Pitt in Florence - Summer


Florence is the ideal setting to spend the summer studying in one of the most historic, cultural and beautiful cities in the world. The city is filled with cobblestone streets, open-air markets, unique food experiences, artistic masterpieces, stunning architecture. This program is designed for students of all majors interested in: Italian language, culture, studio arts, art history, psychology, and more.  You will take 2 courses (6 or 7 credits - depending on the courses that you select) on this 6-week long program.  No previous Italian language experience is necessary. 

The city of Florence and hills of Tuscany becomes your classroom during this program. The program includes full day excursion to Siena and San Gimignano. Students also have the opportunity to interact with the local community and immerse themselves in optional cultural activities through the CAPA My Global City program. CAPA-led events include a walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo for stunning views over the city of Florence and a hike in the nearby hills, followed by dinner in one of the best pizzerias in town. Other activities, often self-guided, reflect what’s going on in the city at the time and may include a walking tour to the most important markets of Florence, tasting typical Italian snacks, a night at the opera, or attending soccer match at the Florence Stadium.


What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • First-hand experience of Italian way of life and a greater appreciation for Italian language and culture
  • Italian language skills that will enable you to interact and acclimate within the community
  • Explore the diversity of cosmopolitan Florence with our My Global City events/activities


Florence, Italy is the capital city of the Firenze province and Tuscany region. It is surrounded by the picturesque rolling hills of Tuscany. Florence is a majestic city that is visually stunning, culturally rich and has a storied past. Florence was founded as a Roman Military colony around the 1st Century BC. The city’s population began to grow due to its location in the fertile, farmable hills. Its location also was perfect for economic development in the region.

Florence became a haven for an ever-growing immigrant population that still exists today. Florence has its strong Italian roots but is also very much a multi-cultural city. Due to the growing economy and influx of immigrants it became the perfect location for merchants and artists. This in part, led to the Renaissance period in the 14th to 16th centuries. Many of the most influential artists of that time period flocked to the city to work on their art including Michelangelo, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Leonardo da Vinci. They left behind masterpieces in the forms of frescoes, sculptures, paintings and architecture that are still visible throughout the city today Despite its pivotal role in the history of civilization and its significance as an artistic and cultural center, Florence retains the bustle and charm of a small town in a bygone age. Ancient, medieval, renaissance, cosmopolitan, yet with all modern conveniences, Florence, perhaps more than any other city, is a tapestry displaying Europe's emergence from the Dark Ages through to the 21st century.


Where You'll Live: 

You will live like a Florentine during your program abroad. Housing placements are scattered throughout the city-center and location depends on availability and housing option. Exact addresses are provided closer to departure. Regardless of the option you choose, nothing is ever far from you in Florence. The city is geographically very flat, pedestrian friendly, and walkable. Remember, though, that it is a very old city - expect uneven roads/sidewalks and lots and lots of cobblestone.

Like the streets of Florence, no two apartments on the Pitt in Florence program are alike in terms of design, but all will give you a comfortable place to call home in Italy.  Most apartments are located within an hour commute to the CAPA Center, either on foot or by bus. Apartments are still within what is considered the city-center. 

  • Shared bedrooms (2 students/bedroom)

  • There are typically up to six students in each apartment

  • A fully equipped kitchen

  • En-suite bathroom

  • Shared living area

  • Washing machine(s) in the building (Italian apartments typically do not have dryers).  

  • Meals aren’t included, so plan on learning to cook with local ingredients or budget money to eat out.

We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change.  Contact your program manager with any questions. 


What You'll Study: 
  • You will take two courses on this six-week program.
  • The courses are approved by Pitt and you will receive letter grades for the courses.
  • Please note that the Italian language (ITAL0101) is for 4 credits. Pitt faculty, Jenny McCord, will teach some of the Italian language courses. 
  • The other courses will be taught by local faculty from CAPA.
  • If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate, please meet with your academic advisor to discuss this program and what the courses will fulfill for you.
Writing the City-Florence (ENGWRT1200)

This course is a creative writing workshop designed to explore the experience of traveling and living abroad in Florence in both verse and prose. Along with the workshop we will also read and discuss texts that focus on Italy in general and Florence specifically from both the native and foreign perspectives, noting particularly the literary techniques and strategies that various writers have used to verbally map out the territory of the city and to express their own place and experiences within its walls. The texts will provide us with a forum for discussing each author’s relationship to and the literary expression of place. The texts will also provide us with models for weekly writing exercises.  I believe that we can use our unique position as sojourners abroad to begin to chart our own internal and imaginative landscapes. Our ultimate goal will be to produce a finalized, substantial text—or series of short texts—suitable for performance and/or publication in the literary world beyond this class.


Italian Renaissance Art History (HAA0302)

This course introduces students to painting, sculpture, and architecture in Florence in the Renaissance. Beginning with the great projects of the Middle Ages that defined the religious and political centers of the city, attention focuses on major monuments of the Renaissance. Discussion will center on how works of art were made, their style, and how they communicate intellectual meaning. Sub-themes that intersect with the most recent research in the field of art history are interwoven into each class period. Topics for discussion include the cross-cultural fertilization of artistic ideas, how women, the poor, and children were depicted in Renaissance art, conflicting ideas regarding patronage, and how works of art construct religious, political, gender, and class identities. This course analyzes the interrelationship between people's creative achievements and their society. In other words, students must understand a work of art in the social, artistic, and historical context of medieval and renaissance Florence.


Italian: Here and Now (4 credits) (ITAL0101)

An introduction to the Italian language, including basic grammar, vocabulary and speech patterns. Primary goal is to achieve competence in the spoken language, along with basic skills in reading and writing. Face-to-face lesson meetings consist of communicative activities in which students practiced learned structures and vocabulary.  Students will watch/listen/read lectures, complete exercises related to grammar and vocabulary. This instructional approach is designed to allow for maximum interaction in the classroom environment, so that students can receive extensive feedback on their progress. 

Interculture and Migration (ITAL1084)

taly has long been a nation of emigrants, but only in the last few decades has become a nation receiving large numbers of immigrants. The fall of communism in Eastern Europe, and wars and violence in the Balkans, across Africa and the Middle East, have spurred new migrants towards the West in search of safety and economic prosperity. The unique position of the Italian peninsula in the Mediterranean has made it a key territory of arrival in these modern-day migrations, but to what advantage and to what cost? This course will explore the complexities of cultural identity and migration, and the impact they have on intercultural conflict and cooperation. There will be a particular focus on migration in Italy and on the marginalized communities of contemporary Italy, such as migrants, their Italianborn non-citizen children, and the Roma. We will examine the fluidity of cultural boundaries across time and space, and how ingroup and outgroup dynamics contribute to the manufacturing of fear and prejudice among populations. During their semester abroad, students will reflect on the various elements that define a culture while gaining an increased understanding of how culture shapes individuals and how our cultural identities interact in shared social spaces such as the piazze of Florence. 

Cross Cultural Psychology in Florence (PSY0186)

This course will explore the field of cross-cultural psychology through a focus on a specific country and its inhabitants: Italy. Aspects of cross-cultural analysis from the field of cross-cultural psychology (as well as interdisciplinary elements from sociology, anthropology, biology and ecology) will be discussed, including: cultural influence on human behavior, attitudes, values, communication and societal organization. Special topics of ethnocentrism, individual vs. collective societies, plural societies, cultural views on mental health, and intercultural communication are highlighted. Methodological issues of cross-cultural research will be reviewed, and students will have the opportunity to conduct a cross-cultural interview and be participant-observers of their own experience here in Italy. The city of Florence and its inhabitants become the classroom through various excursions and field work. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their own cultural origins in regards to behaviors, communication, attitudes and values, as well as their acculturation experiences while studying in Italy.


Foundation Painting (SA0120)
Investigate concepts of color, form, line, composition, volume, space, and the use of oil paint as a medium. Beginning or intermediate levels accepted. This course is structured to introduce oil painting starting from the basic techniques and introducing new approaches and ideas. Students should take advantage of open studio hours to complete their assignments. At the beginning of each new topic and project students will be asked to list the techniques acquired in the previous lessons before moving on to a new exercise. Students will be expected to complete at least 4 paintings to successfully complete the course in addition to completing the weekly assignments.


Foundation Drawing (SA0130)
A studio arts drawing course for beginning and intermediate students that explores an essential aspect of artistic self-expression and the techniques necessary to learn to draw what you see. The course will examine Florentine artists' drawing techniques that raised the level of this medium during the Renaissance period from preliminary studies to that of true works of art. Visual perception is a way of seeing that differs from our typical way of seeing. The objective is that of teaching students how to transmit what they see, an artistic perception which will permit them to explore their personal mode of expression. The course will concentrate upon the component parts of drawing, the necessary aspects self-awareness and general creativity, learning to draw what is out there and self expression.


Analyzing and Exploring the Global City - Florence (URBNST0408)

Florence is a global heritage city: millions of people every day crowd into its small streets admiring the ancient buildings and its artistic heritage, which creates revenue as well as issues. For this reason, contemporary Florence and its inhabitants are less well-known by visitors. Florence today has an ethnically diverse population with complex socio-cultural dynamics that shape the identity of this fascinating city. Although migration to the city has intensified over the last few decades, ‘multiculturalism’ is not a recent phenomenon: over the centuries the city has celebrated diversity, with different ethnic groups, different nationalities and various religious groups who have contributed to Florence’s social and cultural wealth. Even the briefest of walks can unveil this wealth to the eyes of the attentive observer – and it is precisely this ‘below the surface’ understanding that this course provides. Florence is, and always has been, a ‘global’ city. We will analyze the complex dynamics that shape the identity of Florence by applying a critical perspective to the notion of globalization and by analyzing the socio-cultural forces at play both historically and presently. Students will learn to analyze the cultural variety present in the city, examining which ethnic communities live in Florence today, and gaining insight into their lives through scholarly sources and direct observation. Throughout the course we will discuss the relativity of cultural values; we will analyze how multicultural aspects of Florence’s identity have been discursively constructed and by which social actors; we will review which policies the local and national administration have put into effect to deal with these issues.


The University of Pittsburgh partners with CEA CAPA Education Abroad for this program. CEA CAPA works with institutions of higher education to build programs that meet their goals for learning abroad, and offers study abroad and internship programs in destinations around the globe. CEA CAPA focuses on academic offerings, support frameworks, and oversight structures for students and visiting faculty.

The CEA CAPA Florence Center is housed in three buildings in the heart of Florence, including in Palazzo Galli-Tassi, a 15th century palace. The CEA CAPA Florence team is available throughout your program to assist and support you 24/7 with any urgent situations.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Lauren Perri

Hi! I'm Lauren, Program Manager for Arts & Sciences students. As an undergraduate student, I studied abroad in Marburg, Germany. Since then, my career in international education has taken me to many locations around the world. Particularly, I have an affinity for Florence, Italy. There is nothing quite like the challenge of navigating a new city, country, and culture! Let's chat about global experiences.

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways! 

  • Schedule an appointment with me using my personal link.
  • Login to Pathways with your Pitt username and password
  • Select Find Available Time
  • Select the time you want to meet
  • Review the appointment and click the schedule button
  • You will see a graphic that confirms that you have made an appointment with me & receive a confirmation in your Pitt email 

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email at lap140@pitt.edu

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Jenny McCord

Jenny McCord teaches the Italian 0101 and Italian for the Professions Course on this program. She is also your in-country program advisor. Jenny earned a Master of Arts in Italian literature and a Master of Teaching in foreign language education at the University of Virginia. She has been teaching Italian classes at the University of Pittsburgh since 2006 and has worked for study abroad programs in Bologna, Florence and Rome. Jenny has recently completed a Master in intercultural studies and social mediation at the University of Padova, and is interested in promoting intercultural competencies in an effort to expand social bonding and facilitate integration of vulnerable parties in our communities.

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition Fees $4,938.00 $5,138.00
Program Fee $3,061.00 $3,061.00
Study Abroad Fee $300.00 $300.00
Total Billed by Pitt $8,299.00 $8,499.00

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare ~ $1,500
Meals and Personal Expenses ~ $1,500


Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.


What's Included: 

As a part of your Pitt in Florence Summer program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for 6 credits (or 7 credits if you take the Italian language course)
  • Shared accommodations throughout the program
  • Excursions and cultural activities, including the CAPA My Global City calendar of offerings. My Global City events/activities from the past have included: a gelato tour around the city, a boat ride on the Arno, a cooking class, and more! 
  • On-site transportation  
  • International travel health insurance
  • Airport transfer
When You'll Go: 

This program runs for six weeks, beginning in May and ending in July. See the dates sidebar for exact program start and end dates. 

What Else You Need to Know: 

Florence is warm in the summer. Please prepare yourself that A/C is not as common and is regulated.