips, including a day trip to Florence and a weekend in Rome, where they will learn more rich history of the Romans and Renaissance.

Itinerary for Summer 2018

Students will have weekly online assignments beginning April 25th and two orientation sessions held at UMass Boston on April 23 and May 7th.

June 2: Arrival in Siena and program orientation
June 8: Field trip to Florence
June 10-11: Weekend field trip to Rome
June 17: Program ends, students may stay and explore Europe independently or return to the US

Courses and Credit

This program allows students to earn up to 10 credits while experiencing one of the most alluring cultural destinations of the world. There are no prerequisites for this program.

ITAL 150 Italian Food and Culture (required)
(Satisfies an elective credit, as well as fulfills Italian minor and major requirements)

Food represents one of the most attractive features of Italian culture. In this course, students will undertake a rigorous cultural and critical exploration of the role of food in society through the examination of the Italian case. This summer’s course will primarily focus on representations of food in Italian cinema and popular culture. The aim of this interdisciplinary course will be to gain expertise in understanding how questions of personal and collective identity are expressed and regulated through food in all societies.

Classroom assignments will include an exploration of food practices in Siena and other food-based activities in combination with readings, film screenings and field trips. Coursework includes online assignments beginning in April.

CUCINA E CONVERSAZIONE – An important component of ITAL 150 will be “Cucina e Conversazione”, a cooking class with Chef Angelo Guida.

Students will participate in hands-on cooking classes that will allow them to experience and be part of the Italian obsession with food. They will also have the opportunity to practice conversational Italian as they learn to cook. There will be six sessions of three hours each where participants will learn about the cuisine and culture of six different Italian regions. Chef Guida, your chef instructor, has extensive experience as head chef in several top restaurants in Italy and the United Kingdom.

The cooking classes will serve as a cornerstone experience for the program. Each evening class will end with the traditional sit-down dinner as a group where everyone will be able to taste their own gastronomic creations.

Italian language courses at the Università per Stranieri di Siena (optional)
(Satisfies a World Language (WL) Requirement)

ITAL 101/102 equivalent, 4 credits, can be used towards fulfilling the World Language requirement.
ITAL 201 and beyond equivalent, 3 credits
ITAL 278: Independent Study, 3 credits, optional, by permission of the professor only

Italy can be best experienced in a meaningful and thoughtful way if visitors learn the language and interact with the local community. If a student chooses to take an Italian language class, they will be enrolled in an intensive two-week language program taught at the renowned Università per Stranieri.

Options include a range of classes, from beginner level to advanced conversation courses. You will be placed in the appropriate course based upon your previous language experience. If you are placed into ITAL 101 or 102 equivalent level, you’ll earn 4 credits. If you are prepared for advanced classes, you will earn the equivalent of ITAL 201 or higher (3 credits).

Schedule & Fee

June 2 - 17, 2018

*The above fee is based on a minimum of 20 participants; if less than 20, a surcharge may apply.

The program fee covers all instruction and academic fees, lodging, five culinary classes with meals, and field trips. The program fee does not include transportation between the US and Italy, most meals, or travel insurance.

To Apply

This course is open to all students currently enrolled in a U.S. accredited university.

Application Deadline: April 6, 2018*

» Download Application [pdf]

* Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Early applications are strongly recommended as space is limited.


Vetri Nathan is a Professor of Italian Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. He received his PhD from Stanford University and specializes in immigration and globalization in Italy, Italian cinema, and postcolonial/transnational theory.

Chef Instructor Angelo Guida is a native of Naples; he previously worked at award-winning restaurants Gusto in Rome and Bocca di Lupo in London.

Request More Information

For more information, please contact:

Kevin Kehl

For further academic information, please contact:

Vetri Nathan

See Also


Please be advised that international programs are subject to change, slight or major, at any time due to circumstances beyond our control; this includes any and all fees, dates, itinerary, and program activities. We will do our best to inform all applicants of any changes in as timely a manner as possible.