Siena, Italy PDF Print E-mail

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Quick Facts

Host Institutions: The Siena School for Liberal Arts
Eligibility Rules: click here
Language/Academic Focus: Elective classes are taught in English; Italian language classes are in Italian.  Electives available in a wide variety of subject areas. (Click here for Course Offerings)

Students live with Italian host families. Breakfast and dinner are included. 

Sample Excursions: One overnight excursion and 3 day trips are included in each semester program. For an overnight trip, students may stay at a castle/organic farm estate in Tuscany where they go on hikes, see a cooking demonstration, and visit a nearby medieval abbey. Day trips could include hikes, local artisan/crafts demonstrations, or attending a concert or dance performance. In addition, students can join activities that are offered for an additional price. These can include local sports events, cooking classes, visit to the Medieval Acqueducts, day trips to local hill towns, beach trips, etc. 

Why Siena?

  • Well-preserved Gothic city located in the heart of Tuscany
  • Easy to navigate by foot
  • Piazza del Campo is an architectural wonder and host to the famous Palio horse race
  • Well known for its delicious and inexpensive local cuisine
  • Close proximity to Rome and Florence

City Description - Small city of 55,000

One of Italy’s most enchanting cities, Siena offers everything that you might expect but with less hassle than a large city. A Unesco World Heritage Site, Siena is maintained in a well-preserved Gothic state. Locals and visitors alike boast about the many luxuries of Siena that can be difficult to find in its neighboring Tuscan cities – one can visit most museums and churches without spending a Euro, and long lines are rare. These historic sites are home to a number of well-known Renaissance art pieces that you would normally expect to see in larger galleries or art museums.

Siena was the first European city to ban motor traffic in its historic center back in 1966. This makes navigating the city by foot not only easy, but pleasant and peaceful as well. The Piazza del Campo in the city center is an architectural wonder and host to the famous Palio di Siena horse race, a Sienese tradition since 1656 held twice a year. On any given day, the Piazza, which is known as one of Europe’s great medieval squares, is bustling with gatherings of friends and families. The welcoming and friendly atmosphere is contagious. Students report that they are truly able to immerse themselves in the Italian way of life, meeting local students from all over Italy and embracing all that life in Siena can offer.

Siena’s cuisine is distinguished by the high quality ingredients that are so easy to come by in a city where agriculture is its main source of economy. Sienese meats, vegetables, herbs and olive oils and the local favorite pasta, pici, are hailed as some of the best in all of Italy. Moreover, because Siena is a smaller and less busy than other Italian cities, you won’t feel that you’re paying extra to enjoy the regional flavors.

Siena is located just over 1 hour from Florence and only 3 hours from Rome, so day trips or weekend getaways to larger cities are easily planned and executed. 

Siena School for Liberal Arts

The Siena School for Liberal Arts offers students a unique study abroad experience in one of the oldest and most beautiful university towns in Italy. Through the Siena School you will go beyond merely observing the life of this beautiful city; you will be drawn into dialogue with the environment that surrounds you. Classes provide the instruments and insight you need to make a connection and leave a mark, be it through what you say, write, create or perform. In this way you are not a mere visitor, but a real contributor to the life of the city.

The Siena School offers you a vision to grow and learn in your study abroad experience through a wide range of exciting and innovative courses, taught in English and Italian, internships in the Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as wonderful opportunities in Community Service and a variety of Extracurricular Activities.

Small classes allow close collaboration between students and faculty. In addition, the school serves as a cultural institute, selects yearly research themes and organizes public interdisciplinary conferences that connect the school with the local community. Students with sufficient language skills may enroll in courses at the University of Siena. The Siena School is also affiliated with local non-profit organizations. Students can work as interns in these organizations or participate in social and cultural projects.

The program begins with an intensive immersion into Italian language and Culture. Students are divided into Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced Italian based on language experience. Lessons on grammar, language labs, and group activities will be held daily. After the three weeks of Intensive Italian, regular classes begin. Elective classes meet twice a week, while Italian Language and Culture classes continue to meet daily. Students who choose to do an internship will meet for class one to two times a week depending on the arrangement with the professor. Internships and volunteer projects are available in Anthropology, Art Restoration, Italian Sign Language & Deaf Culture (internships only available Spring semester), Book Art & Book Restoration, or History of Music. 



Students live with a local host family that are centrally located and within reasonable distance to classes. Breakfast and dinner are included. 

Student Services & Facilities

The Siena School building is located in Castelvecchio, a beautiful, central  medieval neighborhood near the Cathedral and Piazza del Campo. The school is housed on the top floor of the Istituto Pendola, a beautiful 19th-century building originally set up to house a famous School for the Deaf with stunning views of ancient Siena below and the verdant Tuscan countryside beyond the city gates. The recently renovated facilities include 3 modern classrooms with AV equipment, a spacious, luminous painting and book art studio, a darkroom, a library, modern restrooms, student lounge, and kitchen.


The Siena School has designed a unique academic track that stems from the school’s long-term collaboration with a variety of different city organizations and institutes. The objective of our internships is for students to have a truly hands-on experience in an authentic Italian setting of what they are learning in class. We currently offer internships in Art Restoration, Deaf Studies, Book Restoration, Music, and Anthropology. Depending on students’ interests, they will be able to do internships in areas such as working with an Italian art restorer, working in a home for the elderly, in a center for psychiatric rehabilitation, or with the local association for the Deaf. All internships are combined with academic courses run at the school. This is the perfect option for those students who really want a cultural immersion that goes beyond the classroom experience. 

Costs and Dates

Please CLICK HERE for Costs and Dates.

What's Included - Siena

  • HOUSING with a local host family that are centrally located and within reasonable distance to classes. Breakfast and dinner are included. 
  • EXCURSIONS: 1 overnight excursion and 3 day excursions.
  • TUITION at The Siena School for Liberal Arts
  • ACADEMIC CREDITS: Students who receive pre-approval from their home institution can transfer the credits they earn to their home institution. 
  • OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: At the conclusion of the program, an official transcript from The Siena School for Liberal Arts will be sent to your home institution.
  • CELL PHONE: ASA provides one cell phone for each student.  Students are responsible for the cost of phone usage.
  • INTERNET ACCESS at The Siena School for Liberal Arts (NOT guaranteed at your homestay)
  • AIRPORT PICK-UP at Florence (FLR) airport for students who arrive on the official arrival date by the designated time.
  • MEDICAL INSURANCE: for a Description of Coverage, please visit our Information Library.
  • SITE DIRECTOR: on-site to assist students with any academic or cultural difficulties they may encounter.
  • VISA ADVISING: While students are ultimately responsible for obtaining their visa (if required for their term/host country), ASA will provide detailed, helpful information upon acceptance as to which visa students will need and how to go about applying for one.

Not Included:

  • Airfare
  • Books & materials (Please note: some classes have lab fees to cover special materials or academic field trips)
  • Personal expenses
  • Meals, laundry
  • Local transportation
  • Student Visa
  • Permit to Stay & mandated Italian medical insurance
  • Meals on excursions

Click here for Billing Information and Cancellation/Refund Policy

NOTE: If you need a "Costs of Attendance" budget for your financial aid office, or simply need more details about the additional costs listed above, please email chelsea(at) 

Program Itinerary

Please CLICK HERE for detailed program itineraries.


If you have questions about HOW TO APPLY and make sure your credits transfer back to your home university, please CLICK HERE.

We encourage both prospective students and parents, as well as those who have already been accepted to an ASA program, to visit our INFORMATION LIBRARY. Here you will find tons of helpful info to help you know what to plan for and what to expect, such as:

  • ASA Guide to Study Abroad
  • Student Visa info
  • Medical Insurance info
  • Booking your flight
  • Financial Aid info