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

Focusing on contemporary Italian and Tuscan gastronomy as its starting point, the course examines the history of Italian cuisine and the economics and sociology of food in Tuscany, particularly in the city of Siena. The analysis will begin with the ancient Etruscan and Roman periods, then more through the Medieval and Renaissance times, in order to fully compare them to the early modern and contemporary periods. Special emphasis will be given also to relevant historical events, such as the discovery of America in 1492. All course’s contents will be discussed in connection with socio-cultural and gender connotations.

History and culture are reflected in alimentary traditions, rituals, philosophies and behaviors.

The Tuscan ones, and in particular the Sienese ones, find their roots mostly in the Etruscan Age, Middle Ages and the Renaissance times, as wonderfully mirrored also in the visual arts.

The course will further take into consideration the development in history of contemporary Tuscan and Sienese cuisine and their association with traditional drinks. The course includes field study visits to restaurants, cooking schools, butchers, vineyards, cheese-producing dairies, gelato makers, enoteche, wineries and similar institutions. Some classes include units on pasta-making, Italian cooking and cheese tastings. Field-studies and field-trips are intended to make the students draw the maximum advantage from the local context, a perfectly preserved Medieval social entity, applying the conceptual cognitive aspects of their academic learning to the intra-personal level, in order to be able to develop skills of inter-personal and inter-cultural competence.

Course Information


Cultural Studies

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