Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field (LEAF) School

Viva Italia Program Details

Study Abroad Program
Rome and Tuscany

Application Due April 7, 2017

Cultural Anthropology Immersion Experience, with optional additional Social Justice Project in Diversity or Women's Studies

August-September 2017 (between summer and fall quarter) 

5-10 Credits

Led by Gem Baldwin

Viva Italia Itinerary:

Live la dolce vita (the sweet life)…


In this multi-regional, 17 day exploration of Italy, students will have the opportunity to experience Italian culture, and develop their understanding of art, religion, food, and ecology in current and historical contexts. Students will explore the importance of history and tradition to modern culture, and the unique balance between human life and the natural landscape of Italy, as seen, tasted, and felt in Rome and Tuscany.

Roma Rome

Sentinel Statues in RomeStudents will begin in The Eternal City, Rome. Here, we will have the opportunity to experience the beauty of ancient and modern society thriving side by side, with the objective of discovering and interpreting the strong connections to history that make Italy what it is today, as well as the continuing evolution of Italian Culture.

Students will explore the ancient Catacombs Statue of Minerva in Romede Priscilla, where at least 35,000 ancients were entombed beneath the streets of Rome, along with their most valued treasures and esteemed works of art. Students will also have the opportunity to discover The Vatican, world capital of the Catholic Church, including its epicenter, St. Peter’s Cathedral. Finally, “when in Rome,” students will have plenty of time to do what Italians do best- relax, eat, and enjoy the incredible richness of The Eternal City, truly one of the Magna Opera (masterpieces) of human civilization.

Pompeii and Positano

Immediately following our time in Rome, students will either have two free days for reflection and further exploration in Rome, or take the (recommended) optional trip to Pompeii and Positano.

Pompeii is a cultural enthusiast’s dream. The city was completely destroyed by a volcanic eruption in the first century A.D. Although the eruption caused great destruction, it also created an unique opportunity to view an ancient culture frozen in time. Explore the city to see what Italian, art, food, culture and religion were like thousands of years ago.

After our tour of Pompeii, we will take a train a train to the beautiful coastal village of Positano, where we will spend the rest of the day and the night. Positano presents an excellent opportunity to observe the subtle but clear differences between mountain and coastal villages, as well as the continuity of Italia.

Toscana Tuscany

After reconvening, departing Rome, Sunset in Tuscanystudents will embark on an eco-cultural tour of the Tuscan region, visiting picturesque hilltowns and vineyards, volunteering at a local vineyard, and receiving cooking lessons in the Tuscan tradition. Students will experience first-hand the deep reverence Italians have for the land on which they live and Cityscape in Tuscanygrow their delicious food. Students will experience healing and relaxation Italian Style with a therapeutic retreat to the healing waters of Terme di San Giovanni. Everyday wellness is essential in Italy, and that is why hot springs, or Terme as they are called, are such a major part of Italian culture.

Firenze Florence

Building at night in FlorenceFor the final leg of the trip, we will be taking in the enchanting sights, sounds, and flavors of Florence. Florence, or Firenze, as it’s called in Italian, is widely known as the world capital city of the Renaissance, of Italian culture, and art. Students will have the opportunity to participate in an effort to counter act the degrading impact of mega-tourism in Florence with a wonderful organization dedicated to keeping this city beautiful through structured volunteer clean ups. This work, far from mundane, fosters a deeper connection to the city, the ambience, and the region.

Firenze MasksStudents beware: you may just fall in love with Firenze: the breathtaking architecture, the rhythmic and mystical bells that fill the city at regular intervals throughout the day, and the mysterious, narrow, medieval streets…

Viva Italia Accommodations and Transportation

These will be chosen to maximize time, location and cost for students. Students should be prepared to travel lightly as they will be expected to take trains, buses, and shuttles, and share basic accommodations. Students with particular requests or needs will be accommodated if possible with advance notice.

Viva Italia Class Credit

All VIVA ITALIA Students will enroll in ANTH& 206: Cultural Anthropology, a 5 credit Social Science course that meets the Cultural Diversity requirement. Students that are interested can engage in an additional creative or research project focused on a current social justice issue in Italy, and register for up to 5 additional credits of Diversity Studies or Women’s Studies 156: Special Topics.

The VIVA ITALIA Program will require two pre-trip meetings and readings in August, daily entries in a field journal while traveling, and a post-trip reflection project. Additional 156 projects will be individually arranged.

Course requirement: a laptop or other device for accessing Wi-Fi and writing while traveling.

Cities and Villages: Rome, Florence, Dicomano, Cortona

Optional: Pompeii and Positano.