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Florence: Ancient and Medieval History
Florence, Italy (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Fall
Homepage: Click to visit
Budget Sheets Fall
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA:
Class Standing:
2.5 - Second Semester Sophomore
Courses Offered:
Agriculture, Anthropology, Archeology, Architecture, Art History, History, International Business, Italian, Political Science, Psychology
Type of Program:
Direct Enrollment, Study Center
Language of Instruction:
English, Italian
Language Requirement:
0 - none
Education Abroad Adviser:
Kathleen Fox
Internship Available:
Non-Penn State Students:
Global Programs Scholarships:
Diversity Grant-in-Aid, Grant-in-Aid
Program Description:

ISI Florence Logo

Please watch this brief video that provides an overview of this exciting new program in Florence!

Fiesole VistaThe Ancient and Medieval History program at International Studies Institute (ISI) in Florence was developed from an initiative of the History Department at Penn State University and ISI Florence.  Dr. Kathryn Salzer, Associate Professor of Medieval History, will be the first Penn State faculty member to teach at ISI in the program's launch semester (Fall 2013).  The program is supported by the Università di Firenze, the Sovrintendenza Archeologica della Toscana and by the Archeodig Project.

As part of the Ancient and Medieval History program, students participate in a series of study tours and field trips, taking full advantage of Florence's central geographical  position to properly cover Italy's contribution to the history of the Ancient and Medieval Mediterranean world.

{C}{C}{C}Students joining the Ancient and Medieval History program have the unique opportunity to actively participate in the archaeological excavation of an area in the center of Fiesole, a small town perched on a hill just two miles north of Florence.  The project, developed in collaboration with the Università di Firenze, will be launched in 2013 under the guidance of the Tuscan Superintendence of Archaeological Heritage, and coordinated by the Archeodig Project. Our students will work in the so-called Area Garibaldi, terrain which, after a cursory investigation, revealed the presence of Longobard tombs rich in gold grave goods above the ruins of a Roman settlement.
Fiesole, Italy Student Dig
Thanks to its position, Fiesole, whose area shows traces of settlements at least as early as the Bronze age (ca 2000 BCE), became an important Etruscan trade center, and later, during the 1st century BCE, a Roman town. The archaeological area of Fiesole includes a Roman theater,
a temple that replaced the earlier Etruscan edifice, and the baths, all very well preserved. After the fall of the Empire, Fiesole was occupied by the Longobards (6th-7th century CE), as the recovery of many tombs and objects attests.

The historical and archaeological richness of this territory, as well as its crucial role in the founding of the ancient city
of Florence, make Fiesole an ideal site for our students' field experience. Furthermore, they will have the chance to work side by side with Italian undergraduates from the University of Florence, making the overall experience invaluable from both an academic and a cultural point of view.

This program does not require any specific prerequisite courses.  However, some Penn State departments or colleges (e.g., the Smeal College of Business) may require students to complete certain courses prior to studying abroad; please check with your department or college to see if you have any specific departmental requirements.

Education Abroad Credits
You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas of a Pass/Fail basis. 


The schedule of classroom lectures will be coordinated with the fieldwork, the lab activities and the joint interdisciplinary field trips also included in the program. Students enrolling in the Ancient and Medieval History program for Fall 2013 will take:

•    Ancient Rome and the Mediterranean, Dr. Erika Bianchi (ISI Florence), 3 credits
     PSU course
equivalency number CAMS/History 101

•    Field Archaeology, Dr. Carolina Megale (ISI Florence), 3 credits
     PSU course
equivalency number CAMS 150

•    Architecture: Roman to Early Christian, Dr. Silvia Catitti (ISI Florence), 3 credits
     PSU course
equivalency number ART H 199

•    Early Medieval Society, Dr. Kathryn Salzer (PSU), 3 credits
      PSU course equivalency number HIST 407

•    Italian Language, ISI Florence Italian Department faculty, 3 credits
     PSU course equivalency number varies based on level of instruction

Field Work

Students will complete a two-week archaeological excavation experience in
Fiesole, a small hill town north of Florence.

Study Tours and Field Trips (1-3 days)

•    Populonia, Etruscan-Roman site; acropolis, necropolis, and medieval castle
•    Rome, highlights of the Empire such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon; museums; Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli
•    Ravenna, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, San Vitale and Sant'Apollinare Nuovo
•    Pompeii, Stabiae and the National Archaeological Museum of Naples

To see what kind of credit students in past semesters have received for courses taken on this program, visit the Florence Course Equivalency List*. Keep in mind you will need to complete the course equivalency process once you have been accepted to your program and after you have completed your registration abroad. To obtain specific instructions on this process visit our Course Equivalencies page. To learn how the courses on this program can work into your individual degree audit, meet with your academic adviser.

Students may not fulfill GHA (General Health and Activity) general education requirements abroad.

*The University Office of Global Programs is committed to making its websites accessible to all users. As such we are currently developing a new course equivalency database which will launch in Academic Year 2014-2015. In the meantime if you require an accessible version of the course equivalency information provided for this program please contact

Housing and Meals
You will live in an apartment (arranged by the host institution) with other program participants. Apartments are scattered around the city (thus avoiding a concentration of American students in one particular area) and are within walking distance of the Institute.  Units include small kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and communal living space. Basic kitchen supplies and bedding are supplied. Students are responsible for providing their own meals.

Program Costs
Fiesole Coin at DigFor more information on program costs, please be sure to review the Budget Sheets listed above. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information.

Please note that tuition rates above may vary depending on major and class standing.

Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.

The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please see Funding Study Abroad.

For More Information
For more information about this program and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. Students at University Park can also contact their International Coordinator within their college. If you're not at University Park, students at Commonealth Campuses can contact their Campus Global Representative.
To learn more about the specifics of this program, schedule an appointment with Kate Fox, the education abroad adviser for this program.

For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the GeoBlogs of Penn State students currently studying abroad.


Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2014 01/20/2014
03/15/2014 08/27/2014 12/13/2014

Indicates that deadline has passed