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Why Italian at UMass Amherst?

Our students are the global leaders of the future. The UMass Amherst Italian Studies Program contributes to the internationalization of their college experience.

Rich in history, arts, and culture, Italy lies in the middle of the Mediterranean, at the crossroads of East and West, Continental Europe and North Africa, providing, today more than ever, a privileged point of view to observe and understand the geopolitical, cultural, social, and financial dynamics that connect Europe to the rest of the world. Historically an open gateway to cultural and socio-political influence from the Mediterranean as well as its continental neighbors, Italy also stands at the crossroads of time—past, present and future—as a vibrant example of transformation and evolution. Migrations to Italy and from Italy have always signed its history from ancient to post-modern times, and constituted the intrinsic diversity of the country’s culture.

Italy’s rich and multifaceted social and intellectual heritage informs the work of modern and contemporary writers (Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco) and scientists (Rita Levi-Montalcini, Margherita Hack, Carlo Rubbia). Modern cinema had its birth in Italy, among the rubbles of WWII, with neo-realism; it continued to evolve in the parallel and yet diverging masterpieces of Antonioni and Fellini, and still endures in Paolo Sorrentino’s recent Academy Award winner, The Great Beauty. The multidisciplinary perspective of the Italian program at UMass Amherst allows our students to understand how Italy’s history and modernity are crucial to the broadening of cultural horizons of future leaders.

The Italian Studies at UMass provides a truly multicultural and multidisciplinary experience. As part of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, our students are part of a remarkably diverse international community. As part of the Five College Consortium, and in the spirit of broadening the range of our students’ opportunities to grow and explore, we collaborate closely with departments of Italian at Mt. Holyoke and Smith Colleges, as well as with colleagues in various other departments at UMass Amherst.


Image: The town of Sciacca on the southwestern coast of Sicily.