Course Details

Program dates


Travel dates


Course credits

ART 394

Total credits: 8


None required, foundation Studio Art courses recommended including: Art 110 or 111, 120, 230 and 280.

Cara Jaye

Professor of Art

Sasha Petrenko

Assistant Professor of Sculpture
Fine Art 107

Arts of Italy is an intensive studio course that takes place in central and northern Italy. In this class we will explore Italian art and culture focusing on the arts and architecture in Florence, Tuscany, and Venice. We will discover the art and architecture from ancient through early modernity to contemporary. Through critical issues and contemporary art practice students will engage in visual exploration and creative problem solving through a variety of media, tools, and techniques. Readings, presentations, and studio–based projects reflect on visits to sites, exhibitions, museums, and galleries. Students at all levels are welcome.

Students in Italy looking at a painting

Program Highlights

Our home base in Italy is Florence, the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. Florence lies on the river Arno and is known for its art historical and architectural importance. In Florence we will explore all that this charming city has to offer including Medieval and Renaissance masterworks from Giotto to Botticelli.

Duomo in Italy

We will climb the stairs to the top of the Duomo, see Michelangelo’s David, visit a 13th Century Florentine palace home, visit the Uffizi Museum, famous worldwide for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the Modern period, and much more. While living in this beautiful renaissance city, students will have a dedicated studio space for the duration of the course. From Florence we will travel to several destinations including day trips to the Etruscan city of Orvieto with its gothic cathedrale, underground caves and unique St. Patrick’s well. We will also venture to Prato where we will see the futuristic Contemporary Arts Center Luigi Pecci. Longer excursions will be to Siena and Venice. We will spend one night in Siena, the lovely medieval city known for its distinctive campo and world-famous horse race, and two nights in Venice, the floating city of canals. In Venice we will visit St Mark’s cathedral, the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, a modern gem of a museum, as well as the Punta Della Dogana Museum and the Palazzo Grassi – two world class contemporary art museums. Of course, the tantalizing foods of Italy, the fashion, and the renowned craftsmanship including paper, glass, ceramics, leather and more will infuse our travels in all of these cities.

Venice boats

Expectations of Participants

This course requires a lot of walking in potentially hot weather. Approximately 2-3 hours of walking per day. Activities include visits to museums and cultural sites. With or without reasonable accommodation, must be able to walk for hours at a time in warm weather, climb stairs, and stand for prolonged periods.

Access to electricity and refrigeration for the duration of the program.

Students must work with the WWU Disability Access Center, Wilson Library 170, (360) 650-3083, For service eligibility, a complete diagnostic description from a qualified professional is required. Specific accommodations or services are determined on an individual basis and are modified to meet the unique needs of the student and their academic experience. Accommodation policies and procedures are highly individualized and centered on self-advocacy, realistic self-appraisal, and student growth. Each quarter, students need to activate their approved accommodations for each class. Students choose which of their approved accommodations they want to activate for each class.

Participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to departure.

group of students in Italy