Florence remains one of the most popular language school locations in Europe for a reason. Though other places in Italy can also offer a comprehensive learning experience for those wishing to delve into the Italian language, few cities start to feel like home so quickly as Florence does.
With a large community of study abroad students, Florence can offer a fun and safe atmosphere for those who might be experiencing their first time abroad. Not to mention, the Tuscan dialect is perhaps the most beautiful out of all the dialects in Italy. Whether you plan on spending your days studying in the Biblioteca or walking amongst the incredible historical monuments of the city, Florence has a little something for every student.
Go Overseas has everything you'll need to get started. Read our expert guide to finding an Italian Language School in Florence. Then read reviews and choose a Language School from the list below. You'll be well on your way to becoming a fluent Italian speaker!
Photo Credit: Katherine Knecht
Choosing a Language Study Program
Florence is a popular study abroad location, so it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed by all the choices of programs and which one you should choose. The good thing is that many of them are also high-quality, so finding one where you will feel comfortable and feel as though you are immersing yourself within the language is important—especially in a city where so many people are happy to speak to you in English.
When you are choosing a program in Florence, it usually comes down to what you want your experience to be. There are programs through universities that allow you to interact with other students and make some new friends—if this is your first time abroad, it might be nice to have a community of other students around you. The University of Florence is located close to the city center and offers courses for students abroad.
Florence also has some wonderful homestay programs where you can live with an Italian family. Not only do you get the experience of living like a true Italian, but more often than not, you’ll find yourself fond of your surrogate family. If you choose to study abroad with an American university, more often than not they’ll set you up with an Italian household. It depends on the program, but this can be a cheaper option and can give you the opportunity to practice your Italian.
There has lately been a large initiative to help expats and study abroad students with free tutoring services. You might want to consider looking on sites like Conversation Exchange where you can meet other people in your area and practice your language skills. There are many Italians wanting to practice their English, as well, so not only can you learn how to speak like a local, but you’re also likely to make a new friend.
With so many study abroad students, any area you choose to frequent can be a good place to meet people with similar interests and who can help you learn the language. Santa Croce is famous for housing the majority of the party scene and college-age students, so if you would like to study with others of that age group, it can be a good place to live.
If you want more of a local experience, you’ll want to head across the Arno River to the Santo Spirito region. There you will find people who don’t speak English, and it can be a good way to be surrounded by the language and to force yourself to use your new skills. Rent is also usually a little bit cheaper there too, so if you are operating on a budget, this might be a better location.
Because Florence is such a popular tourist destination, you won’t have trouble finding people to help you if you are lost and need assistance. You can usually find someone who speaks English, as well. Florentines can be known to be a little snobby—they’re used to seeing millions of tourists filter in and out of the city. Some parts of the city, like the Santo Spirito area, are friendlier to students than others.
Florentines are deeply proud of their history and their place as a major power in Western civilization is still present in their attitude. As a visitor—even if you have lived there a few months—you need to be respectful of the Italian culture and your new place in it. It might also take you some time to incorporate yourself into the culture, so don’t be too frustrated if you don’t make Italian friends right away.
- Check out the crowd: About 61 million people live in Italy, but it’s a popular language through the European Union, so worldwide over 85 million people speak Italian.
- Did you know... that the three colors of the Italian flag represent faith (white), hope (green), and charity (red)?
- School's out, let's have some fun: Take a Vespa ride in the Tuscan countryside! It’s absolutely beautiful and there are some amazing meals you have to try while living in the area.
- Wow others with an idiom! “Il bocca al volpe” means “in the mouth of the wolf.” It’s the equivalent to saying, “good luck” or “fingers crossed” in English.
The good news about studying abroad in Italy is that it is such a popular destination and many programs are now easily affordable. The best way to save money is usually through a study abroad office at your local university.
Florence is an expensive city, and you will end up spending more here than in other locations throughout Italy. However, there are some ways you can save by shopping at local stores instead of tourist attractions and looking into staying a little bit away from the city center, where prices tend to be more.
Scuola Leonardo da Vinci offers scholarships to those looking to study in Florence, Milan, Rome, and other cities.
Study Abroad Italy offers some great resources and scholarships for those looking to spend some time in Italy.
If you are planning on staying in Italy longer than three months, you will need a student visa. Many consulates allow you to apply online, but the Italian consulate is not one of them. You will have to appear in person and talk to an official unless your university or school handles the visa application process. You’ll want to make sure and talk to the people who run the program you are thinking about enrolling in and seeing whether they can help you out.
Why Learn Italian in Florence
Florence is not only one of the greatest cities in Italy, but it is also a safe, communal city where there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people and enjoy the Italian life. Not only will you never forget your time in Italy, but you will also have access to some of the greatest food, art, and museums in the world.