Students in the M.A. in Political Science program live in Florence, Italy (when they are not traveling elsewhere in Europe). Florence is the perfect setting for scholarly pursuits. As the birthplace of Humanism and the cradle of the Renaissance, the city has long been associated with great human endeavors in the arts, letters, sciences, and politics. Dante, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and others are indelibly linked to the city of Florence. Florence's historical role in culture and commerce--and its contemporary role as an academic hub--draw interest from all over the world and make it an ideal site for studying European politics and society.

Although its historical and cultural contributions are immense, Florence retains the charm and atmosphere of a smaller city. It is quite manageable by foot and is serviced by an excellent public transportation system. In 5 to 15 minutes of walking, you can find yourself at the famous Ponte Vecchio, Il Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, and other historic buildings, structures, and piazzas that have remained largely unchanged since their medieval or Renaissance beginnings. A twenty-minute bus ride will take you to the hillside town of Fiesole, with its Etruscan roots and notable archaeological sites. A 15-minute hike from the southern bank of the Arno River will take you to the hilltop of Piazzale Michelangelo, which provides one of the best views of the city. The city also has a major airport and full rail service tied to one of Italy's high-speed train routes, making travel within Italy and to other European cities both convenient and affordable.

To see many images & experiences of our students living and studying on Florence during fall 2021, check out as much of this 6-minute video as you would like.

Palazzo Capponi in Via dei Michelozzi

Based in central Florence, JMU's campus is located in the beautifully restored 16th century Palazzo Capponi. Commonly referred to by students as "the Palazzo", it holds classroom and meeting rooms, the graduate study library, the undergraduate student dormitory and administrative offices for both the JMU Master in Political Science and Semester in Florence programs. The building is secured by magnetic key cards and is accessible to accredited students and staff from the hours 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM Monday through Friday. The Palazzo can be accessed beyond those hours by special request.

JMU's Palazzo Capponi is fully equipped with WiFi and cable connections. University computer and printers are also available for students' use in the graduate study room. Video conferencing is also supported on-site.

Upon arrival, students can request to connect their wireless devices to the university's network. It is also possible to set up a VPN connection with JMU Harrisonburg campus to access the university's online resources for research and study. Locally, students have access to the European University Institute's doctoral library in Fiesole which contains exhaustive research and academic material.

The JMU Florence campus does not have its own food service but is conveniently located in a neighborhood that offers a plethora of cafes and restaurants for students on break from their studies.

Piazza Santo Spirito

Steps away from the Pitti Palace and its Boboli gardens, JMU's Florence center is located adjacent to Piazza Santo Spirito. This typical Italian piazza is a hot spot for local artists, musicians, and international students. Daily farmer's markets and weekend antique markets are perfect places to find fresh produce and to meet local residents. On summer nights, the piazza is often full of music. Some of Florence's most authentic pizzerias, trattorias, and cafés are located in and around the piazza.

Piazza Santo Spirito is also home to one of Filippo Brunelleschi's famed architectural works, the Basilica di Santo Spirito. One street away from the piazza is Via Maggio, a historically significant street that runs directly to the Santa Trinità bridge and its magnificent views of the Arno, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Tuscan landscape. Students are provided with a wide range of resources to assist them in making the transition to life in Italy and to help them take advantage of Florence's many charms.

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