Summer Abroad in Siena

Summer Abroad in Siena

Siena, Italy

Saturday, August 1 to Thursday, September 3, 2020 (4.5 weeks)


buildings in Siena: Photo by M. JamaliThe University of Toronto's Summer Abroad in Siena was established in 1972 in co-operation with the University of Siena, which agreed to host a summer program of Italian and Fine Art Studies. It is the University's first Summer Abroad program and was the model for our other programs abroad. Responsibility for the Siena program became part of the mandate of Woodsworth College when the college was founded in 1974. Since its inception, over 5300 students from across Canada have completed a University of Toronto summer course in Siena. The praise for the program has been consistently and overwhelmingly enthusiastic. 

In addition to the Summer Program, other links have brought the two universities closer together. In 1982, the University of Siena-University of Toronto Exchange Fellowship was established. This fellowship allows one student from each institution to attend the other for one year. Woodsworth College has also provided support at the University of Toronto for a visiting professor from the University of Siena. 

Your host is the University of Siena, Italy’s second-oldest university, dating back to 1240. It is a state university with over 18,000 students.

Submit your application online

Spotlight Courses 

The following courses are taught by professors associated with the Department of Italian Studies. For additional course offerings in Siena, please visit Summer Courses in Siena.

Through a selection of short stories, novels, movies, sociological and historical documents, and scholarly and popular articles, students will learn about various aspects of Italian civilization, from Unification to modern-day Italy. Topics of study include political ideologies, industrialization, fashion, mass-media, immigration and emigration, organized crime, and gastronomy. Co-curricular activities include film screenings and field trips. Students enrolled in an Italian program submit written work/do readings in Italian.

Prerequisites: None

Exclusion: ITA245Y1 / ITA247H1 / ITA248Y1 / ITA358Y0 / ITA359Y0


ITA358/9Y0 – Preliminary Course Outline 2020

Field trips: Students will engage in local cooking classes (in Siena), visit the Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo museums (in Florence), visit cinema studios and onsite locations of movie sets (overnight trip to Rome), and take tours of food factories and the Enzo Ferrari Museum (overnight trip to Bologna and Modena).The cost of these field trips is CAD$1,525, for return transportation to all sites, guides, overnight accommodation in Bologna/Modena and Rome, and most entrance fees.

Instructor: Professor Teresa Lobalsamo received her PhD in Italian Studies from the University of Toronto. She is honoured to be the recipient of UTM’s Teaching Excellence Award for Junior Faculty (2017-18). In line with her research foci, she teaches an array of cinema, culture, and experiential learning courses, such as Cucina Italiana, Mafia Movies, and Italian Theatre. Professor Lobalsamo believes that a meaningful university experience provides students with the opportunity to be productive inside and outside of the classroom: she integrates collaborative, real-world opportunities into all of her lectures so that students recognize the transferability of their university skills. Many of her courses feature local and international field excursions, allowing students to experience Italian culture firsthand. Recent scholarly activities focus on high impact practices and the benefits of study abroad.

This participatory seminar course introduces students to the central place occupied by food, agriculture, cooking and eating in modern Italian culture. The goal of the course is to foster a deep and sensitive understanding of the historical development of Italian cuisine and to instill an appreciation of the critical importance of local climate and ecology to Italian cuisine through comparison of various regional foodways. We’ll be looking at the scholarly literature on La Cucina Italiana and will enhance our readings with opportunities to engage personally with Italian food culture through field trips to food producers tailored for this course, and through tastings of Italian foods. This course will also offer a select number of spaces for Community Engaged Learning. This exciting volunteer opportunity to work with the Saturday Morning Breakfast program for homeless in the Kensington area of Toronto will be completed before departure for Italy.

Prerequisite: none

Recommended Preparation: ANT100Y1 or ANT204H1 or ANT207H1 or ANT200Y1 or ANT203Y1


Note: Not all food allergies can be accommodated for this course.

ANT396Y0 – 2020 Course Outline

Field trips: This course includes a four day trip visiting various food producers in the Matera area and Bari. Students will also participate in a workshop at the Espresso Academy of Mokaflor in Florence, visit Perugia and Deruta and tour local wineries and food producers. The cost of these trips is CAD$1,450, paid to U of T for most entrance fees, guides, three night hotel accommodation, tours and return bus transportation.

Instructor: Anne Urbancic is the Mary Rowell Jackman Professor of Humanities at Victoria College. An award-winning instructor, she has often taught in the Siena Summer Abroad Program. Her courses include ANT396Y0 Italian Regional Foodways and Culture, and previously, courses in Italian language and culture. Her research and publications focus on Italian food history, on the Italian Tuscan author Mario Pratesi (1842-1921) and on the works of Annie Vivanti. She has published widely in North American and European journals. Among her most recent publications are Mario Pratesi’s lost manuscript, All’ombra dei cipressi (SEF, 2018) and Literary Titans Revisited (Dundurn Press, 2017). Together with Giuliana Sanguinetti Katz, she has translated three novels, and two plays. She always loves teaching ANT396Y0 and looks forward to exploring Italy’s dynamic and fascinating (and delicious) food and foodways with you in Siena in 2020.

This course is inspired by, and comments on, the tradition of the “Grand Tour” of Italy, of which it follows the commonest trajectory from North to South in an attempt to re-create the experience of the many illustrious grand tourists who traced it. We will visit Venice, Florence and Rome both in person and through the lenses of many great filmmakers who, across the decades, have engaged with their unique urban fabric, their monuments and landmarks, their streets, their culture and their climate. We will ponder the implications of location shooting, the ethics of geographic manipulations, the idea of the city as character or as genre, and the phenomenon of cinematic tourism.

The course is taught in English and includes film screenings.

Prerequisite: None

Breadth Requirement = 1

CIN378Y0 – Outline 2020 (Note: Field Trip dates are subject to change.)

Field Trips: This course includes guided tours of the Museo Fondazione Franco Zeffirelli in Florence, an overnight trip to Rome visiting sites such as the Cinecittà si Mostra and an overnight trip to Venice and Padua visiting museums and archives. The cost of these trips is CAD$1,025, paid to U of T for for return transportation to all sites, guides, accommodation in Venice and Padua, and most entrance fees.

The cost of these trips is CAD$1,025, paid to U of T for return transportation to all sites, guides, accommodation in Rome (two nights), Palermo (two nights) and most entrance fees.

Instructor: Alberto Zambenedetti is Assistant Professor in the Department of Italian Studies and the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. He is the editor of World Film Locations: Florence (Intellect Books, 2014), of World Film Locations: Cleveland (Intellect Books, 2016), and the co-editor of Federico Fellini. Riprese, riletture, (re)visioni (Franco Cesati Editore, 2016). His scholarship has appeared in journals such as Annali D’Italianistica, Studies in European Cinema, Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, Short Film Studies, The Italianist, Quaderni d’Italianistica, The University of Toronto Quarterly, ACME, and Space and Culture. His criticism is posted on Gli Spietati ( He has curated the Italian editions of Home (Yann Arthus-Bertrand, 2009), It Seems to Hang On (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2015) and Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2016), and contributed essays to the home video releases of Fire at Sea (Gianfranco Rosi, 2016) and Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2016). His manuscript project, in contract with Edinburgh University Press, is titled Acting Across Borders: Mobility and Identity in Italian Cinema.


* Students interested in studying abroad are required to complete the University of Toronto's Safety Abroad's pre-departure workshop. To register for the online workshop, please visit the Safety Abroad Online Workshop registration page. 



Building in Siena with text on image: In Siena one finds many perfect moments in which the distant past catches up to us, mingles with the present, and becomes contemporary. Photo credit M Jamali; Design by G. Lisena