School of Athen by Raphael

Italy 2012 – Course Outline

Liberal Studies Abroad

LBST 290/390; LBST 291/322; LBST 292/323 

These courses will be offered on a cost-recovery basis during Intersession. Preparatory sessions in Nanaimo will be followed by a month-long trip to Florence, Italy, for intensive study. On return from Europe, students will complete projects and assignments under faculty supervision.

Each course may be taken at the second- or third-year level, according to the pairings above. The performance demands for the upper-level courses are greater than those at the lower level.

The content of the program will range over the art, architecture, literature, music, science and history of the Italian Renaissance. The division of topics among the courses is explained in the chart below. Instruction will be primarily seminar-based, with lectures, art studios and other activities included. In Florence, there will be a number of visits to concerts, museums, galleries and other artistic and cultural sites, and short trips to Siena, Assisi, Padua and Venice .

Introductory Sessions

Nanaimo Campus – Building 355 – Rooms 211 & 203

Saturday January 14: 10 am to 3 pm.
Saturday February 11: 10 am to 3 pm.
Saturday March 10: 10 am to 4 pm.
Saturday April 14: 10 am to 4 pm.
Saturday April 21: 10 am to 4 pm.

Professors and Staff

Three faculty members from VIU are responsible for delivering the courses and evaluating students: Maureen Okun (the teaching-team leader), David Livingstone and John Black, all of whom have taught the Italy program often before. Peter Porçal, who lives in Florence , is the adjunct lecturer and site-visit guide. There will also be a guest lecture from Bettina Schindler, of the Bargello Museum. Field Manager Libby McGrattan will be responsible for logistics, travel and accommodation. Connie Kovalenka will lead certain activities for non-credit participants.

Address of our Classrooms in Florence

Centro Fiorenza,
Via Santo Spirito, 14
50125 Firenze (Italy)
Tel. +39 055 2398274

Division of Courses


LBST 290/390

LBST 291/322

LBST 292/323


Art, Architecture & Politics

Art, Religion & Science

Art, Literature & Humanism

Study Materials

Leon Battista Alberti:
On Painting
Women Mystics:
Selected Readings
Dante Alighieri:
La Vita Nuov

Spiro Kostof:
from A History of Architecture
Alfred Bennick:
And Yet It Moves!
Selections of Italian Poetry
Niccolò Machiavelli:
from The Art of War and Life of Castruccio Castracani
Galileo Galilei:
Letter to the
Grand-Duchess Christina
Giovanni Boccaccio:
from The Decameron

Study Materials

Margaret Aston: from The Panorama of the Renaissance
William Fleming: from Art and Ideas
Betty Edwards: from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
A. Richard Turner: Renaissance Florence : The Invention of a New Art


Architecture Project
Art Project
Final Examination
Essay 1
and Outline
Essay 2
and Outline
Essay 3
and Outline


Research Assignment
Participation, including Seminar Questions


LBST 290/390

LBST 291/322

LBST 292/323

Course Texts and Booklets          See Reading Schedule

A. Richard Turner: Renaissance Florence: The Invention of a New Art
Dante Alighieri: La Vita Nuova
Leon Battista Alberti: On Painting

Readings Booklets

Art, Architecture & Politics
Betty Edwards: The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (extracts)
Spiro Kostof: A History of Architecture, Chapters 16 and 17
Niccolò Machiavelli: The Art of War (extracts) and Life of Castruccio Castracani

Art, Religion & Science
Women Religious and Mystics: Selected Readings
Alfred Bennick: And Yet It Moves! (extract)
Galileo Galilei: Letter to the Grand-Duchess Christina

Art, Literature & Humanism
Margaret Aston: The Panorama of the Renaissance (extracts)
William Fleming: “Florentine Renaissance Style,” from Art and Ideas

Selections of Italian Poetry
Giovanni Boccaccio: The Decameron (extracts)

Materials and Supplies

In preparation for each sketching class and for the architecture assignment, please bring to Florence pencils, erasers, a small sketchpad and any other materials you may wish to use for drawing (e.g. charcoal, pastel crayons).  

Assignments and Evaluation

Except for those which can be submitted via Moodle, or are too bulky to mail, assignments should be submitted by mail to Maureen Okun, Liberal Studies Department, Vancouver IslandUniversity, 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, BCV9R 5S5. The various due dates are specified below. After returning to Canada , you are encouraged to consult Maureen or David on the work you are doing on the assignments; their email addresses are and

Upper-Level Students 

The requirements for upper-level students are more demanding than those for lower-level students. For the essays, lower-level students must write 1000 words, upper-level students 1500. Upper-level students will be expected to display greater depth and quality in all components of evaluation.

Overview of Common Assignments 

The research assignment counts for 5% in each course, and is due on April 14/12; the journal counts for 15% in each course, and is due on June 15/12. Participation and seminar questions count for 25% and 5% respectively in each course.

Research Assignment

During our third introductory session (March 10), you will be given a topic to research. For this assignment, you will be given one of the religious topics in the list below. Find two works of Renaissance art (from 1300 to 1600 CE) depicting your subject, and write a two-page report comparing these pieces.

On the first page of your assignment, include small reproductions of the two artworks and list the artist (if known) and date of each, followed by a 50-100 word description of your subject. Most of the topics are biblical narratives; if you are assigned one of those subjects, summarize the story. If you are instead assigned one of the last three topics (the Madonna and Child, the repentant Magdalene, or the Last Judgment), explain your topic and summarize its significance. All of the subjects are common themes in the art of the time period; you should have no trouble finding the information you need from good Web sources such as Wikipedia. Keep your research focus on biblical and religious subjects and Renaissance art; if your search turns up, for example, the poem “The Journey of the Magi” by the modernist poet T.S. Eliot, ignore that and keep looking.

Use the rest of the two pages to write a close comparison of the ways each artwork presents your subject. To help remind you of what to look for in works of art, refer to the handout on visual analysis (on the Moodle site) that we asked you to look at for the first Saturday session. Please use 8 ½ by 11 sheets of paper; we will be binding all of the finished reports in the course package to create a common resource for our group.

List of Subjects
1)  Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
2)  Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac
3)  Judith and the beheading of Holofernes
4)  The annunciation
5)  The nativity
6)  The journey of the Magi
7)  The baptism of Jesus
8)  The Last Supper
9)  The crucifixion of Jesus
10) The resurrection of Jesus
11) The beheading of John the Baptist
12) The Madonna and Child
13) The repentant Magdalene
14) The Last Judgment

Your research assignment is due no later than the session on April 14 (no exceptions!). Please do not exceed two pages in length. The research assignment is worth 5% of your grade in all three courses.

Journal Assignment

Starting as soon as you read this outline, and continuing through our visit in Florence, keep a daily journal of your experiences relating to the study we are engaged in. This submission will be marked for both content and presentation. The professor will not make comments in the journal itself, so that it may function as a permanent record of your encounter with the Renaissance and the thoughts and feelings it evoked. 

The focus, please note, should be on the intellectual and cultural components of your experiences, not on the personally private or simply touristic aspects. You should avoid mere relation of the activities of the day, without any consideration of the broader cultural issues they raise. Instead of merely gathering mementos, articulate your thoughtful reactions!

You are welcome to include material of all sorts: free writing, literary and artistic criticism, poetry, drawing, painting, photographs, photo-collage, newspaper and magazine clippings, expository writing - really anything at all which expresses some intellectual or cultural aspect of your experience of the courses. If you use material from sources like magazines, there is no need to attribute it to the source, but it should be used to express or introduce your thoughts and reactions, not just those of its author. Remember that a journal is not an essay (even though it may contain essay-like portions if you wish): while you should be creative and honest in expressing your feelings and thoughts, they do not have to be organized in support of a point of view. 

You might want to buy a nice book for use as a journal: it will then serve you better as a permanent record. This assignment will be worth 15% towards the grade in each of the courses you are taking. It is due on June 15/12.

Participation and Seminar Questions

Participation in seminars and other activities counts for 25% and seminar questions for 5% of each of the courses you are taking. In assigning marks, the professors will give most emphasis to the quantity and quality of your participation in seminar discussion, but will also take into account your contributions to other classes and activities, as well as to the educational experience of the group as a whole. For advice on how to participate in seminars, please consult the Moodle site file on Participating in Seminars.

For each seminar, beginning with the seminar on Renaissance Art on March 10, you must write out and hand in a question about an aspect of the seminar topic which you think it would be interesting to discuss in the seminar. Do not explain the question: what is required is a single sentence only. To gain credit, however, the question must be a serious one about the material, one which demonstrates that you have examined the material carefully. See Writing Seminar Questions on the Moodle site.

Overview of Course-Specific Assignments

LBST 290/390:       Essay 1 and Outline: 35%        Architecture Project: 15%
LBST 291/322:       Essay 2 and Outline: 35%        Art Project: 15%
LBST 292/323:       Essay 3 and Outline: 35%        Final Examination: 15%

The Final Examination will be written on May 30, before leaving Florence. Essays are due by July 13/12, Projects by August 16/12. 

Essays and Essay Outlines

You must write one essay for each course. The essay topics are given below. For students in the second-year courses, each essay should be approximately 1000 words long; for those in the third-year courses each essay should be about 1500 words long. The essays are due by July 13/12, and each is worth 30% of your grade in the relevant course. 

Outlines: While in Florence (and by May 30/12) you must also prepare and submit tentative outlines of the essays you propose to write: each outline is worth 5% of your grade in the relevant course. The outline should explain which question you are answering, the proposed thesis of your paper and (briefly) your argument for it. (In writing the paper you may deviate from the outline if you change your mind about these elements.) There is no word-limit, but one page should suffice. Outlines may be submitted on paper, by email, or through the Moodle site.

These essays should be examples of argumentative writing: that is, you must adopt a thesis, an answer to the question posed that takes a point of view about the text or about an issue it raises, and defend that point of view with reasoned argument. This requires you to justify your interpretations and evaluations of the text or material which forms your topic, to argue against alternative interpretations and judgments where these are likely to arise, and to speak with your own voice, not that of other critics. 

Your essays should not be primarily research essays, and definitely not mere summaries of the views of others. At the same time, it is legitimate to introduce the views of other writers if doing so would help illuminate your own point of view. When you do make such an appeal, you should always specify the source to which you are referring. Plagiarism (using outside sources without acknowledgment) is prohibited by VIU's Student Academic Code of Conduct, and may result in a mark of zero, a failing grade for the course, or worse. 

For a brief explanation of essay grading standards and policies on plagiarism, please consult the Moodle site book on Evaluation Guidelines for Essays.

LBST 290/390 (Art, Architecture & Politics)

Choose one of the following topics: 

AAP1) In your view, does the introduction of linear perspective constitute an objective advance toward objectivity in painting, or merely the selecton of a different subjective means of representation? 

AAP2) "Beauty is a form of sympathy and consonance of the parts within a body, according to definite number, outline and position, as dictated by concinnitas, the absolute and fundamental rule of Nature." (On Painting, Introduction, p. 8) To what extent, if any, does On Painting offer practical guidance on how to produce beauty in this particular sense?

AAP3) Explain Alberti's views, as expressed in his dedication to Brunelleschi (On Painting, pp. 34-5), on the relationship of the artist to the past. How do these views reflect on the opinion of some art historians that the Renaissance is nothing but an attempt to reproduce the art of antiquity? With reference to Renaissance art encountered during the program, evaluate Alberti's views on this issue.

AAP4) From the architects whose work you have seen in Florence , select the one whose work, in your opinion, most clearly articulates the spirit of classicism. How, why, and to what effect does this architect use classical forms in his or her work? 

AAP5) By reference to buildings encountered during the course, compare the mediaeval and Renaissance periods in terms of how their architecture expresses the social, political, or intellectual preoccupations of their time. 

AAP6) “Renaissance architecture is politics written in stone.” Drawing for illustration upon your experiences of architecture and politics during the course, explain whether or not, in your view, this claim captures an important truth. 

AAP7) On the evidence of the extracts we have read from The Art of War, is Machiavelli more supportive of a republican or a monarchical form of government?

AAP8) Explain what general conclusions, if any, Machiavelli intends us to draw from his Life of Castruccio Castracani. Are any of these moral conclusions?

AAP9) “The quality most admired in Renaissance times was virtù (the word comes closer in the modern sense to “virtuoso” than “virtuous”) . . . With virtù, Renaissance artists could no longer be satisfied with a single speciality but sought to become universal in ability” (William Fleming: Art and Ideas, p. 215). Select an individual artist or political figure of the Italian Renaissance who, in your opinion, most completely fulfils this desire, and show, through an analysis of his/her work or life, how and why he or she does so.

LBST 291/322 (Art, Religion & Science) 

Choose one of the following topics: 

ARS1) In what ways or ways is a life lived according to The Rule of Saint Clare a life worth living? What especially valuable characteristics would it have? (In answering this question, please confine your attention to the characteristics of the life as it is lived on earth, ignoring any possibility of an afterlife.) 

ARS2) On the basis of the extracts you have read, how would you characterise the nature of the relationship Angela di Foligno believes she has with Christ? 

ARS3) Explain the moral and spiritual implications of Catherine of Siena’s image of the bridge. 

ARS4) “The real message of the Christian art of the painters of the Italian Renaissance is not the religious message itself, but the realisation that the religious subjects portrayed have meaning in human terms.” Discuss and evaluate this claim with reference to works encountered during the program. 

ARS5) Choose one of the works of art we have encountered in our studies, and write a close analysis of how its formal characteristics (e.g. the arrangement of the things it depicts; the use of colour, line and shape; the mode of representation of space; the style of brushwork) help to create its dominant impression.

ARS6) Explain and evaluate Galileo's attempt to show that the Copernican System is not inconsistent with the Biblical account described in the Bible (Joshua 10:13).

ARS7) Comment on the plausibility or otherwise of Galileo’s position, expressed in the Letter to the Grand-Duchess Christina, on the relation between science and scripture.

ARS8) To what extent can you use the Letter to the Grand-Duchess Christina to support the claim that Galileo can be correctly described as a scientific naturalist?

ARS9) From the artists whose work you have seen in Italy, select the one whose work, in your opinion, most clearly articulates the spirit of scientific naturalism. How, why and to what effect does this artist use scientific naturalism in his or her work?

LBST 292/323 (Art, Literature & Humanism) 

Choose one of the following topics: 

ALH1) Discuss Dante’s use of symbolism in La Vita Nuova.  

ALH2) What, according to Dante, is the relationship between love and death? 

ALH3) Despite the fact that Dante does not pursue a relationship with Beatrice, he would claim that the Vita Nuova portrays true love. What is Dante's definition of true love?

ALH4) From our poetry selections, choose two or three of the love poems, and write a close analysis of the ways in which each uses nature imagery. How does this imagery help to shape the message of each poem?

ALH5) From our poetry selections, choose two or three of poems of praise, and, in a close analysis, compare the means by which each poem attempts to convinve us of the exceptionality of its subject.

ALH6) Several of the poems in our collection present to the readers something unexpected, such as an unconventional attitude towards the poem's subject, or some twist away from what the poem has led us to anticipate. Choose two or three such poems, and, in a close analysis, explain how the unexpected in each poem helps to shape its message.

ALH7) Compare the characterizations, in La Vita Nuova and the Decameron of the nature of love.

ALH8) Discuss the significance of lies and trickery in Boccaccio’s Decameron.

ALH9) Illustrating your answer with references to a number of the Decameron stories, explain whether you read Boccaccio (i) as promoting a relatively amoral approach to life, or (ii) as satirising the latter approach with serious moral intent.

ALH10) Drawing upon works you have read, seen or heard in Italy, explain and evaluate the claim that the Renaissance constituted in part a revival of interest in classical humanism.

Architecture Project (LBST 290/390)


Architecture may be defined as the art of arranging and manipulating space to fulfil a certain sort of function. Space is a relationship among things, not a thing itself; nor can it be reduced to a collection of things, or treated as a container in which things are collected. Because we focus on the things inside a space, we often fail to notice the space itself. Architecture, however, asks us to confront space, to experience it in a way that combines both attention to function and sensitivity to artistic expression.  

Buildings, of course, are made to be used for living, working, learning and many other human activities. The function of a building is part of, and reveals, the building’s subject-matter; but it does not exhaust it. Values other than functional values are expressed in architecture: it is inflected by the values of the architect’s society and culture. Whether they adopt a critical or a reverential attitude towards their culture, architects must deal in one way or another with the public values of their society. 

In the transition between the mediaeval and Renaissance periods, architectural taste went through a number of interrelated changes, many of which are exemplified in the buildings still standing in Florence. One change was a shift of emphasis from purely interior decoration, with a forbidding exterior appearance, to the exterior display of wealth and artistic sensibility. Another was the incorporation of Classical Greek stylistic elements into an approach that was primarily derived from late Roman architecture (although this too already had its Greek roots). Of special interest are the similarities and differences between domestic, ecclesiastical and other public buildings, and the ways in which these changed over time.  

This assignment involves selecting one of the buildings you visit in Florence as a focus of study. There is a restriction on the time-period of the building: it should be either mediaeval or Renaissance, although buildings of that period that have been remodelled more recently may be considered. You will be asked to answer various questions about the building, based upon your interaction with it, and to provide graphic illustrations of some of its features. In answering the questions below, be sure to support all of your impressions and observations with specific references to relevant details of your building. Remember, too, that several of the readings we are asking you to do may supply some insights into architecture that you may wish to draw on for this project. If you use such source material, be sure to document it.

You will be asked to provide graphic illustrations of some of your building's features. The illustrations may be in any medium: photography and sketching with pencil or charcoal are probably the easiest, and part of the assignment (B) calls specifically for a sketch. You should make sure you carry the necessary supplies with you on the visit. 

The assignment may be completed after returning to Canada , on the basis of the notes and illustrations you make on-site. It is due by August 16/12, and is worth 15% of the grade for LBST 290/390.


A. Carefully observe the building or structure from the outside. Keeping in mind the fact that architecture articulates social values, answer the following: 

1. What is/was the building’s function? Is it possible to discern the function from the building’s exterior? If so, on the basis of what features?

2. What cultural or social values are projected by the exterior of the building?

3. What are the materials of which the building is made? Why do you think they were chosen? How do they articulate the building’s subject-matter?

4. During what historical period was the building constructed? Does it hark back to earlier times?

5. What kind of presence does the building have? How does it relate to the surrounding space: does it dominate, meld in, contrast?

6. How do you respond to the building, and why? 

B. Make a sketch of the building’s exterior. Don’t worry about getting all of the details, or getting them perfectly “right”. Reduce the exterior view to its geometrical components: rectangles, squares, circles, semicircles, triangles.  

C. Make a sketch or photograph of an interesting detail of the exterior: a door-handle, window-frame, panel, cornerstone, statue, or whatever. 

D. Enter the building, and spend some time sitting in it and walking around the interior space. Answer the following: 

1. Do you find the entrance inviting?

2. How is the inner space organized? Is there a single focal point, or many? If so, what is it/are they? How do the focal points relate to the function of the building?

3. Is the inner space unified or disjointed? Does it harmonize or contrast with the exterior?

4. What materials are used inside the building, and to what effect?

5. How does the inner space make you feel? What elements inside are the most striking? 

E. Make a sketch or photograph of an interior element or detail, and explain the purpose it serves in the building as a whole. What, if any, values does it communicate to you? 

F. General questions: 

1. Is the building beautiful? Does it matter?

2. Is the building well designed? Does it matter?

3. What cultural, social and/or religious values are projected by the building?

4. If architecture is a language, what language does this building speak? 

Art Project (LBST 291/322): Reimagining the Renaissance: A Conversation with History 

This art project asks you to create an original piece in some art-medium, as follows: 

1. Select the mediaeval or Renaissance art object that you have found to be the most interesting, valuable, beautiful, striking, intriguing of those things which you have encountered during the program. 

2. Document the work, in any appropriate form: photographic, drawn, written, collage, advertisements/pictures in magazines, postcards, etc. In your documentation you must identify the work: What is it? By whom is it? When was it made? Of what is it made? What purpose/meaning did it historically have? What contemporary relevance, if any, does it have? Why have you chosen it? 

3. Respond to the work. This response may be (but is not limited to) a reproduction of the work in your own visual vocabulary, a re-imagining, a deconstruction, a critique, a celebration, an inquiry into, or an interrogation of the work. The piece may take any appropriate visual form: two-dimensional, three-dimensional or some combination thereof; painting, sculpture, mixed media, collage; found objects or attachments, assemblage; large, medium or small; mobile or stationary. It may be made from anything you think works to convey your ideas. 

4. Title your piece.  

5. Explain your piece. Include a typewritten account of the project that answers the following questions: How does it fulfil the task assigned? Why has it been created in this particular way?  

6. Deliver your piece, including the account and other documentation described above, to the Liberal Studies Department at Vancouver IslandUniversity by August 16/12. 

This art project is worth 15% of your grade in LBST 291/322. 

Do not be concerned if you feel that you lack artistic talent: first, you are probably wrong about this, and perhaps have all sorts of talents that you have not yet tapped; second, the range of media and techniques is very wide, so that you should be able to find some form of expression that you are able to manipulate freely; third, what are most important are the ideas you express through your piece. 

Final Examination (LBST 292/323)

A final examination is scheduled for May 30/12. It will consist of a series of short-answer questions based on the art tours which will be led by Dr Peter Porçal in Florence and other cities, and on his lecture "Symbols in Renaissance Art." It is important to pay attention during these activities, and to retain as much as possible of what is discussed.

The examination will be worth 15% towards your grade in LBST 292/323.

Reading Schedule                                              

A. Richard Turner, Renaissance Florence : The Invention of a New Art: this book contains an excellent overview of the art, architecture and social conditions of Renaissance Florence. You should read it through before or during the month in Florence. In addition, some extracts are assigned for our seminars and tours in what follows; you might also want to re-read the following chapters before visiting or re-visiting, with the group or on your own time, the following sites: 

Chapter Three: The church of Orsanmichele (May 7)
Chapter Four:   Duomo (cathedral: May 3), S. Spirito (May 14), S. Maria Novella (May 9)
Chapter Six:     The monastery of San Marco (May 23) the Museo Nazionale
Chapter Seven: Santa Trinità, the Accademia gallery (May 23)

Don’t forget also to read the materials specified on the Moodle site for the introductory sessions, and all of the travel and administrative advice provided. 

For April 14 

Margaret Aston: The Panorama of the Renaissance (AAP Readings)
William Fleming: “Florentine Renaissance Style,” from Art and Ideas (ALH Readings) 

For April 21

A. Richard Turner: Renaissance Florence : The Invention of a New Art – Introduction
Selection from Boccaccio (on Moodle)

On the Plane, April 30

Research Assignments booklet to be distributed April 21 or earlier

For May 2

Betty Edwards: The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Ch. 6, pp. 88-95 (ARP Readings)

For May 3  

A. Richard Turner: Renaissance Florence: The Invention of a New Art – Chapter One & Chapter Two (pp. 40-41 only)

For May 4

Extracts from Women Religious and Mystics: Clare of Assisi, Angela di Foligno and Catherine of Siena (ARS Readings)
Betty Edwards The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Ch. 7, pp. 116-123 (ARP Readings)

For May 7

Dante Alighieri: La Vita Nuova
Poetry Selections TBA (ALH Readings)

A. Richard Turner: Renaissance Florence : The Invention of a New Art – Chapter Three

For May 11

Giovanni Boccaccio: The Decameron: Selections (ALH Readings)

For May 14

Leon Battista Alberti: On Painting
Betty Edwards:
The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
, Ch. 8, pp. 138-151 (ARP Readings)
Spiro Kostof: A History of Architecture, Chapters 16 & 17 (AAP Readings)
A. Richard Turner: Renaissance Florence : The Invention of a New ArtChapter Two (pp. 42-49 only), Chapter Four & Chapter Five

For May 16

A. Richard Turner: Renaissance Florence: The Invention of a New Art – Chapter Seven

For May 18

Poetry Selections TBA (ALH Readings)

For May 21 

Niccolò Machiavelli: The Art of War and The Life of Castruccio Castracani (AAP Readings)

For May 22

A. Richard Turner: Renaissance Florence : The Invention of a New Art – Chapter Two (pp. 34-40 only)

For May 23

A. Richard Turner: Renaissance Florence : The Invention of a New Art - Chapter 6
Alfred Bennick: extract from And Yet It Moves! (ARS Readings)
Galileo Galilei: Letter to the Grand-Duchess Christina (ARS Readings)


While we naturally expect you all to have lots of fun in Florence, we ask you to note that the standards of evaluation in these courses will be the same as for all Liberal Studies courses. You will be expected to keep up with the reading, participate fully in seminar, produce thoughtful papers and projects, and hand in your work on time. We recommend that you set aside a definite period of time each day for reading, writing in your journal, and making notes for the assignments you will complete on your return. 


If you encounter any problems whatsoever (academic, legal or personal) while in Italy, please contact one of the faculty or staff at their apartments, or by phone:

Libby McGrattan:  366 679 1930
John Black:            366 679 1931 
David Livingstone:  366 679 1932
Maureen Okun:      366 679 1933
Connie Kovalenka: 366 679 1934

If you cannot contact any of the VIU personnel, you may, in case of extreme emergency only, contact Peter Porçal, at Via dei Ginori 13, tel: 055 217 862. Police station for foreigners: 49771. Emergency Services: 113.

VIU Emergency Contacts: Audrey Hansen (Education Abroad Co-ordinator): (250) 740-6312 or Graham Pike (Dean, International Education): (250) 740-6311. VIU also has a 24hr answering service for calls made outside the working day: (250) 740-6600. For all emergency calls, provide a way by which you can be contacted in return. To call Canada from a landline in Italy, dial 001 before the area code.

Canadian Embassy in Rome: 06-854441 or 06-85444.2911.
Canada Emergency Line (Ottawa): (613) 996-8885 (call collect).

Schedule of Activities 

The schedule for our activities in Italy, specifying the topic for each session, is on the Moodle site. All seminars are marked in the schedule by the material or topic to be discussed. Please make sure that you have read the material to be covered in each class and bring it to the class itself. Some material is assigned to be read before a site-visit – please be sure to complete that reading too, though there is no need to bring it along. There will also be classes in drawing while we are in Florence: bring the drawing supplies with you.