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Siena Program

Siena Program

The Siena Program is the product of more than 20 years of cooperation with the University of Siena Facoltà di Giurisprudenza and more than 10 years of cooperation with DePaul University School of Law. This program's curriculum delves into the fascinating relationship between international law, cultural heritage and the arts.

Program Dates: May 26 – June 22, 2024

Applications received by March 1st will receive a preference in internship placement. Please see detailed information on our Internship Application Page.


The goal of the Siena Program is to offer the world’s best courses for the study of the complex and fascinating relationship between international law, and art and cultural property. There could be no better place to pursue such studies than in the artistic treasure that is Siena.

This program provides the only opportunity in the world to study in-depth the relationship between international law and art and cultural property, both tangible and intangible. The program’s strength is that it explores the most basic premise of all: that if the law does not protect and preserve art and cultural property, then it does not truly protect humanity.

While the program is designed primarily for law students, graduate students in other disciplines, such as art, art history, archeology, and anthropology are encouraged to attend. These students bring additional depth and breadth to the program, as their insights and perspectives come from completely different sources – sources other than law. As can be seen from the course descriptions and faculty biographies sections, the program brings together not only international legal scholars, but also scholars with expertise in art and archeology in order to give students in the program a multi-dimensional understanding of the subject matter. This combination of students and faculty members from many different fields removes barriers from the classroom and allows for an interchange of both ideas and opportunities.

Partner Host Institution
While classes in the conventional sense will be held at the Facoltà di Giurisprudenza, Siena and Tuscany will be the true classrooms, providing students with the opportunity to see and experience first-hand the problems and issues that shape this field. Classroom lectures will be supplemented extensively with field trips, visits to museums, and guest speakers to take full advantage of the program’s location.

Students will also have the opportunity to experience the glory that is Tuscany, often described as “the place where Mother Nature outdid herself.” Should a student desire to see more, the cities of Florence, Pisa, Volterra, Lucca and Arezzo are a short distance away.

Follow the adventure on Instagram at #TulaneLawSiena.

Courses and Materials

The Academic Course: International Law, Cultural Heritage, and the Arts (6 credits)
This course includes five subtopics that will prepare students for work in the field of International Law, Cultural Heritage and the Arts.

The Prosecution of Cultural Property Crimes: Mission Almost Impossible
Professor Larson- Tulane University Law School
This course will very briefly the address unique history of the legal status of cultural property, and that history’s role in making criminal prosecutions in this area so difficult. The course will also examine all the other current problems faced by law enforcement agencies, both international and domestic, problems which arise from the unique nature of the markets in art and antiquities. Case studies, including cases arising from The Holocaust, the looting of the Iraq Museum, and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, will be used during the course to illustrate these legal issues. Finally, the course will look at some successful domestic models for prosecuting these cases, including the ones created in Italy - the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, and in the United States - the FBI Art Crime Squad.

The International Legal Framework for the Protection of Art and Cultural Property
Professor Gerstenblith- DePaul University- College of Law
Processor Pavoni- University of Siena

Designed for law students, students in other disciplines, and working professionals, this portion of the course will provide an introduction to the complex and often confusing web of principles and systems that constitute international law. Concepts such as sovereignty, jurisdiction, and standing will be considered, as well as the basic rights of both nations and individuals to their art and their cultural property.

The following major conventions regarding the protection of art and cultural property will be addressed: the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, and the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

Beyond the Law: The Ethics of Collectors and Collections
Professor Flora- Tulane University School of Liberal Arts
This section will explore the ever-changing ethical issues surrounding the acquisition of art by museums and collectors, who now often go beyond the law to embrace new ethical codes of collecting. What duty does a museum have to ensure that it is not acquiring stolen property? When must property that is discovered to be stolen be returned to its rightful owner or to its country of origin? Is it ethical for a private collector to purchase a masterpiece, and deny the public access to it? Taking advantage of resources in Siena itself, such as the city Paintings Gallery, the Cathedral Museum, and the Archaeological Museum, this section will look at how and why art was and is acquired by museums and collectors in Italy and abroad. We will look in particular at collecting policies and ethical codes of American museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum, and their at-times controversial acquisition of Italian works by seminal figures in Sienese painting such as Duccio. Reflecting on issues of ownership, culture, and identity as faced by museums, we will also examine works of Etruscan art at the center of recent repatriation efforts by Italy, and also address the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles controversy.

The Protection of Art in Times of Crisis: from War to Natural Disasters
Professor Lenzerini- University of Siena
From earliest times, art and cultural property have been treated, and prized as “the spoils of war.” In just the past century, civilization has witnessed massive theft and destruction of art and cultural property during armed conflicts, ranging from the systematic looting of the artwork of entire nations by the Nazis during WWII, to the deliberate eradication of Buddhist temples and monasteries in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge, to the recent pillaging of an entire national museum. Unfortunately, the legal efforts to protect art and cultural property during such armed conflicts have not kept pace. This section will survey those efforts, beginning with the ancient “laws of war,” continuing up through the Lieber Code, the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, and ending with Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In addition, a portion of the time will be devoted to the issue of protecting art during other times of crisis, such as natural disasters.

Provenance Research
Victoria Reed- Provenance Curator for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Throughout this course, students will learn about documenting and proving provenance; due diligence and the acquisition process; WWII and Nazi-era provenance research; and other issues related to stolen and forged works of art.

Course Schedule
All courses meet at the University of Siena, Monday through Friday, at the following times. Fieldtrips will take place on two of the Fridays.

8:50 am – 10:50 am
11:10 am – 1:10 pm

Please note that this schedule is tentative and subject to change. You will receive a detailed copy of the program schedule upon arrival.

Course Materials
Login information for course materials are sent to students prior to the program.

Staying Connected
Admitted students will receive access to the program’s WhatsApp group. Students should utilize this WhatsApp group to receive announcements from the director during the program. Students can also use this group to connect with other admitted students prior to the start of the program.


A maximum of thirty students will be accepted for the Siena program. We recommend applying early in order to secure your space in the program.


There are no program accommodations offered through the Siena program, however housing recommendations will be provided to students. You may also consult with the onsite program coordinator who lives in Siena regarding any prospective accommodations. Many students have been successful with arranging their own accommodations within walking distance. The address of The University of Siena Law School, where your classes will take place is: Via Pier Andrea Mattioli 10 Siena. Please see the Siena Recommendations below from our onsite coordinator.

Summer Abroad: Siena Recommendations

Admitted students will receive access to the program’s WhatsApp group. Students may use this platform to coordinate potential roommates prior to the start of the program.


A calendar of all activities will be provided closer to the start of the program. Excursion examples from previous programs include:

  • Duomo in Siena
  • Uffizi art gallery in Florence
  • Etruscan Tomb
  • Visits with officers of the Carabinieri charged with the protection of art
Arrival and Departure

Students should plan to arrive at the University of Siena by 5:00 pm on Sunday, May 26 for a brief city tour. Students should not plan to leave Siena earlier than mid-afternoon on Saturday, June 22. Final exams will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2024. Exams cannot be rescheduled.

Students are responsible for all travel and strongly advised to purchase travel insurance. We recommend researching ticket prices early to find the most competitive fares.

Bringing Family
Family members and friends are cordially invited to participate in all activities except the academic course. There will be a small additional charge for such participation, to cover the cost of admissions, tickets, and food. Please let the Program Director know that they are coming.

U.S. citizens do not require a visa due to the short time period you will be abroad. International students should check with the appropriate embassy or consulate to ascertain whether a visa is necessary.

IItalian language skills are not required for program participation (since courses will be taught in English and guest lectures by Italians will be translated into English when necessary). However, in order to enhance the cultural immersion experience, students are encouraged to enroll in any optional Italian language classes available through the program, and to take advantage of opportunities in their home institution or elsewhere to acquire basic Italian language skills before arriving in Siena.

Student Reviews


  • Loved this program! Really high-level experts in the field gave us intense but extremely interesting mini-classes on their subjects and the scope of the program was very well thought out.
  • I cannot think of another time in my life where I had such consistently wonderful professors. Each professor felt like a genius in his or her own right. Each had impressive professional experience that proved a real asset in the classroom— they were all able to give concrete examples from their own experience. In equal measures each of the professors was inspiring, engaging, and challenging. I can say without hesitation that spending a month learning from them changed my life and the course of my career. I cannot recommend the program highly enough.
  • I loved studying in a smaller town like Siena so that I could learn my way around and really get a feel for the city. Also the caliber of the professors at the program were amazing, they really are some of the foremost names in their fields and bring such a wealth of experience to the program.
  • Really amazing program with phenomenal professors and a beautiful setting! Definitely the most fun you'll have in law school.
  • I learned a lot from each of the different professors. It was very obvious each of them were so well educated in their field. My favorite thing is when professors have real world experience and not just legal work and that was very clear.
  • This was a topic I knew nothing about before the course and I walked away with a good general understanding and a genuine interest to pursue it further. All professors were passionate about the subjects, and willing to provide help.
  • I loved this program, it truly helped me recommit to this field which I had previously started to give up on. I loved the excursions, the readings, and each class had something new to offer me. I appreciated having the Italian and American perspectives to compare. I enjoyed having a class environment that wasn't based on cold-calling. I especially loved Siena!
  • I learned a lot in the courses, and enjoyed the overlap in material and theories in all of the courses of the program. I found it especially useful to gain perspective and information from both law and non-law classes.
  • Wonderful place to spend a summer immersed in art and culture! The professors are all the top in the field and it is an opportunity that cannot be duplicated!
  • This program is an absolute MUST for anyone even remotely interested in working in cultural heritage!
  • It is a really great way to explore and learn about law in a different setting than in law school in the US. It's structured to get a feel of international law, cultural heritage, and art and how the areas intersect.
  • It was extremely interesting and informative, and the professors were fantastic. We really dived into the topic and looked at it from a range of perspectives. Having the program open to students and professionals from multiple fields created a richer experience, and everyone benefitted from it!
  • I think what I liked best about the program was the community our class developed during our time in Siena as well as the program's encouragement not only for us to explore our field of study intellectually while participating but to explore how our field of study relates to the environment we were in, and the region surrounding it. This I greatly appreciated.


  • This course opened the realm of international law and art, areas that cannot be explored during one's first year of law school. This course helped me to see more areas of work and foster an interest in cultural heritage.
  • The course was so much more than i could have imagined. While I was most interested in the subject matter, the scope was much broader than I expected and each professor was so knowledgeable on their particular expertise.
  • The courses and professors were really outstanding. I learned about areas of the law completely new to me and really enjoyed the topics. The professors were just amazing, so knowledgeable but also leaders in the field of cultural heritage law. The fact that so many of them have actively worked on the topics we were discussing was really amazing.
  • This course gave me experience in an area of law that my law school does not offer. Therefore I benefited greatly from this program. The course and professors were wonderful.
  • I learned sooooooo much that I did not know and that I am applying already to my internship. This program really confirmed for me what I love to learn and do, and what career field I would like to go into.
  • The professors were very knowledgeable and facilitated several invaluable connections.
  • The courses provided a full picture of this field and how many different areas of study it relates to. I felt that I left with a much richer idea of this area of the law then what I knew going into it. Very grateful for the experience, and I will recommend it to any other students I know who wish to learn more about this kind of law.
  • The courses were very beneficial for me in my internship that started after the program. Each course has already helped me in understanding my first assignment.


  • I particularly liked the lunch with the Carabinieri and visit to the Uffizi Gallery. Lunch was fantastic and meeting people who work in the field was a pleasure. It was also a lovely opportunity to have a guided tour of the Uffizi with Professor Flora.
  • I really enjoyed the visit to the Etruscan tombs because it really helped us, as students, understand the importance of context when it comes to cultural heritage
  • My favorite excursion was having lunch and meeting the Carabineri. I thought the Carabineri were very insightful and gave a real-life perspective to prosecuting art crimes.
  • The lunch with the Carabinieri is tied with the Etruscan tombs. Both were just so informative and interesting and things that we might not have been able to do outside of the program. The wine tasting was also pretty great!
  • My favorite was the Duomo of SIena and the Pinacoteca - I think engaging with the city of Siena and learning about the art and cultural heritage was amazing
  • Seeing the tombs and doing the wine tasting was my absolute favorite because it showed a different part of Italy we had never gone to, and the experience of going into an ancient Etruscan tomb can't be beaten! I loved the tour guide who explained everything and the ability to explore Montepulciano for a bit (even though it rained).

Beneficial to Career?

  • This program gave direction to my legal education in a way that nothing else has. It gave me ideas I had never previously considered, and had I not gone on the program, I may never have had the opportunity to pursue some of these lines of inquiry. Although the professors were each a bit intimidating in a certain way because of how accomplished they were, they were also incredibly inspiring. Having taken classes from such accomplished people, each with such fascinating careers, inspired me to dream bigger, to pursue something that much more out-of-the-box in my legal career. It also renewed my interest in the law, itself. While I may not pursue a typical legal career, this program showed me that I can, in fact, enjoy the law.
  • Yes! I feel like this showed me the many different avenues career-wise that exist in this field which I was entirely unaware of beforehand. It also honed me in what I am interested in, what I want to do, and what I want to learn more about. In that way, this program provided a lot of clarity.
  • Yes. I think it helped me understand more of the international perspective and it was a good opportunity to meet people and make connections.
  • Yes! It allowed me to study abroad and take classes with all the experts in the field.
  • Yes. I am currently interning and the knowledge I gained is making it much easier.
  • Absolutely. I felt that I could not receive enrichment in this area through any other way. It was a great experience and I felt encouraged to explore new and creative ways to use my law degree in this field.
  • I found this program to be very beneficial for my academic and professional career. Thanks to this program I think I have found a niche in the law world that I will actually enjoy working in, assuming I can find a career in it.

Liked Most about the Program

  • I really enjoyed hearing all the different perspectives. Each professor came from a different area so it was really neat seeing all the different opinions.
  • The activities and the caliber of professors
  • I loved the field trips, especially the trip to Sarteano.
  • The quality of the Professors
  • The richness of the culture we got to see, being situated in a living historic city.
  • I liked that we got out of class very early, so that we had the rest of the day to ourselves for venturing through the city and getting homework done.

Student Alumni Recommendations

  • Do it! Does not matter if you know anyone else going on the program or not, you will make quick friends with your classmates and fall in love with the city of Siena. I have never felt so safe and welcome walking around a foreign city. Definitely stay within the city walls, although its more expensive, as it provides a more authentic and enjoyable experience.
  • Enjoy it and do as many things as possible because it flies by very quickly.
  • Go for it even if you are not sure you like art law.
  • Take this opportunity to fully network not only with your professors but also your peers! There are not many people at my law school that have an interest in this area of law like me so it was nice to meet other students that share my passion. I will definitely keep in contact with the people that I met through this program, and I hope that one day we can work with each other
  • Go in with an open mind and ask questions and be engaged. It pays off.
  • Bring good shoes and drink lots of water.
  • It is very worthwhile in terms of the knowledge gained, networking opportunities, and job skills.

Travel & Food Recommendations (these recommendations are based on previous years and subject to change)

  • Spend one weekend exploring Siena as there truly is so much to discover in this city. Stay within the city walls when looking for an apartment. Cannot go wrong with food anywhere, and don't be afraid to try something new as it’s more likely you're going to enjoy it than not. The quality of food here compared to the states is like comparing apples to oranges, it’s sad to go back to the processed food of America. Walk everywhere! Go to all the Contrada events you can. Take advantage of the weekends to explore other cities around Siena like Pisa, Florence, Rome, San Gimignano, etc. Try all the wines. Buses and trains can get you basically anywhere you need to go, just be mindful of the times and cancellations!
  • Bring bug spray and a rain jacket.
  • Go to the beach!!!
  • La Taverna di San Giuseppe (for a nice dinner!) and Osteria La Chiacchera for a fun place to eat and drink with friends.
  • Panificio Il Magnifico and Nino and Friends
  • Go to San Paolo Pub on Monday nights for Karaoke! Also, Key Largo has amazing drinks, great views of the Camp, and lovely service.
  • Taxis are not always available at certain times of the day.
  • Think about taking the bus between Florence or Rome and Siena over the train! Can be very cheap and is easy.
  • Enjoy yourself. The month goes by too quickly, and upon returning home, you will wish you did more, even though you are doing so much while you are there. Try your best to foster connections while there, go to the same cafe every morning, and try to return to a restaurant you like again and again.
  • Bring a pair of jeans- it may be hot, but it is trendy.
  • Cane and Gatto; Nice gelateria; Ravenna is absolutely worth a weekend trip; consider renting a car to drive to the beach and to visit Vetulonia; DON'T DRINK THE TAP WATER!!!!!; the trains are not always reliable and buses can fill up quickly during peak tourist season, so book early and don't plan too many activities in one time slot; there are many options to buy clothing so you may not need to pack as much as you would think; bring sneakers (comfortable flats are not sufficient for walking around Siena).
  • Pomodorino !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or la favorita
  • La Nonna Gina for dinner! My favorite restaurant in Siena. There is also a nice vegan food shop on Via Pantaneto.
  • SCOUT for clothes, Pizzeria il Pomodorino, Gelateria Nice
  • Il Pomodorino is lovely and has a student discount, and I'd highly recommend a weekend in Montepulciano as a cost effective country escape.
  • Nice gelato and Il Pomodorino
  • La Latteria Vecchia gelato...
Tuition & Fees (What's Included)
Please see the Tuition & Fees Page for program rates.


  • Program Tuition
  • Excursions (including excursion transportation)
  • Course Materials (digital copies provided in advance)
  • Opening Reception
  • Emergency Evacuation Services through Tulane University
  • All Fees (facility, administrative and activity fees)
Not Included:
  • Program Housing (program housing option or recommendations provided)
  • Medical Health Insurance (optional GeoBlue option, estimate $20/week)
  • Airfare and Travel Expenses
  • Optional Excursions or Local Activities
  • Meals