Since 1967 the Warwick History Department, joined later by the Warwick Art History Department, has sent a group of third-year undergraduates to Venice every autumn term. Warwick has its base in a fifteenth-century palazzo near the Grand Canal. This is the Palazzo Pesaro-Papafava (see photo above). Apart from teaching rooms, the palazzo houses our own library.
Students study Italian for the two years prior to their departure for Italy. The knowledge of Italian which students acquire not only enables them to study Venetian history in depth, it is also a potentially invaluable asset to them when they are seeking employment after graduation.
All students rent flats during their time in Venice, and our Venetian administrator, Chiara Croff, helps to arrange the accommodation. The cost of living is comparable to that in Leamington. The University guarantees accommodation on campus for third-year students on their return so they don't have to worry about renting a flat in England during the autumn term.
While they are in Italy, History students take a module on the history of Venice in the Renaissance which is taught by Warwick staff. The history of the city and its empire is studied in all its principal aspects, cultural, economic, political, religious, and social. The point of the module is to give students a unique opportunity to study the history of a great Mediterranean city while living in it, and Venice is well-suited for the purpose, since its overall appearance and structure have changed so little in the last four hundred years. Guided tours of the major monuments of the city are a key part of the module. At half term students have the chance to spend ten days’ travelling across Italy.
Warwick has close links with the University of Venice Ca' Foscari and our students have access to facilities such as its libraries. There is also a ‘buddy scheme’ which teams Warwick and University of Venice students, encouraging an even greater immersion in local life.
Photo credits: Timothy Ball