Milan and Siena 2019

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B e a u t y ,  l e a d e r s h i p ,  a n d   i n n o v a t i o n

ITAL-S 190 (33199)

This course counts as one full-year course (8 credits) of degree credit. It is taught in English.
Classes are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 11:00-1:00. At IULM: room 112. At Università di Siena: San Niccolò, rooms 149, 356.
Sections are on Monday, 10:45-12:00. At IULM: rooms 112 (Corrado), 114 (Chris), and 115 (Amelia). At Università di Siena: San Niccolò, rooms 129 (Amelia), 131 (Chris), and 132 (Corrado).
Field trips are usually on Friday; they last the entire day. There are two two-day trips (June 29-30 and July 5-6). In Milan the bus will pick you up in front of Residence Pola; in Siena you’ll have to walk to Porta Romana (0.2 miles). We usually leave at 7:30 AM and are back around 10:00 PM.
Events and guided tours are preferably on Wednesday; they last two to three hours.
Film screenings are on Tuesday or Thursday during the afternoon; they are followed by a discussion with prof. Erspamer. All movies are in Italian with English subtitles. At IULM: room 401. At Università di Siena: Padiglione esterno, room B.
Italian dinners are usually on Tuesday.
Aperitivo is usually on Monday.
Weekends are usually free. There are however two exceptions: June 16 and 17 (welcome dinner and visit to HangarBicocca), and July 14 and 15 (trip to Isola Bella and move to Siena).
– Prof. Erspamer’s office hours are by appointment or on the bus during our Friday trips. At IULM: room TBA. In Siena: in the Refugio.
– Amelia’s office hours are TBA or by appointment. At IULM: room TBA). In Siena: in the Refugio.
– Christopher’s office hours are TBA or by appointment. At IULM: room TBS. In Siena: in the Refugio.
– Corrado’s office hours are TBA. At IULM TBA. In Siena: in the Refugio.

#: indicates events that are meant for entertainment and are not part of the course.

No prerequisites
This is a very interdisciplinary course, and it is intended for and geared towards students with many different academic backgrounds. No prior courses in the humanities or economics are required. Actually, part of what makes the discussion in this course rich and incisive is the very fact that our group will be composed of students in the arts and humanities, laboratory sciences, and social sciences, all together in one classroom.

Italian language
Optional Italian language instruction is offered at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. , though not for credit. Successful completion of the beginner course, though it is not for credit and not directly equivalent to Italian 10, will place students into Italian 11 in the fall semester. This would allow them to take Italian 20 in the spring, accelerating their language trajectory. The intermediate course is recommended for students who have already completed Italian 10, 11, or Italian 15, while the advanced course is recommended for those at any higher level.
In the beginner and intermediate courses there will be two 75-minute meetings per week (Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30am-11:45am). IULM classrooms: TBA. Siena classrooms: TBA.
The advanced class meets twice a week for a total of two hours (Monday and Wednesday, 9:30am-10:30am). IULM: TBA. Siena: Refugio.
It is strongly recommended that students with no prior background in Italian take one of the beginner classes, particularly in anticipation of joining Siena’s contrade in the final weeks of the program. Click here for more information about the language program.

Milano panorama 960x150


Saturday, June 15
Students arrive in Milan

Sunday, June 16

5:00 PM: Guided tour of HangarBicocca (Anselm Kiefer’s permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces, and another exhibition (TBA).

Welcome dinner at pizzeria La Magolfa (via Magolfa 15).

hangarbicocca kiefer 960x150

Week 1

Monday, June 17
– Reading: Douglas Harper, Visual Sociology, chapter 3 (“Reflexivity”).

2:00 PM: Fashion tour with Laura Branchizio, fashion brand adviser

  • TBA

Tuesday, June 18
– Readings: 1) Short selections from the Bible (Genesis, 1-3), Plato’s The Republic (book X, 595a-608b) and Symposium (201d-212a), Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier. 2) Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Futurist Manifesto.

8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Trattoria Ferrelli (via Carlo Farini 6).

Wednesday, June 19
– Readings: 1) Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, Preface and Part I, section I, book I.

3:30 PM: Guided tour of Fondazione Prada.

Thursday, June 20
– Reading: Kant, Critique of Judgment, Part I, section I, book II.

  • Italy on screen (room 401): Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (1988).

Friday, June 21

Field trip: Lake Garda.

  • 7:30 AM: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pola.
  • Visit to the Vittoriale, once home to the eccentric writer and political leader Gabriele d’Annunzio and now a museum that preserves his incredible collection of eclectic objects, memorabilia, furniture, and tapestries.
  • Class on Gabriele d’Annunzio in the open-air Amphitheater.
    – Reading: Gabriele d’Annunzio, Pleasure (Il piacere).
  • Boat trip around the peninsula of Sirmione.
  • Free time to tour the medieval town or for a swim in the lake.


Week 2

Monday, June 24

Tuesday, June 25
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Economy and culture: How culture creates value
– Readings: 1) David Hesmondhalgh, The Cultural Industries, second edition, introduction (“Change and Continuity, Power and Creativity”). 2) Pier Luigi Sacco, “Culture 3.0”.

8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Boccino (via Tortona 21).

Wednesday, June 26
– Readings: 1) Thomas Frank, The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism, chapter 6 (“Think Young: Youth Culture and Creativity”).  2) Henry A. Giroux, Disturbing Pleasures: Learning Popular Culture, chapter 1 (“Consuming Social Change: The United Colors of Benetton”).  3) Tibor Scitovsky, The Joyless Economy: The Psychology of Human Satisfaction, chapter 3 (“The Pursuit of Novelty”).
– Slideshow and discussion: The Benetton campaigns.

  • 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (room 401): Bella addormentata (Dormant Beauty), directed by Marco Bellocchio (2012).

Thursday and Friday, June 27-28

Field trip: Veneto

June 27

  • 7:30 AM: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pola.
  • Guided tour of Fabrica, Benetton’s communication research center.
  • Prosecco tasting (Cantina Gregoletto).
  • Overnight stay in San Martino castle.

June 28

  • Visit to Vicenza, the city of Andrea Palladio.
    – Visit to Villa La Rotonda.
    – Lunch at Ristorante Il Ceppo (via Palladio 196).
    – Visit to the Teatro Olimpico.
    – Visit to Basilica Palladiana and aperitivo.
  • Lecture by Luca Baraldi (Istituto Superiore di Scienze Religiose di Monte Berico), The Culture of Carnival.
    – Reading: Mikhail Bakhtin, “The Carnival.”



Week 3

Monday, July 1

Tuesday, July 2
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Culture, crossovers, and innovation

Wednesday, July 3
– Reading: Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just.

  • 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (room 401): Perfetti sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers), directed by Paolo Genovese (2016).

8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Antica Focacceria S. Francesco (via S. Paolo 15).

Thursday and Friday, July 4-5

Field trip: Trentino

July 4

  • 7:30 AM: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pola.
  • Cable car from Molveno to Altopiano di Pradel. Excursion at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites. Visit to to Malga Tovre and its educational farm.
  • Overnight stay in a hotel in the Lake Nembia nature reserve.

July 5

  • Trento: visit to the Gallerie, two former road tunnels that were transformed into a history museum.
  • Lecture by Pier Luigi Sacco, Heritage and Public Spaces.
  • Visit to MUSE science museum in Trento and Le Albere urban expansion project, both designed by architect Renzo Piano using the most innovative eco-sustainable technologies.
  • Free time to visit Trento.

Sunday, July 7

[# Draw of the three contrade that will run the Palio in addition to Chiocciola, Oca, Selva, Aquila, Onda, Torre, Istrice].

Trento MUSA 960x150

Week 4

Monday, July 8

Tuesday, July 9
Guest lecturer: Massimo Buscema (Semeion Research Center in Rome and University of Colorado, Denver), The beauty of algorithms. Please note: room 502.
– Reading: Dieter Wandschneider, “Beauty in Nature Both in Its Laws and Its Entities.”

  • 3:45 PM: Italy on screen (room 401): Il capitale umano (Human Capital), directed by Paolo Virzì (2013).

7:30 PM: apericena at Bar Bistro Squisitezze (via Gustavo Fara 30).

Wednesday, July 10
– Readings: Gregory Currie, “Realism of Character and the Value of Fiction.”  2) Franco Moretti, Signs Taken for Wonders: On the Sociology of Literary Forms, chapter 4 (“Homo Palpitans: Balzac’s Novels and Urban Personality”).

3:00 PM: A conversation on identity design with Antonio Romano, CEO of Inarea Identity & Design Network, and Eduardo Salierno, strategic consultant, in their new Milan office (via Andrea Doria 7).
– Workshop: Creating our program’s logo.

Thursday, July 11
Midterm exam

3:00 PM: Fashion tour with Federico Poletti (fashion journalist and independent curator).
Program TBA

Friday, July 12

Field trip: Lake Maggiore

  • 9:00 AM: Coach bus leaves from Residence Pola.
  • Visit of Isola Bella and its terraced gardens; guided tour of Borromeo Palace.
  • Lunch on the Isola dei Pescatori.

Saturday, July 13

11:00: Guided tour of Armani/Silos, a fashion art museum dedicated to the Armani style.



Sunday, July 14
Program moves to Siena.

9:00 AM: Coach bus leaves from Residence Pola..

8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Trattoria Papei.

SienaLandscape 960x150

Week 5

Monday, July 15
Sections (schedule TBA).

  • Savor Siena walk (2 hours; first group: 9:00 AM; second group: 11:00 AM; third group: 1:00 PM): taste cheeses, salami, ham, bread, olive oil, aged vinegar, wine, coffee, cakes, honey, saffron—with an emphasis on what is typical of Siena.

Tuesday, July 16 (room 149)
– Readings: 1) Pico della Mirandola, On the Dignity of Man.  2) Giorgio Vasari’s life of Michelangelo (from The Lives of the Artists, 1550).  3) Jonathan K. Nelson and Richard J. Zeckhauser, The Patron’s Payoff: Conspicuous Commissions in Italian Renaissance Art, chapter 3 (“Theories of Distinction: Magnificence and Signaling”).

  • 4:00 PM: Film (location Padiglione esterno, room B): Palio, directed by Cosima Spender (2015).

7:00 PM: Dinner at Contrada del Bruco (via del Comune 30). During the dinner each student is assigned to a contrada and will then participates in the preparations for the Palio and the ceremonies and events that precede it.

Wednesday, July 17 (room 149)
– Readings: 1) Brian Boyd, On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction, part 2 (“Evolution and Art”).

Thursday, July 18 (room 356)
– Reading: 1) Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (Le città invisibili). 2) Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron, Introduction to Day 1, novelle I, 1 (Ciappelletto), X, 9 (Messer Torello).

  • 4:00 PM: Italy on screen (Padiglione esterno, room B): Lazzaro felice, directed by Alice Rohrwacher (2018).

Friday, July 19

Field trip: The Val d’Orcia and Montalcino. With archeologist Stefano Campana (University of Siena).

  • Along the old Via Francigena, through the Crete Senesi hills.
  • Visit to the archeological site of Pieve di Pava, the hot springs of Bagno Vignoni, and the Abbey of San’Antino.
  • Wine tasting in Montalcino, home of the famous Brunello wine.Free time to visit the medieval town.

5 cappuccino art 960x150

Week 6

Monday, July 22

Tuesday, July 23 (class will take place at 3:00 PM in Santa Maria della Scala, Sala S. Ansano)
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Culture and health.

Guided tour of Santa Maria della Scala, former hospital of the city, now a museum..

Italian dinner at Il Pomodorino (via Camporegio 13).

Wednesday, July 24 (room 101)
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, The Creative City.

  • 3:00 PM: Italy on screen (location: Padiglione esterno, room B): La dolce vita, directed by Federico Fellini (1960). Discussion to follow at the Refugio..

Thursday, July 25

Field trip: Florence.

  • 8:00 AM: Bus leaves from via Roma in front of former Ospedale Psichiatrico (where the bus left us after our trip from Milan).
  • 10:00 AM: Florence, Palazzo Strozzi: Class on Machiavelli.
    – Reading: Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince.
  • 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00 PM: Discovery coffee course at the Espresso Academy, in Florence (2 hours). Instructor: Gabriele Cortopassi, barista, restaurant manager, coffee expert. See how coffee is blended and roasted. Learn the main types of coffee and the techniques for preparing espresso, cappuccino, latte. Then make your cappuccino with the heart

Friday, July 26


Week 7

Monday, July 29

Tuesday, July 30 (room 149)
– Readings: 1) Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”  2) Anthony Julius, Transgressions: The Offences of Art, chapter 1 (“A Transgressive Work and its Defences”).

Wednesday, July 31 (room 149)
– Readings: Martha Nussbaum, Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life, chapter 4 (“Poets as Judges”).  2) Doris Sommer, The Work of Art in the World, chapter 1 (“From the Top: Government-Sponsored Creativity.”

  • 3:00 PM: Italy on screen (Padiglione esterno, room B): Le fate ignoranti, (The Ignorant Fairies / His Secret Life), directed by Ferzan Özpetek (2001)..

8:30: Italian dinner at Trattoria Fonte Giusta (via Camollia 102).

Thursday, August 1 (room 356)
– Reading: Giovanni Della Casa, Galateo.

4:00 PM: Meeting with the deputy mayor of Siena and visit to Palazzo Pubblico. With a close analysis of Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government..

7:30 PM: Aperitivo and techno dj set with The Misha Sessions feat. PLS. At Cacio e pere (via dei Termini, 70).

Friday, August 2

Field trip: Lucca

  • 8:00 AM: Coach bus leaves from Porta Romana.
  • 10:00 AM: Guided visit to Piaggio Museum in Pontedera and to its collection of Vespa scooters.
  • Lunch at Trattoria Giulio in Pelleria (Lucca, via delle Conce 45).
  • Tour of Lucca on bike, tandem, or four-wheeled bicycle.
  • Lecture by Emanuele Vietina (Lucca Comics and Games) and Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini (Studio Kmzero), “E3 – Exhibition, Event, Experience: Art & Gaming: a new perspective on dealing with a constantly changing audience.”

Saturday, August 3, and Sunday, August 4

[# Antiques market in Arezzo.]


Week 8

Monday, August 5

Tuesday, August 6 (room 149)
– Reading: Crispin Sartwell, Six Names of Beauty, chapters 1 and 2 (and Foreword).

8:15 PM: Italian dinner at Osteria Castelvecchio (via Castelvecchio, 65).

Wednesday, August 7 (room 149)
– Readings: Sartwell, Six Names of Beauty, chapters 3 and 4.

  • 3:00 PM: Italy on screen (Padiglione esterno, room B): La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty), directed by Paolo Sorrentino (2013).

Thursday, August 8 (room 356)
– Reading: Sartwell, Six Names of Beauty: chapters 5 and 6 (and Coda).

8:15 PM (sala S. Ansano, Santa Maria della Scala): Guest lecturer: Silvana Kühtz (Università della Basilicata/Associazione Leggo quando voglio), Sensory concert: A reading of Italian poetry. With Susanna Crociani, sax.

Friday, August 9 (room 356)
– Readings: 1) John Dewey, Art as Experience, chapters 1 (“The Live Creature”) and 14 (“Art and Civilization”).  2) TBA

2:30 PM: Guided tour of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the oldest bank in the world still operating (it was founded in 1472).

Palio1 960x150

Week 9

Monday, August 12

  • 3:30 (at the Refugio)
    • Slideshow and discussion of the final projects.
    • Slideshow and discussion of the logo projects.

[# Palio events: 7:00 PM presentation of the drappellone (banner) in Cortile del Podestà, in Palazzo Pubblico].

Tuesday, August 13
Final exam/1

[# Palio events:
1:00 PM (be there 20 minutes earlier): La tratta (selection of the horses).
7:00 PM: first trial].

Wednesday, August 14
Final exam/2

[# Palio events: second and third trials.]

Thursday, August 15
Ferragosto: national holiday

[# Palio events: prova generale (final trial); and cena della prova generale, open-air dinner in each contrada].

Friday, August 16

The Palio
(rain date: Saturday, August 17)

Sunday, August 18
Program ends.


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