Course Details

Program dates


Travel dates


Course credits

ART 394, ART 494, ART 355

Total credits: 15


Art 230 and 280, and Instructor Permission

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 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 the Monastery of Sant'Anna in Camprena and Venice. We will spend four nights at Sant'Anna, a 15th Century former Benedictine Monastery where we will be transported to a place of great beauty in the Tuscan countryside. While at Sant'Anna we will visit some historic Tuscan hilltop towns including Pienza and Montalcino, as well as the famed Daniel Spoerri Sculpture Garden. We will spend four 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. We will also be in Venice in time to see the 60th Venice Biennale - the world's oldest and largest International contemporary art fair. 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 all types of 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, 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.

We strongly recommend that all students traveling on this Global Learning Program are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to maximize the safety of the student cohort. Participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to departure, or provide a proof of an official COVID-19 vaccination waiver granted by WWU.

Participants are expected to abide by all attendance policies of the program, including those for classes and excursions, and to adhere to the program schedule. Since the programs are academic in nature, parents, friends, partners, and families are not permitted on any part of the Global Learning Program. Personal travel must be outside of the course dates and not conflict with coursework or excursion schedules. Travel plans should be vetted by faculty beforehand to ensure personal plans do not interfere with meeting the learning objectives of the course.


group of students in Italy