Italy 2020 Programme - Discover the Renaissance


 Liberal Studies Abroad -- Discover the Renaissance 2020

Dates for the Italy portion of the program: May 5 to June 5, 2020.

Application form now available!

Note: although the Oct 31 deadline has gone by, some spots may be available. If you are interested in joining us for the May 2020 program, please contact to inquire about availability.

The Italy Program provides a stimulating interdisciplinary exploration of one of the most dynamic and significant periods in the history of European culture. The setting - the city of Florence - is perfect because of its immense contribution to the Renaissance, the 14th-16th century reawakening of humanistic learning and artistic endeavour.

The Program may be taken for credit or on an audit basis. It covers art, architecture, literature, science and philosophy, through the works of such figures as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Donatello, Filippo Brunelleschi, Artemisia Gentileschi, Galileo, Clare of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Dante, Boccaccio, and Machiavelli. Participants attend lectures, concerts and visits to museums, galleries and other artistic sites, in Florence and elsewhere, and meet in small seminars to discuss the writings of the period.

No previous experience is necessary for full participation. For most participants, activities will begin in Nanaimo or Toronto during late April/early May. Please see videos of the experience of the Program through a student's eyes.

Through a unique partnership, Ryerson University students can enroll in VIU's Liberal Studies Abroad program and transfer the completed course credits back to their home program. View a video on the Ryerson/VIU partnership from the students' perspective.

Important Warning: A level of physical and medical fitness is required to participate in the program. Many of the sites visited are accessible only on foot (and are not wheelchair-accessible), and the visits require lengthy periods of walking and standing. Accommodation may be several floors up, with no elevator,and luggage may have to be carried considerable distances and up and down stairs. If you have any limitations or concerns in this area, please consult program personnel before applying.

 Overview of Courses

Michelangelo, Dawn

The content of the three-course package (which may be taken at either the second- or third-year level) ranges over the art, architecture, literature, science and philosophy of the Italian Renaissance. Instruction is primarily seminar-based, with lectures and presentations included. In Florence, classes take up about three or four hours per day, five days per week. Many of them take place on-site at a church or museum, and there are a number of additional visits to museums, galleries and other artistic and cultural sites. There are also tours to Assisi, Siena, and Padua/Venice. The Venice tour is a multi-day trip; all in-Italy Program trips, tours, and hotels are included in the Program fee (see below). Students must take all three courses, but may choose homany to take for credit and how many on an audit basis: see "How Does Liberal Studies Abroad Work?" for details of different classes of participation. Audit students are encouraged (but not required) to attend tours, lectures, and seminars.

Inclusive Packages

Program costs include all program travel within Italy, accommodation, tourist guides, books and other educational materials, as well as classroom space, and admissions to all cultural sites and events. Participants must arrange their own air travel to Florence. Emergency medical insurance must be purchased through a mandated carrier prior to departure. Food is not included, but accommodation is in apartments which have kitchens, so that food costs are minimal.

Approximate Program Cost [for Credit and Audit Students]:

  • Tuition and Program costs (spring 2020): $4250 (Cdn)
  • Mandatory health insurance with Guardme: (approximately $70 ($2/day minimal coverage)
  • [Ryerson students, or anyone who is not yet a VIU student, must pay an application fee to VIU].
  • Tuition and Program costs cover basic accommodation in multiple occupancy apartments (3-6 people), with living room, kitchen and bathroom(s); share a bedroom with one other person: included in program cost.
    • Single Room in Shared Apartment (if available!): add $800 supplement.

Financial Assistance: The length of the program and its number of credits mean that students may be eligible for student loans while taking it. In addition, they may apply for the International Education Stipend and a number of different scholarships, from VIU and elsewhere. See VIU Education Abroad Finances.

Students on the Duomo

Further Information

To discuss your interest in the Italy 2020 program, or to request application materials, please contact David Livingstone, the Liberal Studies Abroad Co-ordinator,, or, 250-753-3245 Ext. 21735; toll-Free: 1-888-920-2221 Ext. 2175.

Other Florence Links