Marco Polo/Turandot

Lanterne cinesi

The Marco Polo and Turandot program was launched by CRUI, the Conference of Italian University Rectors. Its goal is to contribute to reinforcing scientific cooperation between Italy and Asia and to increase the number of Chinese students enrolled in Italian universities.

The aim of the program is to provide Chinese students with proficiency in Italian language and culture and to prepare them for enrolment at Italian Universities or Higher Education Institutions.

At Ca’ Foscari, the program is offered at the Ca’ Foscari School for International Education (SIE), a school which is dedicated to international students and programs.

Marco Polo/Turandot at Ca' Foscari University

The Italian language programme for Marco Polo/Turandot students is offered by Study in Venice,  an association which reunites four of Venice’s higher learning institutions: Ca’ Foscari UniversityIUAV University, the Accademia di Belle Arti of Venice, and the Conservatorio “Benedetto Marcello”. The four institutions formed an association in 2017 with the objective of working together in providing academic services to international students in Venice, including courses in Italian language and culture.

The programme is organised by the School for International Education at Ca' Foscari, a University which enjoys a national and international reputation in the field of language teaching, and has a strong decade-long tradition of research on language teaching and training for teachers of Italian as a foreign language.

The programme offers an innovative and pragmatic approach, focusing on the use of language in real communication. Core features include:

  • in-class lectures
  • language practice and support tutorials
  • in-depth workshops focused on diverse language aspects
  • academic Italian 
  • targeted language for studying specific subject areas at Italian universities

The planning of the Marco Polo/Turandot 2020/21 programme is currently in progress.

Owing to the Covid-19 Health Emergency, as specified by the Ministerial Circular 05/22/2020, the Italian language courses in the academic year 2020/21 will be held in e-learning mode, at least until January 31st, 2021.

Subsequently, if the Health crisis should evolve favourably, students will be allowed to continue the course on site, at our University venue, beginning February 2021.

In the opposite case, the course will be completed entirely in e-learning mode (online classes).

For the 2019/2020 academic year, the programme will run for 10 months and is based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for languages as an intensive language course (at least 20 hours per week). Lessons take place from Monday to Friday in classrooms equipped for language teaching with full multimedia access.

Before the course starts students are required to take a placement test. Students will then be placed in classes of no more than 25 students based on the individual test results.

Italian language

The Italian language component is divided into three main modules: lectures, language practice and tutorial support for students. In addition, workshops will be offered so as to strengthen specific language skills such as:

  • Classroom Italian language lessons
  • Conversation tutorship
  • Communicative and language skills classes
  • Italian civilisation labs and outings around Venice
  • Tandem language learning with Italian students of Chinese

Course schedule

Preparatory Courses

Thanks to our Study in Venice partners, alongside the Italian language course offered at the Ca’ Foscari School for International Education, students can choose to register for a package of preparatory courses, aimed at introducing them to their future area of study. Students can sign up to these courses upon arrival in Venice. 

Marco Polo students at Ca’ Foscari University:

Students who have pre-enrolled in a degree programme at Ca’ Foscari can take preparatory courses in economics, languages and linguistics, humanities, or science.

Marco Polo and Turandot students at IUAV-Accademia-Conservatory:

Students who have pre-enrolled in a degree programme at IUAV, or at any of the Accademia or Conservatories will be able to take preparatory courses in architecture, music or art.

Evaluation and certification

Evaluation will take place throughout the programme. Students will be tested at the end of each term so as to check progress and monitor any difficulties, and at the completion of the entire programme they will sit a final exam in order to receive a certification from the SIE. Students will also be able to sit the official Italian language certification CILS (Certificate of Italian as a Foreign Language) at Ca’ Foscari in August 2019. 

At the end of the programme students are expected to reach an intermediate level (B1 or B2).


Attendance is obligatory. A final transcript will be issued to students who have attended a minimum of 70% of all the activities.


Enrolment for the language course is now closed. Information regarding the Marco Polo/ Turandot 2020/2021 applications will be available by June 2020. For further questions please contact the School 


Students are welcomed at their arrival and offered an orientation session which includes a description of their course of study, information about the University services and locations, and other general information.

Buddy system

The Buddy programme at Ca’ Foscari consists of volunteer Ca’ Foscari students whose role is to facilitate integration of international students at Ca’ Foscari University, academically, socially and culturally.

Through the Marco Polo Buddy programme, Chinese students have the opportunity to meet their Italian peers---students of the Ca’ Foscari Department of Asian and North African Studies, one of the largest in Italy, with more than 1500 students enrolled in Chinese language and culture---enriching the intercultural aspect of their experience in Venice and at Ca’ Foscari.

Marco Polo buddies will participate in the welcome events and activities, and will be available throughout the year for individual support and cultural activities, including:

  • airport pickup
  • visits and tours of the main museums and attractions in Venice and its surroundings
  • cultural and social activities, either individually or through student associations
  • linguistic tandem

Social Network

Students and their parents can get in contact with Ca’ Foscari University and the SIE through social media, such as WECHAT and the blog WEIBO.

University Services

Chinese speaking staff will be available for assistance and support to the students.

The Ca’ Foscari Welcome Unit will provide students with information about the University and help them in the procedures for obtaining valid visas and residency permits in Italy.


Ca' Foscari University can provide accommodation for incoming students through its Housing Office. Costs vary according to the type of lodging. 

Procedure for Extra EU students

The Welcome Unit is the office at Ca' Foscari that provides support to international students with their arrival in Venice, and in particular with:

Stay Permit ("Permesso di soggiorno")
Students who are not residents of the European Union need to apply for a Stay Permit once they arrive in Venice.

Taxpayer's Code ("Codice fiscale")
The taxpayer's code is used as a form of identification throughout Italy and is necessary in order to enrol at an Italian university. It is made up of 16 characters and numbers which represent your personal information (name, date of birth, place of birth, gender, and so on).

More information on living in Venice can be found here.

Carta Conto

Students in the Marco Polo programme will receive a University ID card called "Carta Conto". It can be used to access university services such as:

  • University cafeterias
  • University libraries and loans
  • printing and photocopying

It is also possible to use it as a chargeable debit card.

Last update: 24/06/2020