Florence is Good for You

Sunset on the Arno

Florence has been attracting visitors with its charms for hundreds of years and is as dynamic a summer destination today as it ever was. Our summer study abroad program challenges a select group of students to see and do as much as possible in four weeks, and establish a relationship with one of Europe’s most elegant and sophisticated cities

The birthplace of the Renaissance, home to the Medicis, Michelangelo, Dante and Machiavelli as well as some of Europe’s oldest fashion houses, not to mention superb restaurants, museums and ice cream. Yes, lots of ice cream–or rather, gelato, to be precise.  Florence is a city of spectacular architecture from Brunelleschi’s Duomo to the Palazzo Vecchio, outstanding music and art. Is there anywhere in the world that can rival the Accademia with its incredible David? Or the Uffizi that bursts at the seams with works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio and Botticelli to name but a few.

Our summer residence at Calza dates back to the 16th century and boasts some of the finest frescoes in Florence. It’s in a privileged location in Oltrarno, the most sought after residential neighborhood where students enjoy the shops and restaurants of San Frediano and Santo Spirito far from the hoards of tourists. We don’t simply rent a bunch of hotel rooms and declare ourselves a “Florence program,” rather we give students the opportunity to live in an authentic Florentine Palazzo, surrounded by history and charm each and every day.

Florence is very much a walking city. Step out of the Calza residence onto the Via Romana, and take a ten-minute stroll to class or to the famous Ponte Vecchio. On your way, you pass the Boboli Gardens and Palazzo Pitti. We dare say this this beats your current morning commute! The pedestrianized city center (Centro Storico) makes lunchtime fun, with dozens of options to sample Tuscan cuisine and sit in the Piazza della Repubblica or Piazza Santa Maria Novella for some people watching and shopping on Via Tornabuoni.

Our partnership with the Florence University of the Arts means you are being taught by locals and the best and brightest in their fields. From Italian language, to Art History, Fashion Design, Photography and Cooking, the city of Florence is your inspiration for learning and fun. Charlie Hall our director has been going to Florence for thirty years and his connections in the art world and his love of Italian culture and history filter through to every aspect of your stay. Yes, you will see the famous galleries and museums and places of interest, but Charlie will make sure you have a lot of doors opened for you that are not normally opened for anyone else.

And when you come to the end of the week in Florence it’s time to hit the road for exciting day trips that take advantage of the Tuscan countryside and take you to the wonders of Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano, Siena,  and even relaxing on the beach in Cinque Terre.

We encourage students to “go beyond tourism” and join us for an authentic summer stay in this magnificent city and get a real sense of why Florence possesses such a unique and enduring charm.

FAST Fashion Course

While some of the students are learning about 15th and 16th Florentine Art, others are diving into the fashion scene at the Florence University of Art’s FAST fashion tailoring school. Preparing themselves as the next big designers of Ford Models, the students have been diligently constructing and sketching designs that would eventually be used as rubrics for their outfits. Their classroom is actually situated in the back of a clothing boutique where the clothes that can be purchased in the store were all designed and made by students. Perhaps they can give us a discount in the future!

Summer’s on the horizon!

It’s the middle of April, and our programs are almost full! We are busy talking to families about flights, getting students ready to go on their programs, and getting our staffs ready to run our best set of programs ever. Stay tuned for more information!

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Departure and Rome Extension

The ASA Florence program came to an end after a great final dinner at Chalet Fontana in Firenze. Upon returning home for our final night at Convitto della Calza, the RAs had a nice slideshow and surprise music video for the students. Students also received their Summerbooks, showing photos and memories from throughout the program in Italy. Many students were up very early on Thursday morning to head to Rome, while several others stayed behind to fly from Florence or meet their families.

In Rome, we dropped our friends off  and said our goodbyes to the students flying back to New York on the group flight while the rest of the group remained on the bus for the Rome extension. Upon arrival at the hotel students were able to relax and nap and prepare for our first dinner around the corner from Piazza di Spagna.  After dinner and gelato we returned to the hotel for the evening.

On Friday we were up early to head to the Colosseo and then the Foro Romano.

We enjoyed lunch near Piazza Venezia and then boarded an open tour bus to relax while seeing the sites. After the bus tour we all returned to the hotel to rest until dinner which we had at La Carbonara in Campo dei Fiori.

After dinner we saw some live street entertainment. First, in Campo dei Fiori, there was a group of Brazilians doing flips and awesome street music. At Piazza Navona we saw a group of Italians breakdancing and lots of artists. We next headed to the Pantheon and later went on to the Trevi Fountain. After getting gelato we returned back to the hotel for the night.

On Saturday morning the Rome extension group was up again to head to the Vatican. We arrived at the Museo Vaticano and spent the morning exploring the seemingly endless museum including the Sistine Chapel.

After the museum visits we split into 2 groups. One group got lunch and then went to St. Peter’s Basilica, while the other group went to Capuchin Crypts, where monks have decorated shrines using the bones of the dead. Finally a few students went to see the Bocca della Verita and visit the Isola Tiberina.

On Saturday night, the ASA Rome Extension group will be enjoying our final dinner at Pizzeria Dar Poeta, before heading home on Sunday morning. What a busy weekend and fulfilling month for all of the ASA Florence students. We want to thank everyone for such a great summer! Grazie mille e ci vediamo presto!

Our last week in Cádiz!

It’s hard to believe that our time in Cádiz has ended! It’s been a month of new experiences, new friends, and great memories. On Wednesday we had a picnic at a hacienda in the countryside with a small bullring. Some of the students went into the ring to try their hand waving the bullfighting cape….against young cows, of course….no horns!  Afterwards we ate and danced!

In class, the students finished up their video documentary and took their final exam. Thursday and Friday allowed the students some free time to spend with their Spanish families and say their goodbyes, as well as to visit any favorite spots in Cádiz for the last time. Last night we had our final dinner and celebration with our Spanish host families, professors, and activities teachers. It was a beautiful evening.  We’re sure the students are looking forward to seeing their American families again, but we’ll be sorry to see them go! It’s been a great group and a great month here in Cádiz.

Our last week in Nerja!

Our last week in Nerja was quite busy! We completed our last day of class having churros and chocolate with our profesores. The students studied and took their final exam in class and in their  evenings activities they finished their ceramic sculptures, went scuba diving, and learned how to make paella (Spain´s most traditional and famous rice dish).    On Thursday we went ona surprise trip to a spa complete with saunas, Turkish baths, jacuzzis, and pools. Needless to say we had a great time!  After a day of relaxing and being pampered, we all dressed up nicely for our final party with the Spanish families. It was a special night as we remembered all of the good times we spent in Nerja together. On Friday the students had one last day to spend with their family and friends, take pictures and buy some souvenirs to remember their time here. We’re sure the students are looking forward to seeing their American families again, but we’ll be sorry to see them go! It’s been a great group and a great month here in Nerja.

Conil into the home stretch!

It’s hard to believe that our time in Conil is coming to an end! It’s been a month of   new experiences, new friends, and great memories. Yesterday we had a picnic at a hacienda in the countryside with a small bullring. Some of the students went into the ring to try their hand waving the bullfighting cape….against young cows, of course….no horns!

Tonight we have our final dinner and celebration with our Spanish host families, professors, and activities teachers. There will be a special video documenting the program in Conil and most likely some dancing!

Friday the students will have time to spend with their Spanish families and say their goodbyes, as well as to visit any favorite spots in Conil for the last time….beach, anyone? Saturday morning we leave at daybreak to make it to the airport in time to catch the return flight to the United States. We’ll send an e-mail to all parents once the group flight has left Jerez.

We’re sure the students are looking forward to seeing their American families again, but we’ll be sorry to see them go! It’s been a great group and a great month here in Conil.

ASA Florence Students Share their experience!

In Art History class we have learned an incredible amount about the art and history of Florence. Everyday we visit one to two sites, varying between churches, palaces, monasteries, and museums. In Art History we visit palaces such as Palazzo Medici Riccardi and Chapels such as Santa Maria Novella. In the Chapels and Churches, we observe the many frescos and take note on which period they were painted, what styles they are painted in, and consider all the different artists we have learned about. We have visited many museums, even one regarding human race in Italy! Throughout this course, we have been able to expand our knowledge of art history and the way that art has progressed, through Gothic and Renaissance. We have studied many historical buildings in Florence as well, developing an eye for Romanesque or Gothic buildings. We have visited buildings near and far, such as the Duomo, Baptistry, and Palazzo Vechio. Thanks to this course, I not only know Florence like the back of my hand, but am able to distinguish between many different forms of art and architecture.

AK

 

Fashion class has sprouted each of us pupils into fashionista experts. Behind a chic consignment store, you will find a petite courtyard with multiple studios situated for different genres of fashion classes. In our class room, we have practiced sewing and drawing figures with current styles.We traveled to the Ferragamo museum dedicated to the late marilyn monroe. This museum was not only full of beautiful and famous clothes marilyn wore but also a perception on her life. There is also an inspiring collection of eccentric vintage shoes by Ferragamo; which was one of our lovely italian teachers many ways to aid us in discovering style ideas. For our class project, we developed our mood boards that grasped our lounge wear collections theme. Once our theme were established we chose our fabric to sew into pajama pants.  For example, my theme is jungle which inspired me to create leopard print pajama pants. We are currently concentrating on completing the tailoring of the pants as well as the waist bands. As we are completing this our next couple of days, we will also wrap up our collection of lounge wear that we have drawn on model figures. In a city of such eccentric and beautiful fashion, the learning will never end here in Firenze!
KB