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.
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.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences.
Enroll in a required Italian language course and one area studies course for a total of 6 credits.
Past disciplines have included:
This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.
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:
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.
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 generally house one or two students. Accommodations vary, and hosts provide students with light breakfasts and one additional meal daily, usually dinner.
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:
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:
About the Center
The IES Abroad Siena Center is located in a palace on the famous Piazza del Campo – a large, sunny plaza which is center of social life in Siena. The palace, called Palazzo Chigi Zondadari, was built in the 18th century and served as a home to the prominent Chigi family whose lineage includes many intellectuals, artists, businessmen, and even a pope!
Veronica Semeraro has worked at our IES Abroad Siena Center since the founding of the program in 2006 when she was hired as Student Affairs Coordinator. Since that time, she has been actively involved in all aspects of the program, including housing, customized programs, arrival and orientation, field trips, and academic coordination. Veronica was promoted to Center Director of IES Abroad Siena in 2012.
Prior to working with IES Abroad, Veronica graduated with honors in Archaeology from the University of Siena. Her thesis addressed the GIS platform of the newly discovered and frescoed rooms beneath the Cathedral of Siena. She contributed, with vectorial maps and archeological drawings, to the publication Sotto il Duomo di Siena (2003). Upon winning a research grant following graduation, Veronica spent six years working in the University of Siena archeology laboratory in Computer Science. She also spent several years drawing dig maps while working on site in various important archeological digs in Tuscany (rooms beneath the Siena Cathedral; castle of Miranduolo, Podium Bonizio village) specializing in GIS technology. Veronica is an avid traveler and a member of an all-female Brazilian drum group in Siena.
IES Abroad Siena Staff
Sigrid VeneriStudent Services Coordinator