>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…
Spend 3 or 6 weeks of your summer studying music in Florence, the birthplace of opera and one of Italy’s most important cultural centers as the capital of the region of Tuscany. Take small classes and private lessons taught in English with experienced instructors at a music school within an accredited arts university. Your weekends will be free for exploring the area around Florence, visiting Italy’s pristine beaches, and enjoying the cuisine that makes the country famous!
“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!”
Performing Arts Points of Interest
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) in the heart of the city, 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 center 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.
You will choose to live with an Italian family in a homestay, or in a student apartment. All housing is multiple occupancy by default, with the option to request a single room for $70 per week.
Experience independence and build friendships with other students studying abroad for the summer session while living in a student apartment. You will live in a shared room in one of many apartments located in charming neighborhoods throughout the city center of Florence. Single rooms are available at an extra cost of $70 per week.
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.
Experience true cultural immersion by living with a host family who will cook two meals per day for you from Monday to Thursday. This experience will encourage your to improve your Italian, and give you the opportunity to see how a local family lives day-to-day.
For more details about the different housing options, please see our housing manual with FUA here.
You will stay in a double or triple room with other study abroad students, or request a single room for an extra cost of $70 per week. Apartments vary in size and accommodate up to six people each. Homestays can host anywhere from one to six students at a time. Performing Arts Abroad usually hosts ten or so students each summer at Florence University of the Arts, which is made up of hundreds of international students, primarily from the United States.
A Day in the Life
The Participant Experience
You wake to the sound of the cobbled streets below, bustling with summer travelers and Italian merchants selling their goods. 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 days 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. This weekend, you will join your friends for a trip to the Amalfi coast where you’ll swim in the ocean and eat some of the best food in the world. Is this real life?
You will book a flight to arrive in Florence Peretola Airport (FLR) by 5:00 p.m. on the arrival day, where you will be greeted by a university representative and taken to your housing, where you will be given keys and check in. You will attend an orientation before classes begin, where you will finalize your course registration, learn about the buildings on campus and student services available to you, and other topics such as health and safety and independent travel policies.
A Typical Day
During your time in Florence, you will live with other students studying abroad at the university for the summer. 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
Stand out at auditions by spending your summer 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, and piano. Other instruments may be available upon request as an independent study (please see the “course listing” for more info).
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 exclusively for Performing Arts Abroad students on this page (you may not find them in the university’s online course listing), 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.
Founder and Executive Director
Reynolds graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008 with a degree in Theater and African and African American Studies. For an honors thesis Reynolds filmed, edited, and produced a full-length documentary in Kenya with Haba na Haba, a group using performance for education and social change in the slums of Nairobi. This project earned him the Forum on Education Abroad Undergraduate Research Award. A year later, Reynolds organized a trip to bring Haba na Haba to the United States for a tour of St. Louis and Washington University. Immediately after graduation, Reynolds worked in Rwanda as a filmmaker for Millennium Congregations, an interfaith organization connecting communities of faith in the United States with development projects in Rwanda’s Bugesera District. Reynolds then served two years with Teach for America, teaching in the South Bronx and receiving a Masters Degree in Education from Hunter College. He completed a second graduate degree in African Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington, and his Masters thesis focused on the impact of donors on the creative process of Theatre for Development (TfD) groups in Kenya.
Reynolds has traveled extensively in Africa, spending time in Ghana, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He also studied acting, voice, and movement at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Reynolds is a two-time Rhodes Scholarship finalist, the inaugural recipient of the Dred and Harriet Scott Award for the Advancement of Human Rights, and the winner of two research fellowships. He was also a Dialogue Fellow for the Xenia Institute, has twice served as the co-director for the Roosevelt Institution’s International Diplomacy Center (Washington University branch), and was president of the Graduate Students of African Studies (GSAS) at Indiana University.
Reynolds lives in Northampton, MA with his wife Julia who is a professional costume designer and his daughter Lily who is a cute baby. In his free time Reynolds likes to play his guitar, go hiking, act in local productions, hit the karaoke bars, sing with his dog Captain (the best doggy singer in the universe), and play various yard games such as KanJam, cornhole, “cups”, and Kubb.
Florence Program Director, FUA
Cristiana coordinates all programming in collaboration with the Florence University of the Arts, including our semester and summer study programs and internships in Florence. She finalizes course schedules, coordinates university orientation events, provides academic advising, facilitates internship placements, and acts as a liaison between PAA and FUA’s academic departments of music and dance.
Cristiana graduated from the Università degli Studi di Firenze in 2008 with a Masters degree in Foreign Languages: English and Japanese. Her passion for international education and study abroad started at a young age with several summer study abroad experiences in the UK. At the end of her first year of university she decided to spend the three-month break in Boston, MA where she was able to enhance her understanding of the US culture and further improve her English. The following year she spent a semester in Paris, France, taking courses at the “Denis Diderot-Paris VII” through the ERASMUS project. Cristiana began working at Florence University of the Arts in 2007. Having gained experience in various departments of the university, since 2010 Cristiana is the Dean of Student Affairs. At the same time she also coordinates the various internship and experiential learning project opportunities at the school. A local Florentine, Cristiana has a wealth of knowledge to share with students about her hometown. She loves nothing more than spending her free time in the traditional artisan quarters of the city and encourages students to explore the lesser known areas of Florence.
“I had the opportunity of a lifetime as I was fully immersed in the culture of Italy. I rehearsed everyday with a professional ballet company, and then performed in the world renown Florence Dance Festival. I couldn’t have asked for more of a challenging, yet rewarding internship.”
“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.”
“I wanted to do a summer internship abroad. I ended with a fulfilling internship,learning Italian and taking home a life changing experience. PAA gave me the opportunity, made the process so smooth and this experience possible!”
From the blog
Elizabeth Willis is a student at West Texas A&M University. She has participated in multiple PAA programs, including the Music Industry Internship with Indie Rock Band in Rome, where she interned for Kutso. Remember when we all use to wig out…
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…
Shreenika Ramani did a PAA Arts Administration Internship in Italy in the summer of 2015. You can read the amazing essay she wrote as her internship capstone about the state and nature of Theatre here. My summers are usually constructive.…
How it Works
The information on this page provides details for a sample group program. Note that every group is different, and we will work with you to cater the experience to your group. To connect with us and begin organizing a program for your group, please follow the “Get Started’ button below and submit an initial questionnaire. We will then contact you to set up a discovery call where we can go into more detail about your group’s needs and what we can offer.