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As seen in Transitions Abroad Magazine November/December 2000
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Educational Travel

Study Art History in Florence, Italy

If you wish to study art history in Florence have many options. A search of the TransitionsAbroad.com and www.Studyabroad.com websites shows over 20 institutions offering such courses. However, many are taught only in Italian or are offered only in the summer.

The British Institute of Florence—housed in two 15th-century palazzi on opposite sides of the Arno River a few blocks from the Ponte Vecchio—offers year-round courses in Italian language and culture, including art history, opera, drawing, and cooking. In addition, it organizes guided day trips to destinations such as Rome, Bologna, Siena, and Prato.

Art History in Florence
Florence's Santa Croce church, the burial spot of Michelangelo.
(photo Jessica R. Sokol)

The art history course, taught in English, ranges from three days to four weeks or more, with plenty of free time for exploring on your own, and an affordable tuition price.

All art history courses at the British Institute are taught in English by professors with doctoral-level expertise in Renaissance painting, architecture, and sculpture. Even for art history novices, these lively courses provide an excellent way to see and learn about Florence. Admission to lectures and tours can be purchased on a per-event basis. When sightseeing on your own, you can have the thrill of accidentally stumbling upon (or intentionally finding) exactly the same works of art discussed in the formal lectures.

The intensive 3-day art history courses consist of introductory lectures and a whirlwind of on-site tours, and are equally superb.

In addition to courses, the Institute hosts regularly scheduled receptions, lectures, and other cultural events that allow the English-speaking students to meet Italian students.

The Harold Acton Library has nearly 65,000 English-language volumes covering Italian studies and English literature. Students can borrow books or use the comfortable reading room that overlooks the Arno.

The 4-week art history courses cost $300, and an intensive three-day course is $165. An 8-day course with 20 hours of lectures and tours costs $325. The Institute arranges for inexpensive accommodations ($20-$40 per day) in Italian family homes, hotels, and apartments. For more information contact on current course offers and prices, see website of The British Institute of Florence at www.britishinstitute.it.