Students perspective: Top 5 things to bring with you in Siena

(Hannah Delphine Ayers - Liberal Arts - Fall Semester 2014)

I have only been in Siena, Italy for a short while, but I am already growing accustomed to the wonderfully slower pace of life. Time is different in Siena. The city itself has aged gracefully, and I can only assume that Siena will get even better with age. I have already learned more that I could have imagined about the rich Sienese lifestyle. The people, the food, and the surroundings are the greatest aspects of the city, and getting to discover all of these things is so exciting.

Whether you are planning a trip right now, or daydreaming about traveling to Siena in the future, there are a few important things that will make your time in this city a perfectly positive experience. These are things that I am quite pleased I brought with me, and my friends and I agree that every Sienese adventure should include:

Good walking shoes!

Every single shoe you bring should be a good walking shoe. Keep in mind that you will want a variety of footwear, but each shoe you pack has to be comfortable for at least a two mile walk.


A scarf is a good way to dress up an outfit among the stylish Italian crowd. Scarves are light items to pack, and a scarf is an easy layer to take on or off depending on how the weather changes during the day. You can also use scarves to cover up when you go into churches.

A water bottle!

Don’t forget your favorite water bottle! All of the walking and exploring you will be doing everyday will make you thirsty. Staying hydrated is healthy, plus you will save money on not buying drinks everyday.


Most people in Italy do not snack, but the one thing I have missed since moving here is snacking. Having a little something to eat between meals will help you transition to eating dinner at 8 o’clock. If you bring some small snacks with you, you can use it on your first few days in Siena while you pick your favorite place to grocery shop. Also it will make layovers in the airport more bearable!

A good backpack!

This is so important. Your backpack should be comfortable and big enough to fit your books, laptop, lunch, umbrella, jacket, etc. Usually, you will be carrying everything that you will need all day, with you all day. This bag is also quite useful to take on weekend trips. Another nice quality of backpacks is that they keep your hands free for taking photos and eating tons of gelato!

These are all smart decisions to make, but the best decision of all is deciding to study at the Siena School for Liberal Arts!  

Students perspective - Day one: Sweet satisfaction!

(Sophia Garcia Sustainability Track -  Fall Semester 2014)

I knew the word for pasta, pizza and the environment. That was it. All I knew about Italian culture was that their food is amazing, the people were loud and the country has more historical landmarks then they knew what to do with.


Coming to Italy I did not know what to expect. I had never been out of the Americas, I did not know the language and I was going to live in someones home. But when I sat down to dinner on my first night in Siena, I knew the Slow Food Movement was alive and well.


The mother gestured me to sit down at the table, which lay right in the middle of the kitchen. Wonderful smells radiated from the oven and on top of the kitchen counter. For dinner we had cabbage and potato soup with a dollop of chili, cracked black pepper and a thin layer of grated Parmesan cheese. Perfection. The soup was as thin as water but held the flavor of the simple ingredients.


Once I was finished my bowl was taken away and a plate lay underneath. Slices of pork wrapped in Sienese bread and bacon, roasted vegetables and cut tomatoes in olive oil and a pinch of salt were placed on my plate. A bread basket was passed my way and red wine was in my reach. I waited to see how my host family ate the food and dove right in after them.
I could not understand the mother but we had a common language, food. 
A wide smile gently humming and wide eyes could only mean one thing. Sweet satisfaction. And this was only day one.

Dreaming your study abroad in Siena, Italy? Meet us at your campus!

This Fall our program representative Anya Maslack is participating in several Study Abroad Fairs! Find the dates out here and make sure to come and meet us when we are at your campus!

Sept. 18th - from 11am to 2:30pm
Brandeis University - GO AWAY!
Levin Ballroom, -  Usdan Student Center.

Sept. 22nd -  from 4pm to 6pm
Amherst College - Study Abroad Fair
Keefe Campus Center

Sept. 23rd  -  from 6pm to 8pm 
Mount Holyoke College - College Study Abroad Fair
Chapin Auditorium 

Sept. 24th - from 11am to 3pm
Williams College - Study Abroad Fair 
Lasell Gymnasium

Oct. 2nd - from 4pm to 6:30pm
Oberlin’s College - Annual Study Away Fair
Lobby of Peters Hall

Oct. 8th -  from 1pm to 3pm
Clark University - Study Abroad Fair
Tilton Hall, Higgins University Center at Clark University

Nov. 4th -  from 10am to  2:30pm 
Swarthmore College - Study Abroad Fair
Upper Tarble, Clothier Hall Swarthmore College’s Off-Campus Study Office

(Photo: Kara Johnson, Spring Semester 2014 student)

After a week of intensive classes with thirty students from fourteen countries, savouring everything that Siena has to offer and infusing riches both from the city and the team of professors assembled especially for this initial summer academy, the students offered the fruits of their studies in two evening concerts, with the best of the week chosen by the professors under my leadership. The aim of the week has been to derive meaning as well beauty from the music under study and to investigate the aims and intentions of a wide range of composers, but with the concentration on investigating the crafts of rhetoric and declamation used to such effect in the baroque era.

Michael Chance - 9th Summer Academy Edition