Scarlet Cicero is a Dancer from Miami, Florida who’s traveled the world from a young age. She is currently on PAA’s Dance Administration Internship in Florence, Italy. “That which cannot be spoken can be sung; that which cannot be sung…
Welcome the New Year by 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 right in the heart of the city.
“My time in Italy was enriched with wonderful language teachers at the university and an amazing internship where I met many local Florentine people. I even performed in the famous Palazzo Strozzi! It was incredible getting the opportunity to sing in Florence and feel so appreciated for my work.”
Performing Arts Points of Interest
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.
Florence Dance Center
The Florence Dance Center was founded in 1987 with the objective to create and bring to life the full experience of a multi-purpose center for the art of dance open to a wide audience, while also offering a socio-cultural reference point. The center offers dance courses in ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, and flamenco.
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 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 students studying abroad for the winter 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.
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 vary in size and accommodate up to six people each. Performing Arts Abroad usually hosts a small handful of students during the January session 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 other students from our partner companies for regular onsite activities and excursions throughout your winter session.
A Day in the Life
The Participant Experience
You wake to the sound of the cobbled streets below, bustling with Winter Break 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 small Tuscan town of Montepulciano, where you will peruse the local shops of iconic handcrafted Italian goods, and attend a wine tasting at a winery that is over 300 years old. 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 PAA representative and taken to your apartment, where you will be given keys and check in. In your first 24 hours in Florence, our Site Director will host a welcome meal and orientation for you and all other students and interns arriving to begin their PAA program on that day. Your time in Florence is short, so you will begin your classes right away on the day after orientation.
A Typical Day
During your three weeks in Florence, you will live independently with other students studying abroad at the university for the January session. 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 Winter Break 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.
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 won’t 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. Just select your term of interest to begin perusing.
Deb is the primary PAA contact for all participants once they have applied to their programs. She processes applications, conducts applicant interviews, communicates with overseas partners regarding acceptance decisions, orchestrates all pre-departure preparation, supports participants while they are on their programs, and oversees re-entry counseling as she ushers them into joining the ranks of our fabulous PAA alumni.
Deb grew up at a small, independent school surrounded by the languages, music and cultures of students from around the globe. Her passion for exploration has brought her to many out-of-the-way places such as studying variable stars at a Nantucket observatory, flying a small plane over the skies of New England and mapping ancient lava flows in southern Arizona. Without a doubt, though, her favorite place is anywhere in a theater. As an award-winning stage manager, Deb has collaborated on productions throughout the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts and always enjoys challenging and innovative theater. She happily admits to an obsession with all things organizational and considers a trip to the office supply store a totally valid form of therapy.
She has studied and traveled extensively in England and Scotland, has journeyed through parts of France and currently shares her space with cats, humans, and far too many books.
Erin Hardee Patterson
Erin advises everyone who expresses interest in PAA’s programs. She responds to e-mails, answers questions submitted in online forms, makes and receives phone calls about our programs, and communicates with those who begin an application.
Erin Hardee Patterson earned a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music, and her Master’s in Music Therapy from Florida State University. Her professional adventures as a cellist, singer songwriter, board-certified music therapist, event coordinator, admissions professional, project manager, and newly trained birth doula have helped her to live all over the United States – from her home state of Virginia, to New Orleans and Maine, to Tallahassee and Vegas (to name just a few!). In addition to her US travels, a ferocious case of wanderlust inspired Erin to travel to The Netherlands, Canada, Germany, France, and Belgium. (The wanderlust is no joke – this bio was written on a plane!). She enjoys practicing her conversational French and American Sign Language, and has aspirations of one day carrying on conversations in Spanish (hopefully on a beautiful balcony in Spain). Erin is a new transplant to the Northampton, MA area with her firefighter/paramedic spouse Max, their dog Eleanor, and 3 very fat house cats. She is passionate about tiny humans, music, yoga, beautiful bodies of water, succulents, two steppin’, empowering families to have joyous, satisfying births, and being a smiley muppet.
Florence Site Director
Alessandro supports all participants on our Florence programs, acting as the main point of contact throughout their stay in Italy. He coordinates airport pickup, arranges housing, leads cultural excursions, and manages the 24-hour onsite emergency phone.
Born in Maryland, USA, raised in Rome with Italian and Guatemalan parents and having traveled extensively through Europe, Central America, North America and China, Alessandro considers himself a citizen of the world. During his travels, he acquired a passion for the environment, its preservation, cultures and languages. This passion led him to obtain a BA in Geography with a minor in Chinese Studies from Humboldt State University in California. In 2010 he spent a semester studying abroad at the University of Shanghai in China and this outstanding experience turned him into an even stronger proponent of study abroad programs, no matter where. After graduation, his passion for the outdoors and the environment led him to successfully complete the National Park Service Ranger Academy as well as the National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness First Responder certification. Wanting to get back into the international education world, he moved to Florence at the beginning of 2013 and has coordinated several study abroad programs in Florence and throughout Italy. Some of his hobbies are learning new languages (he speaks English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French along with some German and Mandarin), cooking, traveling, sharing what he knows of this wonderful part of the world, and learning from other cultures.
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.
“The in-country staff were incredibly friendly and helpful and supportive. Just great!”
Just one unforgettable experience. I made friends for life and I discovered what kind of path I want to make in my career. I also discovered things about myself I didn’t know before. I wish it never ended.
“Performing Arts Abroad (PAA) is a wonderful organization that allows you to gain valuable work experience, contribute to a new community, develop lasting relationships, travel and (in my case) learn a new language. PAA creates a comfortable experience abroad with their assistance and support.”
From the blog
My name is Marina Stagnaro, from Argentina, and I am now a PAA Alumni. I completed 12-week Dance Administration program in Florence Italy, 2 months ago. When I traveled, I knew I wanted to learn as much as possible about…
GoAbroad.com did an interview with PAA alum Elyse Anderson about her time studying in the Music Semester in Italy program.
In October of 2011, I was experiencing one of the worst semesters of my life. I was a junior at Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University studying scenic design and technical direction. My school life and personal life were…
|Session||Application Deadline||Start Date||End Date|
|January Intercession 2019||Nov 01 2018||Jan 03 2019||Jan 19 2019|
Important Winter 2019 Dates
|Event||Start Date||End Date|
|Arrival||January 3, 2019|
|Orientation / Final Registration||January 4, 2019|
|Classes Start||January 7, 2019|
|Classes End||January 18, 2019|
|Housing check-out (by 10 AM)||January 19, 2019|
|January Winter Session||$6,445|
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)
- Your availability in U.S. Eastern Time for a 30 minute video interview with your Program Coordinator. You will receive an acceptance decision within two weeks of finishing the application process.
- The Skype interviews are our first face-to-face impression of you. Show up on time, dress well, and be personable.
- Be very clear in your interviews about your goals for your summer, and the class or classes you hope to take.
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.
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.
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.
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.