Italian Studies

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Program Overview

The Italian Studies Program focuses on a nation and people whose contribution to civilization has been significant. Virtually every area of the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics partakes of that heritage, and Italy continues to influence cultural, political, scientific, and economic trends today.

You can take advantage of Fairfield's affiliation with the Florence University for the Arts and the Mediterranean Center for Arts and Sciences in Italy to experience first-hand the riches of Italian culture. As part of your program, you may apply for an internship at a company or agency with operations or trade based in Italy. Italian Studies offers a genuinely pleasurable learning experience and, combined with a solid major program, provides opportunities to explore many career paths. The program is also an excellent preparation for graduate study.


Italian Studies at Fairfield offers students an opportunity to explore, analyze, and appreciate Italy from the perspectives of a variety of academic disciplines, including:

  • Language
  • Literature
  • Film
  • Art History
  • Architecture
  • Politics
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Science
  • Business

This interdisciplinary program includes courses offered both in Connecticut and at Fairfield University's Program in Florence, Italy.


To complete a 15-credit minor in Italian Studies students must demonstrate ability in the Italian language through the intermediate level.

The language of modern Italy is Italian. Inasmuch as cultural mores and concepts are reflected and communicated in language, students must achieve minimal proficiency in the language to begin to access the richness and complexity of Italy. Hence, all students pursuing the minor must meet this language expectation by successfully completing IT 211: Intermediate Italian, or by passing a placement test administered by University faculty that verifies competency through the intermediate level. Note: Completion of this requirement is not considered a prerequisite for coursework in the minor. Instead, students are permitted to begin minor coursework during or prior to fulfilling the language requirement.

At least four of the five required courses must be Italy-focused (dealing exclusively with Italy) or Italian language and literature courses numbered 211 or higher. The fifth course may be another Italy-focused course or it may be an Italy-component course in which at least half of the course material deals with Italy. Note: No more than three of the five courses may be completed in a single discipline.

While study abroad is not required for completion of the minor, participation in the University’s programs in Florence, Italy (fall, spring, or summer sessions) is strongly encouraged. Italian studies courses are offered in a variety of fields and disciplines. A complete list of Italy-focused and Italy-component courses is available from the program director.

Course Offerings

See Italian Studies course descriptions from our catalog for more information 

Modern Languages and Literatures

  • IT 110-111: Elementary Italian
  • IT 210-211: Intermediate Italian
  • IT 219: Italian for Porfessional Applications 
  • IT 220: Topics in Language and Culture (replaces IT 223)
  • IT 222:  Made in Italy
  • IT 233: Creative Writing
  • IT 240: The Language of Food in Italian Culture
  • IT 253: Contemporary Italian Culture
  • IT 255: The Novella
  • IT 257: Theater in Italy: Comedy from Machiavelli to Fo
  • IT 262/EN 116: Rome in the Cultural Imagination*
  • IT 271/FTM 201B: Italian Cinema/Filmmaker Series*
  • IT 289/EN 115: Dante*
  • IT 290:  Italian American Cinema*
  • IT 330: Redefining the Cosmos: Voyages to the New World in the Italian Renaissance
  • IT 381/IT 382: Coordinating Seminar/Independent Study
  • IT 393: Italian American Experience* **

*Taught in English
**Counts toward the U.S. diversity requirement



  • HI 203: European Society in the Middle Ages
  • HI 222: Roman Revolution
  • HI 223: Roman World in Late Antiquity, 284-642 AD



  • PH 261: Political Philosophy: Plato to Machiavelli



  • PO 123: Modern Political Ideologies
  • PO 139: European Politics
  • PO 235: Modern Political Ideologies
  • PO 250: European Politics


Religious Studies

  • RS 242: Voices of Medieval Women: Silent No More
  • RS 343: The Papacy


Visual and Performing Arts

  • AH 112: Etruscan and Roman Art and Archaeology
  • AH 130: Early Renaissance Art in Italy
  • AH 135: Renaissance and Baroque Architecture
  • AH 140: Baroque Art
  • AH 191: Art and Mythologies of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Bolshevik Russia: Comparative Systems/Outcomes


The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the dedicated members of our Italian Studies Program.


Internships are available through the College of Arts and Sciences or through faculty contacts with Italian-based companies operating in Connecticut or New York City.

Life After Fairfield

An understanding of Italian language and culture greatly enhances your career opportunities in an increasingly international world. As Italy's role in the European Union becomes more prominent, prospective employers in international business, education, journalism, the fine arts, government, and nonprofit organizations seek well-educated young women and men who have a background in Italian Studies.

Student & Alumni Spotlight

Gregg Perlmutter

Class of '14

Get to Know Gregg

Undergrad Degree: Biology with Italian Studies minor
Hometown: Monroe, NY
Extracurricular Activities: Undergraduate research, Italian tutor, Foreign Language Honor Society

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

I chose to attend Fairfield University because small class sizes and location were very important to me.  Every professor knew me by name and I was not just a number in a lecture hall.  These small classes allowed me to interact with not only my classmates, but I was able to form relationships with my professors as well.  If I ever had a question, they were always willing to help.  Fairfield University is also very close to New York City and other major cities as well.  This provides many opportunities for students interested in internships during the school year.


Describe a project done through the program that you are particularly proud of

During my junior year, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy during my fall semester.  I decided to take on an internship with La Misericordia di Firenze, an organization that provides free medical services to those in need.  These services include transportation to and from hospitals, emergency services, food drives, and homes for the elderly.  I was a civil service volunteer and I went out on calls to pick up patients from their homes to bring them to an appointment.  I met so many interesting people and became friends with many of my patients that I saw multiple times.  I also worked with such amazing people that dedicated a lot of their time to this organization.  I was immersed into Italian culture through this experience because I was able to see so much of Florence that my peers never saw and my Italian grew because I was forced to use it.  Not many people I worked with knew a lot of English.  Experiencing another country’s culture and healthcare system was so rewarding and I highly suggest doing something out of your comfort zone while abroad. 


What attributes regarding the faculty did you find particularly helpful/encouraging?

The Italian Studies faculty is one of the best on campus!  They are extremely supportive and want you to succeed as a student.  The program is great and I can personally say that my Italian improved tremendously through writing, speaking and reading different novels.  It was through them that I learned of the many different internships I could take on while abroad and they really encouraged me to do one.  The professors are always there for you and are willing to help in class as well as during office hours.  They are extremely passionate about their work and I can personally thank Dr. MaryAnn Carolan for strengthening my interest in Italian culture and language.  I not only grew academically, but as an individual as well thanks to the amazing Italian Studies faculty.

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