Study Abroad in Florence
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
If you love Renaissance art and killer weekend adventures, you probably want to study in Florence. This small Tuscan capital is an oasis away from cities like London and Rome. The pace of life is slower, rare steak reigns supreme and you’re constantly surrounded by rich history. But its timeless vibe comes at a price—cobbled roads.
Style-conscious students who decide to study in Italy should know that heels are a no-go in Florence. Practical leather shoes are the norm, something flat with flexible soles that handle wobbly walkways. This doesn’t mean you can’t dress to the nines! Florence might not be as high-fashion as Milan, but it’s still a stylish city. Designer jeans, light trench coats, simple shirts made from the highest quality materials. Have a little fun! Flowy pants will look sharp in just about any season, and provide some extra wiggle room when you hit that third gelato.
When studying abroad in Florence, you’ll need both a plug adapter and a transformer to convert Italy’s 220v to 110v (the standard US voltage). You should also bring multiple copies of your passport—the Italian government is notoriously extra, so you never know when you’ll need some documentation.
Another thing: invest in a good wallet. Precious few places take card in Florence, and even if they have a reader, the shopkeeper might act a bit peeved. Chances are you’ll be carrying around a whole lot of cash, so keep it safe and organized. Get a wallet that zips, and put it in a strong, cross-body bag that also zips. Italians speak with their hands, and you’ll have an easier time exploring riverside shops (and haggling over the price of a leather jacket) if you're not fumbling through your clutch. On that note, you’ll also want to bring a small reusable grocery bag for shopping at Florence’s produce markets and carrying picnics to the Piazzale Michelangelo.
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Study Abroad Florence Forecast
Located at the top center of the Italian peninsula, Florence doesn’t experience the balmy mediterranean climate of the south, but evades the harsh northern winters as well. They have a generally mild climate, but your wardrobe will change depending on the season.
In September you’ll get a good 10 hours of sunshine a day, so keep the shades handy and enjoy the glow while you can—October and November are Florence's rainiest months. If you’re studying abroad in Florence during the fall, you definitely need to bring a rain jacket. And it’s wise to waterproof your shoes before you leave, no matter what the season. Another downside of those picturesque cobblestones? You can never tell how deep a puddle really is until it’s too late. Temperatures hang between 50-60 °F, but can get as low as 38°F in December, so layer up!
January and February are generally cool, but can reach as high as 54°F. In March, the temperature and daily amount of sunshine begins to climb, but don’t throw away your rain coat! Prepare for a handful of rain days every month. And skip the umbrella, which is ill-suited for rushing through crowded Florence sidewalks.
Long days, clear skies and plenty of activity. Summer in Florence is absolutely dreamy. Temperatures average in the upper 70s throughout the season, but mid-to-upper 80s is by no means uncommon. Linen clothes might wrinkle like crazy, but they’re the perfect go-to style for studying abroad in Florence this summer.
Study Abroad Day Trips from Florence
One of the best part of studying in Florence is exploring Tuscany’s hillside towns and rural villages! Use the money you saved on StudentUniverse’s discounted study abroad flights and book a tour through the Chianti wine region or visit the picturesque town of Siena! All you need is comfortable footwear and water (walking around hilly terrain is tough work)— oh and a hat! You don’t want to pass out under the Tuscan sun. You’ll probably want to bring along your best camera, too. Don’t waste time trying to adjust your smartphone’s camera filters— it just can’t capture the beauty of an Italian sunset. A bathing suit could come in handy if you visit the coast (which you defs should).
Spend a weekend in Madrid, which is just a 6 hour train ride away from Barcelona. Stop half way through your route to experience Zaragoza, where Francisco Goya’s murals still decorate the grand Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Or take a study break in Alicante, an easy to navigate city that offers castles, beaches and mountains. Bottom line: bring along an overnight bag, because there are plenty of affordable ways to explore Spain during your study abroad trip.
10 Must Pack Items for Studying Abroad in Florence
Stylish shoes with flexible soles (Clarks desert boots are perfect)
Hiking shoes or comfortable boots
Loose pants/shirts for warmer days
Healthy supply of accessories (scarf, sunglasses, earrings, etc. )
DSLR Camera for everything your phone can’t capture
Sturdy cross-body bag
Reusable t-shirt handle grocery bag (something that folds into a tiny ball)
Your favorite rain jacket
Plug adapter and transformer
Small sketchbook for sudden moments of inspiration