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Learning Tuscany: Art and Culture in Central Italy

In Italian culture, life and art are inseparable. Countless examples illustrate this: the still-life quality of window displays in Florence, the artisanal care taken by a Sienese stoneworker replacing part of a medieval byway, the sculpted harmony of the Tuscan countryside. We cannot experience these essential qualities of Italian life in a classroom. Only with time and careful observation can we begin to absorb the richness and rhythm of life and art in Italy.

This summer program focuses on the art and architecture of Tuscany and central Italy. Students live and work at Santa Chiara, a restored convent that now hosts students from across the United States. The facility is located in the heart of Castiglion Fiorentino, a picturesque Tuscan town that is located along the main train line between Rome and Florence.

Students enroll in an art history course and a studio art course taught by faculty from the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. These courses focus on art and experience. How do we as contemporary viewers experience art of the past? How can daily observations, whether through drawing, print, painting, photography or sculpture, help inform and enrich this experience? Group discussions and visits to other cities, such as Florence, Siena, and Rome, serve to frame student experiences within a broader view of Italy. The integrated approach of the program balances carefully designed trips with individual and small group projects in order to explore the forces that shaped Italian cities and landscapes.

Video by 2015 Learning Tuscany alum Katie Gregory. View video on YouTube.


Learning Tuscany’s facility, Santa Chiara, will be closed for repairs Summer 2018, but we’ll be back for Summer 2019!

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