It truly has been a magical summer in Firenze.  I can't imagine a more perfect place to learn, laugh, eat, or enjoy the summer sun. The students were a special group and the friendships formed will last long after the warm months have passed and this amazing trip seems like a distant memory.  On behalf of the 2011 staff, we have so enjoyed getting to know these young adults and we thank you all for a wonderful summer.  Thanks for reading, and one last time- saluti da Firenze!


Abbey Roaders pose in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Final stop of the day on our last weekend trip

Jamie gives Pisa two thumbs up!


Adam and Anthony enjoying our last weekend trip: beach day in Viareggio

Claudia sketches in the shade

Sam & Claire 

Callie & Eden

Aria, Emma and Ilana loving the beach


Students in Daniele's art history elective completed a Tableau Vivant project as their final assignment.  Each group had to choose and re-stage a well-known painting, using group members and basic materials to construct costumes/scenery.  Check out their work below!

Judith and Holofernes by Gentileschi

Baptism of the Neophytes by Masaccio

Birth of Venus by Botticelli

Madonna Enthroned by Giotto


For our final residence night, Abbey Roaders got creative and participated in our annual "Project Runway" challenge! Each team was given 90 minutes to create a fabulous look using materials like garbage bags, newspaper, aluminum foil, wrapping paper, dishrags, fake flowers, rubber bands, plastic straws, and magazines.  As you can see from the final products, everyone "made it work" and created some fashionable ensembles.

Bari and David pose before taking on the runway

Julia on the catwalk

Staff team model: Daniele!

All of our beautiful (and brave!) models

Staff team poses proudly with Daniele


As a culmination to a summer of truly impressive art-making, students in Digital Photography, Drawing, and Oil Painting had the chance to showcase their work in the final art show.  The talent was absolutely incredible and it was exciting to see what the students had been working on for the past four weeks.  

Altered books made by Digital Photography students

Drawing extraordinaires: William and Lindsay

Checking out the altered books

Danielle and Caterina consider the Old Masters copies

Final projects of Drawing students

Oil painting student Melissa poses with her self-portrait

Drawing teacher Lindsay poses with some of her students


Students enjoy an evening at Fortezza da Basso, an outdoor venue with live music, international cuisine, and clothing/jewelry vendors

Elizabeth and MacKenzie

Pa & Melissa

Caterina & Monica

Group photo at the entrance 


Students in the Tuscan Cuisine elective making pasta sauce

Anthony gets some expert advice


Aria Cohen and Sara Schuster shares their experiences in Art History class:

“Art history with Daniele has been unlike any class we’ve ever taken.  His enthusiasm, coupled with our ability to experience the art in person, changed the way we think of art history.  On a day-to-day basis, we travel throughout the city listening to Daniele explain, or “make confrontations” between pieces on our own.  We constantly engage in analytical conversations, prompted by Daniele, and learn to recognize iconography, as well as understand the movement from Romanesque to Gothic, and finally into the Renaissance that Florence is famous for.  Living in Florence is not the same once you’ve learned to identify the different styles that surround you.  We’ve watched the great masters (namely Michelangelo, Raffaello, and Leonardo) diverge and expand their work, and we’ve (through Daniele’s descriptions) essentially seen the Duomo be built.  Due to this class we’ve gone from being spectators of this city to a group culturally aware of Florence’s rich history.”

Students strategizing during the final scavenger hunt

Danielle, Kate, and Sara 

Aria listens during a guided tour at the Accademia

Daniele and Danielle


Drawing students took to the streets for a culminating course activity this week.  Lead by Lindsay and William, the students explored underground graffiti tunnels in the Le Cure neighborhood of Firenze.  These tunnels are well known and serve as an art gallery, with local artists maintaining it and sharing the space.  There is a waiting list to be granted a workspace within the tunnel, so the drawing students did the next best thing and created a collaborative graffiti project to install at the entrance to the tunnel.  After almost two hours of careful work, studenti connected their work into one long piece and mounted it outside the tunnel for all of Florence to enjoy. They were excited to work with a new material and leave a piece of their (he)art behind for others to see.  Check out their work below!

Checking out the tunnel before starting their projects

Working together to mount the piece

Drawing students and Lindsay with the finished installation


Sara Schuster shares her experiences in Italian Conversation:

“Italian conversation with Valentina has proved to be the perfect mix and learning and relaxation for me in Florence.  In laid back settings (a bar- coffee in hand, or stretched out on a couch in one of the apartments are both prime examples) we practice talking, introducing ourselves, ordering or other necessities.  Personally, after the long hikes throughout Florence that I experience each morning in my pursuit to understand the growth from Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque (art and architecture, that is), these afternoons are perfect.  I love the alternately calm and interesting lessons as I learn everything from “Sono Sara e ho seidici anni” to “il mio fratello si chiama Alex” (“I’m Sara and I am 16” or “my brother’s name is Alex” for those not taking Italian).  The class allows students to, at their own pace, begin to absorb and then tentatively formulate Italian.  Rather than rigid structure and memorization, the class keeps everyone speaking, whether it be about “Milly and Molly”, the characters of a children’s book we’ve been working with, or over what we plan on ordering as the class shares a lunch out.  My comfort level in Florence has changed as I learn to communicate, if only in my broken Italian, and I have no doubt that I will only get stronger by the end of the month.” 


Our grande famiglia enjoyed an evening of culture during our last week in Florence- a trip to the opera to see Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata.  As if this weren’t enough of a treat, we watched this musical masterpiece in the magical setting of the Boboli Gardens.  Studenti put on their finest attire and witnesed (for some) their first opera experience in true Florentine style.  What a way to end the week!

Ladies all dolled up

Cara, Eilis, and Jamie pose in Piazza della Repubblica

Austin, Emily, Elizabeth & Pa 

Lauren, MacKenzie, and Eden ready for a little night music

Eleanor, Emily, and Anna enjoy gelato before walking to Giardino di Boboli

Caroline can't wait!