Skip Navigation
A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the summer and fall 2021 semesters.

Smith in Florence

A view of the Florence skyline
 

Florence is a historic city of uncommon beauty and importance in European history, arts and humanities. While gaining an appreciation of medieval and renaissance Florence, experience contemporary life in this thriving, bustling city in Italy.

Application Deadline

Smith student applications are due on the first Monday in February (February 1, 2021). Guest students are encouraged to apply by the February deadline but will be accepted on a space-available, rolling basis up until the second Monday in March (March 8, 2021).

SEE APPLYING →

 

The Smith program in Florence offers a curriculum for a full year abroad, as well as an option to study in Florence for a single term.

Each semester begins with two weeks of intensive language study, cultural orientation, an art history course and excursions around the city. All students must attend an advanced language course at the Smith Center ("Sede"), offered each semester. Yearlong students will be required to take the language course in the fall and a Smith course of their choice in the spring. Each semester students are permitted to take up to three Smith courses. The remaining courses will be taken at the University of Florence. Tutoring will be available yearlong as necessary.

 

Resident Administrative Director: Monica Ginanneschi
Smith Faculty Liaison: Maria Succi-Hempstead, Italian Studies
Academic Coordinator: Guido Reverdito, Ph.D.

 

Over two weeks, students take an intensive Italian language course at the Smith Center ("the Sede"), as well as an Art History mini course focusing on Medieval and Renaissance art in and around Florence.

In addition to the two-credit academic orientation, students divided in small groups are escorted by faculty to explore the city, get introduced to the transportation system, the best parks, shops, markets, libraries, and all the cool places where Italian students gather to eat, drink, listen to music, dance, and talk.

Fall Semester

  • Orientation – two-week interdisciplinary introduction to Italian language and art history (2 credits)
  • Italian Stylistics (ITL 240) – required for all students (4 credits)
  • Two additional Smith courses at the Smith Center (4 credits each)
  • At least one course at the University of Florence university - required for all students (4 credits)

Spring Semester

  • Orientation – two-week interdisciplinary introduction to Italian language and art history (2 credits)
  • Italian Stylistics (ITL 240) – required only for Spring semester students (4 credits)
  • Two additional Smith courses at the Smith Center (4 credits each)
  • At least one course at the University of Florence (two courses recommended for ful-year students) - required for all students (4 credits each)

Credits

Year-long Students enroll in 34 Smith College credits: 18 credits in the fall (16 credits for courses and 2 credits for the orientation course); 16 credits in the spring.

Semester students enroll in 18 Smith College credits: 16 credits for course and 2 credits for the orientation course.

Internship and Community Service Placements

Smith's long-standing relationship with many Florentine and Tuscan organizations has resulted in a wide variety of possible part-time internship and volunteer placement opportunities for students. Serving as an intern or community volunteer is a fantastic way to meet local Italians, understand Italian society and culture, and to offer reciprocal benefits to the community from which you are learning Italian language and culture.

Many of these internships have resulted in research proposals for summer International Experience Grants or prospective Fulbright research proposals.

A sample of recent internship placements includes:

  • Uffizi Library
  • Children's Library Santa Croce
  • Tela di Penelope Consortium (restoration of ancient fabric and leather)
  • UNIFI Farmacology/Neuroscience Lab
  • Organic Farm Orto Bioattivo
  • Misericordia di Firenze – volunteering on Ambulances or assistance to individuals with disabilites
  • Specola Museum of Natural History
  • Vista Magazine
  • Florence Cathedral (Duomo) Choir
  • Fiorentina Nuoto (Swim Team)
  • Casa San Michele (Women’s shelter)
  • School of Italian for immigrants
  • Angeli del Bello in Florence
  • I ragazzi di Sipario. Art laboratories with young adults with special needs

Pistoia Early Childhood Education Practicum

A limited number of year-long internships are available at the Pistoia Early Childhood Centers for 4 credits. The internship course is graded and requires a presentation and a major research paper. The internship can take the place of a Smith course, but not a university course.


Courses

About the Smith Center

The Smith Center is centrally located on the second floor of a historical building that dates back to the 17th Century. The premises are very spacious and full of natural light, and some rooms have frescoed ceilings and mosaic floors; the main classroom overlooks the inner garden and is incredibly quiet.


Artists, Saints and Patrons. The Secrets Behind the Monuments that Made Florence Great

4 credits, Fall

This course focuses on some of the most important monuments of Florence, examining their history and art. The result will be the analysis of these monuments from different perspectives, studying the artists who created them, the preachers and saints who lived in them and the patrons who sought and financed them. Particular attention will be devoted to Medici patronage, specifically the figures of Cosimo the Elder, Piero the Gouty and Lorenzo the Magnificent, who had such a profound influence on the artistic events of the fifteenth century in Florence. The workshops on fresco and panel painting will offer deeper insight into the works observed and analyzed during our visits, letting the students see and experience different artistic techniques.

Innovations in Early Childhood Education: Philosophy, Practice, and Public Policy in Pistoia, Italy

4 credits, Year-long course

This 4-credit course accompanies the Pistoia Early Childhood Center internship and typically involves an academic year commitment. The internship can take the place of a Sede course in the spring, but not a University course. The internship course is graded, and requires a presentation and a major research paper turned in to the Pistoia program coordinator at the end of the spring semester.

Italian Social and Cultural History From the Great Immigration to the Present

4 credits, Fall

A multidisciplinary approach to contemporary Italian culture. It also takes into account the historical reasons for the current political situation. The course offers an overview of Italian 20th century history and includes the study of important aspects of Italian life: regional differences, local identities, emigration and immigration, the integration of recent immigrants into Italy, internal fighting during WWII, terrorism in the late ‘60s and 70s, organized crime and the Mafia, Italian politics, sport, the evolution of the concept of family and the role of women in society.

Italian Stylistics (ITL 240)

4 credits, Fall

A review of basic and advanced language structures. It includes a variety of activities to learn different linguistic registers: collaborating with a local radio station, visiting a newspaper, preparing video material and improving linguistic skills through a full immersion in the city and in Italian life. This is a required course for all students unless they place out of this language level.

A Factory of Genius - Workshops and Painters in Lorenzo the Magnificent's Florence

4 credits, Spring

The course will focus on the workshops of Florentine painters in the fifteenth century, examining the different kinds of workshops, their organization, and the relationship between painters and artistic production. After discussing the problem of artists’ training, the course will examine the different types of production, specifically those destined to furnish homes and decorate churches. Master-apprentice relationships will also be examined (Verrocchio and Leonardo, and Botticelli and Filippino Lippi) and the familial qualities of some workshops (e.g. the Pollaiolos and the Ghirlandaios). We will try to recreate the everyday life of a Renaissance atelier, observing drawings that portray artists at work and reading about their jokes and pranks. 

Site vsits include

  • Opificio delle pietre dure: restoration

  • The church of Santo Spirito: the fifteenth-century furnishings

  • Bargello Museum

  • Galleria Palatina

  • Horne Museum

  • Palazzo Davanzati Museum

  • Brancacci chapel: three different artists

  • Uffizi Gallery

  • Palazzo Vecchio

History of Fashion and Costume

4 credits, Spring

This course analyses the origins, evolution, decline, re-birth and finally, the most recent developments of Italian fashion, from the Renaissance up to contemporary Made in Italy. The approach is an interdisciplinary one in which the various manifestations of Italian fashion will be examined in relation to such fields as history and art history and viewed in an economic, social and international context. The relationship between fashion and cinema, photography, the Web, journalism and social media will also be examined. Site visits include an artisan workshop to make traditional Venetian masks for Carnival, Church of Santa Trinita to see how people used to dress in the 1400s, a guided visit of Palazzo Vecchio on how was courtly fashion in the 1500s, various artisans’ workshops, the textile Museum in Prato to see documents history of textile industry, behind the scenes at the Pergola Theater, the Costume Gallery and the Silver Museum at Palazzo Pitti, but also the Ferragamo Museum.

Site visits include:

  • Artisan workshop to make traditional Venetian masks for Carnival

  • Church of Santa Trinità: dress in the 1400s

  • Guided visit of Palazzo Vecchio - courtly dress in the 1500s

  • Various artisans’ workshops

  • Textile Museum in Prato that documents history of textile industry

  • behind the scenes at the Pergola Theater

  • The Costume Gallery and the Silver Museum at Palazzo Pitti

  • The Ferragamo Museum

  • The Gucci Museum

Studio Art (students may take one course)

4 credits, Spring

Sample of recent courses taken: Photography, Etching, Printmaking, Sculpture, Drawing, Painting, Book Making

Words Beyond the Page: Six Centuries (1500-2000) of Italian Classics Beyond the Confines of the Text (ITL 251)

4 credits, Spring

A comparative approach to the relation between literature works and their adaptations to the screen, the main goal of this course is to introduce students to some Italian literature masterpieces from the fourteenth to the twenty-first century through their film adaptations. The first part of the course will be dedicated to an introduction to the adaptation and its endless features in terms of changes of plot structure, setting, time, language, characters addition and elimination, etc.. For the rest of the semester students will have to work on the cinematic adaptation of key works of Italian literature. For every century, except for the 1900s — towards which there will be a particular attention determined not only by the wealth of adaptations made but also by the greater accessibility of the transposed works —, there will be a combination of a literary work and its translation into images.

 

All students take one or two 4-credit courses at the University of Florence during the Spring semester. This involves attending between 4 and 6 class hours per week.

Please note: The courses listed here are examples of courses that have been offered in previous years, and may not necessarily be offered at the time of registration. Please check your specific college program for current course offerings.


Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia
  • History of Medieval Art
  • Archaelogy and Greek and Roman Art History
  • Art History of the Middle East
  • Museography
  • Etruscology
  • History of Medieval Church I
  • History of Musical Instruments
  • Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature
  • History of Italian Language
Facoltà di Scienze Politiche
  • Economics of Situations of Crisis
  • History of Religious Institutions
  • Italian Culture and Society
  • History of Contemporary Europe
  • History of Contemporary Political Thought
  • History of the Political Parties
  • International Relations
  • Italian Political System
  • History of Political Philosophy
Facoltà di Architettura
  • History of Urbanism
Facoltà di Scienza della Formazione (Education)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Pedagogy of Social Marginality and Juvenile Deviance
  • Literature for Childhood
Facoltà di Scienze Matematiche, Fisiche e Naturali
  • Mineralogy I
  • Geochemistry
  • Sedimentology

Program Dates

Arrive in Florence

Friday, September 3

Orientation

Monday, September 6 – Thursday, September 16

Fall Semester 2021

  • Courses begin at Sede: Monday, September 20
  • University courses begin: Monday, September 27
  • Fall courses at the Sede end: Thursday, December 9
  • Fall semester exams Sede and University courses: mid-December

Winter Break

Thursday, December 21, 2021 – Sunday, February 12, 2022 (year-long students only)

Spring Semester 2022 Program Orientation

(for spring-only students)
  • Arrive in Florence: Friday, January 28
  • Orientation: Monday, January 31 – Thursday, February 10

Spring Semester 2022 (all students)

  • Courses at Sede begin: Monday, February 14
  • University courses begin: beginning of March
  • Spring Break: Thursday, April 14 – Monday, April 25
  • Spring Semester at Sede ends: Thursday, May 19
  • Spring Semester Sede exams: Tuesday, May 24 – Thursday, May 26
  • Spring Semester University exams: late May to early June


Life in Florence

Students riding bikes in Italy
 

Students can choose to live in a homestay with an Italian host family or to live in an apartment shared with other students on the program. 

Homestays

Students live in Florentine homes, situated within the city. By boarding with an Italian host family, a student can learn a tremendous amount about Italian culture and make significant progress in speaking Italian. Many students say this experience is one of the most rewarding aspects of their year/semester abroad.

Apartments

Students who choose to live in apartments will occupy single or double rooms and will share bathrooms, common space and the kitchen with other students on the Smith program (between 2 and 4).

There are many opportunities to connect with local students (both Italians and international students) at the local University, libraries and cafeterias.

Meals & Allowances

Students who choose to live with a homestay family will typically share breakfast and dinner with their host families. The program provides a monthly allowance to cover lunch costs.

Students who choose to live in a shared apartment a monthly stipend to cover expenses for food will be provided by the program. Students will cook for themselves in the kitchen shared with their housemates.

Activities & Excursions

A wide range of activities are available in Florence, including guided trips to culturally and historically significant locations that students might not otherwise reach.

Excursions might include: visit to Ravenna to discover the town that was once the Western seat of the Roman Empire, gaze at intricate Byzantine mosaics, and pay homage to Dante's tomb; visit to Ferrara and Mantova, Renaissance Courts in Northern Italy; Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri and the Amalfi coast.

Other excursions might be organized at students’ request: Carnival in Venice, Rome, Milan, Verona, Perugia and Assisi.

Cultural Activities

Individual or group outings to the Opera, theatre, exhibitions, conferences and to the soccer match of the local team.

Please be sure you meet Smith College's eligibility requirements for approval to study abroad. In addition, Smith in Florence has its own program-specific requirements.

  • Two years or the equivalent of college-level Italian: normally four 4-credit courses
  • The Smith College course ITL 250 or the equivalent during the spring semester preceding study abroad
  • The ability to follow course work in Italian: aural comprehension, reading and writing ability; and to converse in Italian
  • Evidence of maturity, responsibility, preparation for study abroad and demonstrated interest in Italian culture

Application Materials

  • Smith Programs Abroad Application
  • Language Evaluation
  • Non-language Faculty Recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Copy of passport

Applicants from other colleges must also submit:

  • Home School Statement of Support
  • Official transcript
  • Original sample of written work in language of the program which has been submitted for a course and graded by an instructor

Students can find the application materials and apply to a Smith Program Abroad online using the new Smith International Travel Experiences System (SITES) by clicking on the appropriate log in option below.

Smith Student Log In  Guest Student Log In

 

Before applying to a Smith Program Abroad be sure to:

2020-21 Semester Fees

Tuition: $27,915
Room and Board: $9,380

Coverage

The Smith Program Abroad fees in Florence, Geneva, Hamburg and Paris include intensive language instruction, cultural orientation, tuition, academic advising, assistance with university enrollment and course selection, supplemental study abroad insurance, medical evacuation and repatriation coverage, excursions and cultural events, room, board, cell phones or SIM cards, and the services of on-site directors

Smith Program Abroad fees do not include international travel, passport and visa fees, books and art supplies, and personal expenses including phone calls.

Financial Aid

Smith College students are eligible for financial aid on the same basis as when they are studying in Northampton (with a few exceptions). For questions about Smith financial aid related to study abroad on a Smith program, please visit Student Financial Services.

Smith College does not provide financial aid to students from other institutions; those students should contact their own college for financial aid assistance.

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and University of Hamburg Scholarship

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) together with the University of Hamburg are collaborating to offer scholarships to students who are studying abroad in Hamburg during the academic year. All year-long students (including guest students) are encouraged to apply to this merit-based scholarship. Two scholarships for €4,250 each will be awarded each year. Information on how to apply is included in the Smith in Hamburg program application.

Health Insurance

All students enrolled in one of the four Smith Programs Abroad are automatically covered by a supplemental study abroad insurance policy through Gallagher Student Health and Special Risk.

Please note that this is a supplemental plan only. All students participating in these programs are also required to be covered by a U.S.-based primary health insurance and will be automatically enrolled in and billed for the Smith College student health insurance plan through Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk at the beginning of the term abroad.

For students who are U.S. citizens, this insurance plan may be waived online at Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk if the student has another primary health insurance policy that provides comparable coverage. International students are required to be covered by the Smith College student health insurance plan through Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk as you would on campus.

More information about insurance is available on our Health & Safety section.

Visas for Studying in Italy

All students are advised to throughly understand the visa application process for their destination country before making any summer plans including summer jobs that take them out of state or international travel.

The Italian government requires all students staying longer than three months to obtain a student visa before arriving in Italy. Smith's Office for International Study will facilitate a group visa application for students who are accepted on the Smith in Florence program. Students should not make international travel plans in the summer preceding the year in Italy.

Students must have a passport that is valid six months after the end of the program and submit a copy of their passport with their Smith program application form. Proof of passport application or renewal is acceptable.

Things to Consider

The Italian visa process is complicated and requires submission of passports to the Italian consulate in Boston for a period of two to four weeks. The specific date of Smith's visa appointment depends upon the Italian consulate's availability, and can't be set until mid-May at the earliest. Once the consulate issues the visas and returns the passports to Smith, the Office for International Study will send each student her passport with visa via courier service. Again, students who wish to study in Italy should not make international travel plans in the summer preceeding their year in Italy.

Please note that students who stay in Italy during the summer are responsible for all living expenses, visa requirements, medical insurance, etc.

Accepted Students

For resources and information about the Italian visa application process, please visit the Florence Accepted Students website.