Live and study in this bustling, vibrant university town in Tuscany. Immerse yourself in student life in Siena, located just 35 miles from Florence and home to more than 20,000 students each year. Relax in a café on the Piazza del Campo, a medieval square and public gathering space. Enjoy the flavorful, fresh Tuscan cuisine. Explore the 13th century Duomo di Siena, the shrine of St. Catherine and look out over the city from the Gothic Basillica San Domenico. Stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets and explore the 17 contrade, or districts. Immerse yourself in the city's nightlife or shop along the three main pedestrian streets downtown. Experience the relaxed pace of Italian life. Siena is an ideal place to develop your intercultural competency skills while you experience medieval and modern Italian culture, food, art, architecture and politics.
The city of Siena is a UNESCO world heritage site located in Tuscany just an hour south of Florence. The GEO Center in Siena is located in the 19th century Palazzo Bargagli, within the medieval city walls in the Contrada dell’Istrice (the Porcupine district). It is just across from the Medicean Fortress and a short walk to the Piazza del Campo where the historic Palio horse race is run twice each summer.
Students usually stay in apartments, but residence halls may also be arranged to be shared with other American, Italian, or international students. Host family accommodation is not normally offered, but students who request such an arrangement can be accommodated. All apartments are centrally located, well furnished, and have Wi-Fi. An agreement with the Università di Siena cafeteria allows our students to have meals at the two student lunchrooms in town at a substantial discount during the academic year.
- In Siena, the Gothic Duomo and its museum with works of the Italian masters; the 13th century Church of San Domenico to see relics from St. Catherine; the wide Piazza del Campo, where the famous Palio di Siena horse races have taken place for almost 400 years.
- One-day excursions: The churches and museums of Florence; Tuscan vineyards, wineries and producers of local meats, cheeses and produce; ancient, hilltop walled villages, like San Gimignano; the community of Assisi, home to the magnificent Basilica of St. Francis; Castello di Brolio, where Chianti wine was first produced.
- Weekend excursions: Rome, Milan, the Lake District and Venice, including the Venice Biennale, a bi-annual international art expo.
- Learn more about GEO excursions in Siena.
Placements vary by term. In the past, students have volunteered at local retirement homes, ceramic arts programs for community members with disabilities, pre-school and elementary schools, and rescue and social services.
- Five classrooms (one classroom for 40, two for 20, one for 15 and one for ten students)
- Student library with resources and study space; easy access to the city library
- Workspace for visiting faculty: shared access to computer and printer; Wi-fi available
- Classroom equipment: white boards, three LCD computer video projectors, one television, and multi-system DVD players for classroom use
- Student computer access: one computer and two printers; Wi-fi available
Curriculum Vitae for all staff and faculty are available upon request.
Silvia is GEO’s Siena Center site director. Born and raised in Siena, she earned her BA in foreign languages and literature from the University of Siena and also obtained her Advanced Specialization (Dottore) in literary translation (Russian) from the University of Siena. She teaches the program's cross-cultural perspectives class, provides tutoring help in Italian language, and meets regularly with students on their progress. Having studied abroad in France, Great Britain, Ireland and Russia, Silvia understands students' adjustment difficulties as they adapt to living in Siena.
A lifelong resident of Siena, Claudia studied abroad in Spain and in the U.S. where she studied English at the American English Institute at the University of Oregon during the summer of 1993. She coordinates all parts of the students' stay in Siena, from lodging to excursions, and handles the accounting for the program. Claudia keeps the office going on a day-to-day basis.
GEO operates recurring programs in Siena throughout the year with courses in:
- Intensive or semi-intensive Italian language at all levels
- Studio Arts & Architecture
- European Politics
- Journalism and Media
- Italian Language and Culture
- Intercultural communication
- Food and Wine studies
Customized courses can be developed on request.