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, 11:10-1:00. At IULM: room 158. At Università di Siena: Presidio San Niccolò, room 468.
Sections are on Monday, 10:45-12:00. At IULM: rooms 151 (Amelia) and 158 (Corrado). At Università di Siena: San Niccolò, rooms 447 (Amelia) and 450 (Corrado).
Field trips are usually on Friday; they last the entire day. There are two two-day trips on June 27-28 (Thursday-Friday) and July 5-6 (Friday-Saturday). In Milan the bus will pick you up in front of Residence Pian della Nave; 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 usually on Wednesday in 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: San Niccolò, 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 15 and 16 (welcome dinner and visit to HangarBicocca), and July 13 and 14 (visit to Fondazione Prada and move to Siena).
– Prof. Erspamer’s office hours are immediately after class, on the bus during our Friday trips, or by appointment.
– Amelia’s office hours: at IULM, Tuesday, 1:00 to 3:00 PM, in the cafeteria at in Bar Centrale; in Siena, in the Refugio, time TBA.
– Corrado’s office hours: at IULM, Tuesday and Wednesday, 1:00 to 2:30 PM, in Bar Centrale; in Siena, in the Refugio, time TBA.
– Prof. Sacco’s office hours: at IULM, July 4, 2:00-3:30 PM; in Siena, July 24, 10:00-11:00 AM, in the Refugio.

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 courses there will be two 75-minute meetings per week (Tuesday and Thursday, 2:15-3:30 PM). IULM classrooms: 117 and 158. Siena classrooms: 455 and 456.
The intermediate class meets twice a week (Monday and Wednesday, 10:00-11:10 AM). IULM: 157. Siena: 455.
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

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


Saturday, June 15
Students arrive in Milan

8:00 PM: Dinner at ristorante and pizzeria Tutto giusto (via Porpora 113).

Sunday, June 16

5:00 PM: Guided tour of HangarBicocca (Anselm Kiefer’s permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces, and another exhibition.
– Reading: Georg. W. Bertram, Art As Human Practice, Introduction.

7:00 PM: Welcome aperitivo at Iuta Bistrot (HangarBicocca).

hangarbicocca kiefer 960x150

Week 1

Monday, June 17
10:00 AM: Orientation.
– 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) Douglas Harper and Patrizia Paccioli, The Italian Way: Food & Social Life, part II, chapter 2 (“Food Combinations, Meal Sequence, and Bodily Well-Being”).

2:30 PM: Fashion tour with Laura Branchizio, fashion brand adviser
– Reading: Roland Barthes, The Language of Fashion , chapter 1 (“History and Sociology of Clothing”).

  • Guided visits of White Street Market, Marras concept store, Tomorrow showroom, Marina Guidi – Garage showroom.

8:00 PM: Welcome dinner at pizzeria La Magolfa (via Magolfa 15).

Tuesday, June 18
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Economy and culture: How culture creates value
– Reading: Pier Luigi Sacco, “From Culture 1.0 to Culture 3.0: Three Socio-Technical Regimes of Social and economic Value Creation through Culture.”

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

  • 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (room 401): Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (1988).

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

4:00 PM: Armani/Silos, a fashion art museum dedicated to the Armani style. Guided tour of the collection and of the exhibit The Challenge, dedicated to architect Tadao Ando.

Friday, June 21

Field trip: Lake Garda.

  • 7:30 AM: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pian della Nave.
  • 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).
  • Lunch at Ristorante Pizzeria Ulivi.
  • Boat trip around the peninsula of Sirmione (Sirmione Boats).
  • Free time to tour the medieval town or for a swim in the lake.


Week 2

Monday, June 24

6:30 PM: Aperitivo.

Tuesday, June 25
– 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) Anthony Julius, Transgressions: The Offences of Art, chapter 1 (“A Transgressive Work and its Defences”).  3) Tibor Scitovsky, The Joyless Economy: The Psychology of Human Satisfaction, chapter 3 (“The Pursuit of Novelty”).
– Slideshow and discussion: The Benetton campaigns.

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.

Wednesday, June 26
– Reading: Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just.

  • 2:00 PM (room 502): Italy on screen (room 401): Bella addormentata (Dormant Beauty), directed by Marco Bellocchio (2012).

8:00 PM: Italian dinner at La balera dell’ortica (via G. A. Amadeo 78).

Thursday and Friday, June 27-28

Field trip: Trentino

June 27

  • 7:30 AM: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pian della Nave.
  • 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.

June 28

  • Trento: visit to the Gallerie, two former road tunnels that were transformed into a history museum. With Giuseppe Ferrandi, director of the Foundation of the Historical Museum of Trentino.
  • Ropeway ride to Sardagna. Typical regional lunch at Osteria San Rocco.
  • Visit to MUSE science museum and Le Albere urban expansion project, both designed by architect Renzo Piano using eco-sustainable technologies.
  • Free time to visit Trento.


Week 3

Monday, July 1

6:30 PM: Aperitivo.

Tuesday, July 2
3:45 PM (room 135): Guest lecturer: Massimo Buscema (Semeion Research Center in Rome and University of Colorado, Denver), The beauty of algorithms. Please note the afternoon schedule and the location.
Reading: 1) Dieter Wandschneider, “Beauty in Nature Both in Its Laws and Its Entities.”

7:30 PM: Italian dinner at Boccino (via Tortona 21).

Wednesday, July 3
Guest lecturer: Emanuela Scarpellini (University of Milan), Italian fashion.
– Readings: Emanuela Scarpellini, “The Business of Fashion.”

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

Thursday, July 4
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Culture, crossover, and innovation.
– Reading: David Hesmondhalgh, The Cultural Industries, second edition, introduction (“Change and Continuity, Power and Creativity”).

4:00 PM: Triennale Milano Guided tour of the Museo del design italiano and of the exhibit Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival,

Friday and Saturday, July 5-6

Field trip: Veneto

July 5

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

July 6

  • 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.”

Sunday, July 7

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


Week 4

Monday, July 8

Tuesday, July 9

Wednesday, July 10
Midterm exam

  • 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (room 401): Il capitale umano (Human Capital), directed by Paolo Virzì (2013).

    6:00 PM: apericena at Bar Bistro Squisitezze (via Gustavo Fara 30).

Thursday, July 11

Field trip: Lake Maggiore

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

Friday, July 12

– Reading: Giovanni Della Casa, Galateo.

Italian classes originally usually scheduled for Thursday will take place today.

4:00 PM: Guided tour of Fondazione Prada.

Saturday, July 13

6:00 PM: Aperitivo.



Sunday, July 14
Program moves to Siena.

9:00 AM: Coach bus leaves from Residence Pian della Nave..

8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Trattoria Papei.

SienaLandscape 960x150

Week 5

Monday, July 15
10:00 AM (Padiglione esterno, room B): Palio, directed by Cosima Spender (2015).
– Reading: Jane Tylus, Siena: City of Secrets, chapter 4 (“Neighborhoods”).
[Please meet in front of the Refugio at 9:45 to walk together to the Padiglione esterno]

Savor Siena walk (at Tuscan Wine School, Via Stalloreggi, 26): 2 hours; first group (Corrado’s aperitivo group): 3:30-5:30 PM; second group (Amelia’s group): 4:30-6:30 PM): an introduction to Siena while tasting cheeses, Tuscan bread, olive oil, aged vinegar, wine, coffee, honey, saffron, and gelato—with an emphasis on what is typical and local.

Tuesday, July 16
– Reading: Brian Boyd, On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction, part 2 (“Evolution and Art”).

8:00 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

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: TBA
    – Reading: Jeffrey Schnap, “The Romance of Caffeine and Aluminium.”
  • 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.

Thursday, July 18
– Readings: Brian Boyd, On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction, part 3 (“Evolution and Fiction”).

  • 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (Padiglione esterno, room B): Lazzaro felice, directed by Alice Rohrwacher (2018).

Friday, July 19
– 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).
[NO Italian classes today]

5 cappuccino art 960x150

Week 6

Monday, July 22

Tuesday, July 23
Guest lecturer: Christopher Brown, Bells of beauty.

  • 3:00 PM, 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
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, The creative city.
Reading: Pier Luigi Sacco et al., “Two Versions of Heterotopia: The Role of Art Practices in Participative Urban Renewal Processes.”

  • 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..

7:30 PM: Aperitivo and techno dj set with The Misha Sessions feat. PLS. At TBA.

Thursday, July 25
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Heritage and public spaces.
Reading: Yujie Zhu, “Performing Heritage: Rethinking Authenticity in Tourism.”

Friday, July 26

Santa Maria della Scala Pellegrinaio 960x150

Week 7

Monday, July 29

Tuesday, July 30
– Readings: 1) Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”  2) Chantal Mouffe, “Art and Democracy: Art as an Agnostic Intervention in Public Space.”  3) Doris Sommer, The Work of Art in the World, chapter 1 (“From the Top: Government-Sponsored Creativity.”

Wednesday, July 31
– 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”).

  • 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
– Reading: Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince.

4:00 PM: Visit to Palazzo Pubblico. With a close analysis of Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government..

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).
  • Riding the medieval walls 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
– Reading: Crispin Sartwell, Six Names of Beauty, chapters 1, 2, and 3 (and Foreword).

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

Wednesday, August 7
– Reading: Sartwell, Six Names of Beauty, chapters 4, 5, and 6 (and Coda).

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

Thursday, August 8 (Padiglione esterno, room B):
– Slideshow and discussion of the final projects.
– Slideshow and discussion of the logo projects.

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
– Readings: 1) John Dewey, Art as Experience, chapters 1 (“The Live Creature”) and 14 (“Art and Civilization”).  2) Martha Nussbaum, Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life, chapter 4 (“Poets as Judges”).

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


Week 9

Monday, August 12

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 hot springs of Bagno Vignoni, and the Abbey of San’Antimo.
  • Wine tasting in Montalcino, home of the famous Brunello wine.Free time to visit the medieval town.

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

Tuesday, August 13
Review section (at the Regugio).

  • 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (screening will take place in the Hotel NH Siena): The Place, directed by Paolo Genovese (2017).

[# 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

[# 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

Saturday, August 17
The Palio: rain date

Sunday, August 18
Program ends.

Palio1 960x150


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