This mini-course, taught in English, provides an introduction to Italian culture, seen through some of Italy’s most prominent thinkers and artistic movements. Course begins with love stories from Dante’s Divine Comedy and Boccaccio’s Decameron, followed by a study of Western cultural icons such as Leonardo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and Verdi. Our investigation will also tackle Futurism, a seminal avant-garde movement, and Fascism, a dark, albeit influential, historical period, along with some masterpieces of Italian cinema, touching upon Neorealism and its aftermath. The course examines the worldwide appeal and influence of contemporary Italian trends in the fields of cuisine, design, and fashion. Along with literary texts and critical essays, in our investigation we will rely on a wide range of visual materials (ads, slides, clips from documentaries and features films).