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MAJ09437 Italy

Italy (population 60 million) is a country of south-central Europe, occupying a peninsula that cuts deep into the Mediterranean Sea. The mountainous landscape had a profound impact on the country's political and economic development, fostering throughout history the creation of many independent states. Italy's history as an independent, democratic state is relatively recent, dating back to 1946. Since World War II, increasing numbers of Italians have moved from the countryside to the rapidly industrialising cities, thus generating significant and often abrupt transformations of traditional ways of life. Italy is often dubbed the world's 'living art gallery', where history and culture surround you on every step. At the same time the countryside preserves most of its poetic beauty and agriculture still plays a substantial role in the overall economy.

Students spend two consecutive semesters studying language and culture at a university in Italy through arrangements made by the Institute for International Studies. Students are assessed on each semester separately and assessment is based on the subjects undertaken at the host institutions, as well as project and essay work administered by UTS: International Studies.

Students may expect that slightly greater costs will be incurred through undertaking a period of In-country Study in Italy than are involved in living away from home in Sydney and that these costs vary from location to location and fluctuate with exchange rates.


The Italy major has provision for both beginners and those who have previously studied Italian. The choice of location depends primarily on the level of Italian language proficiency attained by each student prior to their period of In-country Study.


Bergamo (population 140,000) is situated in central Lombardy, 50 km east of Milan, at the foot of the Alps. Città alta, the old part of the town, built inside the 16th-century Venetian walls, is rich in historical and artistic sites, while città bassa, the lower part of the town, is built on the edge of the Po Valley. The province of Bergamo is one of the richest in Italy. Relatively modern, Bergamo bassa is connected by a funicular railway to spectacular and historic Bergamo alta, 400 m above the plain. Bergamo alta is the main attraction for tourists and a weekend destination for the Milanese. Local particularities include a complex dialect, now spoken mainly by older natives of the town.

Università degli studi di Bergamo has been a state university since November 1992. Before then it was the Istituto Universitario di Bergamo, set up in 1968. It is a relatively small university with about 7,000 students and 147 teaching staff. It has three faculties: Foreign Languages and Literatures, Economics and Business Administration, and Engineering. Two courses of particular interest for International Studies' students are History of the Italian Language and Italian Literature.


Bologna (population 380,000) is one of the most vibrant Italian cities. Nestled at the centre of the rich and lively Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna boasts splendid monuments, a lifestyle well above the Italian average and a huge offering in terms of culture, sport and entertainment. The students in the city provide a dynamic atmosphere that is missing in smaller Emilian cities. Originating as an Etruscan town in the 6th century BC, Bologna became a European intellectual centre with the founding of its University in 1088. The historical centre is one of the best preserved in Italy, with churches and palaces dating back to the Renaissance, the Baroque and the 18th and 19th centuries. Bologna is also a very important industrial centre. The climate can be very cold in the winter. Bologna is also close to the Riviera Adriatica, with seaside resorts attracting numerous tourists in the summer months.

Università degli studi di Bologna, founded in 1088, is one of the oldest universities in the world. With around 80,000 students, it is also one of the biggest in the country. Among its teaching staff are world-famous public figures such as Romano Prodi and Umberto Eco. The faculties are Agriculture, Cultural and Conservation Studies, Economics, Education, Engineering, Foreign Languages and Literature, Industrial Chemistry, Law, Literature and Philosophy, Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, Medicine and Surgery, Pharmacy, Political Science, Psychology, Statistics and Veterinary Science. Of particular interest are the courses offered by Discipline delle Arti, della Musica e dello Spettacolo (DAMS) (Performing Arts, Music and Mass Communications), as well as the Faculty of Law, the oldest in the world.


Catania (population 376,000) is the second largest city in Sicily, situated between the slopes of Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea. The history of the city has been conditioned by a succession of foreign dominations and the unpredictability of Etna. Catania was repeatedly destroyed over the centuries by eruptions and earthquakes, the most devastating taking place in 1693. In recent years Catania has seen a growth of tourism, due to its elegant architecture and a magnificent coastline. Locals are always proud to describe their city as a 'city in black and white', due to the prevalent building technique of combining local lava stone with the white stone from Siracusa.

The University has about 55,000 students, 1,500 academic staff and 1,500 administrative staff. It is the oldest University in Sicily, founded in 1434. The old University building, in which are the administrative offices, is located in the centre of the town. The faculties at Università degli studi di Catania are Law, Political Science, Economics, Medicine, Arts and Philosophy, Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, Pharmacy, Engineering, Agriculture and Education. Of particular interest is the Faculty of Arts, with its long tradition of excellence in teaching and research.


Genoa (population 706,000) is a major Mediterranean seaport in north-western Italy. It is the capital of the Liguria region and the centre of the Italian Riviera. Once a powerful maritime republic and the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, the city is known as La Superba ('proud', 'vain'). Despite the more recent economic decline, Genoa has a grand cultural heritage. Its streets are filled with medieval cathedrals, glorious palaces and Renaissance fountains. It is a wonderfully eclectic city, dominated by an always busy port and the narrow alleyways of the medieval centre. In addition to being a city rich with art treasures, Genoa is attractive for the nearby beach resorts of the Ligurian coastline.

Università degli studi di Genova is a large university with 40,000 students, 1,800 teaching and research staff and about 1,580 administrative staff. It has 12 faculties (including Architecture, Business, Education, Law, Modern Languages, Political Science and Arts) and a number of regional campuses (Imperia, Savona, Santa Margherita Ligure, Ventimiglia, La Spezia and Acqui Terme). The Faculty of Business has a very high standing in the Italian academia, reinforcing Genoa's long-standing tradition in the field of international commerce. Special emphasis is placed on international and maritime subjects, in line with Genoa's tradition as a maritime republic.


Lecce (population 100,000) lies in the southern tip of the heel of Italy in the Puglia region. It has a population of around 100,000 and is home to some beautiful examples of baroque architecture. Many of its buildings are built of the characteristic pietra leccese, a light yellow, easily worked limestone. The region is well known for its clear waters, unspoilt beaches and landscapes and its abundant olive groves. The city's classical remains include an underground burial chamber from the 4th century BC and a Roman amphitheatre. Lecce is also a lively city with elegant shops and a busy nightlife.

Università degli studi di Lecce was founded in 1960. It has more than 25,000 students and eight faculties (Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, Economics, Engineering, Education, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Arts, Conservation of Cultural Heritage and Law). Of special note is the Language Centre and the program of Australian studies. Also, for the artistically minded, there are interesting courses offered by the Faculty of Conservation of Cultural Heritage.


Milan (population 1.6 million) is the capital of Lombardy, the richest, most industrialised and populous northern region of Italy and arguably the most important commercial and design centre in Europe. Milan carries both the advantages and the disadvantages associated with living in a big city, but the advantages outweigh the potential drawbacks by far. The rich cultural life in Milan offers valuable experiences to students interested in art, film and theatre. As a major European rail hub and a city serviced by two international airports (Linate and Malpensa), Milan provides for easy travelling both within Italy and internationally. Public transport is also excellent.

The Catholic University of the Sacred Heart is the largest private university in Italy, with approximately 35,000 students and 11 faculties (including Business, Law, Arts, Languages, Education and Political Sciences), some of which are located in the nearby cities of Brescia and Piacenza.

The Politecnico, founded in 1863, is a state university with about 39,000 students and only two faculties (Engineering and Architecture). In addition to Milano itself, the Politecnico has campuses in Mantova, Cremona, Piacenza, Lecco, Bovisa and Como. Of special interest to International Studies students are the courses in Industrial Design (product design, communication design, interior design and fashion design) offered at the Bovisa and Como campuses.

Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM is a relatively small university (7127 students in 2000–2001), founded in 1968 as an Institute for Modern Languages, with the main campus in Milano itself and a regional branch in Feltre (Veneto region). It assumed the status of an autonomous university and its present name in 1998. IULM has two faculties (Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Communication and Entertainment) offering degree courses in translation and interpreting, public relations, sciences and technologies of communication and tourism. It has a modern campus on the city railway line, with facilities which include a Language Centre and a multimedia lecture theatre.


Dating back to the Roman times, Modena (population 180,000) became a free city in the 12th century. Modena was home to Italy's favourite tenor, the late Luciano Pavarotti and car manufacturers such as Ferrari, who test the Formula 1 cars on the racetrack at nearby Florino. Although only 40 km away from Bologna, Modena has a character of its own. The old city's fortified walls, now converted to promenades, give it a pentagonal shape. Notable buildings include the cathedral (begun in 1099), the bell tower (completed in 1319) and the imposing ducal palace (begun in 1634), now a military academy. The Palazzo dei Musei houses the municipal collections, including the Este Gallery and Museum, rich in Renaissance paintings, and the Este Library, noted for its collection of illuminated manuscripts.

Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia was founded in the first half of the 12th century, after the death of Countess Matilde of Canossa in 1115. Nowadays it has 15,000 students, nine faculties (Law, Arts, Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Medicine and Surgery, Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, Agriculture, Pharmacy, Economics, Business and Administration, and Engineering) and two campuses (Modena and Reggio Emilia). Of particular interest is the area of cultural studies, offered through the Faculty of Arts, which includes courses in cultural anthropology, comparative social systems, history of philosophy, etc.


Università degli studi di Trieste (population 238,000) is an important port in the Adriatic, capital of the province of the same name. It preserves interesting Roman, Medieval and neo-classic monuments and it is an important centre for artistic, historical and scientific collections. Once the chief port of the Habsburg empire, Trieste is nowadays an important 'gateway to the East', a truly multicultural, vibrant city with a commitment to developing its tertiary and scientific sectors.

Università degli studi di Trieste is a medium-sized university with 25,000 students and 12 faculties spread over three campuses in Trieste, Gorizia and Pordenone. The University is very highly regarded in the scientific and diplomatic studies areas. It also hosts the foremost translation and interpreting school in Europe.

Completion requirements

976001  Foundations in International Studies  8cp
976431  Contemporary Italy  8cp
977430  In-country Study 1: Italy  24cp
978430  In-country Study 2: Italy  24cp
CBK90486  Italian Language and Culture  32cp
Total  96cp