Cortona Week is an interdisciplinary, international summer-school-retreat, where students and other participants mingle with charismatic teachers and experts in physical and humanistic sciences, with ecologists, spiritual leaders, artists and musicians – a group from all over the world, discussing fundamental questions about life and our world.

Workshops, lectures, and discussions in the lavish setting of a beautifully restored old monastery in Tuscany offer a sublime diversity of perspectives to delve into, challenge and stimulate the emergence new growth in a group of dedicated and curious minds, spanning disciplines, nations and generations.

The aim is to form a new class of world leaders acquainted with a brighter awareness and an increased capacity to efficiently tackle the problems of our world today.

Cortona Week is named after a quaint medieval town in Tuscany where it was initiated in 1985. It is an annual retreat which provides a systemic and transdisciplinary view of the world, primarily for graduate students and young professionals. Over the course of one week, students, scientists, artists, philosophers, business and spiritual leaders come together building relationships of an entirely new kind. These new connections form part of a process of transformational learning, expanding the foundation for our actions. Many problems of our world are systemic, for which conventional education proves to be insufficient as we see looking around us. Cortona Week is a counterpart to the fragmentation of traditional disciplines and complements university education through its interdisciplinary approach.

Cortona Week was initiated at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, by professor Pier Luigi Luisi, at that time Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry, now Professor Emeritus of ETH Zurich.


Cortona Week 2023 offers transformational learning based on individual and collective experiences. These will expand your horizon and consciousness and therefore provide a new foundation for your actions. At Cortona Week, you will be invited to use your mind, soul, and body.

You will hear insightful and controversial talks, take part in lively discussions and experience workshops with about 100 other participants. In between, breakout sessions will fascilitate critical exchange, deepened during lunch, dinner, and beyond. All participants – including speakers – will stay for the whole week, enabling a continuous and focused exchange of ideas, concepts and perspectives. Apart from planned activities, the week will provide space for serendipitous moments such as ad-hoc activities and initiatives that include concerts, performances, city tours with historians and more.

Talks and panel discussions

Theories, narratives and perspectives by scholars of outstanding merit sparking new ways of thinking.

Break-out groups, lunch and coffee breaks

Reflect, discuss, criticise, admire, prove and interpret the talks together with other participants in small groups.

Workshops and ateliers

Do someting you have never done before and explore practices that enhance your natural creativity.


Enriched by new questions and thrived in the wisdom of elders and the boldness of the young – all committed to sharing with each other in this very special week.


  • Ernesto Burgio, European Cancer and Environment Research Institute.
  • Federico Faggin, Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation.
  • Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
  • Stuart Kauffman, ISB Institute for System Biology.
  • Daniela Lucangeli, University of Padova.
  • Barbara Nappini, Slow Food Italy.
  • Katherine Peil Kauffman, EFS International.
  • Marko Pogacnik, UNESCO Artist for Peace.
  • Antonino Raffone, Sapienza University of Rome.
  • Giuseppe Remuzzi, Mario Negri Institute.
  • Giovanni Volpe, Still I Rise.

Morning activities

  • Varun Agarwal and Vasudeva Rao: Morning Meditation.
  • Hans-Peter Sibler: Taiji & Qigong.


  • Shams Anwari Alhosseyni: Islamic Calligraphy.
  • Anna Bacchia: An Evolution Coherent with the Life We Are.
  • Susan Eirich: Reconnection Ecology: Storytelling Our Way to a Livable Planet.
  • Franco Giovannelli: A Journey to Understand Our Universe.
  • Tony Majdalani: Drumming as Self-Experience and Communication.
  • Marko Pogacnik: Spiritual Ecology of the Surroundings.
  • Jörg Rasche: Psychological Orientation.
  • Hortense Reintjens: On Philosophy and Ethics.
  • Irene Reintjens: Uniting Diversity in Dance.
  • Ottavio Rosati: Fashion as Art.
  • Doris And Michael Stillwater: Transformational Breathwork Techniques.


  • Simone Ferrero: Mosaics Creations in Certosa.
  • Andreas Schneider: Sculpting Marble and Alabaster.
  • Hong Zhang: Painting Together.

Certosa di Pontignano – where history and hospitality blend in harmony

The Certosa of Pontignano is the official conference center for the University of Siena, a few kilometers north of the city Siena, in the region of Tuscany, Italy. The Certosa of Pontignano complex was originally built as a Carthusian monastery and church in the middle of the 14th century. It has an almost rectangular shape, in line with the traditional iconography of charterhouses, divided in three areas. The first was used by the monks and was comprised of twelve cells arranged around a large courtyard; the church was in the second one; and the third was used by the lay brothers. Few traces of the first monastery remain today since it was completely rebuilt in the middle of the 16th century following a fire that caused heavy damage. In 1703 the Chapel of Saint Agnese was built inside the Certosa, recognized worldwide as a small “Sistine Chapel”, within the province of Siena.