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  • Locations: Fiesole, Italy
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • When applications open, you will see an "Apply Now" button. Please check back at a later date.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language Prerequisite: No Language(s): English
Click here for a definition of this term Type of Program: Area Studies, GU Faculty-Led, GU Villas Non-GU Students May Apply: Yes
Housing Options: Onsite, Student Residence Level of Support: High (Comprehensive onsite support)
Application Deadlines: February Fields of Study: Government/Political Science
OGE Advisor: Mia Pezzanite
Program Description:

Georgetown at Villa Le Balze

Machiavelli Seminar

Brochure Header VLB-Machiavelli

At a Glance

Location: Fiesole, Italy

Program Length: 2 weeks
Arrive on: May 14, 2019
Depart on: May 29, 2019

Georgetown welcomes participation in this course from all qualified university students (non-Georgetown students are welcome) with good academic and disciplinary standing.

Number of credits: 3 credits

Program Description

Who was Niccolo Machiavelli, and how do his ideas still resonate in the context of modern military strategy and statecraft? Though most famous for his brief work, The Prince, his lengthier treatises, including Art of War and Discourses on Livy, are watershed works bridging classical and modern military strategy, and remain highly relevant to the challenges of modern international relations. Explore the life of the Florentine diplomat and the enduring influence of his political and philosophical writings at Georgetown’s own Villa Le Balze, just a stone’s throw from the city that played host to the central political dramas of Machiavelli’s life and work.

This intensive, dynamic two-week course will give you deep insight into Machiavelli’s political thought and how it informed early modern military strategy, and then allow you to apply those strategic concepts to modern-day international relations through hands-on simulation games and seminar-style discussion. Part of the seminar will coincide with a gathering of senior military strategists from the U.S. and Europe on the Villa’s grounds, where you’ll have the opportunity to engage with high-level experts and professionals about real-world issues.

Georgetown Faculty Director(s): George Shambaugh (Professor, Walsh School of Foreign Service), Matthew Kroenig (Professor, Department of Government), Phillip Karber (Instructor; President, Potomac Foundation)


Following Machiavelli’s concept of a “discussion with the ancients” with relevance to modern issues, this two-week, three-credit seminar is comprised of the following elements:
  • In-depth study of Machiavelli’s writings and an appreciation of the Florentine environment in which he wrote them;
  • A comparison of Machiavelli's ideas with those of other classical thinkers such as Sun Tzu;
  • Applying the strategies proposed by these thinkers to ancient and modern geopolitical conflicts using the "Nth Power" political-military simulation; and
  • Using Machiavelli’s insights to interpret contemporary security issues through interactions with senior policymakers and military leaders taking part in the European-American Workshop on Global Security Affairs (held concurrently at Villa Le Balze)
Upon successful completion of the program, Georgetown students receive 3 GU undergraduate credits for the following course: GOVT-486-62 Machiavelli in Florence. This course can count for the Government major or minor.

Non-Georgetown participants will receive an official transcript from Georgetown for their completion of academic coursework and should discuss transfer of credit with a dean or academic adviser at their home university.


The program includes several organized excursions designed to engage students with major course topics as well as to explore the culture and history of their host country in a direct, hands-on manner. Past excursions have included:
  • L'Albergaccio (Casa di Machiavelli)
  • Pisa and Lucca
  • Walking tour of Florence


You will live on-site at Georgetown’s historic Villa Le Balze where you will be placed in in double, triple or quadruple rooms with private bathrooms. Visit our website for more information on housing.


All meals are provided and included in the program cost, with the exception of Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch. The majority of these meals will be provided at the Villa and prepared by our on-site cooks. We are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and students are encouraged to speak with an advisor if they have any concerns.

Program Cost

The program fee for Summer 2019 is $4,995. This amount, billable to your GU student account, includes: tuition, academic fees, accommodations, some meals, program excursions, local public transportation, and supplemental insurance.  The program fee listed above does not include: airfare to/from your program site, passport and visa fees (if applicable), and other individual expenses.

For more information on total costs of this program, please visit the program's budget sheet. 


The Office of Global Education awards need-based scholarships on a competitive basis to participants on summer study abroad programs. OGE Summer Scholarship awards range from 20% to 50% of billable program cost and are scaled in proportion to program price and demonstrated financial need. Students who are currently receiving financial aid are automatically considered for this scholarship; there is no application process.

OGE advises students to research and pursue a wide range of available funding opportunities. To find scholarships applicable to your program, browse the scholarships section of OGE’s website.

Commitment and Withdrawal Policy 

A student’s commitment to a study abroad program confirms his or her intention to participate in that program.  Students who notify the Office of Global Education of their intention to withdraw from their overseas program after the stated Commitment Deadline will be assessed a withdrawal fee of $300, in addition to all non-recoverable costs that have been paid on their behalf, as determined by the Office of Global Education and its overseas partners.  These costs may constitute as much as twenty-five to one hundred percent of the program fee.

A committed student’s decision to withdraw from a study abroad program is effective from the date on which the Office of Global Education receives a written confirmation of the student’s decision to withdraw.  All withdrawal fees and refundable program costs will be calculated from the date the Office of Global Education is notified in writing of this decision.  No refunds will be given for the education abroad insurance fee.  

Georgetown University is not responsible for indirect costs paid directly by the student including, but not limited to, passport fees, vaccinations, and transportation costs.  Georgetown University reserves the right to cancel programs without prior notification; however, every effort will be made to provide participants with information on cancellations in a timely manner.  In the event of a non-voluntary cancellation, Georgetown University will refund application fees as well as all recoverable program costs.

The Office of Global Education is committed to making study abroad accessible to all interested and eligible students. OGE hopes that students with accessibility needs will pursue study abroad opportunities and use the available support services on campus for assistance and advice when necessary.

With over 200 approved-programs, OGE is confident that you will find a program that fits your interests and goals. Programs offer varying degrees of academic and lifestyle support. Please make an appointment with the OGE advisor specializing in your geographic area of interest to discuss how to best support any special needs you might have on programs that may interest you.

To learn more about the resources for students on campus and also for advice on how to request accommodations overseas, please visit the Georgetown Academic Resource Center’s website. Additional support can be found on the Mobility International website.

Contact Information

Office of Global Education
Car Barn, Suite 210
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057
(202) 687-5687
Prof. George Shambaugh
School of Foreign Service
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057
(202) 687-2979
Prof. Matthew Kroenig
Department of Government
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057
(202) 687-5580
Prof. Phillip Karber
Program Instructor
President, The Potomac Foundation
Vienna, VA 22182
(703) 506-1790

Useful Links

Villa Le Balze website
GU & The Potomac Foundation video

Student Voices

Open Application Deadlines & Dates

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

When applications open, you will see an "Apply Now" button. Please check back at a later date.