6-week Gap Year Course in Italy | Art History Abroad

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About

This course travels through Italy four times a year, exploring all aspects of culture, such as history, music, politics, food, literature and philosophy – in addition to art and architecture. Alongside studying the greatest masterpieces of Western civilisation, tutors will take students off the beaten track to unearth some of the secret wonders of Italy. The course visits Venice, Verona, Florence, Siena, Naples and Rome as well as many places in between. For example, while in Florence students will spend a day visiting the leaning tower of Pisa, and while in Naples some time is spent studying Pompeii and climbing Mount Vesuvius. Spending at least 5 days in each city and up to 10 in some, students will delve beyond the realms of tourism, leaving with an in depth knowledge of Italy that will remain with them for life.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

100%
based on 45 reviews
  • Housing 9
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.8
  • Benefits 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Facilities 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 15 of 45
Elisabeth
10/10

Best trip of my life! Would recommend to anyone.

I went on the Northern Italy summer trip with AHA this past summer, and it was without a doubt one of the best experiences I have had. I have always been interested in art, but was never able to take an Art History course at my school, but that did not at all limit my ability to participate in the program. The tutors are wonderful teachers and bring excitement to every piece of art, as well as each new city you explore. After going on this trip, I have a whole new view on art and the time periods we studied. Would absolutely go on this trip again!

Yes, I recommend
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Jade
10/10

2017 Gap Year Course

I had planned to do something like this for over two years and can safely say that my expectations were exceeded. I found that an unexpectedly large part of this was due to the tutors: what I found most admirable (aside from their extensive knowledge and engaging teaching methods) was their flexibility in giving students freedom to spend more time on pieces they particularly loved, while still maintaining a sense of structure and organisation. Their patience and encouragement of going outside the schedule was commendable, especially given that in comparison to other courses, AHA packs the most into the six week period. We covered a huge range of artists and topics, while also going into a considerable amount of depth.
Thank you all!!! :*****

Yes, I recommend
Izzy
10/10

10/10 would recommend!

The six weeks I spent in Italy with AHA were definitely some of the best of my gap year!

The tutors were all exceptional, so knowledgeable and enthousiastic making the course accessible but also fun when you got to relax with them in the evenings over a spritz.

It was amazing how much more you got to see by travelling Italy with aha, a personal highlight was the private tour of San Marco in Venice, a once in a lifetime opportunity which I never would have been able to do without the course.

If you're looking for a trip which is the perfect introduction to an incredibly rich and interesting subject but at the same time offers a fun and relaxed approach to exploring all aspects of Italian culture (food included of course) then I would really recommend AHA. The people I met on my course were some of the most lovely people and we will definitely be staying in touch.

All in all the perfect combination of learning and fun

Yes, I recommend
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Louis
10/10

Extraordinary

It is without question that this trip has taught me extraordinary things: I have learnt about the history of Italy, of Ancient Rome and Pompeii, of medieval Tuscany, the Renaissance, Byzantium, the Napoleonic wars and even the fascist government of Mussolini before and during the Second World War. I have learnt about Classical, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist, Baroque, Modern, Postmodern, Supermodern art forms and ideologies. Of course we had our days off and would sometimes have a change from history of art; a Sienese cookery lesson one afternoon, a fascinating visit to a famous Venetian 18th century velvet factory, a deeply moving tour of the Jewish ghetto in Venice. However, all of these added to an incredible understanding of Italian culture and history.

It still seems unreal, too perfect to recollect. I went to Rome, Orvieto, Naples, Pompeii, Siena, Arezzo, Florence, Fiesole, Pisa, Verona, Vicenza, Castelfranco, Padua, and Venice. I know it sounds clichéd, but I saw Michelangelo’s David, I climbed Mount Vesuvius, I listened to an orchestra play Mozart in the Cattedrale di Siena, I heard monks sing evensong in the 11th century crypt of San Miniato, I watched the sunset over Verona, I saw rain fall through the oculus of the Pantheon, I ate some of the best pizzas on the planet, I made some incredible friends, and I saw the golden mosaics of Basilica di San Marco light up one by one like so many stars.

Jiddu Krishnamurti once said that there “is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” And in my opinion, the greatest form of education is that which makes you feel alive, teaches you things you never knew, and inspires you to change the world: it is the movement from darkness to light. This trip is that movement, and so so much more.

Yes, I recommend
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Lana
9/10

Lana

There are so many moments on AHA that made the experience unforgettable. I could talk about seeing Michelangelo's David in real life, or climbing Mount Vesuvius, or even savoring a slice of Naples pizza. But those are all things that you could find on a "Top 10 Things to Do In Italy" website article. The internet can't describe the close-knit bonds I made with the other students. People who, at first glance strangers, became like family within the first week. People who, being from different backgrounds, each had a unique perspective on everything we saw. You can travel to each city alone and see the same artwork, immerse yourself in the same culture, and follow the same itinerary to the dot. But nothing compares to that sense of enlightenment when someone else realizes a small nuance in the work that you would have never seen had you been by yourself. I gained so much on this trip. Yes, knowledge. Yes, leg muscles from all the walking. But most importantly, a newfound respect for the world and the people around me. There's no price on that.

How can this program be improved?
There are so few things I disliked about AHA, but if I could improve upon one thing , it would be some of the hotel choices. At times, the comfort level or even the location relative to where most of our activity was to be were less than ideal. Other than that, the program was beyond my expectations!
Yes, I recommend
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Robyn
10/10

Unforgettable Experience

I loved my six-week fall program in Italy with AHA and know that it thoroughly prepared me for University life. I learnt a lot about art, architecture, and history while developing valuable life skills along the way. I grew as a person and grasped how to live away from home, travel independently, responsibly have fun, and cooperate with my roommates. As a future architecture major, I appreciated how much I learnt from the course that I can transfer to my studies in 2017. My favorite city that we visited was Florence because we stayed in the heart of the city so it was easy to find activities to do on a night out with friends (plus the food there was amazing). Florence also had amazing art and architecture so the sessions in the city were extremely interesting. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to learn about art history, develop valuable skills, make amazing friends, have fun, and expand their independence before University.

Yes, I recommend
Ahladini
10/10

Loved it!

I adored everything about this trip! I took an art history class my last semester of high school and fell in love with the subject so I knew I wanted to do something related to it during my gap year and I found Art History Abroad. Before I went on the trip I was mostly worried because I knew I was one of two or three Americans in a group of mostly English students and English tutors, but once I met everybody and we spent time together it absolutely didn't make a difference and actually made it a lot more fun that we were from different places. Plus, now I have friends to visit in London! The tutors were super knowledgeable and since I wasn't doing the program for credit it was a great way to learn more about this subject I'm interested in without the stress or pressure of an actual classroom. Aside from our morning and afternoon sessions we were pretty much free to roam, which was one of my favorite parts of the setup of the program. With so much free time we really got a chance to get to know the cities and towns we were staying in, trying lots of restaurants, finding the best hidden spots, and meeting locals. As horribly cliché as it sounds, I truly made some friends and memories that will last me a lifetime. I would highly highly recommend this trip to anyone, and especially any Americans out there, it was such a great experience!

How can this program be improved?
Accommodation at times was a bit squished because we would have four girls in one room with one bathroom, but for the most part all right.
Yes, I recommend
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Ben
10/10

Amazing

I have never studied art history as a subject, however there was never a boring moment throughout my time in Italy. The tutors are passionate, thoughtful, knowledgeable, engaging and want nothing more than for you to learn!
I joined AHA for the 6 week course in January to February and I can honestly say I was amazed. If you have an interest in people, places, art, architecture, history, food, wine, travel, you will find this course fantastic.
I fell in love with every city we visited only to fall in love with the next when we moved on - it's remarkable how many places you may end up visiting that aren't on the schedule!
This experience with AHA was truly inspiring and will stay with me for a very long time.

How can this program be improved?
I don't know, it was amazing
Yes, I recommend
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Ava
10/10

DO IT

AHA was an incredible 6 weeks with beyond memorable experiences and with friends I will hopefully have forever. The tutors are fun and interactive really bringing more life to a usual dull classroom where I had previously been learning history of art for the last two years. If anything I would recommend anyone to do it who has any tiny sliver of interest in adventure, travelling, art or just a fun thing to do on your gap year or any time in your life!

Yes, I recommend
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George
10/10

A month in Italia with AHA

Writing a review of any given month is a hard task. Writing a review of an entire month in Italy with Art History abroad is truly gargantuan. The sheer variety of activity from reading Dante in Verona, joining the victorious contrada for their triumphal banquet in Siena to learning how to be a Gondolier in Venice is extraordinary and it would be an easy task to write an extended piece about any of these events.
It was such a pleasure and a privelege to be so immersed in Italian culture lead by tutors whose passion both for Italy and the art we saw was so infectious that I believe anyone no matter how uninterested in art would have enjoyed themselves and profited greatly from the trip.
The organisation was thorough both on an overall level and day to day. Everything was pre booked and there was not a single moment in a month when there was any logistical hiccup, testament both to the tutors on the ground but also clearly a well oiled machine behind the scenes.
If I was pressed to pick a single "favourite" aspect I would have to pick the atmosphere and the camaraderie present in the group. By this I mean the manner in which we as students were encouraged to discuss culture in a way that we do not normally have time nor the inclination to do so. This took place at so many different points and in so many different ways, from being asked to read poetry on our night time gondola ride to simply being challenged in our own presuppositions and perspectives. It is a hard thing to articulate but rather than being teachers and taught we were simply a group revelling in our surroundings and challenging each others perspectives on what we were seeing. I feel priveleged to have been a part.

Yes, I recommend
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Layla
10/10

An immeasurably valuable experience!

It is always difficult to convey what an AHA course entails exactly, and what every student will inevitably gain from the trip. Phrases like "study abroad" and "guided tour" simply do not do this magically all-encompassing, fulfilling adventure justice. The impeccable local knowledge of the tutors makes falling into any "tourist traps" highly unlikely. For example, I remember thinking how authentically Italian our experience was when we were welcomed to a big celebratory supper in the street with members of this year's winning Contrada of the Palio in Siena. Learning to row gondolas, paper marbling, wine tasting and going to the opera in the Verona Arena are just a mere handful of examples of the experiences outside of Art History that made my four weeks in Italy with AHA so priceless and unforgettably special.
It was a real privilege to examine all art and architecture in situ. This, combined with such rigorous expertise and infectious enthusiasm of the tutors meant that each day was revelatory and enriching in some way, and the act of learning felt effortless.
Joining a course with AHA is immeasurably valuable and I cannot recommend it enough!

Yes, I recommend
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Max
10/10

A fascinating cultural experience where one is properly immersed in all things Italian.

In a heavy rain storm one afternoon in Rome we were rushing back to the hotel and passed the Pantheon, and so decided to take shelter in it. Seeing the rain streaming through the oculus really brought home why geniuses like Brunelleschi were so fascinated with such ambitious Roman engineering. It's original function as something dedicated to 'all Gods' also was evident as it's very much at the mercy of the elements, and this classical harmony seemed almost reverential to the power of Mother Nature and the Gods.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe be given some reading about some of the things you're seeing to focus you?
Yes, I recommend
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Hannah
10/10

AHA 6 week course

Before starting the course I had never studied art history formally, and I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. I needn't have worried, however, as the tutors were extremely supportive and their passion and enthusiasm allowed my love of art history to grow throughout the course.

The course was a great way of meeting new people and learning about Italian culture. In the evenings, the meals together were a good way of getting to know the other people on the course and they were also just really good fun. The tutors knew of local places off the beaten track with amazing food.

I thoroughly enjoyed the weeks I spent in Italy and would wholeheartedly recommend AHA to anyone with an interest in art history.

Yes, I recommend
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Emily
10/10

Best 6 weeks ever!

I had the most amazing time on the AHA course and would recommend it anyone even if they have never done History of Art before. I hadn't done History of Art before and it wasn't a problem as the tutors are very good at explaining everything as well as keeping it interesting with games and their general enthusiasm bouncing between paintings and sculpture starts to resemble some kind of dance!

Spending 6 weeks with 15 other people also means you get to know them well and hopefully make life long friends ships. The evenings spent in bars and restaurants are great fun and an easy way to break the ice when you don't know anyone else.

Some special moments were the Scrovegni Chapel, a private tour of St. Marks, visiting the underground Etruscan tunnels and visiting a textile factory in Venice. I can't think of a better way to spend 6 weeks.

Yes, I recommend
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Charlie
10/10

My Experience with AHA

My second AHA course was probably the best six weeks of my life, the first one wasn't bad either. I'm no kind of art historian but the truth is you really don't need to be. Obviously it's sick for art nuts but it's also insane for those who ain't really bothered, because afterwards you are definitely bothered!

The tutors are more like learned puppies dressed in neon than dingy old professors decked out in tweed. These serial fun lovers are never happier bouncing from masterpiece to masterpiece, whilst making frequent pit stops in local bars to discuss the highlights of the day over a glass of wine. As well as knowing a s***tload about art they also know the coolest places to eat, drink and just generally chill!!! They are honestly the funnest, coolest, most hilarious (with exceptions(you know who you are)) people I've ever met!!

The other students are also awsome!! Granted it's a bit daunting spending 6 weeks with 15 people you never met before, but a 2 hour plane ride and the first of many bar crawls really break the ice, and a while you realise how lucky you are to be around such rockstars!

All that's left to say is that the food literally blows you mind and I'm seriously considering doing a 3rd course!!!

How can this program be improved?
Merchandise!!!! T-shits, hoodies, mugs, caps, banners, pyjamas (definitely), notbooks.... That sorta thing
Yes, I recommend

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About Art History Abroad

Study art, architecture and European culture in Italy, France and London for a semester in the autumn, 6 weeks during the Gap Year or a 2-4 week Summer holiday course. Art History Abroad programmes are carefully structured and brilliantly taught so...