Student tour of Italy for Phase 1 medical students

A woodcut of the anatomist Andreas Vesalius dissecting a hand
A woodcut of the anatomist Andreas Vesalius dissecting a hand

March 18-March 26, 2023 (Coincides with spring break)

Application deadline: Dec. 15, 2022

Italy is often seen as the cradle of medicine. The first dissection since the classical period was carried out at the University of Bologna in 1315, Andreas Vesalius wrote his ground-breaking anatomical text while working at the University of Padua, and Italian artistic conventions dominated anatomical illustration throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

Students will be accompanied by Kari Allen, Assistant Professor of Anatomy in the Department of Neuroscience, and Elisabeth Brander, Rare Book Librarian and Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at Becker Library. Students on this trip will experience the history of medicine in Italy by:

  • Visiting the historical anatomical theatres at the University of Padua and the University of Bologna
  • Viewing the collections of anatomical specimens at the Palazzo Poggi, which include lifelike anatomical wax figures
  • Touring a historical pharmacy at the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum in Venice
  • Seeing the works of Renaissance artists including Michelangelo and Raphael at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence

Download the full itinerary.

The wooden anatomical theatre in Padua, Italy
The wooden anatomical theatre in Padua, Italy

The core themes of this trip will be how anatomical illustration has been influenced by the culture that produces it, how the representation of bodies has evolved over time, and the medical ethics of anatomy in the early modern period.

Students will be required to attend two pre-trip orientation sessions where we will examine historical texts from Becker Medical Library’s rare book collections, and to submit an approximately 1000-word paper reflecting on their experiences on the trip.

Logistics and cost:

  • Depart St. Louis on March 18, 2023 (Saturday) and return March 26 (Sunday)
    • Seven nights in Italy (three nights in Venice; four nights in Florence)
  • Students are required to register this trip on the Washington University international travel registry.
  • The out-of-pocket cost is $500 for double accommodation, $1,050 for single accommodation,
    • Italian hotels are small, and we are unable to guarantee single rooms for each participant. These will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • A $100 down payment is due upon participation confirmation. The balance is due March 1, 2023.
  • Accommodation, transportation, trip insurance, and some meals in Italy are included. Students are responsible for incidentals and additional meals.

To apply:

Please email with a brief statement describing how this trip relates to your journey as a medical student and what you hope to get out of it. Applications will be accepted until all spots are filled, or until Dec. 15, whichever comes first. Space is limited to 15 students, so please apply as soon as possible to guarantee your spot.