Italian Life and Culture: Living at the Birth of the Renaissance

  • 20 hours
  • 10 weeks (2 hours per week)


This ten-week evening course explores the experiences of those living through the Renaissance period in Italy, between 1350 and 1650.

You'll examine different perspectives on the Renaissance, exploring the lives of those involved in:

  • printing
  • practising religion in confraternities and convents
  • healthcare in hospitals and during epidemics

You'll also look at the debates of the time around what the Italian language should look like (Questione della Lingua).

Using literature and historical sources, you'll build up a picture of the transition from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance.

This course is run by the UCL Italian Department. It's part of the ‘Made in Italy’ series which offers a uniquely comprehensive approach to learning the about the culture and history of Italy.

Structure, teaching and assessment

Classes are held on Wednesday evenings, from 6pm to 8pm, over ten weeks in the summer term. 

Classes are taught through lectures and seminars.

This course is delivered in English, with material provide in English and Italian. 

There's no formal assessment. You'll receive a Certificate of Attendance if you attend at least 70% of classes.

Who this course is for

This course is for anyone who is curious or passionate about Italian culture (including art, history, literature, politics and food).


There are no formal prerequisites for this course.

Basic knowledge of Italian can be beneficial but not essential.

You'll need internet access and a computer to make use of the online and multi-media supporting resources.

What makes this course unique

Joining this course gives you access to the renowned Italian department at UCL.

Expert staff - you'll be taught by native Italians who are experts in the field, engaged in frontline research.

Breadth of study - you'll have the opportunity to explore a variety of topics and literature that will give you a board view of the subject.

Flexibility - you can choose which courses in the 'Made in Italy' series you're interested in. There are no restrictions on how many you can do.

Based in the heart of London - immerse yourself in a wealth of knowledge and expertise about Italian culture and history within central London, access the wealth of Italian cultural heritage in the city.

You'll also be able to:

  • meet like-minded people with a passion for Italy
  • access the department’s library which contains UCL rare books collections (for example Dante Incunables), and other resources
  • become part of UCL's Italian department and enjoy many seminars and other events, including the Italian Film Club

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you'll:

  • have a thorough knowledge of the texts studied in the course
  • understand Italian culture more clearly
  • have developed your critical skills
  • be able to engage in critical discussions on the subjects covered

If you're an employer sending your staff on this course (e.g. if they're going to be working in Italy) you can expect them to be:

  • more confident at communicating with Italian nationals
  • able to quickly adjust to Italian culture when travelling to Italy or working with Italian clients and colleagues
  • prepared for life in Italy if relocated or seconded there

Costs and concessions

The standard fee for this course is £350.

Discounted rates are available for:

  • UCL staff: £300
  • seniors: £250
  • students: £200

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Course information last modified: 02 Apr 2019, 11:50