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Italian History and Culture


The 4-weeks intensive course dedicated to Italian history and culture includes lectures, workshops and interactive group activities. Courses in Italian language will also be offered as part of the school. The Summer School will take place in Padua, Italy, from 3 to 30 July 2023.

Total classes are 48 hours of language courses and 48 hours of seminars/excursions. In addition to classroom lectures, guided tours and excursions are planned.

The course includes three modules of Italian history and culture plus an Italian language module (depending on the student’s level).

The three modules are as follows.

  • Module A. Urban Culture and Politics in the Age of Giotto

The middle age is often thought as a dark, highly religious, narrow-minded age to live in, or, on the other hand, a sort of fairy tale world with knights, castles and courtly love. Historical documents, paintings and sculptures are telling us a story about how society was way more complex and sophisticated than that.
The età comunale, the age between 1300 and 1400 where power in Italy was in the hand of its cities, is an interesting case study to look at pulses and attempts of new ways to practice democracy, faction clashes and rejection of tyranny.
This course will provide an insight into characteristic cultural and political sides of such period, its concept of “good” and “bad”. You will study how urban identity started its raise from the usage of public areas to build monuments, city walls and government buildings; but also how these very same spaces played a role in exiling those who committed crimes against the city or had a different political thought.

  • Module B. Science and Economy in the Age of Galileo

Galileo Galilei played a critical role in modern science. His most famous invention, the telescope, works itself as a metaphor for the human beings trying to look beyond their world, willing to rationalize nature by observing, mapping, quantifying, registering and regulating its materials and symbols.
This approach was shared by the society Galileo was living in, creating the foundation for explorations and expansions occurring between 1450 and 1650 during the first modern globalization.
This course will offer an overview of this important period and will analyze the connection between science, economy and power. Botany, cartography and librarianship knowledge will be considered, during lectures and on-line activities, as well as the influence that ancient world culture had on that society by scientists, merchants, diplomats and inventors.

  • Module C. Italian fascism, history of a dictatorship

What is Fascism? How did it change Italy and Europe? And why was this regime founded in Italy?
This course will offer an overview on the main aspects of this political regime, analysing the role violence played and its impact on society. But it will also offer elements to analyse the reasons for its development in the interwar period in a country like Italy, its impact in Europe and beyond and the relevance of its legacy in post-war Italy.
Through lectures, workshops and group discussion, it will provide students with an insight into sources, tools, and methodologies to approach the study of fascism, its historical context and its legacy.

Not available for applying at the moment
Not available for applying at the moment