Location Description

Semester in Florence students live and take classes in Palazzo Capponi in Via dei Michelozzi, a 14,000-square-foot palace owned by Pio Istituto de' Bardi (The Bardi Institute). The JMU facilities provide bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen space, lounge space, offices, classrooms and computer labs.

The Santo Spirito neighborhood – and the city of Florence more broadly – provide an atmospheric setting for your Italian adventures. The city's historic piazzas remain largely unchanged from their medieval beginnings, enabling you to tread the same streets as illustrious persons such as Michelangelo, Dante, Boccaccio, Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, Leonardo Da Vinci and Galileo, to mention just a few. 

Florence ’s size is a very manageable city. You can walk across the historical center of the city in less than 30 minutes by foot. Beyond its cultural resources, the city center has many cafes, restaurants, high-fashion brands, ordinary and vintage clothing stores, and much more. You will find most things that you need practically at your doorstep.

Florence’s contributions to the arts, sciences, politics and humanities, together with its manageable size, make it very popular with students. There are roughly 50 U.S. colleges and universities with study programs running in Florence. In addition, forty thousand Italian students attend the University of Florence (UNIFI), and many students from outside of Italy study at the city’s countless international language schools. The city is an educational magnet, drawing students from around Italy and across the world.

Field Trips in Florence and Elsewhere

Italy is a diverse collection of cities, towns and villages. These localities preserve the past through distinctive architectural styles, dialects, living traditions and folk/religious festivals. At the same time, residents of the cities interact with their environments, their histories and their fellow citizens to push their localities forward, to build up national and European identities, and to determine what it means to live a good life.

Each day in the Semester in Florence program, students experience the ways that Italians interact with their legacies, with each other, with non-Italians and with various twenty-first century challenges. Their primary site for "participant observation" is Florence. That said, students also take program-organized weekend trips to appreciate the ways that Italians outside of Tuscany's capital experience the world.

Besides course-related trips to museums, churches, notable buildings and art galleries in central Italy, the program provides guided one-day trips to cities such as Siena and overnight field trips to Naples and Pompeii in the south and to Turin and the surrounding hills in Piemonte in the northwest. During these course-related, one-day and overnight field trips, the program covers all fees related to transportation (bus or train), hotels, guides and entrance fees.

During the semester, students also have several free weekends, when they can follow their own itineraries. Naturally, when students travel on their own, it is at their own expense.


Students will be housed in the 16th-century Palazzo Capponi in Via dei Michelozzi. Palazzo Capponi is located in the Santo Spirito neighborhood. Santo Spirito has a vibrant central square facing Brunelleschi’s Basilica di Santo Spirito and packed with sidewalk cafes, restaurants, artisans’ workshops, galleries and various grocers.

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