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Summer in Florence

Photo: Rower on the Arno in Florence

Academics | Courses | Faculty


Students experience the splendor of the Italian Renaissance as they are exposed to the cultural wealth of Florence. World famous for its piazzas, palaces, churches, and museums, it is also close to the picturesque Tuscan countryside. The program organizes excursions within Florence and to other celebrated Tuscan and Italian cities.


The program offers Italian language courses at all levels, including intensive study, as well as a variety of courses in fine arts, cinema, and literature. The program is designed to expose students to the rich cultural offer of the city of Florence, which serves as an extended classroom. When selecting faculty NYU Summer in Florence combines the best Italy has to offer with the best to be found in the United States. All speak English fluently.


La Pietra is NYU's academic center for study abroad in Florence. Donated to the University by Sir Harold Acton, this 15th-century, 57-acre estate is graced by five villas, formal gardens, olive groves, and a priceless art collection. The estate is situated just outside the city center of Florence, a 20-minute walk or a 10-minute bus ride away.

All students participating in the program are required to live in NYU-provided housing. Students reside on the estate grounds in Villa Natalia which is air-conditioned and includes a cafeteria, a computer lab, a student lounge, a small gym, and a laundry facility. The greater La Pietra facilities include multimedia-equipped classrooms, a screening room, two computer labs, a reference library, and a second cafeteria with terrace.

Housing rates are inclusive of breakfast and dinner daily in the Villa Natalia cafeteria. Students are responsible for their own lunches, snacks, and other non-program meal expenditures. Lunches are available for purchase on-campus at the Villa Natalia cafeteria.


Day trips are offered most Fridays and one weekend trip to Rome is included. These excursions are integrated in the curriculum, and cover artistic, historical, literary and musical aspects of the visited sites. This year visits may include to western Tuscany, Rome, Verona and Mantova. The tour of Rome includes major museums and archaeological highlights. The visit to Verona is enriched by a live opera performance in the historical Arena.


Students must register for a minimum of 8 points or a maximum of 10 points.


Language Courses

Open to students with no previous training in Italian. Conducted in Italian.

An intensive, highly motivating audiovisual course for beginners. Introduces students to a wide range of communication patterns and real-life situations. The beginner acquires a solid comprehension of the language and is prepared to interact in daily life, taking advantage of the city of Florence in organized outings. Sample syllabus.

Note: This is a 6-point course. This course meets for 3 hours and 45 minutes a day, 4 days a week, for 6 weeks. It is equivalent to ITAL-UA 1 and ITAL-UA 2 combined, or ITAL-UA 10.

Prerequisite for NYU students: ITAL-UA 2, or ITAL-UA 10, or assignment by placement test. Conducted in Italian.
An orally oriented course taught in Italian, aiming to promote proficiency in reading and writing. Instructors emphasize conversation and interaction with the city. Students should acquire oral proficiency and master all basic grammatical principles. The course is designed to prepare students for advanced composition and conversation classes.
Sample syllabus.

Note: This is a 6-point course. This course meets for 3 hours and 45 minutes a day, 4 days a week, for 6 weeks. It is equivalent to ITAL-UA 11 and ITAL-UA 12 combined, or ITAL-UA 20.

Prerequisite for NYU students: ITAL-UA 12 or ITAL-UA 20 or assignment by placement test. Conducted in Italian. Students entering the course should have mastered the fundamental principles of Italian grammar.

This course is a prerequisite for other advanced courses in language, literature, and culture and society. It systematizes and reinforces the language skills presented in earlier-level courses through an intensive review of grammar and composition, lexical enrichment, improvement of speaking ability, and selected readings from contemporary Italian literature.

Prerequisite for NYU students: ITAL-UA 30 or assignment by placement test. Conducted in Italian. Students entering the course should have mastered the fundamental principles of Italian grammar.

This course is designed to help students gain confidence and to increase their effectiveness in speaking colloquial Italian. Through discussions, oral reports, and readings, students develop vocabulary in a variety of topics, improve pronunciation, and learn an extensive range of idiomatic expressions. Sample Syllabus

Content Courses Conducted in English

NOTE: Fulfills the Cultures and Contexts component of the Morse Academic Plan for NYU students. Also open to visiting students from other institutions.

In Italy, regional identities have always been strong, while national identity has always been complex, a situation that characterizes even current political debates. Although the Italian peninsula was home to some of the most important ancient civilizations, Italy’s existence as a united country dates only from the nineteenth century, making it younger than the US as a modern nation state. Italy was first unified by the Romans, making Roman antiquity a point of reference throughout history as intellectuals and political leaders dreamed of a unified nation. We examine how Italian identity was formed throughout history, both by Italians and by foreign visitors to Italy, in response to the principal ancient cultures that thrived on the peninsula. The focus is on primary sources—literary works, artifacts, art objects, works of architecture, opera and film—taking advantage of the unique resources of Florence to explore these in their original contexts. Sample syllabus.

Note: This course carries a registration fee of $100.
Italy is the country where opera was born. This course offers students the unique chance to study the history of Italian lyric opera with a professional composer and musician and to experience it at some of the major Italian opera seasons: the Arena of Verona season and the Giardino di Boboli season. During the course, students are introduced to the most prominent Italian opera composers (Monteverdi, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Puccini, Mascagni, etc.), as well as to the authors of the "libretto" of several of the most significant operas. They will be also introduced to some basic musical knowledge and practice. Sample syllabus.

This course focuses on the development of Italian cinema in the postwar period, emphasizing the relationship between literature and film as distinct but dependent modes of communication. The films and books will offer a unique opportunity to analyze a variety of narrative strategies across different media while discussing crucial issues related to the cultural evolution of Italy during the last century. Readings include novels by such authors as Tomasi di Lampedusa, and Bassani. Film screenings include works by Visconti, De Sica, and Pasolini. Sample syllabus.

Prerequisites: History of Western Art II or Renaissance Art, or AP Art History score of 5 or permission from the instructor.

Note: This course carries a registration fee of $100.
Painting in Florence and Rome from about 1470 to the mid-16th century. From a study of selected commissions by the Pollaiuolo brothers, Andrea del Verrochio, Leonardo, Perugino, Raphael, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Michelangelo, we go on to investigate new pictorial modes emerging after 1510 in Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo, Rosso, Parmigianino, Giulio Romano, and other members of Raphael's school; we consider their younger contemporaries and successors, including Bronzino and Vasari. The course emphasizes the patronage, symbolic tasks, and functions of Renaissance painting and critically examines historical concepts such as high Renaissance, mannerism, and maniera.
Sample Syllabus

Note: This course carries a registration fee of $100.
Italian Gardens have been a reference point for garden design from antiquity to the present day. The Roman Empire, which spread from North Africa to the English Isles, divulged a pattern of housing, centered upon the garden, across the Mediterranean and beyond. The Roman archetype of peristyle gardens was preserved in the Middle Ages, when religious orders cultivated gardens for spiritual and medicinal purposes within monastic enclosures, and in the Renaissance, when the grand tradition of the Villa Garden was revived. During their rule over Florence, the Medici family built a chain of lavish Villas around the city. The Villas, supported by their agricultural fields, held refined gardens devoted to the Arts, made for philosophical debate, poetry, sculpture, music and theatre, and for medical and botanical research. In the sixteenth century, grandiose gardens were made by enlightened patrons in other Italian courts, including Rome. Florence and its surrounding form the ideal setting to discover the forms and culture of gardens through time, and the Neo-Renaissance gardens of Villa La Pietra give students a chance to study plants and their ecology close up. Field trips will introduce us to some of the great gardens of other Italian regions.

This class raises the issue of whether features of Italian formal gardens can can be exported to other countries, in which way they are site-specific and inimitable, or if the formal language of historical gardens is still relevant for contemporary gardens. We will consider examples of Italianate gardens overseas, with 19th and 20th century examples from the UK and USA, and examine their qualities - or failures. As an introduction to contemporary garden design, Japanese historical gardens will be mentioned as an example of alternative formal tradition. A definition of formal and informal garden features will provide an additional tool for the analysis of contemporary garden styles. A close look at the two most recent editions of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, in which international garden designers quote - or challenge - historical precedents, will enliven the debate on what constitutes an Italian garden. Sample syllabus.


Stefano Albertini, Ph.D., Stanford University
Silvia Giorgi, Ph.D., University of Siena
Gian Mario Cao, Ph.D, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa  
Anna Piussi, Ph.D, Oxford University
Roberto Scarcella-Perino, M.M., University of Bologna


Florence, Italy

Program Dates



Language, Art, Literature, Music, Cinema



NYU School

College of Arts and Science

“The academic program included excellent courses to fully enrich my experience in Florence. Courses used the city in an interactive manner and took full advantage of the city's history and language.”

Application Deadlines

Summer in Florence is closed to new applications. Please check back in the fall for summer 2015 information.


NYU Global Programs
110 East 14th Street,
New York, NY 10003
t: 212-998-4433
f: 212-995-4103


Stefano Albertini, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Italian, NYU
Stefano graduated in contemporary Italian history form the University of Parma (Italy) and completed his graduate studies at the University of Virginia (MA) and Stanford (PhD). He has been at NYU since 1994 where he has taught courses both on Renaissance and Contemporary Italy. As Director of the Casa, he has interviewed and interacted with the major Italian directors, actors, and writers of the last two decades. He was at La Pietra with the first group ever of NYU students who studied at La Pietra in June 1994. He considers Florence his adoptive city and knows it throughly.


8 points are required for undergraduate students to participate in this program. Students may take a maximum of 10 points. 2015 tuition rates forthcoming.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,312 for 8 credits for 2014
                                      $9,140 for 10 credits for 2014

Program & Activities Fee: $700 for 2014

Required International Health Insurance: $63.60 for 6 weeks of coverage during the program, for 2014

Housing:  Single: $3,776 for 2014; Double $3,108 for 2014; Triple: $2,840 for 2014; Quad/Multi $2,746 for 2014.
PLEASE NOTE: All students participating in the program are required to live in NYU-provided housing. Students are billed a standard housing rate in the spring. Housing charges will be adjusted at the end of the program based on actual housing assignments, which may result in an additional charge or credit issued in the late summer.
There is an additional registration and services fee of:
$260 for students registered at NYU for spring 2014
$291 for students not registered at NYU for spring 2014


The following additional expenses should also be considered when budgeting for the Summer in Florence program. Please note that these are only general estimates. Interested students are encouraged to conduct their own research.

Round-Trip Flight from New York: $1,740.00 - $1,900.00

Local Transportation
Short Taxi Ride: $11.00 - $15.00
Bus Ride: $1.50

Inexpensive Lunch: $6.00 - $14.00
Inexpensive Dinner: $9.00 - $21.00

Cell Phone
Prepaid Cell Phone: $15.00 - $30.00
Sim Card: $5.00 - $10.00

External Accommodations
Hostel: $15.00 - $40.00
Hotel: $45.00 - $150.00

Tourist Attractions: $10.00 - $15.00, admission

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