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Florence is Good for You

Sunset on the Arno

Florence has been attracting visitors with its charms for hundreds of years and is as dynamic a summer destination today as it ever was. Our summer study abroad program challenges a select group of students to see and do as much as possible in four weeks, and establish a relationship with one of Europe’s most elegant and sophisticated cities

The birthplace of the Renaissance, home to the Medicis, Michelangelo, Dante and Machiavelli as well as some of Europe’s oldest fashion houses, not to mention superb restaurants, museums and ice cream. Yes, lots of ice cream–or rather, gelato, to be precise.  Florence is a city of spectacular architecture from Brunelleschi’s Duomo to the Palazzo Vecchio, outstanding music and art. Is there anywhere in the world that can rival the Accademia with its incredible David? Or the Uffizi that bursts at the seams with works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio and Botticelli to name but a few.

Our summer residence at Calza dates back to the 16th century and boasts some of the finest frescoes in Florence. It’s in a privileged location in Oltrarno, the most sought after residential neighborhood where students enjoy the shops and restaurants of San Frediano and Santo Spirito far from the hoards of tourists. We don’t simply rent a bunch of hotel rooms and declare ourselves a “Florence program,” rather we give students the opportunity to live in an authentic Florentine Palazzo, surrounded by history and charm each and every day.

Florence is very much a walking city. Step out of the Calza residence onto the Via Romana, and take a ten-minute stroll to class or to the famous Ponte Vecchio. On your way, you pass the Boboli Gardens and Palazzo Pitti. We dare say this this beats your current morning commute! The pedestrianized city center (Centro Storico) makes lunchtime fun, with dozens of options to sample Tuscan cuisine and sit in the Piazza della Repubblica or Piazza Santa Maria Novella for some people watching and shopping on Via Tornabuoni.

Our partnership with the Florence University of the Arts means you are being taught by locals and the best and brightest in their fields. From Italian language, to Art History, Fashion Design, Photography and Cooking, the city of Florence is your inspiration for learning and fun. Charlie Hall our director has been going to Florence for thirty years and his connections in the art world and his love of Italian culture and history filter through to every aspect of your stay. Yes, you will see the famous galleries and museums and places of interest, but Charlie will make sure you have a lot of doors opened for you that are not normally opened for anyone else.

And when you come to the end of the week in Florence it’s time to hit the road for exciting day trips that take advantage of the Tuscan countryside and take you to the wonders of Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano, Siena,  and even relaxing on the beach in Cinque Terre.

We encourage students to “go beyond tourism” and join us for an authentic summer stay in this magnificent city and get a real sense of why Florence possesses such a unique and enduring charm.