Academic Programs

Benvenuti e bentornati alla Scuola Italiana!

The 2016 session of the Scuola Italiana will be held at Mills College in California but the program’s commitment to high academic standards and offering a wide range of challenging courses has not changed. Without hesitation I would add that it has improved! This summer the courses designed for new students in the Master's Program offer a broad view of Italian culture and literature. For returning students we have maintained high standards and a wide variety of courses on linguistic, theater, music, cinema, pedagogy, and literature. We have added new courses on culture, art history and civilization of Italy. This summer we will also have a new course in Mediterranean Studies that examines Mediterranean Culture in Dante’s Divine Comedy. This course can also be chosen for the literature and culture requirement. In addition, we have new courses on Italian American Studies, one of the specializations offered for the Master Program. The motivation and experience of the staff added to the expertise and dedication of faculty, drawn from European and North American institutions, ensure the maintenance of the School’s high standards at Mills.

What makes the Middlebury experience so unique is its long-standing observance of the Language Pledge, a written commitment made by each student to exclusively use the Italian language for the duration of the summer session. In spite of the considerable demand this formal pledge places on all, generations of students consider it a most valid and effective learning tool. Adherence to this rule is, therefore, strictly enforced at all times.

To be sure, the success of the summer session is largely due to the fact that students and faculty live under the same roof and take part in all the cultural and social activities sponsored by the School: film screenings, lectures, concerts, plays, dinners, parties, club meetings and workshops. All of this contributes to creating a cordial and collegial atmosphere that is very conducive to learning and is unlikely to be duplicated elsewhere.

In 2016, the first four levels of language instruction will also emphasize various aspects of the multifaceted Italian culture. Special features, besides the afternoon conversation sessions, include workshops for students who want to sing, dance, act in the school play, and learn how to prepare Italian dishes, bread, pizza and pastry. We will also offer special workshops designed to help undergraduates and graduates to improve their diction, while learning new idiomatic expressions outside of the traditional classroom setting. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the weekly meetings on traditional and contemporary Italian cultural topics conducted by our faculty and special guests.

At the graduate level, two core courses (IT 6550 and IT 6602) will teach grammar and stylistics, emphasizing culture, writing and reading comprehension. Advanced culture and civilization courses, as well as graduate literature courses, will focus on a wide range of topics through various periods of Italian civilization: Italian Cinema, Art History, Renaissance, Contemporary Theater, Puccini, and the globalization of criminal organizations. Other courses will focus on literary critical theory, postwar poetry, Italian emigration in the West of the USA, Neorealism and Visual Arts, and Principles of Literary Communication. A pedagogy course, including a practicum, will be dedicated to the use of technology in the classroom and methodology for second language instruction.

During the summer of 2016 the Italian School will again supplement its regular six-week graduate program with two intensive three-week sessions designed for teachers and graduate students of Italian, taught by professors of international prominence. Courses on the representation of Italian Contemporary Cinema, The American Dream in Italian Literature, Art History and the artistic and creative life of Oriana Fallaci, will be offered. 

The summer session will offer a workshop on “La cucina e il vino d’Italia” to better understand the role that diet, cooking and wine have had through the centuries in shaping Italian culture.

A special feature of the 2016 session will be the presence on campus of many professors, writers and artists as “Special Guests in Residence.” Both students and faculty will benefit greatly from the many contributions that all the instructors and students will bring to the cultural life of the Italian School during their stay at Mills. 

Over the course of the summer we will take advantage of Italian-American cultural sites, stores and museums located in nearby San Francisco. Visits to the following sites will be organized:  

▪ Columbus and Broadway, the heart of North Beach 

▪ City Lights Bookstore, founded by Italian-American Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A hang out place of the Beats

▪ Liguria Bakery founded in 1911 by Ligurean Immigrants where la focaccia alla genovese can still be tasted

▪ Molinari Delicatessen *(1896): an Italian-American gastronomic store run by the fourth generation of the founder family

▪ North Beach Museum* (gratis): A small museum on the demographic history of the area

 Pasticceria Stella: An pastry store which specializes in Sicilian Italian pastry

▪ Caffè Trieste: the first local bar on the West Coast to serve Espresso and Cappuccino  

▪ Chiesa San Pietro e Paolo (1924): The neo gothic Italian Cathedral of the West, erected by Italian American immigrants

With such an ample variety of academic offerings and the numerous cultural and social activities planned, I am confident that the 2016 summer school will be a memorable learning experience for all students and professors. I count on all of us to do our best to make this a most successful and fruitful period of study at Mills. 

Spero di avere il piacere di avervi con noi.

A questa estate dunque! Non dimenticate di sfruttare al massimo ogni evento e di parlare sempre e soltanto in italiano!

Antonio Vitti

**We are also planning trips to Napa Valley and Sonoma. Participants are required to pay a fee based on the total cost of bus rental and entrance fees. 


 All students who enroll in the Italian School for the summer 2016 session will study at our West Coast site at Mills College, in Oakland, California. Application and financial aid processes are identical to those for the Middlebury campus.  For more information on Middlebury at Mills, please click here.



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The Italian School

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
P: 802.443.5874
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
Italian School
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT  05753

Joe Tamagni, Coordinator