The mecca of history, art and cuisine, there are hundreds of reasons to visit Italy. And if you have an opportunity to study abroad, to take advantage of learning overseas, to gain more than a glimpse of an another culture, to dive into the deep, rich history that spans 2 thousand years, then be prepared for the adventure.
In Italy alone there are hundreds of study abroad programs, including the foreign campus’ of New York University, Georgetown, BU, Gonzaga, Richmond, etc. Students come for 2 weeks, a semester, or even a year-long program in Rome, Venice, Florence, studying Medieval literature, Renaissance masters and Roman architecture. Many are certified programs that propose quality experiences for students of all ages (college-age to adult) but many are field-day courses that cost a lot and offer very little. Here is a list of programs gathered for English-speaking students, divided by city, with a few of the more credible programs. I’ve also tried to include options that cater to adult learning (post-grad or certificate) as well.
Art Schools in Italy:
SACI-Studio Art Centers International: With facilities in the center of Florence, 35 years experience and 5 programs to offer (including summer studies, semester abroad and even an MFA program connected with Bowling Green State University), SACI is one of the higher-level studio arts programs that enforces quality teaching and learning in well-equipped studios. Courses include (with beginning, intermediate, advanced levels): batik, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, drawing, jewelry, photography, fresco painting as well as other offerings in art restoration, art history and museology.
Santa Reparata International School of Art: This art school was founded by graphic artists in 1970 but moved to its current space in Via San Gallo in 2008. SRISA also offers semester, year, summer and post-graduate studies originally with a focus on printmaking (woodcut, serigraphy) and book arts, but now having expanded to drawing, painting, photography and fashion design. They also have various affiliate programs in about 40 U.S. Universities and Colleges. Faculty is an Anglo-European mix. Facilities and reputation are as good as at SACI.
Polimoda: This school has been around for over 20 years and is the fashion center of Tuscany, collaborating with State University of New York as well as Fashion Institute of Technology. Polimoda students are serious, and widely exposed, even collaborating with the famous, annual fashion production Pitti Uomo/Donna/Bimbo. Programs include summer, semester and two master’s courses (one for English and one for Italian students). Courses offered: fashion and footwear design, pattern design, trend forcasting, marketing and brand management.
LdM – Lorenzo de’Medici: This institute also has a campus in Rome but the program in Florence has a more serious studio arts program. The school itself has been around for over 30 years, the Rome section just moved into bigger better facilities in 2007. LdM offers summer, semester and certificate courses. The Florence campus offers a BFA from Marist College as well as an MFA in Museum Studies. The regular semester and summer programs in Rome are highlighted by the cinema courses as the school works closely with Cinecitta’, which is the largest film and TV production facility in Europe. Both cities offer a huge number of courses in archaeology, global studies, business, art restoration as well as drawing, painting, sculpture, jewelry, printmaking and photography.
Cornell University in Rome: Cornell Rome (a part of the University’s Architecture, Art and Planning school) offers a semester-long program with an art component which primarily includes workshops (fresco, watercolor, mosaic) and artist residents. An intense semester focuses on studio work, on-site classes and a rich field-trip itinerary.
Temple University Rome: Temple began in Rome in 1966 with a program built by Tyler School of Art. Now the school’s Rome campus has matured and includes a BFA and MFA where students enrolled in these degree programs are encouraged to spend a semester or year abroad. Studio courses take place in well-equipped facilities and mainly include the basics in drawing, painting, photography. Students, however, also take electives in such areas as archaeology, classic literature, international trade, museum history, architectural design.
Scuola Internazionale di Grafica: This school is an international center that was founded in 1969. Today it’s an intimate and well-equipped graphic design, book arts, printmaking and drawing/painting school in the heart of Venice (with emphasis on the printmaking and book arts). Scuola Internazionale di Grafica offers summer, semester and year-long programms, collaborating with Boston University, Pratt Institute, University of Iowa and Indiana University to offer more structured degree-fulfilling programs. The school also allows for independent studies and all students can freely work alongside Italian students (adult and University) in the studios.
Lorenzo de’Medici: Another piece of the LdM empire, a new campus was founded in Campo Santa Margherita in 2009, in collaboration with Istituto Venezia. A much smaller more intimate program with fewer course choices, the semester program offers (along with Italian language, history and writing courses) the basics in drawing, photography, water and glass-art.
*All schools listed above provide help with housing near the main campus/studios/facilities, usually in the historic center of the city.