Most ACCENT programs include day and weekend excursions outside the city of Florence. Excursions are designed to enhance classroom curricula through guided visits to museums, galleries and monuments of historical interest. ACCENT staff provides interactive learning activities and works with individual program professors to maximize the students’ on-site experience. Itineraries are planned to provide careful consideration of architecture and objects of Italian cultural heritage as well as ample free time for sightseeing and individual exploration. Excursion destinations are determined by faculty and vary by program.
Siena and San Gimignano
Students spend the day in the medieval towns of Siena and San Gimignano, located in the Chianti region of central Tuscany. Site visits include the Palazzo Pubblico, a beautifully frescoed red brick fortress that seated Siena’s medieval government; the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, home to Siena’s famous ‘Palio’ horse race; and the gothic Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta. In San Gimignano students have time to explore the medieval towers for which the village is famous, take a walk along the ancient city walls, and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Tuscan countryside.
Students have time to explore this remarkable city both on their own and through group activities during this weekend excursion. Visits provide students with the opportunity to view masterpieces by Bellini, Giorgione, Titian and Tintoretto. Students visit the Basilica di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale, the finest collection of Venetian paintings in the world. Students will also have free time to travel the canals and visit the islands of Murano, Burano, Torcello or the Lido.
During this three or four day excursion, students see highlights of Classical, Renaissance and Baroque Rome. Visits include the Roman Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Vatican Museums, and St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as many of the churches, piazzas and fountains that typify architectural styles of the various periods of Roman history. During free time, students may explore any of the countless remaining sites of the eternal city.
Pisa and Lucca
In Pisa, students visit the Campo dei Miracoli and the famous “leaning tower,” as well as the sculptural works in the Baptistry and in the Cathedral. In the afternoon, the group continues on to the splendid Tuscan town of Lucca.
In addition, programs may also visit the following cities and towns: Arezzo, Assisi, Bologna, Carrara, Cortona, Fiesole, Mantua, Modena, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Monterchi, Monteriggioni, Montespertoli, Padua, Parma, Pienza, Orvieto, Ravenna and Urbino.
Cultural and Evening Activities (semester-length programs)
Cultural learning is a vital part of a successful study abroad program. Most ACCENT programs include evening and weekend activities, which help students discover Italian lifestyles, both traditional and contemporary.
A wide range of events are planned to give students a broad understanding of Italian culture, art, music and cuisine. Students will visit major museums, churches and historical sites, as well as lesser-known sites.
The ACCENT cultural activity series offers each participant events such as an evening of opera, concert, ballet or classical music. Former participants have seen Puccini’s Turandot at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale and La Traviata at the Teatro Verdi, to name a few. Summer participants may enjoy the open-air performances of opera classics in the Roman amphitheater in Verona and ballet performances in the Boboli Gardens.
In addition to the performing arts, the ACCENT staff arranges lectures from guest speakers about cultural awareness and the challenges that can be faced in a new country. To round out the study abroad experience, optional social events are open to all ACCENT participants; for example, language exchanges, volunteer opportunities, sports teams, pizza making classes, and various walks and hikes. Optional introductory Italian cooking courses are available to interested students as well.