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January Term: UVA in Italy: Love Affair with Tuscany
Prato, Italy (Education Abroad Programs Program)
Program Terms: January
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Budget Sheets January
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Class Status:
1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5
Language Requirement:
Open to Non-UVa Students:
Housing: Hotel, With program group Language Courses Offered: No
Language of Instruction: English
Credit Type:
Direct Credit
Program Type:
Faculty led
Tuition Payments Made To:
Education Abroad Advisor:
Abby Leake
Application Fee:
Study Abroad Administrative Fee:
Subject Area:
Cultural Studies, Italian
Program Description:

Info Session: September 13, 3-4 pm in NCH 349. Join Professor Cesaretti, ISO staff and program alumni to learn more about this incredible opportunity.

People have been fantasizing about Tuscany for centuries. This program offers students the chance to investigate those fantasies, by reading travelers' accounts as well as texts by Italians themselves, in combination with a close-up view of Tuscany and its renowned capital Florence. We will explore "la bella Toscana" through many sets of eyes, starting with English visitors to Tuscany on the famous Grand Tour in the 18th century, and ending with American travelers today. We'll compare these views with visions of Tuscany by native Italians and Tuscans. Along the way, we'll explore intercultural issues such as national identity, otherness, travel, and tourism.


The program is based in Prato, a thriving Tuscan city, with a beautiful medieval historic center and a vibrant cultural and economic life. Famous for its textile industries, its prestigious Contemporary Art Center ("Luigi Pecci") and its avant-garde Metastasio Theater, it is a 30-minute train (or bus) ride from Florence and a 15-minute bus ride from the town of Poggio a Caiano. Perched on a hilltop overlooking Prato to the north and Florence to the east, Poggio a Caiano is the site of a magnificent Renaissance Villa built by Lorenzo de' Medici, the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson's friend Filippo Mazzei, and, last but not least, Charlottesville's Sister City.


Medici Villa,
Poggio a Caiano

Unlike Florence, Prato (and Poggio a Caiano) are yet to be transformed by mass tourism and are not pervasively crowded with foreign visitors. As a consequence, they provide perfect and more detached environments for a course which examines various representations and constructions of Tuscany from the Grand Tour in the 18th century to contemporary times. In addition to our time spent in Florence, Prato, and Poggio, we will visit Pisa, Fiesole, and several other locations in the Tuscan countryside.

Course and Credits
This three-credit course, ITTR 3758, open to all UVA undergraduates, examines the historical Anglo-American fascination with Tuscany in general, and Florence in particular, as it is depicted in memoirs and travel diaries of the voyagers of the Grand Tour, as well as through fictional and essay accounts by contemporary writers and travelers. By juxtaposing foreign representations of and discourses about Tuscany with those by representative Italian writers, students will not only gain a more distinct and contextualized understanding of Florence (and Italy) than they previously had, but also will explore notions such as utopia and dystopia, and their connections with travel. The course seeks to stimulate students' critical reflections on the notions of travel and tourism, and on the way in which aesthetic considerations impacted (and still impact) travelers' perceptions.

The course will be taught through both classroom lectures in Prato and visits to specific sites in Florence and Tuscany. No Italian language experience is expected.


Olive tree grove
on the Tuscan landscape

We will stay at the Hotel San Marco and the Accasa & Accanto al Centro Guesthouse. The Hotel San Marco is located in Piazza San Marco, the Hotel's pastel-painted building is a 9-minute walk from the 'Prato Centrale' railway station and less than 1/2 mile from the Duomo di Prato. Bright, laid-back rooms with wooden floors and simple furnishings have private bathrooms, TVs and free Wi-Fi. Room service is available. The Accasa and Accanto al Centro Guesthouse is centrally located in downtown Prato (near Piazza San Marco and the Castello dell'imperatore). The majority of students will be in triple ensuite rooms. There are a few doubles. Roommate selection will take place during pre-departure orientation.

Students can get breakfast at several nearby cafés, or purchase items at the supermarket to keep in the communal kitchen. Some group meals are included in the program. For all others, students will be able to prepare meals at the guesthouse, or dine out at the numerous trattorias, restaurants, pizzerias, and sandwich shops within easy walking distance.


Love Affair with Tuscany:
Utopias and Beyond

(ITTR 3758; 3 credits)

Course Information
The course fulfills an Area Studies Humanities Requirement.

Course Prerequisites
There are no prerequisites for this program.



The program costs and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page.

Accessibility Statement
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual and flexible basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.

All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will not need a visa to participate in this program. International students should research visa requirements and then meet with their International Student Advisor and Education Abroad Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.


La Torre di Pisa

Program Director Enrico Cesaretti,, Associate Professor of Italian in the UVA Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, will be the primary instructor for the ITTR 3758 program. A native of Tuscany, he has been teaching Italian literature and culture at UVA since 1999.

Stella Mattioli,, is MA student in Italian at UVA and will be the Teaching Assistant for this summer's program. Stella graduated at University of Florence in 2005, with a specialization in organization of cultural events. Since then, she started to work as a journalist for a local newspaper, while doing many other different jobs. Stella lives in Poggio a Caiano, a sister city of Florence.

This program is currently not accepting applications.