Note: Advice about what to do when actually in Venice should go here.

General Tips

  • Take a look at the Vademecum. It contains answers to MOST of your questions
  • PQP takes up EVERY free minute of your life in A Term.
  • Group dynamics are very important, and dysfunctional IQP groups can explode. Take care of problems before they get out of hand.
  • Read as much as you can. Start now and don't stop until you leave Venice. The more you read, the more you'll know about Venice, its circumstances, its needs, its eccentricities, and where you fit in.
  • Begin learning Italian early. You can't do it in seven weeks, you need to know some before you leave, and worrying about it when PQP and two other classes need your attention more urgently is foolhardy.
  • You get out what you put in, and you'd be dumb not to want to get the most out of Venice.
  • Speak to Venice Project Center alumni about their experiences.


  • Begin saving money.
  • If you do not have a credit card, apply for one this summer. It's very useful for paying for train/plane tickets (online and in person) and groceries, and helps to avoid ATM service fees. Just don't forget to tell your bank you'll be using it in Europe for two months before you go.
  • Get a passport if you don't have one, or if you do, make sure it hasn't expired and won't within several months of your return from Venice. If you are not a U.S. citizen, speak with the IGSD about visas, etc.
  • If you are thinking about getting a new computer over the summer, strongly consider getting a laptop. You can sign one out from the ATC to take with you, but a laptop of some variety is virtually essential in Venice.
  • If it is important to you to vote in the 2008 election, think about an absentee ballot.


  • Begin adjusting to the idea that this will be, to a great extent, an individual experience. Your perceptions will change, you will need to trust your instincts and rely on yourself for many things. You'll be in a group, sure, but at the end of the day, it's you that has to face Venice.
  • Talk to your parents about expectations, experiences overseas, etc. They are very interested in your trip to Venice, too.
  • Talk to other people who are from Italy, who have been there before, and so on.

Early Preparation

Having been accepted to the Venice Project Center, you may be looking for (voluntary) ways to begin preparations for their term abroad. There are few real requirements this early, but if you are interested, here are some ways for you to begin thinking about Venice:

Movie List

Watch these movies with other people who are going to Venice with you:

Reading List

  • Venice, the Tourist Maze (Google Books or ebrary when on-campus or using the WPI proxy); provides a very fresh perspective and is highly recommended
  • The City of Falling Angels (entertaining non-fiction; available at WPI library)
  • Death in Venice - classic literature
  • The World of Venice - Jan Morris (a well-known, erudite writer and lover of things Venetian)
  • In the Company of the Courtesan (Sarah Dunant; undemanding fiction; available at WPI library)
  • Venice from the Air - book of photos; available at WPI library, call # DG674.7 R67 1988 (oversize)
  • Venetian Palaces - book of photos; available at WPI library, call # NA7755 Z6713 1990 (oversize)
  • Venice: An Illustrated Anthology - available at WPI library, call # DG674.2 V42 1989; compendium of easily-digestible excerpts from famous writers, poets, etc., all about Venice
  • Travel Books (e.g., Rick Steves' Venice 2008)
  • Lots of other books at the WPI library


  • Rosetta Stone works somewhat well. It can be obtained by those living on-campus.
  • Begin learning how to pronounce Italian words (how is ci- different from ch-? how do you pronounce gli-?). If tutoring is offered, or if you are able to take Italian classes at home over the summer, DO IT. One useful thing to come of this project just might be a rudimentary knowledge of a useful new language.
  • Get a "Learn Italian" CD from your public library, make a copy or rip it to your iPod, and listen to it on your way to and from work all summer.
  • PRACTICE your Italian with a buddy. Make up some funny phrases and have some fun! This worked for me, maybe it will work for you.
  • Use these files as a place to start with ideas for how to learn Italian:



  • Listen to Vivaldi, including his well-known "Four Seasons." Picture sun and rain, seagulls, gondolas and canals.
  • See what's going to be on at La Fenice (Venice's opera house) when you're in town


  • Acquaint yourself with the names of famous painters of Venetian origin (and those that have painted Venice): Gentile Bellini, Giovanni Bellini, Jacopo Bellini, Canaletto, Vittore Carpaccio, Giorgione, Giambattista Tiepolo, Giandomenico Tiepolo, Tintoretto, Titian, and Paolo Veronese, to name but a few. A local favorite is Boston-based John Singer Sargent (examples here, here, and here)
  • Search The Athenaeum (online art gallery) and find your own favorites.
  • See Venetian art at the Worcester Art Museum (free for WPI students) or the MFA (Boston)
  • Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston - a Venetian palazzo constructed in the Fenway at the start of the 20th century to house the immense, world-class collection of a Boston-based art patron and lover of Venice.


  • Try Pinot Grigio or Soave wines, which often come from the Veneto region.
  • Go to an Italian restaurant (Via in Worcester is recommended)
  • Practice cooking and learn some recipes, since you'll be cooking a good deal of your own food in Venice.


  • Look at Kyle's Venice photo gallery for some scenes of the 2007 Venice experience (and other parts of Italy, too)
  • Set a Google Alert to hear about what's happening in and around Venice
  • Explore Venice on Google Maps (or Google Earth) and on Microsoft PhotoSynth
  • Think about places you might want to visit while you're overseas. You can see the rest of Italy (Rome, Florence, Verona, the Riviera, Sicily, Capri, Pompeii, etc.) easily by train, and most of Europe is also easily accessible on discount airlines like RyanAir.
  • Begin a blog, journal, or Word document in which to record things about Venice. What do you want to accomplish, see or do while you are there? What do you hope to get out of Venice? If you read books about Venice, you will come across things that you'll want to see and do in person. Write them down, lest you forget.
  • Read Kyle's blog, maintained from the spring to the fall of 2007, and read the article he wrote for The Towers upon his return.

Later Preparation

  • Use this file: skills_assessment_form.doc - it gets people thinking about what they're good at, what contributions they'd like to make to the team, and what they'd like to get better at while working on the IQP
  • Report Checklist.pdf - good outline for the final report
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License