Summer 2016 Destinations

Summer 2016 destinations will be posted mid-November 2015. Complete course descriptions and details for each program will be posted by Friday, December 18, 2015. Summer study-abroad registration will begin Monday, February 22, 2016.

Past Summer 2015 Destination

Rich in history and culture, with a singular place in the development of Western art and high profile design, Italy offers unique perspectives to art and design students. Once divided into small warring principalities, the Italian peninsula still retains regional differences in art, architecture, dialect, and cuisine. Today, Italy faces political questions that reflect the pressures of modern globalization, economy, geopolitics, and migrations from neighboring countries such as the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. These multi-ethnic forces are rapidly redrawing the cultural and political landscape.

Venice + Milan + Naples

Instructor: Mariella Poli
SF campus: Sat., April 18
Italy: June 4-19, 2015
SF campus: Sat., August 15
SF campus exhibition: two Sundays for installation & de-installation / Tuesday Reception

Check-in: June 4
Checkout: June 19

All class sessions and Fall 2015 Exhibition participation are mandatory.

Interested students should contact Mariella Poli ( to start the approval process for registration.              


Open to all disciplines, with a particular focus on Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Architecture, Sculpture, Film, Photography, Illustration, and Curatorial Practice, this program centers on the Venice Biennale, the Milan Expo, and work on a site-specific project in Naples.

Divided into three sections, the course begins with five days in Venice, viewing international art at the renowned Venice Biennale and in the city’s many museums, designed by world famous contemporary architects. The 56th International Venice Biennale: All the World’s Futures, will be directed by Okwi Enwezor, a curator, art critic, editor, and writer born in Nigeria.

The class then moves on to Bergamo, 45 minutes from Milan by train, which offers a wealth of art and medieval Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Students experience two days of sustainable design, temporary architecture, culture, and science from around the world at the Milan Global Expo -- a non-commercial, international exposition designed as a process, an active collaboration built around the theme: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.

The class ends with eight days of studio practice in Naples, collaborating with students from SUN (Naples Second University, Hybrid Design Lab) in an interdisciplinary, site-specific project. This installation takes place in the post-industrial district on the waterfront of Naples, inside the City of Science, the first Italian interactive science museum. Opened in 1996, using 19th century industrial workshops as its nucleus, the science centre was destroyed by arson in March 2013. Part of the science centre was reopened in April, and public and private funding has come together for its complete reconstruction.

With 4,000 years of history and culture, Naples is one of the most ancient of European cities. This long, eventful past is preserved in its contemporary urban fabric: the pattern of its streets and wide range of architectural styles. Students visit museums such as Capodimonte, to see masters of the Renaissance, and the Naples National Archeological museum, to view one of the world’s best collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, encompassing sculptures, mosaics, gems, glass, and silver, as well as a collection of Roman erotica from Pompeii.

Coupled with the archeological museum visit is a field trip to Pompeii, accompanied by a historian. Destroyed and completely buried over a two-day eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, Pompeii now provides an extraordinarily detailed insight into daily city life at the height of the Roman Empire.

VENICE Biennale: International Art  »

MILAN EXPO: Global Design + Temporary Architecture + Science + Multi Cultures »

About the Instructor

Currently residing in San Francisco, Mariella Poli was born in Italy and has exhibited there and internationally, in such venues as the MART, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, in Rovereto; Ca’ Foscari and Studio Barberi Arte Contemporanea in Venice; and Studio La Citta' Gallery in Verona.

Before coming to CCA, she taught at the Studio Art Center International in Florence. Her publications in Italy include: Mart: Nascita  di un Museo (Mondadori Electa), Montecatini (Skira'), Savoy Hotel (Antiga Edizioni), No People No Joey (Edizione Osiride).

With her intimate knowledge of Italy, Poli designed a study-abroad course to Italy in 1996 and has been leading classes there every summer since.

She retains her connections to Italy through collaborative courses, such as her fall 2014 interdisciplinary course: Hybrid-ism and Multi-Ethnicity, an exchange/collaboration with the Naples Second University Hybrid Design lab. In December 2014, she spoke by invitation at an international conference in Rome and last summer taught in a media workshop, Giovani Talenti in Basilicata, in Southern Italy.

Learn more about Mariella Poli »


Undergraduates: Completion of at least sophomore level by summer 2015 and instructor approval
Graduate students: Instructor approval

In addition, all students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2014–15 academic year.

Course Satisfies

For undergraduates, this course satisfies a Studio Elective; an Upper Division Interdisciplinary Studio; or, with prior instructor arrangement, 3 credits of Visual Studies Seminar or a 200- or 300-level Visual Studies Elective.

For graduate students, this course satisfies a Grad-wide Elective.

Program Fee

$4,900 + $50 registration fee

Included in program fee:
3 credits, housing, studio, some material (for site specific installation) breakfast, art historian lectures, entrance fees, local transportation, field trips, and travel/health insurance

Not included in program fee:
Airfare to and from Italy, class reader, lunch, dinner

Related Topics
(Please read in entirety)

All CCA summer study-abroad courses (including the New York Studio) are coordinated by the Office of Special Programs.


Office of Special Programs
Oakland campus, Ralls 201

Nina Sadek
Dean of Special Programs

Carol Pitts
Operations Manager, Special Programs