By Claudia Quesito
Summer is around the corner: Time to plan for your summer abroad program—in Italy! In the Belpaese there are a total of ninety-six universities distributed throughout the country.
Considering that several universities have branches in more than one city, virtually every Italian city offers some college program. And many of them offer summer programs to foreign students.
Why Italy? Besides being, well, Italy—with its food, landscapes, and shopping (no need to go on, right?)—you can study art, history, science, finance, and everything in between. Plus, it goes without saying that you can practice Italian.
Mostly, however, you’ll have the opportunity to live a unique personal experience that is much more than studying and practicing a language. Let’s pick some gems where you could go.
The classic among the classics: Bologna
Some Italian cities have a particular college reputation. This is usually because they host an ancient and prestigious university, and because university life plays a big role in the city’s overall identity. Among these are Venezia, Perugia, Siena, and Padova. But the Italian città universitaria by definition—or at the very least by seniority— is Bologna.
The Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna was established in 1088 and is the oldest university in the Western world. Since its founding, and thanks to its high rankings, Unibo, as it’s nicknamed, has always attracted, and still attracts, students and scholars from around the world.
It is located in the city’s history-rich center. Bologna is a beautiful, wonderfully preserved, lively, and culturally vibrant city, that is also strategically located. Here you can study archaeology, endocrinology, green markets, and linguistics, among other subjects.
The irresistible charm of Roma
If you are tempted by the idea of spending some time in Roma … well, you don’t really need a reason to pick Roma, do you? As they say, it’s not possible to list the not-to-be-missed things in Rome: The whole city is an open-air museum.
But in case you need a reason, there’s a filmmaking program at the Rome International Film School, for instance. If you are a movie lover, you’ll get the chance to visit some of the most iconic movie locations of all times. From the Trevi Fountain of La dolce vita to the Pantheons of the more recent Angels and Demons, you’ll have plenty of options.
You can also opt for a summer school at La Sapienza, one of the largest and oldest universities in Europe. Perhaps you’ll try one of its highly ranked humanities programs. Whatever you choose, you will leave la città eterna with eternal memories.
La bella Toscana
Tuscan cities are particularly welcoming for international students. They are walkable, full of opportunities, and not too large or intimidating. Oh, and of course, they are gorgeous! Tuscany is among the most visited Italian regions, for many reasons: art, history, landscapes, art, and … did we mention art already?
The universities of Firenze, Siena, and Pisa offer their own summer programs. And lovely Siena also hosts the Università per Stranieri, where you could focus on Italian language and culture.
Bonus: If you are in Siena over the summer, you could experience the Palio. This horse race is held twice each year (on July 2 and August 16) in Siena’s main piazza, Piazza del Campo. Not just a race, the Palio is also a celebration involving the whole city. It showcases local rivalry, seasoned with well-known Tuscan wit.
Off the beaten paths?
The Università per Stranieri di Siena we just mentioned is one of the two Italian universities intended for foreign students. The other one, the Università per Stranieri di Perugia, is in the neighboring region, Umbria.
Sometimes regarded as Tuscany’s “little sister,” Umbria actually has nothing to envy of its neighbor. It’s green, full of art, history, and wonderfully preserved medieval towns.
In the “off-the-beaten-path” category, you could consider the Sant’Anna Institute of Sorrento. There, you can study ancient Greek while enjoying one of the most celebrated rivieras in the world.
Or go to sunny Napoli to attend one of the summer schools offered by l’Orientale, the oldest school of Sinology and Oriental Studies in Europe. It is also the main Italian university specialized in non-European languages and cultures.
The other one is Ca’ Foscari, in Venezia, a city we hardly need to advertise, do we?
Wherever it’ll be, you’ll love the long Italian summers with their lazy afternoons and warm evenings. Experiencing the “August desert”—with locals vacationing, leaving cities empty and quiet—practicing the language, and living the Italian dolce vita will enrich your life. So, partiamo?
Read also: Vacanze italiane
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