At ISI Florence, students from a variety of universities flourish in a safe, stimulating environment, enjoying a unique educational experience in an exceptional city. Students make full use of Florence as a living laboratory during their semester, summer, or academic year abroad. They walk the same medieval cobblestones as Dante, gaze upon the stunning masterpieces of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, and practice their Italian in the shadow of Brunelleschi’s dome. ISI offers academic programs rooted in the liberal arts tradition—a fitting tribute to the birthplace of the Renaissance—and boasts a distinguished faculty and world-class student services team.
Florence is a Renaissance dream reborn in the modern era. Bordered by iconic pine- and cypress-dotted hills, lush vineyards, and olive groves, the Florence of today is an innovative European cultural center, as well as a thriving university city. ISI occupies two buildings, Palazzo Rucellai and Palazzo Bargagli, both in the bustling heart of Florence. Students will have access to an on-site library, computers for accessing electronic databases and libraries, and both ethernet and wireless network internet access for personal laptop computers. There is also an iMac equipped computer lab.
All courses are taught in the American liberal arts tradition and follow a semester calendar with a 15-week fall session, a 15-week spring session and 5-week summer session. All instruction is in English except in clearly designated advanced Italian courses. Prior study of Italian is not required.
The program takes place in the heart of Florence, which serves as a virtual campus. Courses seek to maximize the opportunities offered by this unique urban setting. On-site learning is an integral part of the program. Field trips, museum visits, and attendance at performances frequently complement formal classwork.
All semester students must enroll in a 4-credit Italian language course. The introductory levels provide students with a foundation in the language and equips them with basic communication skills. Advanced levels move students to greater proficiency. (Italian is not a required course during the summer session.)
Students choose from a variety of elective courses for a minimum of 13 credits per semester and 6 credits in summer. Courses range from Art History to Sustainable Food Studies. Students participate in the General Studies program.
Detailed information about coursework is available on the Courses page of the ISI Florence website.
Accommodation and Meals
ISI Florence students share accommodations with other students in the program. Apartments are within walking distance of Institute facilities, come with a fully equipped kitchen and have wireless Internet connection. Students will find plenty of grocery and convenience stores, Internet cafés, buses, taxi stands, laundromats, post offices, and restaurants within walking distance. The Student Services and Housing staff are available throughout the term to provide assistance navigating the city, and also to monitor maintenance and utility upkeep in the apartments.
All apartments are stocked with basic kitchen utensils, and often students discover previously unexplored culinary talents while experimenting in the kitchen. If cooking isn’t for you, the Università di Firenze offers low-price cafeteria meals and is conveniently located in the heart of town. The ISI Florence student ID card is valid for discounts at many trattorias, pizzerias, and cafès around the city.
More information about housing and meals is available on ISI's website.
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual and flexible basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.
Passport and Visa
All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will need a visa to participate in this program. The ISO will assist with the visa application process. International students should meet with their International Student Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.
Health and Safety Information
All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.