In addition to a strong academic program, the FSU Florence program regularly offers a wide range of cultural events that immerse students in Italian culture while having fun. From wine tastings to cooking courses, fresco workshops to soccer tournaments, there is never a shortage of activities on the calendar and the spectrum is wide enough to include the interests of everyone. Outside activities marked * are fee based.
Held at a cooking school in the Oltrarno area of Florence, the cooking course is always popular among students. Students learn to make a typical Italian antipasto, two pastas from scratch, sauce, and a desert. Afterwards they are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor with a glass of wine. Offered every semester.*
Held by a licensed sommelier, the winetasting takes place in a beautiful restaurant that overlooks the Ponte Vecchio. The sommelier teaches a class on the best Italian whites and reds, which students enjoy with the food pairings: freshly baked focaccia, cheeses and the famous Florentine steak. Offered every semester.*
Takes place inside the beautiful Palazzo Vecchio. Students learn this mural-painting technique used widely in the Renaissance. They learn where and how the colors were obtained, and then make and bring home their work. Offered every semester. *
An annual race that takes participants through some of the most scenic parts of Florence. For the last six years the money raised has gone towards breast cancer research. The FSU program registers students who want to participate and the walk\run is done as a group. As a souvenir, you receive a T-shirt which in past years has been designed by Ferragamo. It is a nice way to raise awareness, bond with your peers for a good cause, and take in the sites all at the same time.*
Each fall and spring semester, a soccer tournament is organized among the study abroad programs. The tournament lasts two weeks, with a third week dedicated to the finals, and all participating teams win a prize at the awards ceremony. The tournament is not only a chance to get exercise in between time spent studying and exploring your new home, but it is also a chance to meet other American students who share your passion for soccer.
Our own Italian Professor offers a Mask-making workshop in the spring. Students learn about the Italian Masks of the Commedia dell’Arte. Afterwards, they learn how to make their own masks with supplies provided and can then wear them to the annual FSU Carnevale dinner. *
Carnevale is one of the major holidays celebrated in Italy. The festivities in Venice are the most well-known, but the holiday is celebrated locally and throughout Italy. Viareggio, only an hour from Florence by train, hosts a large parade. The FSU program hosts a group dinner held at an elegant Renaissance palace on Fat Tuesday and everyone wears costumes.
Held at the end of each spring semester, when both drawing and photography courses are offered. The show exhibits the best art work (photographs, drawings, and paintings) in a public venue. Students enjoy an aperitivo and mingle with Italians viewing the work they have created in Florence!
Held at a local nursing home- This event is organized every fall semester as part of the Italian language course for the residents of the nursing home. Students prepare a different theme each year with assorted performances- from singing and dancing to playing instruments to theatrical impersonations-and more! The afternoon is always fun and the audience is eager to see what the FSU students come up with each year.
Each semester our Italian Civilization Professor, a seasoned hiker, guides students on a hike that starts in the village of Santa Brigida, one hour outside Florence. Students leave the city and explore nature in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Along the trails, it is still possible to visit the “burraie”, old stone huts built by mountain dwellers to refrigerate butter. Students bring a bagged lunch, picnic together, and stop at the monastery of “Madonna del Sasso” for a break before heading down the other side of the mountain having enjoyed a workout and fresh mountain air.
The opera house of Florence, The Maggio Fiorentino, is one of Italy’s and the world’s best, and it boasts a rich calendar of operas, ballets and classical concerts. In past semesters, Florida State University students have had the pleasure of going as a group to see La Boheme, Tosca and the Barber of Seville.*