Italian Culture Through Food and Conversation on the Amalfi Coast

Image of the Amalfi Coast


Program dates: June 23 – July 27, 2024

Investigate Italian culture while exploring the small town of Sorrento on the majestic Amalfi Coast. The program will be hosted by Sant’Anna Institute, where you will take Italian language and culture courses and learn about food production in Italy. You’ll discover how the locals live through an immersive experience including cultural excursions as well as cooking courses and tastings.

Studying in Italy will facilitate your ability to learn the language and experience Italian culture through a variety of activities. Living in-country offers you the chance to continually test your language comprehension and acquisition.  You will have the opportunity to experience Italian language and culture as you shop, eat, and mingle with locals.

Language of Instruction: English and Italian


  • ITAL 50: Basic Italian Conversation (5 units)
  • ITAL 101: Italian Culture Through Food (5 units)

Max Enrollment: 25

Faculty Leaders: Tonia Prencipe (she/her), Lecturer in Italian


Quick Facts

Locations – Sorrento, Italy 

Eligibility – Good academic and disciplinary standing, Min Age: 18, 45 units completed at time of departure.

Minimum GPA – 2.3 cumulative GPA or higher 

Prerequisites –  None

Application Materials 

  • Passport: A passport valid for at least six months after the program’s end date is required to apply or a receipt indicating that it has been ordered.
  • Financial Agreement – Download, read, and electronically sign the Financial Terms and Conditions document. You will be required to upload it in the application.


  • Amalfi Coast: Enjoy exploring the coast for a day with a specialized guide. The tour includes the visit of Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, and the famous “Amalfi Drive” which is said to be one of the most spectacular roads in Europe.
  • Fattoria Terranova: Visit and prepare an authentic Mediterranean 3-course meal! At Fattoria Terranova, you will learn the story of the farm, its activities, and productions, pick your own products to make a farm-to-table meal, and learn the secrets of traditional Italian products, including handmade pasta. 
  • Pompeii: Take a day trip to Pompeii including a guided tour of the archaeological site. Pompei was once a thriving city but in 79 A.D. was buried in ash after a catastrophic volcanic eruption. The ash preserved much of the city’s remains and it continues to be an impressive snapshot of a sophisticated Roman city. 
  • Mozzarella cheese factory: Here you’ll indulge in all things cheese-related. You’ll do a mozzarella cheese-making course and tasting and see why the cheeses produced here are some of the best cheeses Sorrento has to offer.
  • Pizza-Making Class: Learn how to make authentic Italian pizza! It starts with the most important part – making the dough. 
  • Coffee Factory: No trip to Italy is complete without a visit to a coffee factory. Here, you will learn the art of real Neapolitan coffee by assisting throughout the production process. 


Application Fee

  • There is a Non-Refundable $200 UCSC Global Learning Application Fee. It is charged to your UCSC account after March 1, 2024. 


Country and Host Organization

The Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Campania region of Southern Italy. This stretch of the Italian coastline includes towering cliffs, multicolored towns, and turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. The small seaside towns that call this coastline home are connected via a highway that is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world, according to U.S. News. 

Sorrento is a small town of around 17,000 residents that is perched atop cliffs that overlook the Bay of Naples, Vesuvius, and the Isle of Capri. It’s known for its busy marinas, breathtaking water views, and being the birthplace of Limoncello liqueur.

Weather and Climate

The weather in Sorrento during the summer is warm to hot and humid with occasional rain. The average daily high/low temperature in June and July is 83/65 but can reach upwards of 100 degrees. Read more about Sorrento’s weather here. 

Travel Documents Required for US Citizens

Passport required for US citizens. If you are not a US citizen please email to learn about additional travel documents you may need to pursue this program.

Country Information Resources

Currency: Euro

Official Language: Italian


You will live in town in apartments with double or triple rooms. Each apartment has a bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen. The apartment is furnished with a washing machine, wi-fi, linens, and towels. Accommodations have air conditioning and are within walking distance of the Sant’Anna Institute (up to 25 minutes walking).

Please note that elevators, air conditioners, and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.


Meals are not included in the program aside from the welcome and farewell receptions as well as cooking classes. There are cafes, restaurants, and grocery stores in town. You are encouraged and budgeted to prepare most of their meals in your kitchen and to use grocery shopping, whether at a store or a farmers market, as an opportunity to practice Italian.


While Sorrento is generally accessible, some locations may present unique challenges regarding mobility. These will be addressed as needed and accommodations can be made. Please email to inquire more about if this program is a good choice for you. 

Students with DisabilitiesIf you need support services abroad, notify your UCSC Disability Resource Center (DRC) Coordinator.

Identities Abroad and Away

UC Santa Cruz Global Learning is committed to inclusion and equity in our various program options as well as striving to make everyone’s experiences abroad enriching, positive, and safe.

Learn more on our Identities Abroad and Away webpage.


Course Descriptions

TAL 50 Basic Italian Conversation – 5 units

Gives students an opportunity to practice speaking and listening skills to build their fluency in Italian. Develops conversational strategies, introduces some grammar, and includes vocabulary drills and key expressions through role plays, games, and small-group activities.

ITAL 50 aims to build students’ skills to listen and speak in Italian through conversations on relevant aspects of Italian social life. The lessons will also include moments of lexical analysis and clarification of the linguistic structures. Particular emphasis will be given to vocabulary, diversity of linguistic registers, current use of written and spoken language, idioms and idiomatic expression, pronunciation and intonation, slang, and dialectal elements. The classes will be conducted in an interactive way in order to let students be protagonists of their own learning process.  In order to encourage and stimulate the conversation, students will be exposed to many modules of written, oral, and audiovisual materials.

ITAL 101 – Italian Culture through Food – 5 units 

Explores how the evolution of the Italian culinary tradition and the variety of eating habits reflect the historical and economical changes that took place in Italian society over the most recent centuries. The course is taught in English

The course will investigate images of food in literary works, Italian films, and great paintings in order to understand how food became an important defining element of “Italianness” in the familiar public imagination. While the core of the course centers on Italian culture and society, we will also look at comparing food culture transnationally. In particular, we will dedicate a section of the course to the Italian-American interpretation of Italian cuisine, as well as exploring the relationships between gender identity and food in both the United States and Italy. 

Through the ITAL 101 course, students can satisfy an upper-division ITAL course and/or the GE

Course Credit

Students on UCSC Global Seminars earn regular UC Santa Cruz course credit which may be used to fulfill degree, major, minor, General Education (GE) requirements. UC Santa Cruz students can use UCSC Global Seminar courses to fulfill their academic requirements as listed in the General Catalog. Students from other campuses should consult with the academic advisors from their home campuses to determine whether courses taken on our programs may be used to fulfill their specific academic requirements.

Last modified: Feb 23, 2024