Program Overview

Study music in Florence, the birthplace of opera and one of Italy’s most important cultural centers as the capital of the region of Tuscany. Musical excellence is part of the very identity of Florence, from the historical influences of Paganini to the hundreds of opera singers, orchestras, and choirs that flourish today.

Take small classes and private lessons taught in English with experienced instructors at a music school within an accredited arts university. You can also pursue an internship with an arts organization as one of your 3-credit courses.

Want to do this program in the summer instead of a full semester? Check out our Music Summer Study in Florence page.

“I thought this program was a lot of fun and I certainly learned a lot in my host country. The school in Florence I stayed in was perfectly placed and had everything students would need.”

Performing Arts Points of Interest

Alfieri Space

The Alfieri Space is a creative theatre venue in Florence that houses cultural events such as plays, film, music, and visual arts. The Alfieri Space theatre houses performances ranging from works of local playwrights to Shakespeare. Film opportunities in the Alfieri Space include festivals year-round. Past festivals have been the annual International Documentary Film Festival and the Sea Film Festival of 2017.

NoF Club Firenze

The NoF Club in the Oltrarno area of Florence opened in 2011 is a popular local band venue. Bands perform from an AstroTurf stage in the shop-front window overlooking Borgo San Frediano. There is a second bar beneath wrought iron fixtures and leafy plant life. The venue hosts live music six nights a week, music starting from 10pm with free entry.

Odeon Firenze Cinehall

Cinema Odeon Firenze is an elaborately designed theatre in Florence inaugurated in 1922. Here you can find English film screenings along with Italian films. The cinema hosts events as well as film screenings, including the British 100 Film Festival.

Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

The Teatro Comunale di Firenze or Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino was built in the 1800s as an open-air ampitheatre seating 6,000 people! After fires, damage from WWII bombing, and other closures, it finally re-opened permanently in 1961 as a 2,000 seat auditorium. The theatre now hosts Italy’s most important music festival, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

PAA Home Base

Our programs in Florence are based at the Florence University of the Arts (FUA), where you will take music classes and attend many student activities. You will have access to all FUA facilities as a Performing Arts Abroad student, including the gym and culinary arts school dining hall. All buildings are in the very heart of Florence with the main student life center overlooking the Arno River.

About the Location

Experience the breathtaking magnificence of the cafes, art museums, and architectural wonders of the Renaissance city of Florence, Italy. History is alive everywhere you look, from Giotto’s Campanile and The Duomo to the Baptistery of St. John. Attend one of the abundant musical performances throughout the city where opera began in the 1500s, and enjoy the legacy of Italian music via festivals happening throughout the year.

Surrounded by style and elegance in everything from food to fashion, you’ll feel the artistic heart of Florence the minute you step off the plane. The region’s mild climate makes strolling the cultured streets a popular activity, and the city is enclosed by the rolling hills of Tuscany. World-famous vineyards and olive oil producers are minutes away, while the cities of Venice, Milan, and Rome are just a few short hours away by train.


Experience independence and build friendships with other study abroad students while living in a student apartment. You will live in a double room in one of many apartments located in charming neighborhoods throughout the city center of Florence. Single rooms are available at an extra cost.

All apartments offer a full kitchen, and utilities are included in the price of housing. You will be located within a 15-minute walk from where you will take music courses as well as the bustling downtown.


You will stay in a double or triple room with other study abroad students, or request a single room at an extra cost. Apartments and homestays vary in size and accommodate up to six people each. Performing Arts Abroad usually hosts five to ten students per semester at Florence University of the Arts, which is made up of hundreds of international students, primarily from the United States. You will join a cohort of several dozen other students from our partner companies for regular onsite activities and excursions throughout your semester.

A Day in the Life

The Participant Experience

You wake to the sound of the cobbled streets below, bustling with eager travelers and Italian merchants peddling their wares. Light streams through the shutters of your apartment’s tall ornate windows as you sit down to breakfast with your flatmates. On your way out the door, you hop across the street to your neighborhood cafe where they already have your coffee waiting, just the way you like it. You greet the staff with a friendly “buongiorno” and make small talk with the barista as you enjoy a pastry with your coffee, standing at the counter. It’s amazing how much your Italian has improved with these small daily interactions, even in the few short weeks since you arrived in Florence. You walk down the street to the university where you have your one-on-one morning music class, followed by a small group course utilizing the school’s recording studio and computer lab with keyboards. That afternoon, you will walk a few blocks to the music organization where you are interning to help with their upcoming production. You pinch yourself. A few months ago, you never would have believed you would be doing all this, AND earning academic credit toward your music degree at home.

On Arrival

You will book your flight to arrive at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport (FCO), where PAA representatives will greet you and begin your orientation to Italy with a 3 credit week-long travel course called “Cultural Introduction to Italy.” During this intensive class, you will travel to several key sites throughout the country, exploring their historical and cultural significance. Upon arrival in Florence, you will have already completed 3 credits, which will free up your schedule for more artistic pursuits, or for spending more time relaxing and exploring the beautiful Tuscany region surrounding the city.

Upon arrival in Florence, you will attend all-day orientation activities, including:

  • a session on immigration advising to confirm you have all necessary documents for the Permit to Stay visa procedure
  • an orientation that will include a school welcome, academic and program policies, student services, housing, information about educational field trips, an Italian language test for non-beginner students, and a school facilities walking tour
  • “Living in Florence” seminar

Your second orientation day, you will have a meeting to finalize your Permit to Stay, which is required of the student visa you will acquire for entry into Italy. You will also enjoy a welcome reception for all new students!

A Typical Day

During your semester abroad, you will live independently with other students studying at the university. You will attend classes during the week, with plenty of time to explore the city on your own. Most students choose to travel over the weekends, and many classes do not meet on Fridays, giving you three-day weekends to explore Italy and cities in nearby countries such as Barcelona and Paris. Often, you can find roundtrip airfare to these places for under 100 Euros!

Each week, you will be invited to participate in many extracurricular activities, including

  • a “Musing” club that attends music events throughout Florence and often forms bands that play gigs in local venues
  • Connecting Cultures, a program of community engagement through city walks, language partners, and an “Italian Family Club” that allows you to meet regularly with an Italian family to learn more about their lifestyle
  • Sport nights for some fun friendly competition with your peers playing football (soccer)
  • “Taste Italy” cooking and food workshops in collaboration with the university’s culinary program

Host Group

Stand out at auditions by spending a semester studying vocal or instrumental music with some of Florence’s renowned instructors.

The music school where you will be studying is housed in the Florence University of the Arts, which is accredited through the University of South Florida, meaning you will be issued an official academic transcript with credit being awarded through USF.

Many courses involve one-on-one individual instruction, the most effective way to develop your musical proficiency. Other courses are taught in small groups. Specific areas of study include opera, Italian vocal styles, diction, intensive Italian language, piano, guitar, and music production. Other instruments may be available upon request as an independent study.

You also have the option of doing an internship as one of your 3-credit courses. This would involve you working 15 hours per week at an arts organization in Florence. Examples include opera houses, symphony halls, recording studios, and theaters.

As a student, you will have access to practice rooms, a piano, and a state-of-the-art recording studio. We have highlighted the music courses available each semester on this page, but you are welcome to take courses in cooking, history, business, wine, and many other subjects which can be found on the FUA Academic Schedule page. Just select your term of interest to begin perusing.

Support Staff

Support Staff

Support Staff

Support Staff

Support Staff


“Florence was a beautiful experience where I learned a lot about the Italian culture and people. Even though I did not take a language course while there, I realized that studying the language was a good technique in order to engage with the people I met and respect the culture.”

“PAA was by far one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Not only did I learn a great deal about the Italian culture, customs, and language, as well as meet amazing people, but I also grew so much as a singer. I studied for six weeks in the heart of Florence under the tutelage of Susanna Piccardi. Susanna taught me more in those six weeks than I have ever learned in all of my years of singing. Concepts that once seemed foreign to me, or large abstract ideas that did not quite make sense before, she broke down so clearly, and explained them (in a fantastic Italian accent, I might add!) in such a way that I understood them immediately. She took me from being a “college-level” singer, to a pre-professional singer. I would love to return to Florence with PAA to study with her again in the coming years. Thank you, PAA!”

“I got to be on the deck crew of a touring house where I helped bring shows into the Theatre and learned how to work a hemp rigging system. I made life-long friends and had an amazing adventure. I got to do and see things I only ever dreamed about seeing. I gained confidence in myself, and I feel like a whole new person!”

From the blog


Florence in the Dark: What it's Like to Study Abroad While Blind

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Italy: Land of Opera and…Jazz?

When you think of Italian music, you think of opera—and for good reason!  Opera was born in Italy, (Florence in 1598 to be precise) and spread from there to the rest of Europe.  For hundreds of years, despite other countries…


Singing in Italy

This summer I visited Florence, Italy interning with a local arts camp through Performing Arts Abroad.  It had always been a dream of mine to go to Italy, and it finally came true.  With so many beautiful sights to see…


To the Opera, in Italy

>Stephanie Marson was an Arts Administration intern in Italy with a focus on Music in January of 2015. She is a Vocal Performance major at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. My experience in Italy was very exciting as I not…

Program Dates

Fall 2018

Session Application Deadline Start Date End Date
Fall Semester 2018 May 15 2018 Aug 26 2018 Dec 13 2018

Important Fall 2018 Dates

Spring 2019

Session Application Deadline Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2019 Oct 01 2018 Jan 20 2019 May 09 2019

Important Spring 2019 Dates

Program Cost

Description Cost
Fall or Spring Semester $17,995

Apply today — How the process works

Submit a simple online application

Schedule a live video interview with a Program Coordinator

Upload program specific materials to an online portal

Receive your aceptance decision and begin your journey!

How the Process Works

To apply, click the “Apply Now” button below. You will fill out a simple initial application online and pay a deposit that is refundable if you are not accepted, and will be applied toward your overall program cost if you are accepted (not an additional fee). At this point, we will ask you to send us the following materials:

  • Your resume/CV
  • A copy of your academic transcript
  • Official university online application
  • Audition video (optional)
  • A cover letter (if you choose an internship as one of your classes)
  • Your availability in U.S. Eastern Time for a 30 minute video interview with your Program Coordinator. If you choose an internship as one of your classes, you will use this interview to schedule a second Skype interview with our Internship Placement Coordinator in Florence. You will receive an acceptance decision within two weeks of finishing the application process.
Apply Now

Application Tips

  1. The Skype interviews are our first face-to-face impression of you. Show up on time, dress well, and be personable.
  2. Be very clear in your interviews about your intentions for your semester, and the classes you hope to take. If you are pursuing an internship as one of your classes, be clear about your goals. We work hard to customize placements to your needs, and to do this well, we need a clear picture of who you are and what you want out of your experience (and don’t want!).
  3. If you are pursuing an internship, use the cover letter template we will send you to help organize your thoughts for the cover letter. Remember that we will be sending these to companies for consideration to take you on as an intern, so put your best foot forward!
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Eligibility Requirements

  • Age

    Participants must be 18 or over the day they begin the program.

  • GPA / Student Status

    You do not have to be a student to apply for this program, but keep in mind that you will be paying tuition and receiving an academic transcript. For currently enrolled students, we recommend a GPA of 2.5 or higher, although exceptions can be made in special circumstances. A student visa is required, and your Program Coordinator will walk you through this process upon acceptance.

  • Language

    The language of instruction is English. Although it is not required, a basic understanding of Italian before beginning your program will improve your semester, lead to a richer cultural experience, and open up more possibilities if you choose to do an internship.

  • Experience

    We give preference to applicants with at least one year of music experience. An audition video showing your current skill level is helpful, but not required unless as a pre-requisite for specific courses.

  • Motivation

    We are looking for open-minded, flexible applicants who can clearly convey their passion for music and an acute interest in international travel and exposure to new ideas.

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