Venice overseas intensive programme information

18 November - 15 December 2017


The School of Historical and Philosophical Studies and the School of Languages and Linguistics at The University of Melbourne collaborate to offer an overseas intensive in the city of Venice. Students live in a spacious palazzo in the heart of Venice for a month. During this time they take two distinct, but interrelated subjects: one History subject and one Italian subject. Classes are taught in superb surroundings and facilities in an historic palazzo on the Grand Canal. Daily excursions to museums, galleries, the Jewish ghetto, and local artisanal workshops, with lectures by the programme leaders and guest experts, give students an unparalleled opportunity to learn about this breathtaking and unique city in extraordinary detail. Students will become familiar with local Venetian traditions, cuisine and culture, and with the traditions of the other islands in the Venetian lagoon.

Applications for this programme are closed

Application information

Programme leaders

Venice at night
Venice at night

Both programme leaders are academics with international reputations in Italian studies. Both have extensive experience at leading programme groups overseas. Both are fluent speakers of Italian, and have intimate knowledge of the city of Venice, its history, culture, and daily life.

Catherine Kovesi is Senior Lecturer in History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at The University of Melbourne where she teaches Renaissance Italian history. She completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford, and has held fellowships at Oxford and at the Harvard Centre for Renaissance Studies in Florence. She has published widely in Italian history, especially on the country's consumption practices and their control, issues of clothing and gender in Renaissance Italy, as well as on society and politics in Florence. Her current research focuses on the contemporary debates concerning consumption of luxuries in Renaissance Italy.

Andrea Rizzi is the Cassamarca Senior Lecturer in Italian in the School of Languages and Linguistics at The University of Melbourne, and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He completed his doctorate at the University of Kent at Canterbury and his research centres on arts and patronage in northern Italian Renaissance courts as well as on translation studies. Over many years he has co-translated and edited a substantial early chronicle of the city of Venice, The Morosini Codex. He has written extensively on Renaissance cultures in Latin and Italian. He has recently held a fellowship at the Harvard Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence.


There are no pre-requisites for the intensive. The intensive is open to all students at The University of Melbourne, and can be used to fulfil Breadth requirements. It is also open to the broader community through the Community Access Programme (CAP). Please note that there are no Italian language requirements.

Subject descriptions

History subject

Venice and Cultures of Consumption (HIST20052 and HIST30051)

Credit points 12.5

The Renaissance in Italy is regarded by many as the locus of the first consumer society in the western world. Venice was at the centre of the new commercial revolution and the trade and production of the luxury goods that were its staple. This subject examines Venice's position as a trading empire, and the goods traded, produced and consumed from luxurious textiles, printed books, art works, dyes and spices, to slaves and prostitutes. Venetian authorities were actively involved in regulating consumption with the passage of extensive sumptuary laws, the development of copyright, the application of duties and taxes, and a complex system of surveillance.

Students will complete this subject with a deeper understanding of Venetian society and its contribution to one of the key markers of the west and of modernity.

Italian subject

Languages of Venice: Study Abroad (ITAL20006 and ITAL30012)

Credit points 12.5

This subject focuses on the social and cultural spaces of Venice (real, imaginary, or interpreted): how these spaces were used, represented, and understood in early modern Venice. The subject will also explore how these private and public spaces were used in the early modern production of communication, information, and culture.

Field trips to several sites and museums will provide students with the basic skills needed to work on fifteenth-century primary sources. On completion of this subject, students should have acquired an understanding of the use of languages and places in early modern Venice. Students will also be able to gain a basic knowledge of production and reception of culture and communication in early modern Venice and Europe.

Advanced students of Italian have the option of writing all their work in Italian and are encouraged to use Italian as much as possible. All other students are expected to use English but will be encouraged, through extra curricular and field trip activities, to learn and practice context-based Italian.

Memorandum of Understanding with Ca' Foscari

The University of Melbourne has a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Venice, Ca' Foscari. This means that all programme participants have access to the resources and facilities of Ca' Foscari, including its library and computer facilities. In addition, students of The University of Melbourne
are able to undertake subjects at Ca' Foscari to credit towards their degree with no additional costs other than usual HECS fees.

For further information on taking an overseas exchange at an Italian university email Matthew Absalom in the School of Languages and Linguistics.

Resources and subject materials

A detailed itinerary, subject readers and additional information will be supplied to students who have enrolled and booked into the programme. Prior to departure a detailed briefing session will be held for students and another briefing will be given upon arrival in Venice.

Programme price


Programme price includes:

  • 27 nights in a fully equipped palazzo (including wifi and linen service)
  • 3 x group dinners in Venice
  • A 'Venice Card' providing free public water transport throughout Venice and the lagoon islands
  • Entry to all museums, galleries, churches, and workshops, which are part of site visits

Programme price does NOT include:

  • Flights
  • Meals (other than those specified)
  • Personal spending money
  • HECS or CAP fees

Optional inclusion

Private boat transfer from Venice Marco Polo airport to your accommodation for those arriving on recommended Qatar or Emirates flights (extra $25.00).

Apply now


Once you have been accepted into the programme, an initial deposit of $1000 AUD is required by Monday 24 April 2017. A final payment of $1345 AUD is required by Friday 1 September 2017.

Payment is made via the Faculty of Arts Online Store Venice Overseas Intensive 2017 web page.

More information