Crinkled maps and page-ruffled travel books scatter across your room. Your fingers are sore from consulting Google’s expertise on study abroad locations around the world. You’ve done the research, you’ve consulted friends, you know exactly which historically rich, boot-shaped country you want to choose for your study abroad adventure. The only conundrum you haven’t been able to solve when it comes to destination, though, lies within the choice of city. And so, you find yourself at a crossroads (an Italian crossroads, in fact) and you’re forced to make a choice. Do you study abroad in Florence? Or do you study abroad in Rome?
If you find yourself currently faced with this situation, consider yourself lucky. You can’t go wrong with either destination. What really matters when faced with a choice like this is what you’re looking for in a study abroad program, and whether or not the city you’re considering offers it.
Florence and Rome each possess their own distinct and intriguing characteristics, histories, activities, etc., and as a result, cannot really be pitted one against the other. Rather, it’s better to consult your own study abroad wants and needs and then match these to the cities in question.
So, which is the destination for you – Florence or Rome?
Why Study Abroad in Florence?
City Size & Location: Florence is a very manageable city to navigate and live in, despite its identity as the capital city of Tuscany. Possessing all desired qualities of any capital city – restaurants, museums, nightlife, etc. – Florence’s city limits are condensed, and enable you to discover without feeling overwhelmed. When you do feel the urge to expand your boundaries and travel (trust us, you’ll want to explore!), Florence is well-connected to other cities like Venice, Pisa, Siena, Lucca, Cinque Terre and many others.
Oasis of Art & History: The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence plucks the heartstrings of students who have an interest in the history and art of this era. Its cobble-stoned, medieval streets tell the city's story, and wind throughout its perimeters, wrapping around monuments like the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery. Trace the steps of historical masters like Botticelli, Michelangelo and da Vinci, and revel in the idea of living in a city that’s home to the greatest number of recognizable Renaissance art pieces in the world.
“True” Italian Language: Florentine Italian is many times considered, “true” Italian, which makes this city a great place to study and learn the Italian language. Additionally, CEA’s Global Campus in Florence provides smaller sized language classes, so that students receive ample time and attention with which to perfect their skills.
Fashion Forward: Do the names Gucci, Ferragamo and Pucci ring a bell? All three of these fashion houses, in addition to several others, originated in Florence and are well-known throughout the world. Florence also hosts three yearly editions of a major fashion show called, Pitti Uomo with installments for men, women, children and textiles. Rub shoulders with designers, fashion writers and buyers studying abroad in this fashion capital!
CEA Opportunities: If you’ve been won over by Florence’s unique charm, take a look at CEA’s program options:
Why Study Abroad in Rome?
City of Adventure: Rome calls to those with active and adventurous spirits – there’s always something to explore, tour, taste and try. Spend an afternoon in a city park practicing yoga with locals, rent a Segway or bike through the city’s bike-share program and go sightseeing, or meander through one of Rome’s lushly green parks like Villa Borghese, Villa Torlonia and Villa Ada (some parks even have free Wi-Fi and fitness equipment!).
Personable Neighborhoods: Due to Rome’s size as Italy’s capital, it consists of many diverse neighborhoods that each possess their own style and vibe. If you enjoy window shopping for antiques and all things vintage, spend a day (or two) in Monti. If you’re craving to sample all the tastes of Rome while meeting the city’s younger population, visit Testaccio. These neighborhoods, amongst others, help give Rome its nonstop energy and liveliness.
Heritage Discovery: One of the most exciting aspects of study abroad is the opportunity to get in touch with your family heritage. For students interested in reconnecting to their Italian roots, Rome serves as a great destination to do just that. Its culturally stimulating environment allows you to explore your identity while learning about the city’s history, getting to know the locals and becoming accustomed to the Mediterranean way of life.
Travel Central: Do you consider travel one of your life passions? Rome’s location opens doors to an endless amount of travel options, both within Italy and outside of it. The city itself is close to the sea, mountains and various lakes, which provides ample opportunities for quick weekend trips. TrenItalia, Italy’s national rail system, runs right through Rome, connecting the city to other major centers in the country. For those with a milder case of the travel bug, air travel in Rome is very accessible and creates easy transit to all major capitals throughout Europe.
CEA Opportunities: If you’re interested in spending your study abroad experience in Rome’s invigorating atmosphere, learn more about the programs CEA offers here:
- Liberal Arts & Sciences
- Politics, Economics & Business
- John Cabot University – Full Curriculum
- Theology & Religious Studies
Time to Decide
Now that you have a better understanding of both Florence and Rome, the time has come to decide - which city is the study abroad location for you? Like we said before, no matter which destination you choose, you're experience in Italy is sure to be an exciting, eye-opening, tasty and adventurous one.
If you still need a little extra help deciding, take a look at the following resources:
- Like our Florence & Rome Facebook pages - these serve as great resources to interact with on-site students, CEA alumni and international staff
- Contact CEA's Advising Team - our Admissions Counselors, Site Specialists and Student Accounts teams are happy to help answer any of your questions
- Florence & Rome city pages - learn more about the cultural activities, excursions, housing, staff and more on our web site
Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.