Pitt in Sicily: Italian

The Pitt in Sicily: Italian program runs alongside the Pitt in Sicily: Classics program. Participants on this program will be combined with participants of the Pitt in Sicily: Classics track for excursions/tours and the cross-listed ITAL 1154/CLASS 1154 course.

This program is designed for students interested in the Mediterranean region—from the history and archaeology of ancient Magna Grecia to contemporary debates surrounding mobility and migration. The rich cultural heritage and sweeping panoramas of Sicily are the setting for an unforgettable exploration of the Mediterranean’s history of exchange, hybridity, and conflict. Though based in the southeastern coastal town of Syracuse, we leave no corner of Sicily unexplored. Come visit some of the best-preserved Greek temples and theaters in Europe; tour Baroque towns, hidden caves, and lonely beaches; learn about Sicilian emigration and immigration; visit a traditional puppet theater and eat authentic cannoli; experience an internationally-renowned film festival; hike the slopes of Mt. Etna. Pitt in Sicily makes the whole island your classroom!


What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity:

  • to develop more advanced Italian language skills;
  • to understand Sicily as a place of exchange and encounter, from classical to more modern times, and explore its cultural, political, and geographical positions;
  • to study the history and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean in relationship to current questions of mobility, migration, interconnectedness, and globalization;
  • to explore ancient temples and theaters, tour Baroque towns, learn on-site about Sicily’s role in Italian Unification and WWII, hike the slopes of Mt. Etna, and visit beautiful beaches.

Syracuse is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheaters, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. Syracuse is located in the southeast corner of the island of Sicily, by the Gulf of Syracuse next to the Ionian Sea. Described by Cicero as "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”, this 2,700-year-old city played a key role in ancient times, when it was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world. Currently the city is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and has a population of around 125,000 people.


Where You'll Live: 

Students will stay in shared housing facilities within walking distance of the school. You can expect your housing to have the following:

  • 1-2 students in a room
  • Shared bathroom
  • Linens provided, will need to bring your own towels
  • Wifi for general browsing
  • Equipped kitchen (meals are not included in the program cost)

We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change. Contact your program manager with any questions.

What You'll Study: 

You will take two courses for a total of 6 credits. Both courses will be taught by Pitt faculty and will be comprised of lectures, guest speakers, city tours, and cultural activities. Students on this program must take either ITAL 0110 or ITAL 1111, but may not take both.

If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate, please meet with your academic advisor to discuss this program and what the courses will fulfill for you.

Mediterranean Crossroads (ITAL1154)

This course takes a place-based, diachronic approach to the study of Mediterranean interconnectedness, from the perspective of the main Sicilianisland and indeed the very notion of islandness. As Godfrey Baldacchino has written in the introduction to his seminal A World of Islands: “islands suggest themselves as terrae nullius, empty spaces, waiting, wanting, to be possessed: potential laboratories for any conceivable and uninhibited human project, in thought or in action...But: the small, remote and insular also suggests marginality, being on the edge, being out of sight and so out of mind, situations which can expose the weakness of mainstream ideas, orthodoxies, and received wisdoms, while fomenting alternatives to the status quo. Any dominant paradigm is supposedly weakest at its periphery.” Reflecting on Mediterranean islandness and the multicultural history of Sicily permits us to scrutinize the processes of transregional interconnectedness, mobility, and exchange that are hallmarks of historical globalization. Islands connect, but also divide; they are sites where identities are not only forged, but also blended and challenged; they offer a microcosm in which global issues may be observed and studied.

Introductory readings, screenings, and discussions (Week 1) introduce students to the interpretive possibilities of islands, their inherent polyvalence and multiplicity of perspectives, as well as to the theme of the outsider’s approach and landing on the Sicilian island, in particular. In Week 2, texts and discussions focus on the island’s eastern coast, and shift to themes of colonialism and imperialism, both in the classical world and in the post-Italian unification era: readings depict the Mediterranean both as a place of adventure and as a path for escape, with emphasis on Sicily’s history of colonial occupation and performances of imperial power. Sicily’s connections to broad transregional institutions and networks (ancient economies and social networks, the Persian Empire, the Catholic Church, and Jesuit missions to the Americas) shape Week 3 readings, discussions, and field trips to the Baroque environments of the Val di Noto. The last week of the course is conducted on site through an extended tour of the interior and Western part of the island: readings and discussions emphasize the Mediterranean and its islands, especially Sicily, as nodes in long-running systems of cross-border movement and exchange.

Cross listed with CLASS 1154

Modern Italy: Sicily (ITAL0110)

“Modern Italy: Sicily” is an intermediate-level course, taught in Italian, that explores contemporary Sicily through its literature, film, and popular culture. At the same time, it aims to help students improve their Italian proficiency in all skills (oral and written production, oral and written comprehension). Course texts and discussions will help us to examine themes that are central to understanding Sicilian culture and society, such as Sicily’s position within Italian national discourses; emigration from and immigration to the island; and myths and popular/folk culture. ITAL 0110 is the Study Abroad counterpart--in goals, objectives, and levels--to Oakland-campus courses such as ITAL 0113 (Contemporary Italian Society), ITAL 0115 (Performing Italian), and ITAL 0117 (Italies). As such, it may be applied to the Italian minor or majors in the same ways as these analogous courses. Students wishing to enroll in this course must have completed ITAL 0103 with a B- or better before beginning the Pitt in Sicily program and may have already taken one or two of these intermediate-level courses.

Italian Program students on Pitt in Sicily must take either ITAL 0110 or ITAL 1111, but may not take both.

Reading (in) Italy (ITAL1111)

“Reading (in) Italy: Sicily” explores contemporary Sicily through its literature, film, and popular culture, while helping students to develop advanced reading and oral expression competencies. Course texts and discussions will help us to examine themes that are central to understanding Sicilian culture and society, such as Sicily’s position within Italian national discourses; emigration from and immigration to the island; and myths and popular/folk culture. This advanced-level course, taught in Italian, counts for the Italian minor and both major tracks. Students wishing to enroll in this course must have completed any two of the following courses with a B- or better before beginning the Pitt in Sicily program: ITAL 0113, ITAL 0115, ITAL 0117.

Italian Program students on Pitt in Sicily must take either ITAL 0110 or ITAL 1111, but may not take both.

We run this program in cooperation with EXEDRA Mediterranean Center’s, whose mission is to foster international connections and understanding by hosting custom and faculty-led programs for universities from all over the world. The EXEDRA team has years of experience in organising study-abroad programs, workshops, conferences and cultural events and you can be sure you will have support and expertise with any questions you might have.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Lauren Perri

Hi! I'm Lauren, Program Manager for Arts & Sciences students. As an undergraduate student, I studied abroad in Marburg, Germany. Since then, my career in international education has taken me to many locations around the world. Particularly, I have an affinity for Florence, Italy. There is nothing quite like the challenge of navigating a new city, country, and culture! Let's chat about global experiences.

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways! 

  • Schedule an appointment with me using my personal link.
  • Login to Pathways with your Pitt username and password
  • Select Find Available Time
  • Select the time you want to meet
  • Review the appointment and click the schedule button
  • You will see a graphic that confirms that you have made an appointment with me & receive a confirmation in your Pitt email 

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email at lap140@pitt.edu

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Lina Insana

Professor Lina Insana is faculty co-director of Pitt in Sicily. She studies and teaches about Italy from its unification in 1861 to the present day, specifically its literatures, cultures, and languages. On the Oakland campus, her classes cover topics such as Fascism and Resistance; Holocaust Literature; Italian American film; Italian translation; and Sicilian literature. She has directed different past iterations of Pitt in Italy’s summer program in Florence (2000, 2003), Siracusa (2007), and Genova (2018). Professor Insana’s current research focuses on how culture shapes the Sicilian island’s belonging to other configurations of identity, such as Italy, Europe, and the Mediterranean. Her parents were from the province of Messina (straight up the eastern coast from Siracusa) and she’s been visiting (and in love with) the island since she was a toddler.  

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Program Fee $5,600.00 $5,800.00
Study Abroad Fee $300.00 $300.00
Total Billed by Pitt $5,900.00 $6,100.00

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare ~1,500
Meals and Personal Expenses $1000 - $1,200


Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.


What's Included: 

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for six Pitt credits
  • Shared accommodations throughout the program
  • International travel health insurance throughout the dates of the program
  • Class related activities 
  • Cultural activities
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • Excursions to Catania and Mount Etna, Morgantina/Gela, and Selinunte/Segesta and more!
When You'll Go: 

The program will run from mid-June to mid-July.

What Else You Need to Know: 

Students interested in this program must have completed ITAL 0103.

Please note: Program activities require extensive walking/hiking. This program is heavily structured. As such, there would be very little possibility of independent travel during official program dates.