Since its inception, this program has proved to be the most popular of any of USF's approximately three dozen summer study abroad programs. The program site, Florence, surrounds students with incomparable art, architecture, ambiance and unique cuisine that have made it famous for centuries.
Students participating in this full-semester program may enroll in courses in a very wide variety of subject areas and academic disciplines. A full list of courses may be viewed through the link under the Academic Program and Course Information section below.
FUA, our host institution, provides a centrally located classroom site and facilities including library and computer lab, as well as a cultural program that augments classroom study. The program provides carefully-selected apartment housing within walking distance of the institute.
The glory of Florence is rooted in its past. The Medicis commanded the city's fortunes for centuries and, as patrons, they encouraged the Renaissance's influence on the city. Visitors from all over the world come to admire the magnetic charm of the Baptistry, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Uffizi, Pitti Palace, and the Ponte Vecchio.
Despite its pivotal role in the history of civilization, and its significance as an artistic and cultural center, Florence retains the bustle and charm of a small town in a bygone age. Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Cosmopolitan, and yet with all modern conveniences, Florence, perhaps more than any other city, is a tapestry describing Europe's emergence from the dark ages through to the 21st century. In addition to all that Florence offers to program participants, there are many opportunities to explore the picturesque Tuscan countryside, and surrounding towns such as Pisa and Siena. An efficient rail system connects Florence with Rome, northern Italy and the rest of Europe.
The seat of the Florence University of the Arts (FUA) is located in the historic Palazzo Doni, just a few steps from the splendid Piazza Santa Croce in the quarter of Florence that takes its name from the celebrated church. During the Renaissance period, the Palazzo Doni housed famous works of art: the most significant of these is Michelangelo's round painting of the Holy Family – the so called Tondo Doni, now in the Uffizi Gallery. The great Renaissance painter, Raphael, lived in the palace while painting the portraits of the proprietor Agnolo Doni and Maddalena Strozzi; a marble plaque marking his stay can be found in the archway connecting the courtyard to the street, thus sealing his presence and artistic spirit within the walls of the present-day institution.
The students therefore operate and cultivate their experiences in a suggestive and pervasive frame of influence dating back to an illustrious past. Upon entering the two palaces that house the university, students find themselves immersed in a modern, minimalist interior in which carefully preserved vestiges of the past manifest themselves in a harmonious environment dedicated to the advancement of artistic disciplines. One has the possibility of learning the latest technological procedures of a given media, such as video in a lecture hall graced by original Renaissance wooden ceiling beams and other such architectural gems that abound in the interiors and exteriors of both the Palazzo Doni and Palazzo Guicciardini-Strozzi, located just across the street.
The interior work-spaces of Florence University of the Arts are extremely well outfitted, whether for laboratorial and hands-on or theoretic courses. The three media labs are used for courses in Digital Photography, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Fashion & Accessory Design, and Video Production. The Painting Room in Palazzo Doni, dedicated to Raphael, is a vast and well equipped space, illuminated by numerous windows that give a prominent view overlooking the Biblioteca Nazionale. The study spaces dedicated to the students are very comfortable and include a spacious library with reading room, stations for online research, and an open computer lab composed of twenty workstations featuring internet access. In addition, there is an art lab for ceramics and other disciplines such as mixed media and sculpture, a technologically advanced dark room for classic photography, and jewelry laboratories.
These same areas are utilized as gallery space for occasions such as student exhibitions and temporary events that unfold in an exterior panorama equally rich in historical context. The heart of Palazzo Strozzi, the outdoor courtyard around which the edifice is structured, has stayed virtually unchanged since original construction and lends a breathing openness to the palazzo thanks to large windows facing towards the courtyard. The rear garden courtyard flanking the Arno side of Palazzo Guiccardini provides an elegant outdoor component to the above-mentioned events with its trellised, plant-adorned walls and expansive views of the Oltrarno district of Florence.
Florence University of the Arts (FUA) offers the possibility of studying while living immersed in a culturally advanced atmosphere that has rendered Florence one of the most famous art centers in the world. Our students have the advantage of exercising the continuous evolution of artistic practice and theory supported by two architectural bastions that keep alive Florentine tradition, culture, and the unforgettable moment in human history we call the Renaissance.
Who Can Participate?
The program is open to students of any major, 18 years of age or older, with an interest in Italian culture and language. No knowledge of Italian language is necessary or required as part of the program.
How to Apply
In order to enroll in the program, you must complete the Education Abroad Application, Participant Contract, and Liability Waiver, all of which can be found on the Forms Page of our website. In addition, your Course Approval form must be signed by your major academic advisor.
Also, all applicants must complete the Palazzi/Florence University of the Arts application packet, which may be obtained from Mr. James Pulos, Associate Director, USF Education Abroad Office.
Upon submitting a completed application through the Education Abroad Office website, a $500 charge will be placed on your OASIS account, and you will be given a form to take with you to the Cashier's Office to remit payment.