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International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889
[email protected]

Office hours
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843
[email protected]

Buildings on the side of a mountain in Volterra, Italy.

Art and Art History in Volterra, Italy

Oakland University's faculty-led program is a six-week immersion in Tuscan culture and traditions in the beautiful medieval city of Volterra, Italy. Courses in art history, Italian language, and alabaster sculpture combine to offer students an intensive educational and cultural experience, which may be applied to a wide variety of interests and majors. 

Course: AH 3910: Visual Cultures of the Italian Peninsula (4 credits) 

Program Dates: June 15- July 29, 2024 

Application Deadline: March 1 (Apply by February 1 for best consideration for scholarships)

For more information contact:

Donna Voronovich, Special Lecturer, Art History
[email protected]

Galina Tirnanic, Associate Professor, Art History
[email protected]

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Program Overview

Students fly together to Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region and home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. Travel continues by bus to the beautiful medieval city of Volterra where students immerse in Tuscan culture and traditions.

For the next six weeks, students are based in Volterra, a walled town southwest of Florence, and home to the central Palazzo dei Priori with medieval frescoes, the Volterra Cathedral, and the Guarnacci Etrurian Museum with a rich collection of archaeological artifacts. Students will explore the nearby remains of the Etruscan Acropolis and the Roman Theater complex with ruins of 3rd-century baths.

In addition to daily course work and local explorations, students participate in excursions to Rome, the capital city of Italy generally considered to be the cradle of Western civilization. Explore Florence, home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture including the iconic Duomo, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, which displays Michelangelo’s David sculpture. Students can shop Florence’s world-famous leather market and cross the Ponte Vecchio. In Siena, a city distinguished by its medieval brick buildings, students see the Palazzo Pubblico, the Gothic town hall, and Torre del Mangia, a slender 14th-century tower with sweeping views from its distinctive white crown.

Students can take optional excursions to Venice, built on a grid of canals between more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, and to Pompeii, a vast archaeological site buried under ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The preserved site features excavated ruins of streets and houses to explore. 

Students have time on weekends throughout the program to explore Italy on their own. Following the program, students depart from Florence – although many choose to remain on in Europe to travel on their own.


Requirements: A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Students with lower GPAs will be considered with permission of the instructor.

Course: AH 3910: Study Abroad in Art History: Visual Cultures of the Italian Peninsula (4 credits)

This course is taught in English by OU faculty on-site at the Volterra International Residential College. Students spend most days visiting important architectural sites and museums in Volterra, the region, and other locations in Italy. Lectures in Italian Language and Culture and masterclasses in Alabaster Sculpture and other artistic topics are taught by local instructors.

Housing and Food

Students will reside in the Volterra International Residential College, a beautiful, newly renovated facility specifically designed for academic use. The accommodations are located within the medieval city walls of Volterra, only a short walk from the Piazza dei Priori, the city center. 

The first two floors house classrooms and common spaces, and the top floors contain the resident faculty apartments and double occupancy dormitories for up to 21 students. All guest rooms of the Volterra International Residential College enjoy magnificent views of the city and of the surrounding countryside.

Students are on their own for meals with the opportunity to explore culture through cuisine at local restaurants, cafes and bistros. Volterra cuisine is a hearty variant on classic Tuscan cooking and includes dishes of delicious fresh pasta, lasagna and eggplant to traditional pizza, gnocchi and artisan breads. The local specialty zuppa volterrana, a thick vegetable and bread soup, is sure to be a favorite.


Tuition: 4 Credits

You will be charged for these credits on your eBill at your normal rate of tuition.

Program Fee: $3,600

To be paid to OU on our MarketPlace payment system and includes: housing and some meals, ground transportation and all excursions while in Italy, and health insurance.

Additional Costs: $3,275

You will need additional funds for these expenses not covered by program fee. Amounts are estimated.
Airfare: $1,200
Meals: $1,200
Incidental personal expenses: $600
Passport (if you don't have one): $175
Airport transfer in Italy: $50
Books and supplies: $50

Scholarships and Financial Aid: You are able to use financial aid to cover your full cost of attendance to this program (tuition, program fee and additional costs). Scholarships are also available through your study abroad application.