Classics and Archaeology Summer Program

Program Description 

The Classics and Archaeology program at ISI Florence is designed for undergraduate students of History, Classics, Art, Architecture, Anthropology, and Political Science, and open to students with an interest in Archaeology and the ancient Mediterranean world. It provides a unique opportunity to explore the origins of modern western civilization in depth through a full immersion in its very foundations. While participating in an archaeological excavation located in one of the most picturesque areas of Italy, students will gain a firsthand understanding of the institutions, values, and intellectual frameworks of the world in which we live.

 An intensive 6-week program composed of a well-balanced combination of:

  • In-class lectures;
  • Special excursions;
  • Exclusive two-week archaeological fieldwork in Fiesole, a prominent Etruscan-Roman site two miles outside of Florence.


Archaeology Dig Populonia 1
Archaeology Dig Populonia 2
Archaeology Dig Populonia 3
Archaeology Dig Populonia 4
Archaeology Dig Populonia 5
Archaeology Dig Populonia 6
Archaeology Dig Populonia 7
Archaeology Fiesole 1
Archaeology Fiesole 3
Archaeology Fiesole 4
Archaeology Fiesole 5
Archaeology Fiesole 6


Courses offered

History, Culture and Art of Ancient Italy, E. Bianchi, Ph.D. (3 credits)

This course is a dynamic survey of the extraordinary history, culture, and society of two of the most important civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean: the Etruscans and the Romans. To unravel the historical significance of these great people, we will look at literature and religion, urbanism and architecture, art and philosophy. When possible, we will give a privileged place to primary sources in translation, letting the characters of this great historical drama speak for themselves.

Lectures will be complemented by site visits:

  • Etruscan sites (in and outside Florence);
  • Roman sites (in and outside Florence);
  • Special overnight field trip to Rome (including the Forum, the Colosseum, and the Palatine hill).


Field Archaeology, C. Megale, Ph.D. (3 credits)

This course is an introduction to archaeological methods and theory. Archaeologists study the material remains that ancient civilizations have left behind. Unlike written sources, however, these material traces do not speak to us. Instead, it is up to the archaeologist to give them their meaning. The primary objective of the course is to teach students the methods and techniques of archaeological research through labs, on-site visits, and practical experience. The hands-on experience will take place during a two-week-long archaeology fieldwork in the Etruscan, Roman, and Longobard city of Fiesole. It is designed to produce specimens, records, and data to further support laboratory analysis and publication of research results, so that students make important contributions to research while learning basic field methods.

Methods and techniques include:

  • Principles of archaeological stratigraphy and practice in archaeological excavation;
  • Documentation of the excavation (written and visual);
  • Technical relief and structural analysis of walls, paintings, and mosaics;
  • Cleaning, marking, listing and drawing, cataloguing mobile artifacts;
  • Collecting organic and inorganic samples (seeds, wood, pollen, bones, mortar).

In this course students learn about the purpose and process of archaeological research, data acquisition, and the methods used to date archaeological finds.