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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). JMU has recently renovated the palazzo to 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. 

Yet, despite its cultural grandeur, Florence’s size is actually quite manageable; it is possible to traverse the center of the city in less than 30 minutes by foot. Florence is also extremely well serviced by buses, trains, supermarkets, boutiques and many other sorts of stores. Therefore, you will find everything that you need practically at your door step.

Florence’s contributions to the arts, sciences, politics and humanities, together with its manageable size, make it very popular with students. There are currently more than 30 American study programs running in Florence. In addition, forty thousand Italian students study at the University of Florence, 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.


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, but they 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 weekend trips to cities such as Naples (a creitical center of Greek and Roman and the ruins of Pompei and Herculaneum, the birthplace of pizza and the beating heart of Italy's South) and Turin (the home of the modern "Italian dream," the symbol of Italian industrial and post-industrial development, a quintessential example of the north of Italy). During these course-related, one-day and weekend 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, a vibrant neighborhood anchored by Palazzo Pitti and Brunelleschi’s Basilica di Santo Spirito and packed with sidewalk cafes, restaurants, artisans’ workshops, galleries and various grocers.

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