Penn-in-Venice, Italy

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Bask in the beauty of Italian language, art and culture in this ancient city on the Adriatic Sea.

All courses in this intensive 6-week program offer University of Pennsylvania credits and courses that fulfil general education requirement. Course options include Italian language at various levels as well as courses taught in English (History and Art) without prerequisites. In order to get the most out of your time in Italy, the program is designed to promote Italian language study. Students who do not have the equivalent of Beginning Italian can choose to take Italian 110 and one of the courses taught in English during the program, but Italian language is not mandatory.

In addition to group visits to cultural sites in Venice, the program includes one-day trip to Padua and longer trips to Trieste and Pola (Croatia). The program also partially supports an optional weekend in Florence.

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Program Calendar 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016 Recommended arrival in Venice
Saturday, May 28, 2016 Program housing first available
Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 5pm On-site orientation
Monday, May 30, 2016 Classes start
Thursday, July 7, 2016 Classes end
Saturday, July 9, 2016 Program housing last checkout date
Thursday, June 9, 2016 Padova, From Giotto to Galileo 
Friday, June 24—Sunday, June 26, 2016 Florence (Optional trip, and partially supported by the program)
Friday, July 1— Sunday, July 3, 2016 Dolomiti

Venice A-Z Handbook

Download a PDF of the 2014 Venice A-Z handbook.


Read Penn-in-Venice student testimonials.

Student Evaluations

See student feedback from previous Penn-in-Venice programs.


All students register for a total of two course units (c.u.). Course offerings are subject to change.
Course registration is completed by the Penn Summer Abroad office for students who confirm their intent to enroll and submit the required pre-departure documents.

Note for students from other academic institutions: One Penn c.u. is generally considered to be equivalent to three semester hours when transferred to another institution.

Beginning Italian
ITALIAN 110 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by instructor provided by Dante Alighieri Society
  • Fulfills the Language Requirement in Italian

Italian 110 is a first-semester elementary language course for students who have never studied Italian before or who have taken the placement test and received a score below 380. Class work emphasizes the development of listening comprehension and speaking, with training in reading and writing. The course is conducted in Italian.

Intensive Second Year Italian
ITALIAN 134 (2 c.u.)

  • Taught by Dr. Helen McFie-Simone, University of Pennsylvania
  • Prerequisite: Completion of Italian 112 or the equivalent (one year of college-level Italian)
  • Fulfills the Language Requirement in Italian

Italian 134 is an intensive and accelerated two-credit course covering the first and second semester of the intermediate sequence (130 and 140). It builds on your existing skills in Italian, increase your confidence and your ability to read, write, speak and understand the language, and introduce you to more refined lexical items, more complex grammatical structures and more challenging cultural material. You are expected to have already learned the most basic grammatical structures in elementary Italian and to review these on your own. The course allows you to explore culturally relevant topics and to develop cross-cultural skills through the exploration of similarities and differences between your native culture and the Italian world. It is conducted in Italian.

Streets of Venice, Words of Italy 
ITALIAN 220 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Dr. Marina Johnston, University of Pennsylvania
  • Prerequisite: Completion of Italian 140 or its equivalent (two years of college-level Italian)
  • Fulfills General Education Requirement: Cross-cultural Analysis; Fulfills the language requirements in Italian

The purpose of this course is to enable students to achieve fluency in Italian language and facilitate their transition into more advanced Italian studies. Frequent lessons, on site, draw information and inspiration from the streets, buildings, monuments, markets and ordinary life of Venice. The course is conducted in Italian.

Survey of Italian Culture and History
ITALIAN 297 / HISTORY 180 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Professor Fabio Finotti, University of Pennsylvania
  • Fulfills General Education Requirement: Cross-cultural Analysis.
  • This course counts for the Major and Minor in both Italian Culture and in Italian Literature, and is conducted in English.

Through lectures, discussions and field trips, students explore Italian civilization and culture. The emphasis of the course is on Italian literature, art, history, political and social institutions from the Medieval Age and Renaissance to the present. The course is conducted in English. It counts for the major and minor in both Italian Culture and in Italian Literature, and has no prerequisites.

On-Site: Art in Venice, Past and Present
ART HISTORY 301 / ITALIAN 300 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Dr. Maddalena Bellavitis
  • Fulfills General Education Requirement: Cross-Cultural Analysis 
  • This course counts for the Major and Minor in both Italian Culture and Italian Literature, and is conducted in English.

This course emphasizes on-site study of art in Venice and its environs from the Byzantine period to the present This course casts a wide historical net, with visits to local museums, churches, and other institutions including Saint Mark's Cathedral and Square, the Doges Palace, the Accademia, the School of San Rocco, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Palazzo Fortuny, the Ca' D'Oro, and the recently opened contemporary art collections at the Punta della Dogana and the Prada Foundation. A trip to Padova includes a visit to Giotto's famous Arena Chapel and the early Renaissance frescoes of Mantegna. Other class trips (to Florence and Trieste and Pola) give students the opportunity to see major works of art and experience Italy's regional cultures.


Students are housed in double, triple and quadruple rooms at the Hotel Cristallo in the Lido area of Venice. Breakfast is included.

Tuition & Fees

Please note: Summer 2016 program fee will be posted in February 2016. The program fee amount and Estimated Cost Sheet below are for 2015. Tuition and fees are subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and may change without notice.

  • Tuition for Summer 2016: $7,820
  • Program Fee for Summer 2015: $2,900
    Includes accommodation with breakfast, cultural activities, daily boat pass, excursions organized by the program to Padua, WWI historic sites, and Florence, as well as administrative costs.
  • 2015 Estimated Cost Sheet

Information Sessions

Join the program team for an information session to learn more about the details of the Penn-in-Venice program.

  • Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 5:30 p.m., Williams Hall, Room 24
  • Thursday, December 3, 2015, 5:30 p.m., Williams Hall, Room 421
  • Thursday, January 21, 2016, 5:30 p.m., room TBD


The application for Penn Summer Abroad 2016 will be opening later this year.

  • Early admission deadline: Friday, January 15, 2016
  • Rolling admissions continue until the program reaches capacity

Apply Now

Contact Information

For details about the program, courses or location including academic advising, travel dates, housing and orientation:

Program Director
Fabio Finotti
Mariano DiVito Professor of Italian Studies
Director of Center for Italian Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Tel: (215) 898-6041

For assistance with application, financial questions, pre-departure or other general information:

Penn Summer Abroad Office
College of Liberal & Professional Studies
University of Pennsylvania
3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335
Tel: (215) 746-7075
Fax: (215) 573-2053