Milan and Siena 2023

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Before leaving

  • Arriving late in Milan or departing early from Siena is not permitted. It is important for all students to be present for the entire duration of the program. The first event in the program will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, July 17. It is strongly recommended that you arrive in Milan on Friday, June 16, so that you can settle in and proceed to purchase your city transportation pass. Your rooms in Residence Zara are booked from that day. Preferably arrive by 5 PM so that you can also attend the welcome dinner. If you need to arrive on the morning of June 17, please notify Prof. Erspamer well in advance so that he can inform the Residence and arrange your check-in.
  • If you do not have a current passport (valid for at least three months after the last day of the program and with at least two empty ‘visa’ pages), then apply for one as soon as possible.
  • U.S. and E.U. citizens will not need to obtain a visa for their stay in Italy. Some international students (depending on nationality) may need to obtain a visa though. If that is the case, you are responsible for gathering all documentation and going to the Italian Consulate to obtain the visa. Obtaining a visa might be a lengthy process; do start it as soon as you joined the program. Please apply for a tourist visa (“short term”), not for a student visa. Click here for more information about visas.
  • You must have a health insurance plan that provides full coverage during your stay in Italy. If when you filled out the application you didn’t enter your own health insurance information, then you will be automatic enrolled, for a fee, in the Harvard Summer School plan.
  • If you arrive in Italy before the beginning of the program or stay after the end, be sure to have health coverage. International SOS will assist you up to a week before and a week after the official period of the program. You can purchase from them coverage and assistance for the extra days or weeks that you plan to spend in Europe.
    Download on your smartphone the International SOS Assistance App and register to it. Register your trip in MyTrips.
    Please remember to bring with you a sufficient supply of any necessary prescribed medication: in Italy you might not be able to find that medication, or it could require a prescription by an Italian doctor.
    All participants are encouraged to travel with a basic first-aid kit. It might include: aspirin or ibuprofen, antacids for stomach upset, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness pills, antibiotic ointment, decongestant, band-aids, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. Mosquito repellent is particularly important, especially in Milan.
  • Students with disabilities or who have accommodation needs due to a disability must contact the Accessibility Services Office. Click here for more information.
  • Please complete all the steps and tasks required by the Summer School; for more information check this page.
  • Book your flight to Italy in advance; prices may increase and fewer options may become available. You may want to contact other students in order to travel together and share the cost of taxis to and from the airport.
    Remember that with most flights to Europe you will be departing the day before the day you wish to arrive.
    When purchasing your ticket be sure that the fare includes one checked bag (usually 44 or 50 lbs).
    For your return flight you may consider leaving from the airports in Rome Fumicino, Florence, or Pisa rather than from Milan. Your accommodation in Siena has been booked until Friday, August 18.
    Note that if the intermediate stop of your return flight is in Europe your luggage will be sent directly to your final destination. If it is in the United States you’ll have to clear customs at that airport. Aer Lingus allows you to clear U.S. customs in Dublin, before boarding your plane.
    Click here for more information about your return flight.
    Click here for information on how to get to your residence in Milan from the airport.
  • It is imperative that you travel with no more than one suitcase and one carry-on. If students come with too much luggage, it will be impossible to fit it all on our transport buses from Milan to Trento and from Trento to Siena, and you might have to ship your extra luggage. You may choose to fill your suitcase only partially in case you want to bring back purchases after the summer.
  • Depending on the place and time of your departure, you may find it difficult to get to the airport from Siena on the same day by public transportation. In that case, consider sharing a taxi (ideally an 8-passenger minibus) with other students to get directly to the airport from Siena.
  • It is advisable that you take a photograph of your suitcase before departure in case it gets lost.
  • Please remember that you must purchase the following four books in advance and in the United States. You’ll then have to bring the books to Italy. The books are:
    – Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (Harcourt).
    – Giovanni Della Casa, Galateo or, The Rules of Polite Behavior (Chicago University Press).
    – Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (Penguin Classics)
    – Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just (Princeton University Press).
    Click here for more information.
    It is strongly suggested that you read at least the readings for the first week before the beginning of the program, and in particular Kant’s selection (almost 200 pages) and d’Annunzio’s novel. Click here for more information.
  • To enable us to purchase upon your arrival in Milan the public transportation pass that will allow you unlimited rides on buses and subway trains within the city limits, you must have already registered on the ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi) website and purchased at your own expense (10 €) the electronic card on which the pass will be loaded. Please understand that this is a process that may take half an hour; therefore, it would be convenient for you to complete it during the days prior to your arrival in Milan or during stops on your air travel to Italy. For detailed instructions on how to purchase the electronic card, click this link.
  • For the duration of the program, students are asked to have a working smartphone so that teachers can reach them in case of emergency and vice versa. Ask your American carrier for international plans and be sure that the phone would work in Europe. It may be cheaper to buy an Italian SIM card with a pre-paid account upon arrival in Italy. The SIM can be used with an American phone only if it is a tri-band or quad-band phone, if it has been unlocked, and if it has GSM capabilities. Otherwise, you should purchase a cell phone in Milan.
    We have found that an efficient way of communicating and putting students in contact with one another is to create a WhatsApp group. Please join WhatsApp if you have not yet done so; it allows cheaper calls to and from Italy.
    Click here for more information about cell phones and cell phone plans in Italy.
  • Please note that credit cards transactions may be denied because done overseas and your card may be blocked. To prevent this inconvenience, inform in advance your credit card that you will spend two months in Italy.
    Google Pay and Apple Pay are accepted but not everywhere; check with your bank if they will authorize payments in Italy and ask about any fees they may charge for overseas usage.
    If you use your debit card to withdraw euros at an Italian teller machine, you may be charged a fee. Ask your American bank if they have a partner institution in Italy, so that you can withdraw cash in their branches without paying a fee.
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