Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Miracles in Saronno, Italy (an Atlantis site).
Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Miracles in Saronno, Italy (an Atlantis site).





Saronno is in Lombardy, Italy, in the northern industrial zone. It is best known throughout the world for its Amaretti biscuits and Amaretto liquor. It’s a lively city with a deep historical heritage and has many buildings with beautiful architecture, including the pilgrimage church of the Madonna dei Miracoli which has a 154 foot high bell tower. Saronno is just 25 kilometers (or 15 miles) from Milan providing a great gateway to see other cities in Italy.

Destination Information

The City

Of course you’ll want to try amaretti biscuits in their town of origin, but you also don’t want to miss the history and beauty in the area.

The church of the Madonna dei Miracoli was built in 1547 after a icon of the Maddona of Mirarcles was found in a small abandoned chapel. It has a 154 foot high bell tower, and both the sanctuary and bell tower are adorned with beautiful works of art.

The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is the oldest church in Saronno and has medieval origins. It has a long history that required radical changes and restorations.


Dates & Availability

  • Summer Break 2024




May 11, 2024 - May 31, 2024 3 weeks


Close to Full

June 1, 2024 - June 21, 2024 3 weeks



June 22, 2024 - July 12, 2024 3 weeks



July 13, 2024 - August 2, 2024 3 weeks



You may pay over time, fundraise, consider scholarships, and more. Learn about our significant partial need-based scholarships here.

Participants may transfer to another program or receive a refund up until a predefined amount of time before the start date.

What’s Included

Atlantis programs include ~20h/week of shadowing, housing, some meals, transportation, travel health insurance, and more. Airfare is not included but can be very affordable.

Hospital Overview

Ospedale di Circolo, Saronno
Ospedale di Circolo is the largest hospital in Varese with 262 beds and is recognized as a hospital of national importance and high specialization. Since 1975 it has been home to the second faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Pavia, which, since 1998, has been an integral part of the new University of Insubria. The hospital has existed for 800 years. The earliest settlement dates back to 1173 in the hills of Bosto in a religious community dedicated to helping the poor and mentally ill. In the ‘400, it was a military hospital and later the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist. In the ‘500, it was the Hospital of the Poor, in the center of the village, then merged into Civic or Places united, until 1848, when Varese could get 93 beds for hospitalization. In 1929, the hospital settled in its present location: the park of the villa of the tenor Francesco Tamagno.

Alumni Favorite

Amaretti Biscuits

Saronno is most well-known for its apricot kernel or almond biscuits, called amaretti. Each region in Italy now has their own version of these popular biscuits, but their origin starts here. Legend has it that the amaretti was created in the 1700s by a couple in Saronno who owned a bakers shop. They wanted to commemorate the arrival of a cardinal from Milan who was visiting the town, but only had minimal ingredients to work with — and amaretti was created.  

Amaretti biscuits have their origins in Saranno, Italy (an Atlantis site).
Amaretti biscuits have their origins in Saranno, Italy (an Atlantis site).

It was an incredible experience from start to finish. I learned tons and gained valuable experience in a hospital. Not just that, I made incredible friendships along the way.

Atlantis students outside the hospital where they are shadowing (Genoa, Italy).
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Our excursions are designed to offer a deeper look into your host culture, for both the educational benefit and the enjoyment of exploring a new place with others who share your interests in travel and medicine. Excursions range from historical tours to culinary and cultural explorations.

Your Site Manager will inform you of the excursions they have planned during your program orientation. If you make travel plans outside of your city for a weekend and it conflicts with the events your Site Manager has planned, notify your Site Manager several days in advance so that they can plan accordingly.

Atlantis students on a program excursion.
Atlantis students on a program excursion (Genoa, Italy).

Language Skills Not Required

Most participants do not speak the local language at their Atlantis program. English levels vary within the hospital, but no knowledge of the language is required for Atlantis to be valuable. There is enough English spoken in the hospital for participants to benefit from the programs, as you can read in our testimonials. 

Many patients in your future career will not speak your language and will come from a different cultural background, so the Atlantis experience prepares you for that intercultural perspective. Any slight language barrier you may encounter at Atlantis also helps you develop “resilience and adaptability,” an AAMC core competency.

Clinical Experience that Stands Out to Schools

Medical schools want 3 things: healthcare exposure, GPA/MCAT, and certain competencies. Uniquely, “360 Shadowing” gives you the best version of the 1st, frees you to focus on the 2nd, and cultivates/shows the 3rd to medical school admissions.

Two students walking out of a hospital wing.
Atlantis students in a hospital wing (Lisbon, Portugal).

Funding Your Future

The cost of Atlantis isn’t too dissimilar from the cost of many study abroad programs that you may find. And we’re here to help: from our extensive fundraising guide to flexible payment plans and financing options, we make the process simple and easy, allowing you to focus on what really matters.

An Atlantis student smiling while shadowing abroad.
An Atlantis student on an excursion experiencing culture while shadowing abroad (Athens, Greece).

Bring a Friend

Consider bringing a friend to the same program you’re applying to. Although the vast majority of Atlantis alumni have gone on programs without knowing someone in their cohort, bringing a friend allows your experience to be shared in a unique way, while still allowing you one of the benefits of Atlantis: meeting new pre-health friends from across the country. Consider sharing this idea with your friends.

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students walking and smiling.
Atlantis students exploring together on a program excursion (Athens, Greece).

Med School Interview:
Atlantis Alum vs. Typical Pre-med

Compare a possible medical school interview of an Atlantis alum with that of a typical applicant by looking at responses to common questions.