Study Abroad in Florence, Italy


What better place to find inspiration than the birthplace of the Renaissance? Florence has cultivated the ideas and inventions of visionaries like Galileo, Leonardo, and Machiavelli. It enabled talents such as Brunelleschi, Dante and Donatello to emerge to fame. More recently, designers like Cavalli, Gucci, and Ferragamo call Florence home. There is something in the air of this central Italian city that sparks creativity. Discover your muse when you study abroad in Florence, where you can learn about art history while gazing at Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, build your artistic portfolio in the city of Michelangelo, be wowed by high-end fashion as you walk down the street, and satisfy your every foodie-and-oenophile dream as you slip into your own Florentine life.

About the Country


Once the heart of the powerful ancient Roman empire, Italy possesses thousands of years of influential history. Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World: the Colosseum, the largest and one of the oldest amphitheaters, where ancient Romans used to watch gladiator fights and theatrical performances, among other spectacles. Snap the perfect Italy picture at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the 14th century bell tower built on too-soft ground that sunk under on one side. Step into the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica, where Michelangelo’s La Pieta statue lives and where Saint Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, is said to be buried. Explore the ruins of Pompeii, an entire society frozen in time under a blanket of volcanic ash and pumice from a Mount Vesuvius eruption. Take a trip back in time to ancient Rome at the Pantheon, one of the empire’s best-preserved sites that started as a temple and became a Catholic church. Walk the streets of Vatican City, the capital of the global Christian faith for two thousand years. See the famous Florentine Duomo, the city’s crowning architectural jewel. Hop on a short flight from mainland Italy to Sicily and wander the Palazzo Conte Federico in Palermo, a palace full of extravagant mosaic floors, baroque ceiling frescoes, suits of armor, and antiques collected by the owning family over centuries of the palace’s history. Not to be outdone by other popular European destinations, Italy boasts some of the most exquisite nature scenes on the continent, with plenty of activities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. Get a bird’s eye view of Tuscany’s breathtaking countryside of rolling green hills in a hot air balloon. Ski or snowboard your way through the Italian Alps, where the slopes, views, and powder rival that of their French and Swiss counterparts. Soak in the warm, sulfurous waters of Terme di Saturnia’s thermal springs. Take a boat ride to the Maddalena Archipelago in Sardinia for a day of sunbathing on crystal clear, turquoise water. Go flower picking on a balmy spring day in the fields surrounding Castellucio, an Umbrian mountain town. Work your way along the stunning Amalfi Coast to see some of the most colorful and charming small towns in Italy, overlooking pristine ocean views. For an equally seductive taste of the country’s natural beauty, roam the Italian Riviera in the northwestern corner of the country. Hike the active volcano Mount Etna or spend a whole weekend exploring the Cinque Terre National Park. Stroll through one of Italy’s many picturesque vineyards, where the grapes hang in rich purple hues on the vines. Picnic on the banks of Lake Como in Lombardy, where you can admire the Grigna Mountains and red-roofed villas of the surrounding landscape.  

Emily Schiavone, Center Director, Florence

With CEA since 2008, Emily Schiavone is responsible for the management and development of the Florence Study Center and all study abroad programs that it hosts. Since 2014, Emily has provided leadership and direct oversight to the Student Services team, and works closely with the Academic Director on academic matters regarding the Florence Center and partner institutions. More

Featured Leadership


Fascinating Florence


Local Highlights

Corri La Vita

This 5km fundraiser for breast cancer research is held on the last Sunday of September each year. The event draws thousands of native and adopted Florentines on a walk that weaves through the city.  Museums and landmarks offer free entrance for the day if you wear your Corri La Vita shirt—an excellent souvenir of the event.


This bookshop/café/restaurant offers organic and local produce. With space and late hours for studying, it’s conveniently located just two steps away from the CEA Florence Center.

Aperitivo at Kitch Deux

The aperitivo is an Italian institution, but not all aperitivi are created equal. Kitch Deux offers not only an unending buffet, but also local university peers to meet!

Free Museums

Sticking around town on the weekends pays off if you plan to visit the Uffizi Gallery, David at the Accademia, the national sculpture museum at the Bargello, the various museums at Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens… Every first Sunday of the month, these state museums offer free admission.

Cupola Climb

Climb the dome of the cathedral, the city’s most identifiable landmark, to see Florence fan out at your feet.  Because of its massive size, Florentines are proud to say that they were born “in the shadow of la cupola.” From up there you’ll realize that it’s true!

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Alexandra Harbour, Spring 16 MOJO, Florence.

Living Like a Local  
My host family allowed me to experience culture on a new level. It helped my language speaking ability, and I got to experience life as it's lived by the locals. Another perk: my host mom is an amazing cook.

Nathaniel DeRidder
Cardinal Stritch University,
Fall 2015, Florence, Italy
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