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Recommended Website

  • (for languages & translation)

Recommended Films

  • Life is Beautiful
  • Tea with Mussolini
  • Where Angels Fear to Tread
  • Room with a View
  • Caro Diario
  • Several titles by Fellini (La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2)
  • The Bicycle Thief
  • Il Postino
  • The English Patient
  • The Agony and The Ecstasy
  • Under the Tuscan Sun
  • Enchanted April
  • El Alamein
  • Pinnochio with Roberto Benigni
  • La Finestra di Fronte
  • Johnny Stecchino
  • Il Mostro

Recommended Reading


  • Rough Guide to Italy
  • Lonely Planet: Italy
  • DK Eyewitness series, volumes on Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, and Italy
  • Nicholas Albanese, Streetwise Italian Dictionary/Thesauras

Classics to Read in Translation

  • Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
  • Boccaccio, The Decameron
  • Leonardo da Vinci, Notebooks
  • Poetry by Francesco Petrarca, Michelangelo Buonarroti
  • Vasari Le Vite


  • Origo, Iris.  The Merchant of Prato
  • McCarthy, Mary.  Stones of Florence and Venice Observed
  • Levi, Carlo.  Christ Stopped at Eboli
  • Barzini, Luigi.  The Italians
  • Parks, Tim.  Italian Neighbors
  • Ginzburg, Natalia.  All our Yesterdays, The City and The House, The Little Virtues
  • Calvino, Italo.  Italian Folktales, The Baron in the Trees (among  many other titles)
  • Mayes, Frances.  Under the Tuscan Sun, and In Tuscany ( photos of Cortona )
  • Lamb, Wally.  I Know This Much is True


  • Harrison, Barbara Grizzuti. Italian Days
  • Mayes, Frances. Under the Tuscan Sun
  • Ruskin, John. The Stones of Venice

Most of Europe uses the metric system to express measurements of length, weight, capacity or volume, temperature, etc. The system derives its name from the meter which is its basic measure of length. Before you go to Italy, familiarize yourself with the metric system as not many people in Europe are familiar with American units of measure. It is very easy to use the metric system as it is based on the number 10. Dividing or multiplying is simply done by moving the decimal point or adding a zero. For example: the meter is the standard measure of length. Its multiples are:

  • the kilometer= 1,000 meters
  • the hectometer = 100 meters
  • the decameter = 10 meters
  • the meter = 1 meter
  • the decimeter = 0.1 meter
  • the centimeter = 0.01 meter
  • the millimeter = 0.001 meter

Note that in Italian the comma indicates decimals, while the point is used for thousands.


Length: Metric Standard Unit is the Meter

When you wish to purchase canvas, string, etc., you will ask for it in meters. One meter is just longer than one yard.

Liquids or Volume: Metric Standard Unit is the Liter
cup > milliliters or liter
pint > liter
quart > liter
gallon > liter

When you purchase liquids like wine or milk, the measure will be in liters or half liters. A liter is roughly comparable to a quart (see above.)

Weight: Metric Standard Unit is the Gram
ounce > gram
pound > gram
Pound > Kilogram

When you buy items by weight as grocery items, you will ask for them in kilos ( 1 kg = 2.2 LB), half kilos (a little over one pound), or by hectograms (a little over 3 ounces).


Temperatures are measured in Celsius degrees, also called centigrade. Every degree of temperature is divided in tenths.

If you are taking your body temperature with an Italian thermometer you will know you are running a fever if the mercury is past 37 degrees.

For weather conditions you can find out the temperature in Fahrenheit by using the following easy formula:

From the Celsius degree value: multiply by 9 ÷ divide by 5, add 32. The result is the temperature in Fahrenheit.

Telling Time in Italy

In Europe the hours of the day are counted from 1 to 24. There is no indication of a.m. or p.m. Time schedules will read correspondingly. For example: The play begins at “ore 21.00" means "at 9:00 p.m."

An easy formula to reduce the p.m. hours to what you are used to is to subtract 12 from the European time. Examples:21- 12 = 9 (which is 9 p.m.) ore 18.00 (- 12) = 6 pm, ore 15.00 (- 12) = 3pm ['ore' means 'hour'].

Students who participate on the Cortona program do not need an Italian visa.  Italian visas are required for persons staying in Italy or the Schengen area for more than 90 days total (every Cortona program is less than 90 days).  The UGA fall program (for example) is generally 86 days, leaving only 4 days for personal travel (90 days total) within Italy or the Schengen area on your own, before or after the program.  Summer is approximately 65 days, leaving an additional 25 days for personal travel.

The official reasons that visas are issued are very specific and only include:

Adoption, medical reasons, certain business trips, family reunion (with family member currently residing in that country), or research/study opportunities sponsored by a U.S. or international institution.  Only on rare occasions will UGA be able to sponsor extended research/study -  for example, students participating on two or more consecutive Cortona programs.  The Consulate requires official documentation if you need a visa.  Travel/tourism are not considered official reasons.  These are the requirements of the Italian Consulate, not the Cortona program.

International students not holding a U.S. passport may be required to obtain a visa to enter Italy for the program.  Please contact our office for details. 

The member countries of the Schengen agreement are:

Czech Republic


Slovak Republic


Non-Schengen countries are:


United Kingdom

The University of Georgia's sexual harassment policy is posted in the Severini School. You should contact the Director or Associate Director immediately if there is a problem.

UGA's Non-Discrimination & Anti-Harassment Policy (PDF).
UGA's Policy on Alcohol & Other Drugs .

Concerts, Plays, Recitals, and Movies

Cortona has a small but surprisingly good series of spectacles performed in Teatro Signorelli during the Fall and Spring, and during the summer in outdoor spaces. They are usually free of charge or modestly priced. We urge students to attend these events not only for their own enjoyment but also because it is a good opportunity to meet Italians and other foreign guests of Cortona who have similar interests. American movies and other foreign films are frequently shown in town, dubbed in Italian, and are usually shown once a week in their original language.

Athletic Facilities

Soccer: In the warmer months, students and locals often play games of soccer in Camucia, which is a few minutes ride down the mountain from cortona. In Italy (and the rest of the world) its called football.

Tennis: Cortona has two lighted clay tennis courts, located on the east side of town past the public park. You can sign up for temporary membership at the Cortona Tennis Club. Bring your racquet! (There is a charge for the court.)

Swimming: There is a swimming pool near the park in Cortona. Additionally two large swimming pools are available in the valley town of Camucia which can be reached by public bus. There is usually an admission charge.

Running: Cortona provides excellent opportunities for joggers, allowing one to experience the countryside closely and to get a feel for it. Not many Cortonese run recreationally, so do not be surprised or alarmed by some odd stares you may get. Rather, greet people you meet and continue on your way. Shirts should be worn at all times.

Boating: Lake Trasimeno is the third largest lake in Italy and is connected to Cortona by bus during the summertime. In addition to swimming, the Lake area also offers other forms of recreational facilities (boating, fishing, water skiing, etc.)

Bocce: Bocce (bah-chee) is a traditional Italian game played with balls on a clay or sand court. It is easy to learn and is an excellent chance to meet and make friends with the Cortonese. Primarily older people play bocce but in recent years the young are also getting interested in it again. Try it! There is a small bocce court on the terrace of the Kehoe Center. Former students have even started an annual Jack Kehoe Bocce Tournament during the summer semester.