Villa la Pietra
Villa La Pietra is the jewel in the crown of New York University's global program. Bequeathed to NYU in 1994 by Sir Harold Acton, the Florentine study abroad campus consists of 5 historic villas and 57 acres of gardens and olive groves. Villa La Pietra, the Acton Collection, and the Garden are maintained as they were by the Acton family and serve as an inspiration to all who live and study on the campus.
The Piazza - Hub of the Neighborhood
Piazzas are important public squares throughout Italy where people hang out and meet up. They are the heart of the neighborhood and usually correspond with an important monument or church. Most piazzas are always crowded with tourists and locals alike, and offer street entertainers and peddlers selling things. There are also lots of cafés along the borders of piazzas, so you can enjoy some good Italian coffee while people-watching. Italians take great pride in their piazzas and utilize them as much as possible. Follow their example: Stroll to the nearest piazza, and you are guaranteed to find something interesting to see or do.
Take advantage of the NYU-sponsored trips. They are free and visit places you might not know to check out on your own.
Day trip to Viareggio Carnival
Students are invited to join in with the annual carnival celebrations at the seaside town of Viareggio, home to one of the biggest and most renowned street parades and carnivals in Europe. The visit starts with a guided tour along the promenade, where students are introduced to the inspiration, concepts and political satire behind the spectacular carnival floats to appreciate the historical meaning and current day messaging of the carnival. The carnival takes aim at many of the current political issues, including global warming, immigration, fake news, bureaucracy, racism, and more. Expect loud music, fancy dress and facemasks, street dancing and lots and lots of confetti. Please be sure to enjoy the carnival atmosphere responsibly!
Fiorentina soccer game
Unlike London, which has six and Milan or Rome which both have two, Florence only has one soccer team, and Florentines are unanimous in their support for the purple-clad soccer team, Fiorentina! Also known as ‘la Viola’, the team color is almost identical to our NYU purple, so join in with the crowd in wearing something purple and come enjoy a game and show your support for the local team!
Marbled paper workshop
Get your creativity flowing and learn how to make the famous Florentine marbled paper with an introductory class on this classic Florentine tradition. The class takes place in the artisan laboratory space of marbled paper specialists, where students learn how the paper is created and get to make their very own souvenir piece of "carta marmorizzata!" to take home as a unique keepsake from Florence!
Day trip to Pistoia and the Gori collection of contemporary art
Students are invited to come visit the beautiful and local city of Pistoia. This absolutely charming city remains off the beaten path and represents an unspoilt haven of tranquility, authenticity and local vibe. Students will enjoy a leisurely walk through Pistoia's historic town center, visiting the Romanesque church S. Andrea which houses one of the town's greatest artworks and the famous pulpit by Giovanni Pisano among many other splendid sites. Students will also visit Villa Celle and its surrounding park built by the Fabbroni, a noble family from Pistoia who purchased the estate from the Pazzaglia Dynasty in the XV century. It has been owned by art collector Giuliano Gori since 1969, and has been transformed into one of the best open-air collections in Italy. The Gori Collection offers art lovers a unique opportunity to view an exhibition of extraordinary site-specific contemporary art, set in the midst of the the verdant Tuscan countryside.
Day trip to Marradi Chestnut Festival
Students are invited to celebrate the arrival of fall in Italian-style at a traditional Italian food festival - a "Sagra"! This is an awesome opportunity to do what Italians do and have a super Tuscan weekend! Students visit the ancient hill town of Marradi to enjoy local culture and cuisine at its celebrated annual festival, dedicated to a culinary treasure of Tuscan cuisine, the “Marron Buono” chestnut. The day starts with a visit to a “castagnetto”, a commercial chestnut forest starching verdantly across the local surrounding hills, and gather up chestnuts from the forest floor. The chestnuts are then weighted and can be purchased for just a few euros and brought home to enjoy. Students then visit the popular food festival, which sees nearly 20,000 visitors through the month of October, where they can browse food stands, listen to live folk music and taste the many local chestnut specialties during this picturesque mountain village’s traditional annual “Sagra della Castagna”.
Day trip to Rome and the Cinecittà movie studios
Join the OSL day trip to visit the largest and most historic film studios in Europe, Cinecittà in Rome. Known also as the 'Dream Factory', the studios were founded in 1937 as part of Benito Mussolini’s belief that cinema was "l’arma più forte"(‘the strongest weapon’) for influencing public opinion in the late 1930s, during which the studios were to be used for fascist propaganda purposes in the initial phases of World War Two. Cinecittà, or ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’, has also been the location for multiple movies and TV series, including the legendary golden age of cinema movies Roman Holiday and La Dolce Vita. More recently, Anthony Minghella's TheEnglish Patient, Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ have all been filmed on location here. Students will then complete the day with a two-hour walking tour through central Rome following the theme of Italian Cinema, visiting some of the principal locations used in movies including Roman Holiday, La Dolce Vita and Paolo Sorrentino’s recent Oscar-winning Italian movie La Grande Bellezza.
Day trip to Cinque Terre National Park
Stretching along the stunning cliffs and coastline of Liguria, Le Cinque Terre is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and national park consisting of five fishing villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Students will participate in a guided hike along the coastal trails and learn about the history of the fishing villages, the geography and geology, the flora and fauna and the agricultural practices of a region famous for its pesto, seafood, and olive oils and wine.
Cooking class - The Mercato Centrale and Tuscan cuisine
If students have never really been grocery shopping before and are not yet fully used to cooking for themselves, this is a great solution to make things easier and more accessible. Students can sign up for a guided introduction to Florence’s famous the "Mercato Centrale", the main central market, which is full of delicious zero kilometer fresh produce. A local guide will show students the building, where to pick up their groceries, and offer fun factual information about sustainable production and seasonal produce. Students get to meet some of the local market vendors, butchers and bakers in residence in the marketplace and after buying the ingredients, students head to the nearby cooking school and learn how to make a series of simple low-cost delicious meals that they can make easily throughout the semester and take advantage of great quality food and Mediterranean diet.
Day trip to Val d’Orcia - hiking and hotsprings
Students will visit the Val D'Orcia national park to enjoy a guided walk through this picture-postcard UNESCO World Heritage Site to learn about its geological attributes, agriculture, and history. Students will follow parts of the Francigena Trail as it winds through olive groves and vineyards while admiring some of the scenic vistas used as movie locations for films including Under the Tuscan Sun, Gladiator, The English Patient, and Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. Following the hike, students will visit the local village of Bagno Vignoni for an afternoon using the famous thermal springs, which have been used since Etruscan times for their therapeutic properties to reduce stress and increase wellbeing by relaxing in their beneficial sulfurous waters.
Overnight trip to the Italian Alps
Students are invited to join an overnight visit to the northern Val Camonica region of the Italian Alps on a trip following the themes of sustainable tourism, renewable energy, environmental protection, biodiversity and agricultural practices and history. Students will learn about the Italian Mountain Lab at the Edolo Campus of the University of Milan and its efforts to raise awareness of the problems and opportunities of climate change in the Alpine regions. Students will be invited to take part in workshops and activities focusing on renewable energy, participate in a visit to a hydro-electric power station, observe local farming practices to learn about regional agriculture and biodiversity, and follow a mountain nature trail to visit Neolithic rock art and local glacier formations to learn all about the history of the area (including the famed mountainous battles of the WWI "White War").