Study Abroad in Florence, Italy

Study Abroad in Florence: Courses

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From Fall 2016 onwards, courses offered at Richmond's Italian Study Centers will adopt a revised 4-digit model rather than the 3-digit conventional U.S. course numbering used in this chapter. This change has already been made on the University's London campuses. A course code comparison spreadsheet will be provided for the use of students and advisors at the Italian study centers - please contact the Admissions Officer.

Please note that not all courses listed will run; in order for a course to be offered, there must be enough interest generated from the preliminary course forms.

Courses are subject to change at the discretion of Richmond University.

Traditional Academic and Fashion Management and Marketing Programs

Italian Language Courses

Students must take an online entrance test in order to be admitted to register for any level higher than Elementary Italian I. Students will receive a login and password by email at the end of registration week. Since language requirements are strict, students are often placed in a level lower than requested. Students should gain pre-approval from their home institution for several levels of Italian in order to ensure that they receive credit for the level that they test into following the placement test. Please note that not all courses listed will run, in order for a course to be offered there must be enough interest generated from the preliminary course forms.

Italian language is mandatory.

Italian Language Courses

ITL 103/ITL 3831 (3) | Elementary Italian I

A thorough introduction for those with little or no previous experience. Includes grammar and conversation. Phonetics, the foundation of grammar structures and verbs are introduced with particular attention to their use in an authentic linguistic context. Emphasis is put on the development of learning strategies and self-assessment in the linguistic progress.

ITL 104/ITL 3832 (3) | Elementary Italian II

Preparatory course to the intermediate level, designed for students who have already had one or two semesters of Italian or are fluent in Spanish or French. Although the course starts with basic grammar structures of the language, it moves faster than ITL 103. Conversation is a central part of every lesson. Prerequisites: One or two semesters of Italian language and/or having passed ITL 103 level.

ITL 203/ITL 4831 (3) | Intermediate Italian I

Students develop the ability to communicate correctly with expanded vocabulary. Conversational practice improves listening and interpretation skills for better understanding and response. Reading and writing exercises improve skills in understanding prose and writing letters and simple messages. Admission to the course is based on testing in Italian.Prerequisites: Two or three semesters of Italian and/or having passed ITL 104 level.

ITL 204/ITL 4832 (3) | Intermediate Italian II

This course is designed for students with at least four/five semester study of Italian. The use of complex grammar rules is applied to conversation and writing skills and involve: sequences in past tenses, the use of present imperfect and past subjunctive to express personal opinions, will, hope, doubt, the hypothetic period in the present, past , future, the passive form and the direct and indirect speech. Prerequisites: Three or four semesters of Italian and/or having passed ITL 203 level.

ITL 303/ITL 5830 (3) | Advanced Italian

Only students completing Italian 204 at orientation are admitted to this level. Based on textual analysis of readings from contemporary authors, newspapers and magazines, this course concentrates on the revision of complex syntactic structures and use of synonyms and idiomatic expressions. Meets twice a week in class and requires independent research and on-site linguistic work. Prerequisites: Four/five semesters of Italian and/or having passed ITL 204 level.

Content Courses (Taught in English)

ARH 273/AVC 4800 (1) | Introduction to Italian Art

This course examines developments in early Italian painting and sculpture leading up to the Renaissance and Baroque. Students consider early Italian art from the Etruscans and Romans up to the Renaissance, in art historical context, particularly in terms of patronage and the key social, religious and philosophical events. It is normally taught during field study visits, which include Lucca, Pisa, Venice, and Rome. A field project paper is normally required.

ARH 317/AVC 5835 (3)* | History of Italian Fashion

This course covers the birth, evolution, decline, revival and most recent developments of Italian fashion from the late gothic period to current Made in Italy design. It looks at Italian fashion styles in relation to art history in an international, social and economic context. Fashion and its relation to culture, subculture, gender, and communication are emphasized. On-site visits illustrate Florence’s dominant role in fashion. Prerequisites: AVC 4200 Introduction to Art Across Cultures or AVC 4205 Introduction to Visual Culture or HST 3200 World Cultural History or GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

ARH 323/AVC 5825 spring only (3) | Masters of the Renaissance: Leonardo da Vinci

This course examines the extraordinary variety and complexity of the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo’s work can be viewed as a lens through which students can explore aspects of science, anatomy and the human body, portraiture, perspective and religious painting in the 15th and early 16th centuries. Taught largely on site, in and around Florence, it includes a day trip to Vinci (Leonardo’s birthplace) and to Milan to view the Last Supper. Course-related field trips are normally held on Fridays. Prerequisites: AVC 4200 Introduction to Art Across Cultures or AVC 4205 Introduction to Visual Culture or HST 3200 World Cultural History or GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2. Includes a day trip to Vinci (Leonardo’s birthplace) and to Milan to view the Last Supper. Course-related field trips are held on Fridays. Prerequisites: two 100- or 200-level Art History courses or advisor’s permission.

ARH 340/AVC 5820 (3) | Italian Renaissance Architecture

This course explores the principle architects, monuments and themes of fifteenth and sixteenth century Italian architecture. After an overview of Greek and Roman architecture, used as models and sources of inspiration for medieval architecture during the 15th and 16th century, students examine some of the most imposing and influential constructions of Tuscan Romanesque and Gothic style. The main emphasis is on Renaissance architecture in Florence but includes reference to architectural developments in Rome, Urbino and Mantua. Aspects of Renaissance architecture (architectural theory, Medici and papal patronage, urban planning and church and palace design) are considered. The focus is on the following architects: Alberti, Brunelleschi, Michelozzi, Bramante, Michelangelo and Giulio Romano. In addition to visits to key Renaissance buildings and urban spaces in Florence, the course includes a field trip outside Florence. Prerequisites: AVC 4200 Introduction to Art Across Cultures or AVC 4205 Introduction to Visual Culture or HST 3200 World Cultural History or GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

ARH 352/AVC 5860 spring only (3) | Florentine Art in Context

This course examines the concepts underlying Italy’s Renaissance art and architecture in their art historical context, including the visual representation of space in painting, sculpture and portraiture, harmony and space in architecture, disguised symbolism in Christian art and the language of allegories. The course normally includes weekly visits to museums, galleries, and exhibitions, with their rich intercultural collections, enabling students to engage directly with the original art works and consider their display. Prerequisites: HST 3200 World Cultural History or GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

ARH 358/AVC 5855 (3) | Museums and Galleries of Florence: The Cultures of Display

Considers the nature of museums and art galleries and their role and function in our society and culture. Students study the workings of the art market and a variety of other topics that impinge upon it, such as conservation, restoration, the investment potential of art, and art world crime. Students visit many of the great Florence galleries and museums with their rich intercultural collections, as part of this course. A universitylevel survey of the history of international art is strongly recommended as a prerequisite. Prerequisites: ARW 4195

ARH 380/AVC 5815 fall only (3) | Central Italian Early Renaissance Art

This course examines the Early Renaissance visual arts and architecture of Central Italy. Students consider the key artists and their works, and the relationship between them. The course examines the importance of patronage and the pertinent social, religious and philosophical movements of the Early Renaissance. Student focus on the Quattrocento (15th century) in Florence, and in particular on the role of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Medici and central personality in the golden age of Florentine art and culture. The course may make extensive use of the city of Florence as a learning resource. Prerequisites: AVC 4200 Introduction to Art Across Cultures or AVC 4205 Introduction to Visual Culture or HST 3200 World Cultural History or GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

COM 308/COM 5855 spring only (3) | News and the Media in Italy

In this course, students explore the most important characteristics of Italian journalism and the Italian media system. The focus is around a comparative analysis of different styles used in international journalism, particularly in print media, although other kinds of media are included. Particular attention is given to the development of writing styles for news, features, interviews and reviews where student develop their own practical skills. Students have the opportunity to publish articles in an Italian newspaper.

COM 315/FLM 5800 (3) | History of Italian Cinema and Society

This course explores the history of Italian cinema and society as represented in film, with particular focus on the wide range of films to emerge after the Second World War. Students study Italian cinema within the context of world cinema to assess realism as an aesthetic convention as well as gain insight into Italian culture and ways of thinking. Prerequisites: GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

COM 461/COM 6805 spring only (3)* | Fashion and Media

This course traces the multiple connections between the fashion and media industries. It emphasizes the material realities, pragmatic and creative dynamisms, fantasy components, and essential visuality of fashion. It also highlights how cities in general function as creative agencies for fermenting style and fashion ideas and attitudes. Prerequisites: COM 4200 or COM 5200 or MKT 5200 or SCL 5200.

ECN 357/ECN 5805 fall only (3) | International Economic Relations

This course introduces students to international economic relations. These relations are relations of international trade, international production and finance as well as international development. The course is taught within the context of technology, politics and culture. Prerequisites: ECN 3200 Foundations of Economics or ECN 4105 Introduction to Microeconomics.

ENT 315/ENT 5805 (3) | Italian Family Business

Family businesses represent a very substantial part of business in Italy; most of them are small and medium enterprises (SMEs), with few numbers of very large firms. These businesses produce a substantial share of the economy’s output, and employ a very large number of workers in different sectors within the economy. This course provides an insight into Italian businesses and entrepreneurship. Family business and entrepreneurship will be placed into a national context and the importance of family businesses for the Italian economy will be identified. The study of Italian businesses will analyse the characteristics of family businesses as well as the institutional actors, strategies, policies and initiatives.

HST 3XXX fall only (3) | Medieval and Early Renaissance Italy

This course presents an introduction to the political, social and cultural history of Italy from the Early Middle Ages to the end of XVI century. Its aim is to provide students with an understanding of the forces and processes that shaped the states and the societies of the Italian peninsula in an era of extraordinary changes: from the developments of medieval cities and the rise of humanism in the fourteenth and early fifteenth century, to the political and religious crisis of the late Quattrocento and early Cinquecento, and finally to the establishment of a new balance of power and a new cultural climate in the course of the sixteenth century. Particular attention will be devoted to Florence, especially from the 13th century onward, as a social, political and economic case study of Medieval and Renaissance Italy.

HST 315/HST 5825 (3) | Italian Food and Culture

According to anthropologist Jon Holtzman, the tastes and flavors of a country’s traditional table are a meaningful representation of its collective memory. This course examines the geography, history and culture of Italian regional dishes that have brought Italy worldwide renown. The course looks at regional gastronomic traditions and their origins, including differences in how food is prepared, the representation of Italian food practices in media and cinema, food symbolism in Italian culture, food ethics and sustainable agriculture, with an examination of today’s fast and slow food traditions. A visit to a wine and olive oil farm in Tuscany will give a practical illustration of how resources are linked to food practices.

HST 326/HST 5820 (3) | History of the Italian Mafia

This course explores the history of the Italian Mafia from the national unification of Italy until the present day. Topics studied include relationships within the organization, those between the Mafia and Italian Politics, and those between the Italian and the American Mafia. Prerequisites: GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

HST 350/HST 5810 (3) | History of Florence

This course covers the history of Florence, concentrating on its development as a city and a state before and during the Renaissance and the Early Modern period. The uniqueness of Florence is underlined by drawing comparisons with other cities in Italy and Europe. The course features primary source readings by such authors as Dante Alighieri, Dino Compagni, Giovanni Villani and Franco Sacchetti. Some lessons take place onsite so that students experience this city’s past first-hand. Prerequisites: HST 3200 World Cultural History or GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

INB 306/INB 6810 spring only (3) | European Business Environment

Focuses on the economic, political, social environment for business in Europe within this field, it examines the institutional interplay with the European Union, the dynamics between the different Member States and the different policies with direct relevance to businesses operating in the European Union. Prerequisites: MGT 4200, MTH 4110, and ECN 4110.

INR/SCL 313/INR 5800 (3) | Globalization: A European Perspective

This interdisciplinary course addresses the important and complex phenomenon of contemporary globalization. The political, social, economic and cultural aspects are addressed from a specifically European perspective. Prerequisites: GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

ISL 370 (3) | Service Learning and Active Citizenship

The Service Learning and Active Citizenship course is a student community placement that aims to provide students from all disciplines and majors with the intellectual, professional, and personal skills that will enable them to function well in a culturally diverse community in Florence. In addition to the weeks of field work (typically 9-12 depending on the organization), the student will also produce a written journal of their experiences which provides critical reflection, a 'community action' portfolio (analytical essay) and a final oral presentation. These assessments have been designed to help the student reflect on the skills they are learning and the benefits gained through the service learning experience, and also to help them determine if their current career goals are the correct fit for them. During the service learning course, the staff of the Internship Office and a faculty supervisor work closely with each student to ensure that the community placement is a successful one.

Students who take the Service Learning course and complete community service work will receive a certificate acknowledging the value of their contribution rendered to the city of Florence.

LIT 327/LIT 5800 fall only (3) | Italian Literature in Translation

This course explores the works of the great Italian authors of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and their influences on the fictional prose of contemporary Italian literature. Readings in translation include Dante, Petrach, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, and Eco. Prerequisites: GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

LIT 328/LIT 5810 spring only (3) | Dante in Translation: Texts and Contexts

This course explores The Divine Comedy and other major works of Dante Alighieri. It examines the poet’s philosophy, his development of the medieval concept of love, his use of the Italian language, and the role he gives to Florence in The Divine Comedy. Students will approach Dante’s work from a literary, historical and linguistic perspective. Prerequisites: GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

LIT 335/LIT 5805 spring only (3) | Real and Imagined Journeys: Italy, Epic and the Self

This course explores the concept of the journey in its archetyp- 290 | Scholarships available - see page 14 al, metaphysical, and aesthetic dimensions, reflecting on the subtle interplay of reality and imagination. Students discover Italian shores with Homer’s Ulysses and visit the underworld with Virgil’s Aeneas; they encounter Dante’s Satan and God, travel to the Far-East with the Venetian merchant Marco Polo, and join Columbus on his discovery of the New World. The perception of ‘otherness’ through invented geography, fantastic animals, monstrous races or religious difference mingles with the spirit of adventure, the desire to cross borders, and to conquer the unknown in a fascinating search for the self. Prerequisites: GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

MGT 358/MGT 5810 spring only (3) | Human Resource Management

This course combines elements of different disciplines ranging from industrial relations, social psychology, personnel management, motivation, recruitment and selection, leadership, communication, manpower planning, aspects of training and development and related processes. It is appropriate for students seeking to follow a career in Human Resource Management or in other areas of functional management. Prerequisites: MGT 5400.

MKT 315/MKT 5805(3)* | Fashion Marketing and Retail

This course covers the fundamentals of fashion and the basic principles that govern all fashion movement and change. It examines the history, development, organization and operation of merchandising and marketing activities, trends in industries engaged in producing fashion, purchasing of fashion merchandise, foreign and domestic markets, and the distribution and promotion of fashion.

MKT 370/MKT 5810 spring only (3)* | Psychology of Fashion and Luxury Goods

Consumer psychology within the context of the consumption of fashion and luxury products and services is complex and is influenced by many factors. A thorough analysis and understanding of these factors allows organizations to plan effective marketing activities suitable to their target markets. This course enables students to understand the importance of consumer behaviour in the process of marketing fashion and luxury goods and services. Prerequisites: MKT 5200.

MSC 307/COM 5850 spring only (3) | Gender and Sexuality in Italian Opera

As a cultural form of art, opera has not only been influenced by its social and political environment but it has also contributed to the shaping of its cultural context. The course gives a broad overview of Italian operatic history, and through an interdisciplinary approach which brings together opera and gender’s studies, it explores the ways in which Italian opera and voices have changed over the times. No prior musical background (technical) or historical knowledge of music is required. Lessons include excerpts of recorded material and videotapes as well as attending live performances (when available).

PHL 5400 fall only (3) | Modern European Mind

This Course examines the development of the European philosophical tradition from the Pre-Modern period, through the Modern Period, and considers some Contemporary philosophical trends. Students will study original texts from thinkers as diverse as Thomas a Kempis, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Sartre, Barthes, Foucault and Butler. Philosophical pairs such as rationalism and empiricism, idealism and materialism, and structuralism and poststructuralism will be examined. The influence of science and psychology on the 'modern European mind' will also be reviewed.

PHL 310/PHL 5805 (3) | Mysticism and Magic in Medieval and Renaissance Italy

This course considers the role of Medieval mysticism and Renaissance magic in the genesis of the modern world. It examines key topics such as the function of magic in archaic societies and the representation of Hell and demonization in the late Middle Ages, together with the Medieval ideal of perfection as represented in Dante’s Divine Comedy and reflected in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. By the end of the 15th century, Florence had become the irradiating center for the new doctrine on the magus ideal, formulated by Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola. This new direction in European thought was further developed into modern science by the contribution of Leonardo, Galileo and Giordano Bruno. Prerequisites: GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2.

RLG 5800 fall only (3) | Comparative World Religions

This course explores the monotheistic religions of the Near East (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), those of India and the Far East (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism) and the ‘new-age’ faiths. The history and practice of each is studied. Special emphasis is laid on the philosophical and psychological basis of each religion and common themes such as the self, suffering, free will and ethics. Primary and secondary sources are studied along with an examination of methodology in comparative religion.

SCL 307/COM 5860 (3) | Made in Italy: The symbols of Italian identity from Espresso to Ferrari

Italy occupies a prominent place in the world’s culture, history, and thought. This course explores the history and practices of consumption in Italy, and the consumption of goods, products and services that have been encoded as ‘Italian’ outside the country itself. It analyses aspects of consumption (broadly defined) via a social, cultural, artistic and anthropological approach. The course looks at the transition to a consumer society, and investigates areas such as advertising, fashion, industrial design, food culture and sport; it also examines the impact of consumerism on Italian identity formation and the construction of gender roles. The course includes on-site visits and field trips to major Italian companies. Prerequisites: GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2

SCL 317/SCL 5820 (3) | History and Sociology of Italian Soccer

An examination of the role of soccer in Italian society provides unique opportunities to investigate the complexities of contemporary Italian culture and social life. The course examines historical and philosophical meanings associated with the sport, as well as the role of soccer within Italian culture, politics, social conflict and social change. The main focus is on the socio-cultural dynamics of the relationship between soccer and Italian society. Field trips to matches at the local soccer stadium are an essential part of the course. Students carry out ethnographic observations and interpret the social dynamics of sporting events, adopting a comparative, cross-cultural perspective. Prerequisites: GEP 4180 Research and Writing 2

SOC 308/SCL 5810 spring only (3) | Women in Italian Society

This course explores the social factors influencing Italian women’s lives, perspectives and desires, the historical process through which they have reached their present position, and their current condition in relation to the economic, social, geographical and political environment of Italy. Representations of women in the Italian media, advertising and fashion as factors affecting their social identity are also considered.

Studio Art Courses

Courses require 15 hours per academic credit plus 75 hours of guided independent work. Students purchase their own materials; in some cases, there may be a studio fee. All studio art courses require a minimum of 10 students. Students should budget approximately 60 euros for supplies.

Final grades and evaluations are based on student progress, technical ability, attendance, attitude and adherence of the final product to the material as well as projects given in class. Students enrolling for intermediate or advanced courses must supply evidence of previous study at college level. Students should bring slides of their work to show the instructor. Painting courses use only water-based paints.

ADM 103/ADM 3800 spring only (3) | Introduction to Drawing

This course introduces students to (i) figure drawing: the study of the figure and form, the human body, its range of movement and importance in perceptions of art and nature. A model is provided and students are encouraged to work in a variety of media; (ii) structure and object: the world of visual analysis as well as a definition of technique. Still-life and objects provide examples for understanding perspective, planning and rendering as well as line, form, shape, space, value and texture; and (iii) outdoor drawing: the city of Florence/Rome and the Tuscan/surrounding landscape are studies for understanding aerial- and linear- perspective. Students experiment with lead, charcoal, conté pencil and crayon and ink. The course is designed to provide a foundation in the subject, and will also prepare students for the next course in the sequence. A studio fee is levied on this course.

ADM 203 /ADM 4800 spring only (3) | Drawing II

This is a continuation of ADM 103/ADM 3800 and includes figure drawing, still-life drawing and landscape drawing. Students will be stimulated to go more in-depth into the problematics related to the human figure (anatomy), perspective (several vanishing points) and object drawing (higher complexity, more varied tonality). This course also includes an introduction into a more individual handling of traditional drawing techniques.

ADM 307/ADM 5800 (3) | Drawing III

This is a continuation of ADM 203 /ADM 4800 and therefore includes figure drawing, still-life drawing and landscape drawing. Students will be stimulated to search for a more personal way of composing and choosing types of lines and mark making. Assignments are more complex and narrative/illustrative, requiring a more process-like approach, which students are asked to verbalize to their instructor and fellow students.

ADM 308/ADM 5870 (3) | Sketchbook of Florence

This course is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the role of drawing as an investigative process as well as an expressive means of communication. Drawing is used as a basic exploratory tool to examine Florence as the site for both subject – in particular, the river Arno - and as a research resource for the practice of drawing - especially in the Florentine Galleries and Museums. The course is divided between working in the studio and on location in Florence. The sketchbook is an essential aspect of the course in helping students to document the city, stimulate and develop ideas and as a reminder that drawing is a portable medium. A studio fee is levied on this course

During the week, students will work inside from still life and photographs and outside from life. There is a course fee for materials for this course.

ADM 104/ADM 3855 (3) | Painting in Florence I

This course includes inside assignments and outside painting (from the Boboli gardens, hills around Florence, etc.) The inside assignments are still related to the city of Florence and students work with (their) photographic material. In all paintings students will develop the ability to distinguish the essential qualities of natural form in order to produce the illusion of volume, space and movement on a two dimensional surface. Students are assisted in developing knowledge of color and a sense of structure and composition and experiment with different ways of applying the paint imitating some important painters (Caravaggio, Monet, Seurat, Van Gogh and Picasso).

ADM 204/ADM 4855 (3) | Painting in Florence II

Students build on the foundations laid in ADM 215. This course includes open air painting and work in the studio. Particular problems associated with tone and light are studied (side lighting, candle lighting, artificial lighting etc.). This class combines studio practice with discussion, critique and demonstration. Students are encouraged to talk about their work with the instructor and fellow students to clarify their objectives and problems.

ADM 312/ADM 5855 (3) | Painting in Florence III

An extension of ADM 204/ADM 4855, including outside painting and work in the studio. Structured around specific painting projects to develop the range and technical competence of the student. Professional painting techniques are demonstrated and experimented. There are discussions of topics such as style, color, form, composition and subject matter.

ADM 341/ADM 5860 (3) | Photography for the Media

Recommended for communications and journalism majors as well as photographers, this course develops knowledge and experience in photojournalism via the study of the work of major practitioners and the production of assignments typical of today’s photojournalists. Students will need to provide a DSLR (digital reflex) camera and a laptop (with any basic photo editing software). There is a studio fee for this course.

The following courses will also be run in The Florence center. Please note that 3000 course code corresponds to 100 level courses and 4000 to 200 level courses. If you wish to register for one of these courses, make sure your school approves you to take a course lower than 300. Course descriptions are available on line at

Course Course Name Semester
GEP 3100 Transitions I Fall
GEP 3180 Research and Writing I Fall
MTH 3000 Fundamentals of Mathematics Fall
INR 4100 Intro to IR Fall
MGT 3200 Foundations of Business Fall
MTH 3111 Functions and Applications Fall
HST 350/HST 5810 History of Florence Fall
SCL 3100 Foundations of Sociology Fall
GEP 3140 Scientific Reasoning Spring
GEP 3160 Creative Expression Spring
DEV 4100 Rich World/Poor World Spring
GEP 3101 Transitions II Spring
GEP 4180 Research and Writing II Spring
MTH 4120 Probability and Statistics Spring