Nestled in the Tuscan countryside, Siena is a beautiful medieval city located 35 miles southwest of Florence. Immerse yourself in Italian society, cuisine, and culture, while enjoying easy access to the Tuscan capital, the sea, and the renowned Tuscan landscape.

Enroll in a course on the history and tradition of the Palio and Contrade of Siena or study Tuscan culture and cuisine. By combining coursework with study outside the classroom, you will experience the rich cultural heritage of Tuscany.

This program offers you an opportunity to get an insider’s view of the Palio—a famous horse race which occurs every summer in one of the most recognized piazzas in the world, Piazza del Campo. Each race horse represents one of the 17 historic neighborhoods, or contrade, of Siena, to which Sienese identity is fundamentally tied.

As a student on this program, you discover how the Palio is not simply a horse race, but a combination of rituals, rules, and traditions that have roots in the Middle Ages. Study the economic, socio-historic, and cultural aspects of Tuscan food by participating in cooking classes and visiting restaurants, gelato laboratories, dairies, and vineyards.

Quick Facts

  • Center: IES Abroad Siena
  • City: Siena
  • Country: Italy
  • Program Credits: 6 credits
  • Language of Instruction: English, Italian
  • Language Prerequisites: None

Program Dates

After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.

Summer 2018

June 18-August 2

Upcoming Application Deadlines:

Application deadline has passed


Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences.

You are required to enroll 2 courses, for a total of 6 credits. You can take 2 area studies courses or 1 language course plus 1 area studies course.

Past disciplines have included:

  • Culture & Cuisine
  • History
  • Italian Language (beginning and intermediate)
  • Sociology


This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.

Cultural Studies

SO/CU/HS 250 - History and Culture of Food in Italy and Tuscany (Summer)


  • HS 255 - The Palio and the Contrade of Siena (Summer)
  • SO/CU/HS 250 - History and Culture of Food in Italy and Tuscany (Summer)


  • IT 101 - Italian Language in Context: Novice Abroad I (Summer)
  • IT 201 - Italian Language in Context: Novice Abroad III (Summer)
  • IT 301 - Italian Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad I (Summer)
  • IT 401 - Italian Language in Context: Emerging Competent Abroad I (Summer)


SO/CU/HS 250 - History and Culture of Food in Italy and Tuscany (Summer)

Course-Related Excursions

IES Abroad Siena organizes course-related excursions that complement what you’re learning in the classroom, and contribute to your general knowledge of Italian culture and society.

Course-related excursion opportunities may include:

  • A visit to an organic farm
  • Attendance at Palio events
  • Private cooking lessons
  • Tours of Florence, San Gimignano, and other nearby sites


We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Siena, it will feel like home.


Live with other IES Abroad students, as well as local Italian students, in the historic center of town. Furnished apartments are single-sex and include fully-equipped kitchens. Meals are not included.


Homestays generally house one or two students. Accommodations vary, and hosts provide students with light breakfasts and one additional meal daily, usually dinner.

Student Life

Orientation From authentic Italian meals to unique guided tours of the city, the first two days of the program give you a "taste" of the city and help prepare you for your Sienese summer.

IES Abroad faculty and staff conduct orientation sessions introducing you to the following topics:

  • Personal safety
  • Italian home life
  • Practical aspects of life in Siena (transportation, banking, and shopping)

Eligibility Requirements

  • 18 years of age
  • In good standing at your home school
  • 2.5 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale (GPAs under 2.5 will be considered on a case-by-case basis)

Passport & Visa Requirements

A passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the end date of the program, with at least two blank pages is required.

U.S. citizens in possession of a valid passport do not need to obtain a visa to enter or study in Italy. Non-U.S. citizens may be required to obtain a student visa prior to arrival.


Summer 2018

  • Tuition: $5,525
  • Housing: $1,615
  • Insurance: $135
  • Total: $7,275

Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Program taught in:
  • English (US)
  • Italian
IES Abroad

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Last updated November 13, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
7 weeks
7,275 USD
Program cost Summer 2018
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