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.
What You'll Study
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.
You'll also study the economic, socio-historic, and cultural aspects of Tuscan food by participating in cooking classes and visiting restaurants, gelato laboratories, dairies, and vineyards.
Several one-to three-day field trips are organized each summer. You pay a portion of the cost, and IES Abroad subsidizes a majority of the trip. Possible sites include:
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
Part of making you feel at home in Siena is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is an orientation program that makes you feel prepared, housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.
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:
Italian home life
Practical aspects of life in Siena (transportation, banking, and shopping)
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.
Apartments 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 Homestays generally house one or two students. Accommodations vary, and hosts provide students with light breakfasts and one additional meal daily, usually dinner.
Get to Know Your New City
Explore the Region
Discover the Tuscany countryside surrounding Siena through field trips, personal travel, and more.
Wander Through the 17 Contrade
The 17 neighborhoods of Siena date back to the Middle Ages and still define life today.
Taste Traditional Tuscan Dishes
From world-famous olive oil to bistecca fiorentina, there’s plenty to taste throughout Tuscany. Our tip: try the pasta e fagioli!
Join the Film Club
Get together with classmates and friends to watch movies filmed in Siena and then explore their filming locations.
People Watch in the Piazza Del Campo
Grab a snack, a book, or some friends and head over to the Piazza to spend an afternoon lounging in the sun.
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.