The Center for Sustainable Food Systems

Study Abroad in Italy

While living in the heart of Tuscany learn how rural development, agricultural practices, and food system policy affect the agricultural, natural, and semi-natural ecosystems, and the health and wealth of farmers and local communities. Research contrasting ecosystems, such as the coastal flat land and salty lagoons of Maremma in southwestern Tuscany, the smooth, hilly agricultural landscape of vineyards and olive groves in Chianti, and the mountainous, natural pastures and chestnut woods of Mugello and Casentino in northeastern Tuscany. On a weeklong excursion to Sicily, you’ll explore the diverse and contrasting food systems and culture of central and southern Italy. 


Stretching through three biogeographic regions (Alpine, Continental, and Mediterranean), Italy is a biodiversity hotspot hosting the highest number and density of both animal and plant species within the European Union. Due to its vast array of differing climates, topographies, and geology, Italy is famous for a diversity of agricultural systems and gastronomic specialties.



Sustaining Traditions: Food, Farming, and Climate

15 Weeks
18 Credits
Fall 2024
Sep 1 - Dec 12
Spring 2025
Jan 27 - May 9

See Program Costs

Program Costs
  • Tuition$17,000
  • Room & Board$5,500
  • Total$22,500

Where You'll be Living

The program is in the ancient city of Greve, nestled in the gentle rolling hills of Chianti. Greve’s main piazza contains multiple medieval-era buildings with numerous restaurants, shops, and museums to explore. Greve also hosts a weekly farmers’ market that attracts both residents from nearby cities and international tourists.

Creating shared community around food is an important aspect of the program. You’ll live in shared apartments in town and immerse yourself in group living through food culture. Share responsibility for cooking, budgeting, shopping, and preparing meals, and enjoy the deeply rooted Italian tradition of connecting over food.

  • Shared and furnished apartments a short walking distance from the classroom, where you’ll meet daily for class and excursions
  • Apartments are equipped with cooking facilities, bathrooms, living room, a small garden, and WiFi
  • Lunch and snacks provided at the dining hall on program days
  • A weekly food stipend is provided to plan and cook breakfasts and dinners together, connecting through the process of food shopping and culinary pursuits
  • Travel easily to other Italian and European destinations during designated long weekends or mid-semester break
Read Stories from Students, Staff and Faculty 

PRogram Costs

Study abroad is an investment in yourself – you’ll return home with new experiences, skills, knowledge, and friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your life. SFS program costs cover a variety of expenses, including:

  • Pre-program advising and on-site orientation
  • Tuition and research fees
  • Housing at the field station and on excursions
  • Daily meals and snacks
  • Airport transfers (for arrival/departure)
  • Field excursions and cultural activities
  • Student success and wellness team on site
  • 24/7 mental health and well-being support
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Official transcript processing
View Italy Program Costs

Financial Aid

We know cost can be one of the biggest barriers to studying abroad. At SFS, we’re committed to making our programs accessible to students which is why we award a generous amount in need-based financial aid each year. Our Admissions Team has worked with thousands of students and are here to answer your questions about the SFS aid process, aid available through your home school, and funding from external sources.

SFS Financial Aid: Need-based aid packages typically consist of a combination of scholarships, grants, and zero- and low-interest loans. SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for students applying to an SFS semester program.

Home School Aid: Be sure to ask your home school study abroad office or financial aid office what financial aid resources might be available to support your study abroad experience.

External Funding Opportunities: Organizations such as the Fund for Education Abroad or the Gilman International Scholarship Program award scholarships to students going abroad. These can be a great opportunity to reduce the cost of your program even more.

Learn More about FInancial Aid


Our research at the SFS Center for Sustainable Food Systems analyzes the integration of environmental, sociocultural, and economic dimensions of food systems to achieve sustainability in different agroecological contexts. Conservation of wild ecosystems and/or agrobiodiversity is addressed in all research projects, which follow an interdisciplinary approach incorporating both natural and social sciences. Field research is carried out on vegetable and cereal cultivation, horse, sheep, goat, and cattle rearing, artisanal fisheries, vineyards and olive groves, and in multi-use agroforestry operations. At the end of the semester program, students will present their research findings and experience to the local community, government, and key stakeholders from the program.

Our research focuses primarily on the following themes:

  • Conservation of local agrobiodiversity by farmers
  • Climate change impacts on food production
  • Sustainability of organic agriculture and small-scale fisheries
  • Livestock-wolf conflict management
  • Stewardship of endangered heritage livestock breeds
  • Multifunctional forest management


Greve, Italy

With a population of 14,000, the hilly terrain of Chianti forms the center of Tuscany, sandwiched between the cities of Florence and Siena. The predominant land use in Chianti is a mixture of vineyards and olive groves, but nearly 45% of the territory is covered by woodland. Greve is approximately 15 miles from Florence and offers efficient public transport facilities to major cities and airports.

Students become members of the Greve community during the program, living in shared apartments in town. Away from the chaos of the major cities, students are part of small-town living, practicing Italian language skills while out at local restaurants, shopping in the organic farmers market, and socializing with neighbors and local families. A unique Italian study abroad experience, students learn to cook in groups and share conversation at the table, a cultural mainstay of the traditional Italian way of life.

Read Stories about OUr Community in Italy

Meet the Italy Team

Riccardo Simoncini, PhD

Lead Faculty; Lecturer in Food Systems Policy and Socioeconomic Values
Meet Riccardo Simoncini, PhD

Jessica Shepherd

Program Manager
Meet Jessica Shepherd

Esmeralda Peri

Program Assistant
Meet Esmeralda Peri

Olivia Sussman

Health and Wellness Manager
Meet Olivia Sussman