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Siena Program

Siena Program


The Siena Program reinvigorates 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.

Applications received by March 15 will receive a preference in internship placement. Please see detailed information on our Internship Application Page.


The Siena Program reinvigorates 20 years of cooperation between the University of Siena Facoltà di Giurisprudenza and Tulane University Law School, and more than 10 years of cooperation with DePaul University School of Law. The goal of the Institute is to offer the world’s best program 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 itself, as both physical and intellectual property. Its merit is that it looks to the most basic premise of all: that there can be no preservation of artistic excellence if there is no preservation of art itself. While it is all well and good to speak about the production and dissemination of art, there would be no art or artists without their protection.

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.

From Black to Gray: the Markets in Stolen and Looted Art and Antiquities
Professor Larson- Tulane University Law School
This section will address multitude of issues related to the theft and smuggling of stolen art or looted antiquities, and its estimated annual losses as high as $6 billion, according to the FBI Art Crime Team. Particular emphasis will be given to the problem of archaeological site looting. Among the specific topics covered are: the domestic implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention among market nations; the prosecution for dealing in stolen art and antiquities; and criminal forfeiture. Finally, we will discuss the particular problems faced by auction houses and purchasers. Case studies, including the looting of the Iraq Museum and of archaeological sites in Iraq, will be used throughout the course to illustrate these legal principles.

The International Legal Framework for the Protection of Art and Cultural Property
Professor Gerstenblith- DePaul University- College of Law
Processor Francioni- 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 Pavoni- University of Siena 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. Printed copies will be available upon arrival in Siena. There is no need to print the materials before arriving in Siena. Materials are included in tuition and fees.


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.


We will not be housing students at the Refugio this year. We have provided an alternative housing option (please contact lawabroad@tulane.edu for more information). Many students have been successful with arranging their own accommodations within walking distance of where classes will take place. If you would like to arrange your own housing, the address of The University of Siena Law School, where your classes will take place is: Via Pier Andrea Mattioli 10 Siena

To connect with other students, share housing resources, and possibly coordinate roommates, join the Program's Facebook group 2022 Tulane Law Summer in Siena!


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
  • Tours of Siena and Sienese museums
Arrival and Departure

Students should plan to arrive at the University of Siena by 5:00 pm on Sunday, May 29 for a brief city tour. Students should not plan to leave Siena earlier than mid-afternoon on Friday, June 24. Final exams will take place during regular class time on Friday, June 24, exams cannot be rescheduled. Students must check-out of the dorms by Saturday, June 25 before 11:00 am.

Students are responsible for all travel and are strongly advised to purchase travel insurance. We recommend researching ticket prices early from a few travel search engines to find the most competitive prices.

Bringing Family
Family members and friends are cordially invited to participate in all activities except the academic course.

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.

Italian 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


  • 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!
  • 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!


  • The courses all complimented each other and expanded on the materials in different ways.
  • 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.

Beneficial to Career?

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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...