Summerfuel Summer Programs: Study Abroad Programs for High School Students

Florence and Venice

Join an extraordinary summer study abroad experience in the city of the Renaissance.

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July 02*-July 22, 2016
*Escorted flight departs NY on July 01
Program Fee:
$7,595 + airfare
Completing grades 9-12
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Summerfuel in Florence?

This exciting Pre-College summer program allows you to experience Florentine life first hand through field-based seminars and activities. Florence is a living museum, a city of spectacular architecture and synonymous with high culture and sophistication. Surrounded by the beautiful countryside of Tuscany, everywhere you turn is steeped in rich history. From the art wonders in the Ufizzi, to Santa Maria Novella and the sophisticated shops and restaurants on Via Tornabuoni and the hills of Chianti across the river, Florence is an inspiring place to live and study, and you will quickly feel at home in this magnificent and historic setting.

Over the last fourteen years, Summerfuel in Florence has established itself as the preeminent Italian study abroad program by offering a select group of high school students a unique opportunity to participate in seminars and experience a unique hands-on introduction to Italy’s art, history, language and cuisine. Prepare for college and go beyond tourism as a brilliant and unparalleled team of local world-class artists, historians and university professors opens your eyes, ears and minds to every aspect of Italian culture and this spectacular city. Supported by our in-country staff, the program combines active, field-based learning, extracurricular activities and weekend excursions throughout Tuscany to create the most comprehensive high school experience available.

Program Schedule

  • JULY 10 • SIENA

A Florentine Education

Discover a new passion or develop an existing one in the center of the Italian arts. Let Florence be your classroom, as you experience the Italian language, fashion, cuisine and culture in an engaging study abroad experience. Your Florentine education will develop through your seminars and day-to-day experiences within this exceptional city. One of the greatest advantages of studying abroad is that the learning extends beyond the classroom. Create your own memories - see the best museums, take the best pictures and eat the best food that Florence has offer.

Seminar Concentrations

You are in charge of your academic experience and can select as varied or as concentrated experience as you would like. You will be able to choose from courses in Italian language, Cooking, Art, Fashion Design and Photography. Academic course work is complemented by optional workshops that help structure the out-of-class Italian experience.

Italian Adventures

Summerfuel's daily activities are designed to help you fully experience cultural life in Florence, while enjoying a fun, relaxing summer with new friends. Under the guidance of our experienced staff you will participate in private tours of some of the city's most important museums, galleries, palaces and more. Of course there will be ample free time to enhance your cultural immersion with independent exploration as well as sports, movies, concerts, food tastings, dancing and more.

Exploring Tuscany

Part of the fun of being in Italy is not just enjoying Florence, but exploring some of the magnificent countryside and coastline in Tuscany and beyond. Explore the medieval city of Siena, visit Pisa and its famous leaning tower and rent bicycles in Lucca. Enjoy the beach and hike the beautiful coastline of Cinque Terre, or sunbathe at the magnificent resort town of Viareggio.


I decided to study abroad with Summerfuel in Florence, Italy because I wanted to learn Italian and indulge myself in another culture."

Kaite C., Washington, DC

More Testimonials
Read the Florence blog Florence Summer Blog
Student Life Intro
Life in a day

Every day in Florence is a combination of learning, exploration and fun

Student Life 01

Enjoying a typical Italian breakfast at Convitto della Calza

Student Life 02

Most classes are offered through Palazzi, the prestigious Florence Association for International Education

Student Life 03

Visit one of Tuscany’s many cultural destinations, sample some local cuisine or perhaps play a pick-up game of soccer

Student Life 04

Expand your knowledge of the Italian culture every afternoon

Student Life 05

Sample an array of Italian specialties, and enjoy our historic dining room

Student Life 06

Florence provides an exciting backdrop for a variety of evening activities


Your summer home in Florence is the historic Convitto della Calza, a beautiful 16th century palace in a privileged location in the sought after and trendy Oltrarno district of Florence. Oltrarno is a true Florentine neighborhood, feeling far from the hordes of tourists and day-trippers, yet minutes away from the city’s historic center. From this comfortable base, you will set out to explore the great city of Florence and the province of Tuscany. To help further your experience, our on-site team of directors and resident advisors are always on-hand to make sure that you have the most comprehensive and enjoyable residential experience available.


Students reside in double-rooms, each with its own private bathroom. Your roommate will be selected based on your pre-program housing questionnaire and taking into account age and geographic diversity. Your Resident Advisor (RA) will live on your hall to create a community, provide support, plan activities and help you get the most out of your stay in Florence.


Convitta della Calza has 24-hour front desk supervision to monitor the entrance, sign in visitors, assist with lost keys and answer questions. Calza is a gated community, and Summerfuel students have exclusive access to their residence hall within the complex.


You will have full access to Calza’s facilities, including an outdoor courtyard and cloisters, a large library and multimedia room. Calza combines historic appeal with modern amenities; its many important frescoes and sculptures live side by side with state of the art audiovisual equipment, wireless Internet and air-conditioning.


Breakfast and dinner are served on-campus at Calza and offer a wide-range of meal options to accommodate most dietary restrictions and preferences. Lunch is not provided to encourage you to explore Florence’s many restaurants, sandwich shops, cafes and gelato shops.


Florence offers endless opportunities for cultural engagement and entertainment, all just a short walk away!

Uffizi Gallery

This museum houses the most important collection of Renaissance art in the world, including works by Leonardo, Raphael and Botticelli. Your director will take you on a private tour of the gallery, allowing you to get close access to the art and providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Ponte Vecchio

The first bridge built across the Arno still stands today, and is lined with shops selling jewelry and souvenirs.

Duomo & Campanile

Situated in the heart of Florence’s historic district, the Duomo, with Brunelleschi’s Cupola and the stunning bell tower, is the city’s most popular tourist attraction.

Giardino di Boboli

Florence’s most famous public park features manicured gardens, rolling hills, imposing foundations and countless sculptures.

Piazza della Signoria

This Florentine square was once the center of the city’s political life, and is still home to the town hall, the Palazzo Vecchio.

Santa Croce

The burial place of many noted Italians, including Michelangelo and Machiavelli, Santa Croce is one of the largest and most ornate churches in all of Florence.

Piazzale Michelangelo

This famous square is popular with tourists for its stunning panoramic views of Florence and the surrounding countryside.

Galleria dell’Accademia

Second only to the Uffizi, this museum houses a remarkable collection of Italian art, including Michelangelo’s David.

San Lorenzo Markets

The streets surrounding San Lorenzo church serve as the locale for Florence’s most famous outdoor market, known the world over for its leather goods.

Academics 01

Students reveling in the insights of Art Historian Charlie Hall

Academics 02

Who could deny that Florence is the world’s classroom?

Academics 03

Aspiring art historians on a visit to the Uffizi

Academics 04

Mastering the art of the still life in Florence Sketch Book

Academics 05

Students compare notes in Italian language

Academics 06

Enjoying the sites on an architectural tour of the city

Academics 07

Discussing the European Union in International Relations

Academics 08

All Palazzi courses are eligible for college credit

Academics 09

Fashion Design students consult on a collection

Academics 10

Art History students prepare for a visit to the Uffizi Gallery

Academics 11

Italian Cooking students prepare a delicious meal

Academics 12

Coming in for a close-up in Digital Photography

Academics 13

Taking part in a true Italian Soccer Experience

Academics 14

A Summerfuel students shows off her work in Fashion Design

The interdisciplinary curriculum in Florence allows you to explore your interest in the arts, fashion, cuisine and language while taking advantage of the program’s unique setting. A dynamic team of experts from the faculty of Palazzi, the prestigious Florence University of the Arts. You will select two seminars to complete during your time in Florence – a morning seminar, which will meet every weekday morning, and an afternoon course, which will meet three days per week. Coursework is dynamic and challenging, but homework is limited so that you are able to make the most of your time abroad.

Most seminars at Palazzi are field-based or hands-on, with students taking regular field trips to Florence’s many important art and cultural institutions to complement the course curriculum. Florence will be your classroom as you learn about the city’s unique history and culture, perfect your photography skills, or seek out the best ingredients for your classic Tuscan dish.

Academic Tracks

All courses are offered independently, but you may choose to focus your learning by completing one of our suggested tracks:

  • ITALIAN LANGUAGE: AM Intermediate Italian Language | PM Italian Conversation (Intermediate)
  • THE ARTS: AM Digital Photography | PM Art in Action
  • FASHION DESIGN: AM Fashion Design & Marketing | PM Apparel Design &Construction


Italian Language: Beginner

This course develops basic conversation, reading and writing skills. Equal focus will be given to grammatical structures, vocabulary and conversation skills. Students will develop a vocabulary that will enable them to engage in simple but useful everyday conversations, thus enhancing and supporting their Italian experience. After taking this course, students will be able to express themselves in the Present tense, Passato Prossimo and to use both nouns and adjectives in the correct form with reference to gender and number. Emphasis will be given to oral expression of practical vocabulary and newly acquired grammar structures.

Italian Language: Intermediate

This course develops basic conversation, reading and writing skills. Equal focus will be given to grammatical structures, vocabulary and conversation skills. Emphasis will be given to expanding upon existing Italian language skills and concentrating on spoken language practice. This more advanced Italian offering is designed for students with one to two years of high school Italian.

Digital Photography

This introductory class introduces contemporary technologies for producing photographic images. Approaching the medium in its current complex and pluralistic state, students explore a variety of photographic concepts and techniques. This course also introduces seeing, thinking, and creating with a critical mind and eye in a foreign environment to provide understanding of the construction and manipulation of photographic form and meaning. Assignments, lectures, readings and excursions progressively build on each other to provide students with a comprehensive overview of both the history of the medium and its contemporary practice. Color correction, retouching, and compositing techniques are covered and complemented by further development of digital capture and printing techniques. A digital camera of 8 - 10 megapixels minimum with an optical zoom lens of at least 3X is required.

Fashion Design & Marketing

Dive into the business of high fashion and discover what it takes to create a brand that catapults to the top and stays there. You will study some of the world’s most important and enduring fashion houses, with a special emphasis on Italian brands and designers. This course will focus on long-standing and emerging marketing and advertising strategies to understand what makes a brand both iconic and “cool”.


Italian Conversation: Intermediate

Ready to take your spoken Italian to the next level? This course will focus on developing student conversational and cultural skills to better communicate with everyday Florentines. Students will not only study proper sentence structure and pronunciation, but will also learn common phrases and expressions that will push their Italian further and make them more comfortable thinking in their new language. This course is designed for students with two to three years of high school Italian instruction.

Art in Action

This introductory art history course will take students to visit some of the world’s most important pieces of arts located throughout Florence’s many museums, plazas and streets. Students will study seven centuries of Italian and European art, with special emphasis given to Florentine, art of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and to the 'golden age' of the Renaissance period. This course is aimed at students who have not taken a history of western art course before. Class time will revolve around on-site teaching in Florence, including architectural walking tours and visits to museums, churches and palaces.

Fashion Design: Apparel Design & Construction

This course is an introduction to creative design development and fashion design skills. Topics include: design processes of trend research, storyboard compiling, color story, fabric selection, draping design concepts, design innovation and the 2-D to 3-D development of creative ideas. There will be assigned projects in all of these areas. Students will also be introduced to the basics of fashion illustration. Students prepare for their fourth-semester design collections by exploring the roles of research, design development, and editing in the fashion design process. Emphasis is placed on the knowledge of key fashion categories, markets, and price points.

Tuscan Cooking

Tuscan Cooking is an exciting introduction to the wonders of Tuscan cuisine. Structured as a sequence of classes progressing from antipasti to dessert. Make traditional Tuscan dishes under the careful guidance of a professional chef. Learn culinary techniques, and get a special insight into Tuscan culture and tradition. (Supplemental Fee $200)

Activities 12

A roof with a view in Florence’s historic district

Activities 04

Vying for attention with Florentine architecture!

Activities 08

Enjoying a shady meal with new friends

Activities 09

Night falls on the majestic river Arno

Activities 10

Florence is home to countless museums and cultural institutions

Activities 11

Taking part in the annual Summerfuel gelato hop

Activities 13

Excursions include stunning beaches on the Italian Riviera

Activities 14

Exploring the Arno on a sunset boat tour

Activities 15

Students prepare for a tour of the Galleria Accademia

Activities 16

The spectacular Cinque Terre

Activities 17

Enjoying an afternoon stroll through the heart of Florence

Activities 18

An impromptu concert in the Palazzo Vecchio

Activities 19

Getting ready for another weekend of exploring Tuscany

Activities 06

A beautiful afternoon on the Tuscan coast

Activities 03

Not entirely representative of Summerfuel Florence, but we promised to give a shout-out to our local canine friend

Activities 07

Hanging out on the town with my peeps

Once classes are over, you will have a full and varied schedule of extra-curricular opportunities to choose from. All trips and activities are included in the program fee, so you will never be at a loss for something to do. We also offer optional workshops to further enhance your summer in Florence. There is also plenty of free time for you to make your own discoveries and craft your summer experience.


Each weekend, you will travel to fantastic, historic sites to make sure you see the best Italy has to offer.

Cinque Terre

Hike the scenic path that connects these five picturesque villages on the Italian Riviera.


Experience the beauty and cultural heritage of one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe.


Enjoy a guided tour of this quintessentially Tuscan city, famous for its Leaning Tower and Romanesque cathedral.

San Gimignano

Explore the most popular Tuscan hill town, complete with impressive museums, historic churches and countless looming towers.

Viareggio Beach

Bask in the sun on the pristine beaches of this famous Italian resort town.


Summerfuel offers a wide range of activities each and every day on campus and around Florence.

Past favorites include:

  • Food Tastings
  • Arno boat tour
  • Films, Concerts, Aperativo
  • Florence secret passages
  • Swimming
  • Boboli Garden picnics
  • Sunset Yoga
  • Bocce
  • Sunday Market Hop
  • Disco Nights
  • Karaoke
  • Talent Shows


Participate in one (or both!) of our Optional Workshops in Florence, designed to further enrich your experience abroad. Each workshop will meet once per week during the afternoon activities block.

Florence On Foot

Explore the best that Florence has to offer from its world famous art galleries and museums, picturesque architecture and plazas to the buzz of its city markets. This is the insider’s guide to Florence and all within walking distance of the residence.

Travel Photography

Take your Instagrams to the next level and learn how to get the best out of your phone camera and/or DSLR. This workshop will take you to some of Florence’s most beautiful vistas and dynamic locales to make sure that your experience will come through in the photos that you bring home.

Our summer staff members are at the heart of all that we do. Supported by our New York headquarters, our program directors and resident advisors create an exciting and balanced residential, academic and extracurricular experience each summer.

Program Staff


At Summerfuel we are particularly proud of our superlative program directors and senior staff. We believe that strong, nurturing and experienced leadership sets the tone for a successful program. The Florence senior staff consists of a Program Director, Residential Director and Activities Director. During the year, the Program Director, Charlie Hall, directs a well-respected educational travel course that has taken him to Italy for over twenty years. He has worked with Summerfuel for eight years and this will be his fourth summer directing Summerfuel Florence.

Meet Charlie

Resident Advisors


RAs are an essential part of the Summerfuel experience and are hired solely to support and act as role models to our students. RAs are college upperclassmen or recent graduates with experience in residential life. They live on each floor, with one RA for every ten students. RAs will always be available to organize activities, provide tours around Florence, answer questions and make sure our students get the most out of their summer.

Safety and Supervision


The safety, security, and overall well-being of our students is our top priority. We implement the following measures to ensure our students are well cared for and safe at all times.

  • 1 to 8 residential staff to student ratio
  • 24/7 front desk staff at the residence
  • Designated zone in which students can travel
  • Buddy system to ensure students never travel a
  • 11pm daily curfew
  • Zero tolerance for drug or alcohol use
  • Read our full rules & policies here