Milan and Siena 2017

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Before leaving

If you do not have a current and valid passport (valid for at least six months after the last day of the program), then apply for one as soon as possible.
U.S. and E.U. citizens will not need to obtain a tourist 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. 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.

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, mosquito repellent.

Students with disabilities or who have accommodation needs due to a disability should contact immediately the Accessibility Services Office. Your request must be submitted by February 24. Note that accommodations do not automatically transfer from Harvard College. Click here for more information. E-mail: accessibility@dcemail.harvard.edu. Phone: 617-998-9640; 617-495-9419 (TTY).

Please remember that you are required to sign and return to the Summer School the Conditions of Participation and Assumption of Risk and General Release form, and the Health Clearance form.

Book your flight to Italy as soon as possible as prices may increase and fewer options will be available. You may want to contact other students in order to travel together and share the cost of taxis to and from the airport. Please understand that if OCS is paying for your airfare you will not receive that money until April.
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.
Although the program officially begins on Sunday, June 18 (in the afternoon we’ll have a guided tour of HangarBicocca), you must arrive in Milan and check in at the residence Pola on Saturday, June 17. If you have to arrive on Friday the 16th we should be able to arrange for an extra night at the Residence Pola. Remember that with most flights to Europe this will mean departing the day before the day you wish to arrive.

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, the Collegio Santa Chiara, has been booked until Friday, August 18.
Depending on the place and time of your departure, you may find it difficult to get to the airport from Siena the same day by public transportation. In that case, consider sharing a taxi (either a 8-passenger minibus or a 6-passenger minivan) with other students to get directly to the airport from Siena.
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. The Residence Pola is at walking distance from Milano Centrale, the main train station and the destination of all shuttles from the airports. If nevertheless you plan to take a taxi from Malpensa airport, consider booking it a few days in advance at the Consorzio taxi Malpensa site. A reservation would ensure that you’ll pay the fixed rate (€90.00) and that you won’t risk not finding a taxi: the driver would meet you in the arrivals hall.

If you plan trips by train or bus it is advisable to purchase also those tickets beforehand to take advantage of economy fares. You can travel on every weekend with the exception of July 15 and 16, when we will have a trip and then move to Siena. You must remain in Siena also in the days immediately before the Palio, that is, the weekend of August 12 and 13.
Click here for more information about transportation in Italy.
Please note that there will be a three-day weekend on July 28, 29, and 30. There is plenty to see and do in Siena and Tuscany, but if you plan a trip to a more distant location, that would be a good moment in which to do so.
Check these pages for suggested trips from Milan and from Siena or for interesting events taking place in Italy during our stay.

Please remember that you must purchase the books for the course 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).
– Gabriele d’Annunzio, Pleasure (Penguin).
– Emmanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment (Dover).
– Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (Oxford).
– Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just (Princeton University Press).
Click here for more information.

For the duration of the program, students are asked to have a working cellular phone so that teachers can reach them in case of emergency and vice versa. Ask your American carrier for international plans. It is usually cheaper to buy an Italian SIM card with a pre-paid account upon arrival in Italy. The SIM can be used with an American cell phone only if it is tri-band or quad-band, if it has been unlocked, and if it has GSM capabilities. Otherwise, you should purchase a cell phone in Milan. Click here for more information about cell phones and cell phone plans in Italy.

Bring with you a couple of passport-size photos. You will need one for your bus and subway weekly pass in Milan. Otherwise you’ll find photo booths in the main subway stations in Milan, including Romolo (the station close to IULM University).

It is strongly recommended that you travel with only one suitcase (max 50 lbs) and one carry-on. If students come with too much luggage, it will be difficult, as a group, to fit it all on the transport bus from Milan to Siena. You may choose to fill your suitcase only partially in case you want to bring back purchases after the summer, or you may choose to bring a collapsible duffel bag to bring empty on the way to Italy, then to fill and pay to have checked on the way home.