Your university journey in Italy begins between Tuscany and Piedmont—two epicenters of Italian gastronomic culture. In your first year, you’ll learn Italian and live in two of the most picturesque regions known for their culinary excellence and romantic hills.


Your initial months in Siena, a renowned Tuscan city and UNESCO heritage site, will expose you to landscapes like the Chianti hills and Piazza del Campo, along with art and museums symbolizing Italian heritage. Here, you can start your gastronomic adventure with dishes like ribollita, panforte, and ricciarelli! In the second half of the year, you’ll move to Pollenzo in the Langhe, a distinguished wine district and another UNESCO site. Here, you’ll begin to absorb the atmosphere of the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo (UNISG), a place steeped in history and now an international university!

Foundation Year

Pathway to Gastronomic Studies


The Foundation Year Program: Overview and Academic Structure
The Foundation Year Program is a preparatory course taught in Italian. It targets students who wish to study at an Italian university. This program is particularly beneficial for students who have not completed 12 years of schooling and/or meet other specific requirements for enrollment in an Italian university degree program, such as American students. This Foundation Year is designed to fully prepare students to meet the challenges of the UNISG curriculum.

This program is a nine-month course divided into two distinctive phases:

UNISTRASI (October – March): Six months of immersive language and cultural education at the University for Foreigners of Siena, aiming to equip students with a robust B2 level of Italian proficiency. This phase lays the groundwork for success in the subsequent gastronomic studies at UNISG. Extracurricular activities like local tours, tavern meals, expert meetings, tastings, and seminars enhance the education, offering a comprehensive lifestyle experience.


UNISG (April – June): Three months of intensive introductory modules in gastronomic sciences offered at UNISG, resulting in a practical understanding of human nutrition, food consumption and trade, and gastronomic landscapes.

Academic Objectives and Credits:
The structured curriculum is developed to offer:

  • Italian Language and Culture Courses: 24 Foundation Credits
  • Academic Writing Workshop: 3 Foundation Credits
  • CILS Certification: 5 Foundation Credits
  • Specialized Tracks Tailored to Your University Course Selection: Introduction to Gastronomic Sciences, including experiential activities like educational visits and tastings: 26 Foundation Credits
    • Food and wine tourism in the Langhe
    • Food systems and ecology: North-West Italy
    • Food in Italian cinema
    • Sustainability, inclusiveness and innovation in the kitchen – Food Lab
    • Agroecology and sustainable agriculture in the Alpine and pre-Alpine areas – Educational Gardens
    • Plant production and sensory analysis – Sensory Analysis Laboratory
    • Nutrition, food and health
    • Multisensorial nature of food
    • Educational visit to a winery in the Langhe
    • Foraging of spontaneous food herbs – Pollenzo
    • Educational visit to the Porta Palazzo food market – Turin
    • Educational visit to the Rabbia dairy – Ruffia (CN)
    • Educational visit to the La Granda meat processing plant – Genola (CN)
    • Educational visit on truffle research and harvesting – Montà (CN)
  • Final Examination: 2 Foundation Credits

Total Foundation Credits for Completion: 60

Linguistic Requirements and Outcomes:
Choose from various entry and exit linguistic levels to best fit your needs:

Option A: Start at B1 and guarantee an exit level of B2 or higher.
Option B: Begin at A2 and reach the B2 level by program end.
Option C: Enter as an A1 level student or complete beginner, and leave with a solid B1.
Option D: For students already at the B2 level, bypass language courses and start in February for a two-month stint in Siena.

How to Apply:
Email your Statement of Interest directly to

Application Window:
We look forward to welcoming new students with application acceptance from January 15th to July 15th each year. If you are considering the accelerated option D, be sure to apply by November 30th.

Admissions for Minors:
Minors may be admitted with the understanding that they will reach legal age by May 31st of the program completion year. A parental consent declaration and appointment of a legal guardian residing in Italy through the program are required until adulthood. No staff of the Università per Stranieri di Siena can serve as legal guardians.

Fees & Financial Aid

Initial Fee:
Confirm your intention to enroll by paying an initial non-refundable fee of €1,000. This secures your official acceptance letter and places you within our esteemed circle of incoming scholars.

Pricing for the course varies depending on the option you’re entering with. Below is a simple overview of the total cost for each option:

Option A: €21,200
Option B: €21,800
Option C: €22,000
Option D: €14,000

Please note that these fees cover the entirety of the course, including your foundation year in Siena, the gastronomic studies at UNISG, and the costs of accommodation in both Siena and Bra. Payments will be split between UNISTRASI and us as per the instructions provided upon your acceptance.

American students should note that upon their enrollment in the three-year degree program at UNISG, they may be eligible for American Financial Aid. This opportunity enhances access to our world-class educational offerings, mitigating financial barriers and encouraging a diverse student population passionate about gastronomy.

For further information about the payment structure and process, please forward your inquiries to

Food Sciences and Cultures Program

 Your Path to a Sustainable Food Future

The University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, established in 2004 by the international Slow Food movement, holds the prestigious title of being the world’s first and only university solely dedicated to food.

Gastronomy is to understand food in its totality. Our unique approach combines theoretical learning with practical experiences, helping students understand diverse production realities and develop critical thinking. As a part of our community, you will be prepared to kickstart your career in the bustling food industry. At UNISG, students have the opportunity to pursue a three-year Bachelor’s degree program in Food Sciences and Cultures. This interdisciplinary program views food and its impacts on society, the economy, and the environment as the key to an innovative and sustainable future.

Course Structure:
The three-year program studies a range of subjects from both humanities and sciences, making gastronomic sciences a uniquely comprehensive course that blends theoretical learning with practical experiences. In the first year, the courses are taught in English, allowing for an easier transition for international students. From the second year onwards, the instruction shifts to primarily Italian, immersing students more fully in the country’s rich linguistic and cultural tapestry.

Experience Gastronomy Beyond the Classroom

Study Trips and On-Campus Culinary Adventures


A key distinguishing feature of our curriculum is the inclusion of comprehensive educational trips that are fully funded by the student’s annual tuition.

Study Trips: Over the span of three years, students undertake 15 trips focused on specific products or regions both in Italy and around the globe. Each excursion lasts 4 to 12 days, permitting students to delve into the gastronomic cultures of locales as diverse as Sicily, Campania, Spain, England, Kenya, Brazil, and Thailand.

On-Campus Dining: The gastronomic exploration continues even on the university campus. Housed within a neo-Gothic castle, the Academic Tables serve as the UNISG’s dining hall, offering a dining experience more akin to a restaurant than a traditional university canteen. Here, students can savor dishes crafted with seasonal and sustainable products and sample recipes prepared by renowned cooks. This allows culinary theory to be experienced tangibly, enriching students’ understanding of the field.

Meet Our Alumni:
Amber Bewich – Creative Coordinator
Katherine Harris – Marketing Coordinator
Laura DeOliveira – Community Manager
Christina Gutiérez-Williams – Director of Culinary Development
Alexandra Emanuelli – Food Writer and Editor
Scott Thomas – Certified Wine Educator and Italian Wine Ambassador in USA

Path to Enrollment and Advanced Studies

Entering the world of gastronomic sciences at the University of Gastronomic Sciences entails an immersive education that extends beyond classroom lectures and into the rich cultural fabric of Italy. Prospective students should be aware that an in-depth understanding and proficiency in Italian are not only beneficial but essential for academic courses, particularly in the second and third years of study.

Pathway to Advanced Gastronomic Studies:
The journey to our esteemed three-year degree program is structured to ensure that all students are thoroughly prepared for the complexities of advanced gastronomic studies. Achieving this level of preparedness involves two essential steps:

  • Successful completion of the Foundation Year, an essential period of both academic and cultural enrichment.
  • Passing the UNISG entrance test with the required proficiency.

It is crucial to highlight that the pathway to our three-year degree program is contingent upon the successful completion of the Foundation Year and the clearance of the entrance test to UNISG. This prerequisite ensures that students are adequately prepared and possess the proficiency to embark upon more advanced studies within the gastronomic sciences.