Faculty of Modern LanguagesItalian/Romance Studies

Romance studies considers Romance languages, literature and cultures. In Italian, the focus is on the Italian-speaking world (in particular Italy, Ticino).

Romance studies covers research and teaching across Romance languages, literature and cultures. The most important Romance languages, which all derive from Latin, include French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Occitan, Catalan, Gaelic, Sardinian and Rhaeto-Romanic. Variants of these Romance languages, literatures and cultures are also found outside Europe, in parts of Latin America, Canada, North and South Africa. 

Degree courses in Italian encompass areas of Italian language, literature and cultural studies. In addition to this content, students attend language sessions which are taught exclusively by native speakers. 

Colosseum in Rom

Special Features and Characteristics

  • Heidelberg University has ERASMUS agreements with fourteen universities in Italy
  • a connection to the Italian Center Heidelberg and to the related programme of scientific and cultural activities 
  • internal and external links with different research centres, for example the European Linguistics Centre (Europäischen Zentrum für Sprachwissenschaften, EZS) 
  • specific formats for teaching sessions 


Research in Heidelberg is conducted in the fields of linguistics or literary studies.

The main research interests in Italian linguistics are:

  • the history of Italian everyday language
  • synchronised and diachronic analyses of syntax, semantics and word formation
  • varieties of Italian from the 18th century until today (e.g. sub-standard research)
  • spoken and written language
  • dialectology and sociolinguistics of southern Italy
  • language geography, notably geolinguistic investigations of the Campagna region

The main research interests in Italian literary studies are: 

  • Trecento, Rinascimento, reception of Antiquity in classical Italian literature
  • theatre in Enlightenment
  • narrative prose in the 19th – 21st centuries
  • poetry in the 20th – 21st centuries

Occupational Areas

Graduates of a degree programme in Italian may pursue a career in the following fields:  

  • teaching (German secondary school – Gymnasium) 
  • training and consulting institutions 
  • universities and research institutes 
  • media 
  • communications and translation 
  • publishing 
  • tourism 
  • and other fields in which knowledge of the Italian language, literature and culture is of benefit.


Studierender Italienisch Uni Heidelberg

I study Italian with European art history because I have Italian roots and want to find out more about my heritage. The Italian language also makes it easier for me to delve deeper into art history.

Marco Vedana, 34, Italian/Romance studies, 2nd semester Bachelor