Milan and Siena 2022

Beauty, innovation, and sustainability

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A course about beauty: its meaning, its history, its connections to culture and the economy, and its role in generating value, innovation, and well-being.

An experience of beauty: one month in Milan, a world capital of fashion and design, and one in Siena, a perfectly preserved medieval city that included the creation of beauty as part of its original constitution.

Study aesthetics, art, cultural economics, political philosophy. Read about smart cities, storytelling and fiction, the Renaissance, Italian film, creative industries. Understand beauty as an indispensable device for critical thinking, community-building, change, and sustainability. Reflect upon the connection between beauty and the other two main values of the Western tradition, truth and good.

Outside the classroom, numerous activities and trips constitute an integral part of the course. Visit Palladio’s Villa La Rotonda, fashion showrooms and concept stores, the oldest surviving bank in the world, the hospital-museum Santa Maria della Scala, the Vespa scooter collection in the Piaggio Museum, Isola Bella and its Baroque palace and garden extravaganza, and contemporary cultural spaces such as the Armani Sylos, Fabrica, Fondazione Prada, and HangarBicocca. Taste olive oil, aged vinegar, wine, and saffron, and learn the techniques for making espresso, gelato, and hand-made pasta. Understand the basic procedures for branding—and actually create a logo for our program under the supervision of leading strategic designers. Spend a night in a castle and a few days on a lake in the Alps. Join one of Siena’s contrade and participate in the preparation for the Palio, the horse race that for centuries has taken place annually in Piazza del Campo.

No knowledge of Italian required. Optional Italian language instruction is offered both at the beginner and intermediate/advanced level, though not for credit.

No prior courses in the humanities or economics are required to apply to the program. Part of what makes this program rich and incisive is the very fact that our group will be composed of students in the arts and humanities, STEM, and social sciences and economics.

All this and more, from June 18 to August 18, 2022...

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