Iowa State University and The British Institute of Florence
I really loved the Duomo.  I'd seen pictures of it before, but nothing prepared me for the real thing.  I stopped dead in my tracks. It was enormous.  No matter where we were we could always turn a corner, and there it was.  I really loved the day we climbed to the top of the cupola.  We spent an eternity up there, watching as the morning mist gave way to the afternoon sun.  It was hard to believe that here I was, halfway around the world looking out over the city where Dante, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, and countless other Renaissance greats once lived.
Florence Study Abroad participant

About Florence  -  Travel Information  -  Semester in Florence Courses -

Excerpts from Student Evaluations  -  Program Cost

Points of Interest  List  -  Points of Interest  Map  -  Photo Album

INVITATION: Spend a semester in the city that invented the Renaissance, which is the same as saying Florentines invented the modern world. To this miracle of achievement is added the miracle of survival. Almost everything of importance is still there in a compact area.

By day, study paintings and frescoes of Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Angelico, Masaccio, and Botticelli, sculptures by Donatello and Michelangelo, and cathedrals and palazzi designed by Brunelleschi and Michelozzo; wander through the streets and countryside where Petrarch, Dante, Boccaccio, Galileo, and Lorenzo de' Medici walked and wrote; see illuminated manuscripts at the Biblioteca Laurenziana; or hear Gregorian Chant sung by the monks of San Miniato.

Botticelli, Birth of Venus (Uffizi Gallery)

For evening, listen to opera in opulent halls and concerts in cathedrals; enjoy the famous cucina italiana and Chianti Classico at outdoor cafés bordering the city's colorful piazze, settings for scenes from movies such as Room with a View, Tea with Mussolini, Up at the Villa, and Hannibal; enjoy a moment of silence in a cloister; practice your ciaos and buon giornos in open-air markets; or window shop on Via Tornabuoni at Ferragamo, Armani, Gucci and Versace.

For an occasion out of town, tour the working vineyard at Villa Calcinaia with its present owner, Count Niccolò Capponi as guide; walk the five towns of the Cinque Terre, visit the Vatican, Venice and San Gemignano.

Florentines are friendly to American students and very patient with their attempts to speak the language of Dante. Historic Florence is small enough to allow walking to most venues.

COURSES: 300 level courses in Social Sciences, Art History, Applied Art, and Humanities have been designed specifically for Iowa State University students. The entire curriculum is integrated and centered on persons and topics associated with Renaissance Florence and Tuscany. A non-credit cooking course is also offered.

A four-credit Italian course will satisfy ISU's Verbal Communication requirement. Students may take as many as 11 credits in Italian. With approval from the student's advisor, independent study projects may also be taken. Three courses are approved for Honors Program credit. Class size is small, ranging from five to twenty students per class.

FACULTY: An outstanding faculty includes:
   Dr. Kevin Murphy, Director of Art History, British Institute of Florence
    (Renaissance Science through Art, Architecture and Artifacts: Period Art History courses)
   Count/Dottore Niccolò Capponi (Political Science)
   Dr. Matteo Sansone: opera
   Francesca Boni: coordinator of Italian language courses
   Several of these teachers have appointments at other major universities offering programs in Florence

FACILITIES: Most courses are taught at The British Institute of Florence, located in the Palazzo Lanfredini, on the south bank of the Arno, close to the Ponte Vecchio. The Palazzo, which has been recently renovated, contains several well-equipped classrooms, an air-conditioned reading room, wireless internet access that will be included in the course fee. The Institute is also the site of a series of weekly lectures and film presentations.

The language division of The British Institute of Florence is located on the Piazza Strozzi. It is equipped with a study center with computer-assisted language learning facilities and also has wireless connections.

The political science course, taught by Count/Dottore Niccolò Capponi, is held in his residence, the historic 15th century Palazzo Capponi. His palazzo was the site for the filming of the movie, Hannibal.

The 55,000-volume Harold Acton Library, with specialized holdings in the areas of Italian studies, history of art, travel, music, the theatre, and English literature, is the largest English library in Italy.

ACCOMMODATIONS:Apartment photos - Students will be housed in apartments in the Oltrarno area of Florence, close to both the Palazzo Lanfredini and Piazza Strozzi. Apartments are furnished with a kitchen, dining area, laundry facilities, television, internet, bed linens and towels.

   sophomore standing or above at the time the program is offered
   completed application for the program
   two letters of recommendation from persons who can comment on the student's ability to succeed in a foreign country and adjust to another culture
   consultation with the student's advisor
   an interview with the Program Directors
   a demonstrable passion to study in Florence

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS:  Although it would be beneficial to have had some previous knowledge of Italian, this is not a requirement for acceptance into the Program. A 4-credit course in Italian will be required as part of the curriculum.

The Semester is open to university students of any age in any discipline. The ideal mix will include students (traditional and non-traditional) representing a wide variety of colleges and disciplines. Students from six different ISU colleges are enrolled in the fall 2006 semester.

The program fee will depend on the current euro/dollar exchange rate. An updated estimate can be found on this website. This fee includes tuition, lodging and utilities (except telephone), guest lecture fees, museum entrance fees for courses, and a Renaissance dinner in the Palazzo Borghese. Each student will receive a semester Uffizi Pass that allows unlimited free access to the state museums (Uffizi, Accademia, San Marco, Bargello, New Medici Chapel, Boboli Gardens, Pitti Palace et al.) with no waiting in line. Also included is a Maggio Card which will allow entrances to operas, ballets and orchestra concerts for as little as 8 euro each.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID:  Students eligible for financial aid should contact the financial aid office to make the necessary arrangements. In most cases, students will be able to apply their ISU scholarships and financial aid to their study abroad experience. Scholarships to study abroad are also available through the Study Abroad Center and most colleges.


Carl O. Bleyle, program director
205 Music
Iowa State University
Ames, IA  50011
Tel: (515) 294-2966
Fax: (515) 294-6409

Download a group program application at:

Study Abroad Resource Center
3224 Memorial Union
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-1182
Tel: (515) 294-6792
Fax: 515-294-8263