Ca' Foscari Columbia Summer Program (joint)

As a Ca' Foscari student you can apply to be one of 10 students who will join around 30 students from the prestigious Columbia University of New York, embarking on a truly international summer experience right here in Venice. You can choose to take one or two courses in Italian culture and society, which upon completion can be recognised within your academic transcript.

The programme is designed with full interaction in mind: through the numerous field trips and extra-curricular activities, you will have many opportunities to engage with international students both culturally and academically, communicating in both Italian and English, while forming new professional and personal relationships. Find out more, and see what Columbia students had to say about past programmes on the Columbia programme website.

We are currently working on the 2022 edition of the Ca' Foscari - Columbia Summer Programme. More news and details will follow soon. 

Courses 2020

Prerequisites: None
Instructors: Caroline Wamsler and Johanna Fassl

Venice's unique geographical location in the reflective waters of the Adriatic and at the crossroads between East and West has had a profound impact on all aspects of Venetian life and culture. This course will investigate the artistic production of the Lagoon City between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. The compelling works of Venetian artists, such as Carpaccio, Bellini, Giorgione and Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese, as well as the great civic and religious monuments, including the Palazzo Ducale, the great mendicant churches, and the Basilica di San Marco, will be considered in light of the sophisticated political and social systems of the Venetian Republic. Issues such as the development of the distinctive urban fabric, the invention of a civic iconography, the role of the artist, and the Venetian workshop practices, as well as the impact of the Islamic world, and private and corporate patronage, will be examined.

Review Exam (20%)
Journal/Sketchbook (25%): A visual and written record chronicling your explorations of Venetian art
Term Essay (30%)
In-class participation (25%): Class discussions and participation form an essential part of this course. Students will be asked to give presentations on specific works of art and architecture and will lead discussions based on the readings and their research.

Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Mieke Van Molle

The course aims at raising awareness about the importance of conservation and maintenance by conveying methods & principles through the particular example of Venice, where many conservation problems are concentrated and intensified due to its location in an aggressive lagoon environment and the proximity of the largeindustrial area of Marghera. The safeguarding of Venice will also be seen under the perspective of the fragile modern urban community beyond the mere physical survival of the city.

The program is structured in a progressive learning process,providingparticipants with an understanding of the Built Heritage of Venice, its historical development, construction techniques and building materials,aimedat gaining insight in the related conservation problems. Students are first introduced to the particular conservation problems of the city of Venice and its Lagoon environment. The course then addresses the historical growth and architectural development of Venice, its specific construction techniques and its large variety of stone materials, originating from all over the Mediterranean. It subsequently focuses on the multidisciplinary conservation process, including the diagnostic survey, the different decay mechanisms and finally offering an overview of the conservation treatment. 


Grading will include active class participation(25%),a written and documented research paper to be completed at mid-term (25%), as well as a documented end-term research (written paper 25% and oral presentation 25%). Detailed information will be given during the course. It is important that students bring their camera for documentation as well as comfortable closed shoes with rubber soles (e.g. sneakers) for visits to ongoing conservation projects.

Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Diane Bodart
From Bellini to Tintoretto, Venetian artists elaborated individual portraits that were to be an influential model in Renaissance art, while poets, from Bembo to Aretino, celebrated in their verses the perfect illusion of presence and life performed by these works. Nonetheless, the representation of the self in Venice was challenged by the corporative structure of the society and its political institutions: the image of the individual was often to integrate group portraits, while the Venetian woman was generally depicted as an ideal beauty. Through a cross-analysis of sources and works, the course will investigate this tension between the fashioning of the self and the construction of the social and political identity of Venice in the frame of its cosmopolitan world. The classes will be held in situ in order to train the students to analyze original works in their context.


  • Attendance at lectures, visits field-trip (mandatory)
  • Weekly readings to prepare for each lecture/visit
  • Active participation to the discussion
  • Oral presentations during the visit (2 or more)
  • Journal / Sketchbook
  • Term essay (7-10 double-spaced typed pages + illustrations).The essay will be graded for form as well as content

Class participation 20%
Oral presentations 25%
Journal/Sketchbook 20%
Term essay 35%

Prerequisites: None
Instructor: Elizabeth Leake

This class will explore the city of Venice as it appears on screen and in real life. We'll watch films from such directors as Andrea Segre, Luchino Visconti and Silvio Soldini, then explore the city ourselves to experience first-hand its importance as the setting for so many cinematic masterpieces. We will also examine representations of Venice in order to identify forms of aesthetic modernism within the specifically Venetian context. How do these modernist narrations engage with their location—imagined or otherwise—in Venice and its environs? Is there such a thing as Venetian regional modernism, and what are its parameters? What are their relations to modernism’s broader national iteration? What about Venice in Vegas? In California?

Grading / Course Requirements
Active participation in all class discussions; design and lead one field trip based on one of our texts; final in-class exam. Discussions in English, readings in English or Italian.

Admission Requirements (Ca' Foscari students):

To apply for the Ca' Foscari Columbia Summer Programme as a Ca' Foscari student you must meet the following requirements:

  • be regularly enrolled (degree seeking) as of 31 January, 2019
  • hold a good working knowledge of English: all applicants are required to sit an assessment in the form of an interview which counts for 60% of the overall selection grade
  • have an above average academic record, counting for 40% of the total points used in the selection process

Minimum academic requirements

The Columbia Summer Programme is a programme for students of excellence, and to be eligible for selection, students must therefore have a minimum grade, which makes up 40% of the total points used in the selection process.

NB: students without the minimum requirements can still apply, but will be placed in a waitlist, and considered separately by the commission.

Undergraduate students:

1st year students: 85/100 in the High School completion exam ("esame di stato / maturità") or equivalent
2nd year students: an average grade of 26/30 and the completion of 40 ECTS
3rd year students: an average grade of 26/30 and the completion of 90 ECTS

Graduate students:

1st year students: a grade of 100/110 for your Bachelor's Degree (degrees in Sciences, Economics) or 105/110 for your Bachelor's Degree (degrees in Languages and Humanities)
2nd year students: an average grade of 28/30

Please note that all students coming from all other Universities must apply through Columbia University.

Diane Bodart (Instructor for Portraiture in Renaissance Venice), Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Columbia University.

Elizabeth Leake (Instructor for Venice and Modernity), Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Italian Department at Columbia.

Mieke Van Molle (Instructor for Introduction to the Conservation of Venice's Built Heritage) Freelance Conservator

Caroline Wamsler (Instructor for Art in Venice), Lecturer in the Art and Archeology Department at Columbia University.

Last update: 20/01/2022