Curriculum Overview 

The study of Italian at Franklin & Marshall is rooted in a modern liberal arts education, bringing together humanistic tradition and global society. The minor in Italian is designed to give students a solid knowledge of the language and a critical understanding of the literary, cinematic and artistic traditions of Italy. The courses offered within the program provide opportunities for students to refine the critical thinking, reading and writing skills that will serve them throughout their professional lives. Small classes allow students to work closely with faculty in an informal atmosphere that encourages individual learning. Each course includes additional individual and small-group sessions with an Italian teaching assistant. Courses are conducted in Italian, and students are given opportunities to practice the language outside of class.

Graduates of the Department of Italian are well prepared to pursue careers in a variety of fields. The rigorous study of Italian language structure helps develop the analytical and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in many different professions. Courses in literature and civilization foster skills such as logical thinking, coherent writing and persuasive argumentation, while the ability to understand and communicate in another language requires advanced communication skills that are easily transferable to fulfilling careers—in international affairs, museums and auction houses, teaching and research and art. Students frequently combine Italian with another concentration in medicine and the healing arts, business or another field.

A minor in Italian consists of six courses beyond ITA 101. Students must take ITA 310 or ITA 360. They may take one additional elective at the 200 or above level, which can be chosen in consultation with the chair of the department.

Students must complete all coursework in Italian. Students may include two courses from study abroad in the minor with the approval of the chair.

Franklin & Marshall has its own summer study abroad program in Tuscany, offering courses in Italian language and culture and independent studies. The department offers this program most summers (see SUMMER TRAVEL COURSES for information about the coursework). Students of Italian have studied abroad in the following programs in recent years: F&M Summer Program in Vicchio; Boston University in Padova; Arcadia University in Perugia; Sarah Lawrence and Syracuse in Florence; IES in Milan. See the International Programs section of the Catalog for further information.

Courses Offered 

A list of regularly offered courses follows. Please note the key for the following abbreviations: (A) Arts; (H) Humanities; (S) Social Sciences; (N) Natural Sciences with Laboratory; (LS) Language Studies requirement; (NW) Non-Western Cultures requirement.

All courses are taught in Italian unless indicated otherwise.


All courses are taught in Italian unless indicated otherwise.

101. Elementary Italian I.

The aim of this course is to develop basic language skills in Italian, including speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing, with particular emphasis on communication. The course also provides an introduction to contemporary Italy and its artistic, literary, cinematic and culinary traditions. Offered every Fall.     

Fognani, S. Lerner

102. Elementary Italian II.

Continuation of ITA 101. Prerequisite: ITA 101 or placement. Offered every Spring.     

Fognani, S. Lerner

201. Intermediate Italian Language and Culture I. (LS)

A continuation of the study of the Italian language, emphasizing speaking, listening, reading and writing. Combines comprehensive grammar review with more in-depth study of Italian culture, based on films, short stories, poems and songs. Prerequisite: ITA 102 or placement. Offered every Fall.     

Faleschini Lerner, Fognani

202. Intermediate Italian Language and Culture II. (LS)

The continuation of ITA 201, this course further develops language skills with an increased emphasis on analytic thinking and writing, as well as oral communication. It completes the presentation of the principal grammatical structures begun in the previous semester while continuing the examination of Italian culture through literary texts, songs, and films. Prerequisite: ITA 201 or placement. Offered every Spring.            

Faleschini Lerner

310. Introduction to Italian Literary Studies. (H)

An introduction to literary studies in Italian. Particular authors and themes will vary. (Recently: the Italian detective novel, readings by Leonardo Sciascia and Carlo Lucarelli.) Complementary study of advanced Italian grammar. Prerequisite: ITA 202 or placement.    

S. Lerner

354. Age of Dante. (H) (LS)

In his epic tale of man’s journey to redemption, Dante Alighieri created a masterpiece that continues to challenge our assumptions about good and evil, love and life. From Geoffrey Chaucer to Dan Brown, abolitionists to Romantics, Dante’s work has inspired generations of authors and artists, and stands today as one of the great pillars of Western literature. Through close readings of Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise, as well as class discussions and presentations, we will situate Dante’s work within the social and religious context of the late Middle Ages. Throughout the course, we will consider the study of Dante’s Comedy not only as a literary exercise, but also as a mysterious poem that enriches our vision of the world. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or placement.         


356. Italian Film History. (A)

Introduction to Italian film history, with an emphasis on the relationship between cinema and society and culture. May include influential auteurs (Visconti, De Sica, Antonioni, Pasolini, Fellini) and movements (Neorealism, cinema politico), as well as popular forms (commedia all’italiana), genre films, experimental filmmaking, and documentary. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or permission of the instructor. Same as TDF 356.    

Faleschini Lerner

360. Italian Literary and Cultural Studies I:

From the Risorgimento to the Present. (H)

Provides a broad overview of modern Italian culture and history and includes studies in the 20th-century short story (Verga, Pirandello, Calvino, Levi) and cinema (Visconti, Benigni, Giordana). Advanced study of spoken and written Italian and selected topics in grammar. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or placement.     

S. Lerner

365. Verismo and Modernism in Italian Literature. (H)

An exploration of the Italian literary, operatic and theatrical traditions of two golden ages: late nineteenth-century verismo and early twentieth century modernism. Principal authors may include Giovanni Verga and Luigi Pirandello. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or placement.            

S. Lerner

366. Italian Cinema and the Arts. (H)

Cinema has presented itself, since its very origins, as a synthetic form of art that could incorporate panting, architecture, sculpture, as well as music, literature, and dance. This course aims to explore the different ways in which inter-artistic dialogue has influenced the development of Italian cinema, determining the style of its major auteurs and contributing to the complexity of their films. A series of critical and theoretical readings will help us develop a solid interpretive approach to the films, which will include works by Fellini, Antonioni, Pasolini, Visconti, Rossellini, and other filmmakers. Normally taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or permission of the instructor. Same as TDF366.    

Faleschini Lerner

367. Women and Gender in Italian Literature. (H)

This course focuses on Italian women writes from the nineteenth century to the present. Authors may include Aleramo, Banti, Morante, Ginzburg, Maraini, and Ferrante, among others. Literary analyses of the texts will be placed in the context of Italian cultural history, the history of Italian feminism and post-feminism, and the tradition of Italian feminist philosophy, allowing for a deeper understanding of the ever-changing role of gender roles and dynamics in modern Italy. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or permission of the instructor. Same as WGS 367.            

Faleschini Lerner

368. Post-War and Contemporary Italian Fiction. (H)

Italian literature from the end of the second world war to the present with an emphasis on the genres of he novella, the short story and the novel. The first part of the course will be devoted to two classic writers: Italo Calvino and Dino Buzzati, known for their innovative blend of realism and the fantastic; the second part will examine their successors, with works by Alessandro Baricco, Michela Murgia, Anna Luisa Pignatelli, or others. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or placement.    

S. Lerner

391. Directed Reading.

410. Italian Literary and Cultural Studies II. (H)

Studies in classical Italian poetry and prose (authors have included Dante, Boccaccio, Manzoni, Collodi, Pirandello and D’Annunzio). Advanced spoken and written Italian, selected topics in grammar. Prerequisite: ITA 360.     

S. Lerner

490. Independent Study.


Topics Courses Expected to be Offered in 2017-2018 

  • ITA 371. Mediterranean Narrative Journeys. Faleschini Lerner


Summer Travel Courses

ITA 271-371. Florence, Capital of the Renaissance.

This course is part of the Italian Summer Program’s full-immersion linguistic and cultural experience in Italy. It explores the historical and social underpinnings of Renaissance Florence through readings in medieval and Renaissance literature, as well as “hands-on” learning components involving cultural visits, map-making, and the collaborative creation of a literary guide to the city.

ITA 272-273. Landscapes of Tuscany.

This interdisciplinary course is part of the Italian Summer Program’s full-immersion linguistic and cultural experience in Italy. Through readings in Italian literature, history, and art history, integrated with site visits, nature hikes, and research projects, students explore the cultural and natural landscapes of Tuscany, especially in the Mugello Valley, where the summer program is held. Prerequisites: Italian 102 or 202. Taught in Italian.

ITA 274-374. Italian Urban Cultures.

This course is part of the Italian Summer Program’s full-immersion linguistic and cultural experience in Italy. Students learn about Italian urban cultures through an integrated approach that includes literary texts, analyses of works of art and urban landmarks, and historical and architectural research, as well as day and weekend trips to the specific cities being examined (Rome, Palermo, Ferrara, Urbino). As appropriate to their linguistic level, students are responsible for planning itineraries and preparing guided tours of the cities. Prerequisites: Italian 102 or 202. Taught in Italian.