F&M in Italy

  • Vicchio, Italy
  • Vicchio, Italy

"The summer program was the capstone of my Italian career at F&M.  It was special because it was my first time really traveling alone, and it was my first time traveling to Europe.  Learning the Italian language was not easy in my first years at F&M, but getting the opportunity to fully submerge myself in the language and the culture propelled my knowledge to another level that I once thought to be unattainable.  And of course, it was a lot of fun."  Nick Porcelli '15

"Being in a small group allowed to only use Italian, I made long-lasting memories and my language skills skyrocketed.  My time at Vicchio helped prepare me for my semester-long study abroad in Padova, Italy."  Emily Meneghin '15

During my time in Vicchio, my language skills vastly improved; that is only possible with such a close-knit immersion program.  The classes and the study trips wonderfully enhanced each other, which not only made the summer fun, but also full of opportunities to hone my reading, writing and conversational abilities."  Livia Meneghin '15




Franklin & Marshall's Summer Program in Italian is based primarily in Vicchio del Mugello, a small town in Tuscany 30 km north of Florence, to which it is well connected by train. Vicchio was the birthplace of the painter Giotto, whose house can still be visited today. It has also been the site of a major Etruscan archaelogical excavation, sponsored by Franklin & Marshall and SMU.


Unlike Florence, Vicchio offers opportunities for personal contacts with local people through sports, social events, or individually-tailored internships.  It also allows for a full-immersion language and culture experience, impossible in large tourist cities.  All courses are specially designed for the Vicchio program and aim to take full advantage of the location in Italy (including visits to markets, interviews, research on local history, artwork, and monuments.) Regular dinners and excursions with faculty are also part of the immersion program.  The summer program is a highly effective learning experience that combines the pleasures of living in Italy with the high quality of academic instruction and one-on-one interaction with faculty that distinguishes Franklin & Marshall. 


The program is approximately 6 weeks, and is divided into two sessions.  

Students will arrive in Vicchio on Wednesday, May 18.  Classes for Session I will begin on Thursday, May 19.  All students will have four hours of class instruction daily and will be free during the weekends, except for organized field trips.  In the past, students have visited Siena, Venice, Pisa, Milan, etc.

Classes for Session II will begin on Tuesday, June 7, and will include a substantial travel component, leaving Vicchio behind after a few days, to Florence, Grosseto, Pitigliano, Viterbo, and Rome.  The program will close with a final dinner in Rome on Friday, June 24. Students should plan to leave on June 25.


Intermediate Italian

Students that have completed Italian 102 will take two 200-level language and cultural studies courses.  Students completing these courses will receive two regular F&M credits and letter grades for them, just as if the classes had been taken on the F&M campus. The prerequisite for these courses is satisfactory completion of ITA 102 or the equivalent, or placement at the 201-level. Upon their return to F&M, students will be able to take ITA 201.

Advanced Italian

Students who have completed ITA 202 by May 2019 will have the opportunity to take two advanced-level courses that aim at integrating coursework and group and individual urban explorations. Both courses are entirely grounded in local history, art, literature, and natural landscape. These courses will involve classroom instruction as well as field trips, hikes, and interactions with local people. Students completing these courses will receive two F&M credits, which count as electives for the Italian minor and the major (both Italian and Italian Studies tracks).  More advanced students can also engage in independent research projects. Interested students should consult program faculty to discuss opportunities suited to them.

Session I

ITA 241/341: Florence, Capital of the Renaissance.  This course involves 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 as the final project, in collaboration with students at the other levels, with expectations and material appropriate to each level.

Session II

ITA 240/340: Landscapes of Tuscany.  .  Adopting a “Reacting to the Past” pedagogy, this course is based on historical events that took place in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany on the cusp of the Revolution of 1848. The course will be conducted as a game: divided into liberal and conservative factions, students will each assume the identity of a historical figure. Each day will feature a new session of the game, with a particular set of problems and debates. Roles will not be scripted; instead, students will prepare speeches and other interventions in advance, based on historical documentation, and they will also intervene spontaneously in the game. Participants in this course will thus thoroughly immerse themselves in the Italian language, in a critical moment of European history, and in enduring questions of religion and state. Again, assignments (roles) and expectations will be different for students taking this as a 200 or 300 level course.


Professor Scott Lerner (PhD in Comparative Literature, Harvard) is Professor of French and Italian and has taught both French and Italian literature and language courses at all levels.  He has co-founded and directs the summer program.

Giovanna Faleschini Lerner (PhD Italian, University of Pennsylvania) is Associate Professor of Italian.  She has taught all levels of Italian language and literature both on campus and abroad.


While in Vicchio, students are lodged in the hotel L’Antica Porta di Levante, located in the center of town, at walking distance from the train station, grocery stores, and restaurants. The hotel's Michelin-reviewed restaurant will provide a high-quality breakfast and dinner every day.  Students occupy double and triple rooms with private bathrooms.​ In Pitigliano, students are housed in three-to-four persons apartments, within walking distance of each other and the professors’ housing. In other cities, accommodations are typically 3-star hotels.


The program fee is expected to be $6,500.

This includes:

  • lodging with breakfast and dinner while with the group
  • transportation and accommodation on field trips
  • tuition for 2 F&M credits

This does not include:

  • airfare
  • transportation from airport to Vicchio
  • lunches while in Vicchio
  • some meals on field trips
  • personal travel and other personal expenses

Students are expected to make their own travel arrangements from the US. This is common policy for summer travel courses at F&M, as it allows students some flexibility in their travel plans, such as spending more time in Europe after the course is over.

Financial aid is available. Students are encouraged to apply for study-abroad and research grants through the Office of International and Off-Campus Study.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Professor Giovanna Faleschini Lerner or your Italian professor.



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