Foundation Year in Art, Fashion and Design 

University preparation courses for students interested in studying Visual Arts, Design and Fashion in Italy.


Learn Italian language and develop essential skills and knowledge to successfully enrol to undergraduate degrees in the best Universities and Design Academies in Italy.  Focus on your areas of interest while improving your technical skills in a friendly international environment.

This pathway program provides a broad understanding of art and design in Italy. It helps you develop your portfolio and prepare for entry tests, while helping you to find out which art or design field of studies is right for you. The Foundation Year certificate also grants students direct admission to MADE Fine Arts and Design Academy.

Your Pathway to Studying in Italy


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The ideal preparation for your degree in Art, Design, Fashion or Architecture in Italy

The Foundation Year program gives the opportunity to international students that wish to enrol in Italian university to enhance their knowledge of the Italian language and culture while learning fundamental concepts of art, design, and architecture in Italy.

The program is offered in 2 options:


  • September start
  • 9 months on-site 
  • 660 academic hours



  • January start
  • 6 months on-site 
  • 420 academic hours

Both options include: pathway courses, Italian language classes, a CILS exam preparation course, arts and design practical labs, cultural excursions and have the option of extending the program to participate in the MADE LABS International Summer School in the month of July.

Upon successful completion of the program, students will take the CILS B1 or B2 level exam (Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language) and receive academic titles with legal value, accredited by the Italian Ministry of Education, valid for enrolment into Italian undergraduate degree programs in Fine Arts and Design Academies in Italy.

During the Foundation Year, students will attend culture, art and design classes  at the MADE Program | Fine Arts and Design Academy. Upon completion of the Foundation Year program, students will have the option to be directly enrolled (without entry test) and receive a scholarship for one of the 3-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs at MADE Academy: BFA in Design, BFA in Visual Arts, BFA in Fashion and Textile Design, BFA in Digital Media.


Pathway Courses & Workshops

  • Pathway workshops
  • Introduction to European Design and Architecture
  • Italian Art History
  • Technical Drawing
  • MADE Labs (optional)


Italian Language Courses

  • Italian: beginner to intermediate
  • Italian Culture
  • CILS Italian Exam preparation

Students will take part in a series of practical labs and hands-on workshops, guided by expert faculty that will help to develop the core skills and techniques for art and design studio work and mastering artisanship with different materials.

Students enrolled in the Foundation Year may also optionally choose to participate in the MADE Labs Summer School in the month of July for an additional fee. The MADE Labs offer a series of thematic workshops in various arts and design fields with critically acclaimed European artists and designers and global thought leaders.

The Pathway workshops will also expand the student’s portfolio which is an essential requirement for enrolment in design degree programs in Italy.

Italy has been one of the most crucial centers of discovery in art and culture and the main phases of its art, especially from the Renaissance to the Baroque and Neoclassical periods, have influenced and still fascinate the world. The course is defined as a dynamic path towards the knowledge of the historical/theoretical phases of the most important profiles that characterize Italian history from the Middle Age to the most recent trends in art, including Futurism, Conceptual Art, Arte Povera and the Transavanguardia.

Students learn about the history of Architecture and Design in Italy from the early 19th century to today. After an overall introduction to the European artistic and cultural context, the course will develop the topics of the architect and designer’s role in Italian society and its transformation from the pre-industrial to the post-industrial age.

The Italian language course is offered as:

9-month on-site program

– 6-month on-site program

The program is intended to allow students starting at beginner levels to achieve the required intermediate (B1) or upper intermediate (B2) level of Italian language competence required for enrolment into Italian university programs. Such language objectives require commitment and dedication on behalf of each student, our instructors and student service team are here to support to create an optimal learning enviroment for students to succeed.

Students are taught by expert, highly qualified native Italian language instructors that implement the communicative method in the classroom to achieve the best results in all 4 linguistic skills: speaking, writing reading and listening comprehension.

Students take part in a 30-hour intensive CILS exam preparation course, which will cover the best practices for academic writing, preparation tests with CILS past papers and oral exam simulations led by instructors that are University of Siena CILS examiners.

The Italian Academy is a CILS exam centre. Students will be able to enroll into the exam session at the end of the academic year in order to achieve the B1 or B2 CILS certification which is recognized by all Italian and international universities and design schools.

The course aims to guide students through the main historical events of Italy as represented by Italian filmmakers from the 40’s to today. Through a critical approach and group discussion, themes, directors and actors that characterize the tradition and innovation of Italian movies will be analyzed in relation to various national events, thus depicting a social history of Italy.

“This incredible experience has helped me to explore my passions and find my true interest in the field of design, to have a clear idea on the degree specialization and career path I want to follow. The staff and professors at the Academy were incredibly supportive and made me feel welcome in the sunny city of Siracusa as from the first day of the program. I have made friendships with students from Italy and all over the world during the workshops and language exchanges events, it is an invaluable experience for my personal and professional development!”

Top Reasons to Join our Foundation Year program


Students who wish to choose carefully which discipline of art and design they want to work, while developing their practical skills and personal portfolio:

✓  Graphic design 
✓  Fashion design
✓  Product design
✓  Interior design
✓  Architecture
✓  Creative Art
✓  Photography
✓  Drawing
✓  New Media
✓  Visual Communication
Students with less than 12 years of schooling that wish to enrol into Arts or Design degree programs in Italy.
Also, students who studied in the American or British school systems and do not have the three Advanced Placement exams or A-Level exams required to enrol at an Italian university.



Students that need to improve their Italian language skills.
The achievement of a recognized B2-level (upper intermediate) certification of Italian language is required to take part in Italian undergraduate degree programs.

#1  Helps Fill the Gaps for Italian university

The Italian university system requires at least 12 full years of primary and secondary education for enrolment to all degree programs.  Universities and Design Academies also require a certificate for Italian language  B2-upper intermediate level and a personal portfolio (for design undergraduate programs) .

#2  Designed for International Students

Our students come from a range of countries, age groups and backgrounds. We welcome intelligent, creative, motivated people who are interested in moving into an art and design vocation.

#3   Select the specialization that fits you

Besides allowing you to become familiar with the language and culture of Italy before starting your degree, the Foundation Year also provides the opportunity to visit universities and academies throughout the country and decide which program is right for you.  

Program Information

What are the program fees and dates?

6-month track: January, 5th  -  June, 15th 2024

Tuition Fee: € 5,600 

Student Services Fee: €290

Application Fee: €60

9-month track: September 2024  -  June 2025

Tuition Fee: € 7,500

Student Services Fee: €290

Application Fee: €60

Complete your application and upload documents here:

What are the prerequisites to enrol at The Italian Academy?

Students seeking to join the International Foundation Program at The Italian Academy should have:

  • Secondary school leaving certificate or diploma. Students that have not yet received their certificate may send it after completing the application. 
  • B1 English language: Cambridge Preliminary, IELTS (5+), TOEFL (40+ points), DUOLINGO English Test (80+ points) or equivalent. Students that experience issues accessing a language certificate will be required to take an interview online with our admissions committee.
  • Minimum 16 years old. Students should be between 17 and 30 years old by the start date of the program.

What are the enrolment deadlines?

To apply to the program, students should follow the following steps:

  1. Complete the ONLINE APPLICATION FORM and upload the documents
  2. Complete payment of the Application Fee (€ 350)

Students that complete the application will receive an offer and the program contract. To complete the enrollment students should then:

  1. Make the payment of the 1st installment of the tuition fee
  2. Sign the Program Agreement document


Tuition Fee Payment deadlines:

1st instalment (50%) is to be paid at 30 days prior to the start date of the program:

2nd instalment (50%) is to be paid within 60 days after the start of the program

NB. non-EU students that require a study visa should pay the 1st instalment of the Tuition Fees at least 60 days prior to the start of the program in order to receive the letter of enrolment for the Italian consulate. In the unlikely case of visa denial, the Tuition Fees are fully reimbursable.

Application Deadline for Spring 2024 Intake








Syracuse, Sicily


While the outgoing nature and warm hospitality of Italians is appreciated worldwide, international students living in the small and safe city of Syracuse are always surprised at the open arms welcome they receive from local people, which helps to create the friendly and comfortable atmosphere that all our students gladly recount.


Syracuse is also a strategic base for those who wish to enjoy all the beauties of Sicily, just a stone’s throw away from all the other major attractions of the island: the Valley of the Temples and the Scala dei Turchi in Agrigento, Mt. Etna, the highest volcano in Europe, and the hill-top city of Taormina. It is also very easy to reach all main Italian locations: the nearby Fontanarossa Airport connects Syracuse with all major cities (Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Naples), daily and with low cost flights.


Syracuse (Siracusa in Italian), listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove located on the southeastern coast of the Italian island of Sicily. Over 3 millennia, it has collected a wealth of art and precious architecture, which bears witness to the passage of many glorious civilizations.


Today the city of Syracuse is a warm-welcoming, lively city with much to offer to adventurous souls and culture vultures alike: one may choose to explore the labyrinth of narrow streets of the historical center, take a stroll around the medieval castle that overlooks the natural harbor or explore the pristine beaches and marine reserves that surround the city.


The Italian Academy regularly organizes cultural exchange events to allow international students to meet and make friends with local students. It is easy in a city like Syracuse to make long-lasting connections and build friendships with Italian peers. We acknowledge that engaging with locals plays an essential role in developing confidence in the spoken language.


Student housing

Student Residence: Private rooms

Students may choose to live with other international students attending language and culture courses at The Italian Academy. All accommodation is at a short walking distance from the Academy.

Homestay: Private Room, Half-board

Students may choose to live with a Sicilian host-family in comfortable apartments close to the school with private bedrooms. Homestay accommodation includes 2 meals per day, breakfast and dinner.

This type of accommodation guarantees a safe, comfortable and fully immersive experience, which enhances our students’ linguistic and cultural learning.

About The Italian Academy

The Italian Academy is an international school specialized in offering language and culture programs with a focus on Mediterranean Studies. The Italian Academy is a University of Siena CILS local center.

Located in the city center of the city of Syracuse (Sicily), next to St. John’s Church, which gives access to the Catacombs and the Crypt of St. Marcian: the first place of Christian worship in the West, where St. Paul is said to have preached.  The villa is also adjoining the Archaeological Museum and the Basilica of Our Lady of Tears, while the Greek Theater and the island of Ortygia are at a short walking distance.

About MADE Program

Degree-granting Fine Arts and Design Academy, the first of its kind in Italy, that aims to work at the crossroads of design, art, traditional crafts, and local culture, creating an operational platform based in the South of Italy, in Syracuse.

Your Pathway to Art and Design Studies in Italy

Take the first step and contact our team. We are here to help! 

Our team of student advisors is glad to support you every step of the way: from enrolment and visa application, to departure preparations, orientation and settling into your new city and home.


Head Office: Piazzale San Marziano, 1, Siracusa, Italy

Call Us

Phone: +39 0931 61424

Email Us

Ready to Apply?



Ready to Apply?