ACA @ British Institute of Florence


Join ACA for the Summer-of-a-Lifetime!

Welcome to ACA @ Florence, Italy!

Benvenuto a Firenze!

Fabulous Florence – A City Like No Other! With hundreds of famous museums, galleries, cathedrals and more, Florence remains the spiritual capital of the Renaissance. But don’t think Florence is stuck in the past. Today, its quaint squares buzz with Vespas, shoppers stroll the piazzas in search of the latest styles, and countless trattorias are alive with conversation and amazing cuisine. This has made Florence the living heart of the Tuscan lifestyle. 

Florence is the ultimate setting for an incredible summer. Surrounded by panoramic hillsides and charming medieval towns like Siena and Pisa, it is only a bus ride away from such cosmopolitan Italian cities as Rome and Venice – all destination cities for our weekend adventures in Italy! Overall, Florence is the perfect place for you to discover the wonders of medieval and Renaissance history, build lifelong friendships and savor an ideal Italian and European experience.

Weekday Schedule

Classes run Monday through Friday of each week.


At ACA, we believe safety comes first. That’s why we maintain an eight-to-one student-to-staff ratio – one of the lowest in the industry! This lets us offer unmatched attention and unique personalized programs.

As part of our commitment to student safety, ACA staff members live on every student-occupied floor and accompany students on all activities and excursions. ACA also uses chartered coach and taxi services to get around town, never public transportation. All ACA staff members are always equipped with cellphones.

For additional safety, ACA provides students with local cellphones, allowing them to maintain easy contact with directors and staff!

The hotel adds an additional element of security, as well. The front desk is staffed 24 hours a day with trained personnel for your comfort and convenience.

Parents will be reassured to know that Florence is a friendly city with all the modern medical and safety resources one would expect of a popular European tourist destination.

Travel to Florence*

Students traveling to Florence will fly on ACA-staffed group flights from the New York area to Rome. From there, they will be escorted directly to connecting private motorcoach service for the trip to Florence. 

We are also happy to make arrangements for students connecting to our ACA overseas group flight. Please contact the ACA office for additional information.

Students enrolled in the Greek Isles Extension will also fly on ACA group flights, accompanied by ACA staff. 

Of course, parents are also welcome to bring students to the programs directly.

Please note: For your safety and convenience, we require students traveling to our international programs to fly on ACA group flights. 

*Transportation is not included in tuition.

Parent's Day

ACA is excited to host our Parent’s Day! We invite all parents to join us in Florence on Monday, July 8 for a special dinner & evening event with your student and ACA’s program. 

Our Electives

British Institute of Florence

For a truly unique academic and cultural immersion experience, ACA’s Florence program combines college-level language study with exciting opportunities to examine subjects from classical Italian art to the dynamics of contemporary international business. And when it comes to experiencing and examining Renaissance culture, you’re where it all began. The city of Florence literally becomes your classroom.

Electives are held at the British Institute of Florence, a renowned school. The British Institute is known throughout Europe for its dedication to working with international students.  Courses are offered only to ACA students and meet five days a week.

Students can earn up to 6 hours of applicable college credit upon successful completion of their coursework. In addition, high schools often grant credit for ACA courses as well. We’ll be happy to work with your school ahead of time to determine whether your ACA coursework qualifies for such credit.

College credits are conferred through Marist College (for an additional fee) and are transferable to most universities, according to their individual standards. Official university transcripts, including course credit and grades, are available to each ACA student. As an added benefit, ACA’s professors are always happy to write recommendation letters for college.

Course Options: 

You will choose two of the following options:

  • Italian Language (3 College Credits)
  • Business (3 College Credits)
  • Arts & Culture (3 College Credits)
  • Florence Foodie Tour
  • Culinary Arts
  • Sports & Wellneses

*Please Note: There is a fee for the credit options.

Choose 2 Electives:

Whether you are hoping to enhance your already strong language skills or you are just beginning your studies, you’ll say “Parlo Italiano” and really mean it after you get back from Florence! ACA’s Italian language program is fun and fulfilling, combining classroom study with authentic Italian practice. You’ll enjoy the benefits of real immersion into this remarkable language and culture!

But most of all, you have the entire city of Florence as your classroom! Whether you’re a total beginner or practically fluent, you’ll be amazed at how much better your Italian becomes and just how much fun learning a language can be when you immerse yourself in the culture.

The program offers three levels of classes to choose from, with placement dependent upon previous Italian language experience as well as your own comfort level. A self assessment form will be provided to establish your language skills and identify the right class for you. 

Elementary Italian – The beginning class, covering basic pronunciation, sentence structure, numbers, present-tense verb conjugation and the introduction of past tense.

Intermediate Italian – This class picks up where the elementary class ends, covering more in-depth use of the past tense, along with the imperfect, future and conditional tenses as well as subjunctives.

Advanced Italian – The ideal class for students desiring greater proficiency in Italian conversation as well as composition. The course employs readings and discussions on contemporary subjects.

Explore Florence with your taste buds on a walking food tour that showcases the flavors of Firenze! Sample authentic Tuscan cuisine in the medieval city center, the elegant and artistic Oltrarno district, and the Sant’Ambrogio market area — a favorite among locals. From gelato to street vendors and trattorias, savor the best of the city’s food like a true Florentine. Discover what makes Tuscan cuisine unique with the help of foodie guides. Go beyond the city center to eateries and markets in less-explored districts. Learn how to order and eat like a local, avoiding touristy meals while in town. 

History lives, thanks to ACA’s excursions into Italian history! With the city and countryside as your primary text, you’ll immerse yourself in one of history’s most remarkable periods. This course offers a combination of short lectures to develop a deep understanding of Florentine art and culture and exciting visits to famous galleries and architectural landmarks that represent the finest examples of Roman and Renaissance achievement. It’s an ideal interactive experience. 

This inspiring look at Italian art and architecture will introduce you to world-renowned galleries and take you on tours of legendary buildings. Focusing on the awesome accomplishments of the Renaissance, you’ll enhance your understanding of the Italian influence on painting, sculpture and construction, which still resonates with architects and engineers worldwide. Marvel at the ornate Italian Gothic influence still seen in buildings today and examine the works of legendary masters who defined the beauty and inspiration of great painting.

This gripping course takes you from the Sicilian countryside to the gangland prohibition wars of New York and Chicago to the Las Vegas underworld. You’ll get a look at the culture of this infamous organization – its codes and conduct, it’s dominating dons, and the real impact it has on international economics and politics. This course will also take a look at some of the renowned American films that have illuminated mafia life such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, and Casino.

Can there be a better place to play soccer than the home country of the World Soccer Champions? The Italians will insist that it’s impossible! Here’s your chance to kick it – literally – with Tuscan players who know how to go for the goal. Practices will push your game to new levels physically and mentally. An awesome course for the new and experienced player alike!

Think you can measure up to the incredible kitchen accomplishments of great Italian chefs? Here’s where you find out! Learn from excellent professional Italian chefs who know how to satisfy big Florence appetites. You’ll be learning from some of the world’s best. And don’t worry, you get to eat what you’ve cooked up after the bell rings!

Please note: This course provides unique opportunities to train with renowned culinary instructors preparing truly gourmet meals.

Supplemental fee: $695

Get a close look at the way the world really works! Learn how world markets interact and how investors learn to profit as a result. The euro has changed the way the European Union, and therefore the world, does business! Examine the interaction of currencies, which play a huge role in the health and wealth of the world’s economy. You’ll learn about the distinct challenges of running a successful company in the dynamic international arena.

Improve your picture-taking ability in a city that demands to be photographed. The city of Florence provides you with centuries of artistic and architectural beauty – remarkable subject matter that will give you plenty of inspiration! This course will help you develop an understanding of how to create unforgettable photos using proper f-stops, lighting and composition.

Please note: A darkroom is not featured in this course, and students must supply their own digital cameras.

If you need to indulge your artistic side, this course is ideal. Select either the drawing or the painting concentration, then view legendary works of Italian art and use them to inspire your own skills. Pursue painting and try your hand at Italian-inspired drawing and sketching. Either way, your inner da Vinci will be awakened!

This is the city where culture and clothing come together! What better place to see how today’s fashion ideas become tomorrow’s “must-have” trends? You’ll get to peek behind the curtain and the catwalk to learn that the realm of modeling and fashion is not just glitz and glamour. Learn how to draw different garments and suggest bold styles. Examine how fabric, texture and color interact on the page, on the runway, and in the real world. This is big business, and you’ll see the many facets of the Italian fashion industry firsthand on plenty of field trips to fashion hot spots throughout Florence!. Plus, you’ll get the chance to design and develop a fashion idea of your very own!

Enjoy access to the local gym. Plan a workout regimen to help meet your fitness goals.

Activities include:
Circuit Training
Body Sculpt
Hight Intensity
Interval Training
Total Body
Body Tone

* A supplemental supply or lab fee will apply.

Florence Life

Your stay in Florence puts you in the heart of a legendary landscape, where you’ll explore a history-rich region that is the very cornerstone of Italian culture. Your Italian home will be one of the most popular cities in all of Europe – Florence! Set on the banks of the Arno River, its charming cobblestone streets lead to quaint cafes, open-air markets and trattorias serving delicious food, as well as internationally renowned art galleries, museums and world-class shopping!

You can count on outstanding accommodations – this is ACA!

Unlike ordinary international pre-college programs, ACA’s experience in Florence is not a homestay! Instead, it’s a residence program, accommodating students at spectacular hotel. This 14th-century building is located adjacent to the renowned Piazza Republica.  It’s an ideal location for exploring this incredible city, and it’s also a great place to relax after you’ve had a day in the Italian sun. The building is secure and supervised at all times, and the clean, comfortable rooms have televisions, daily housekeeping service, and air conditioning. Of course, ACA staff live on-site, ensuring a safe, comfortable stay. 

Mangia, Mangia, Mangia!

Get ready for a true taste of Italy – and we don’t mean just spaghetti and meatballs! ACA serves up amazing meals that will make Italian eating an unforgettable part of your summer.

You’ll enjoy breakfasts in the classic continental style, with plenty of fresh juices, rich Italian coffee, cereal, pastries, yogurt, and fresh fruit. It’s perfect fuel for a fun-filled day.

For dinner Monday through Friday, you’ll enjoy our exclusive Dining-on-the-Town-Plan, which lets you choose from a variety of ACA-selected restaurants – and it’s included in your tuition! Try the local specialties or enjoy an American-style eatery if you’re craving the flavors of home. You’ll always find a restaurant that suits your taste and even get to enjoy pizza in its original Florentine form! Just make sure you save room for gelato and tiramisu, two truly decadent homemade Italian desserts. 

Once a week, if you want, you can also venture beyond the Dining-on-the-Town-Plan and visit additional restaurants of your choice. It’s a real opportunity to expand your culinary horizons and try the most authentic Italian food. Need help translating the menu? Don’t worry, ACA staff are always at the restaurant ready to recommend a few favorites.

Around Town & Beyond

When you’re ready to explore Europe at its best, you’ll find Florence incredible! Visit the Piazza Michelangelo to hear the haunting beauty of Gregorian chants coming from the Church of San Miniata. Shop for the latest in Italian fashion from the most famous designers. See the sights from the Boboli Gardens at Fort Belvedere for a truly commanding view of the city. Sip a cappuccino and enjoy a snack in the Piazza della Signoria, alive with restaurants, tavernas and ice cream shops. Just make sure you save room for a taste of real Italian pizza! 

Italy is the fashion capital of the world (just ask any Italian), and Florence is known as a supreme shopping destination. Unique boutiques abound throughout the city, including the famed shops on the Ponte Vecchio full of stunning gold jewelry. For a real high-fashion fix, check out Via Tornabuoni; it’s Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive rolled into one!

Florence is itself a living museum. Majestic churches tower high over the city from almost every perspective. The Duomo and the churches of San Lorenzo, Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are essential visits. Next, explore the Uffizi, a legendary museum that houses works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian and Rubens.

At night, you will have the opportunity to socialize and build friendships while you enjoy the fun and excitement of Florentine nightlife. Many popular hangouts are located in the historic city center, and the welcoming crowd of lively locals and international visitors creates an unforgettable energy! If you’re ready to feel a little European rhythm, step onto the floor at a hip discotheque like Space. If you want to watch the world go by, sit down at a trendy café in a bustling square to people watch and enjoy the strolling musicians and street performers.

Burn Those Carbs - First Class Fitness

Don’t worry about too much pasta putting the hurt on your exercise efforts. You’ll be able to stay in shape, enjoying the many parks and recreational options. Workout junkies will be able to enjoy aerobics and weight training at our local gym, and there are even opportunities to play tennis, go biking or enjoy an afternoon hike. Of course, you and a few friends could always just lace up your running shoes for an organized jog through the cobblestone streets or along the picturesque Arno River. And you can always take a stroll through the beautiful countryside. We’ve also lined up other options for anyone who likes to stay active, so bring your workout gear along, unless you’re interested in treating yourself to a whole new wardrobe of designer Italian activewear!


Complete your ACA Florence experience with exciting weekend adventures.

Forte dei Marmi (3 week program)

This is our destination to view some of Italy’s most spectacular coastline, and the upscale shops are equally exciting for serious shoppers! You will love spending time enjoying the amazing location, boutiques and cafés.

Viareggio (3 week program)

What good is time under the Tuscan sun if you can’t find a beautiful stretch of beach? The seaside resort of Viareggio is our destination for all sun-worshippers and beach fans. There’s a pristine expanse of white sandy beach available for catching a few rays or simply taking a picturesque walk. In the evening, we will complete this glorious day in Viareggio with a very special Italian dining experience.


Marvel at the stunning coastal views of the “five lands” made up of colorful, picturesque village built into the clifftops overlooking the sea. Soak up the sun on the stunning beaches, try the local flavor at the local restaurants or hike in the UNESCO National Park that connects one village to another.


Of course we’ll get a good look at the Leaning Tower, where Galileo conducted his experiments on the force of gravity and dared to suggest that the Earth revolved around the Sun. We’ll also take in the Campo dei Miracoli (the Field of Miracles), a grassy square surrounded by stunning architecture.

The Enchanting Amalfi Coast & Capri Excursion (3 Days) (2 & 3 Week ProgramS)

Enjoy three days and two nights touring some of world’s most scenic towns when you visit the Amalfi Coast – Ancient Rome’s version of the Hamptons – where emperors built villas into the cliffs of Italy’s spectacular coastline. Marvel at the picturesque cliffs of Sorrento and explore the Blue Grotto, Capri’s underwater sea cave. You’ll also visit the celebrity beach playground of Positano and stroll the whitewashed streets of Amalfi. 

Please Note: The excursion to the Amalfi Coast replaces the day trip to Siena and San Gimignano for students who select this excursion. (Supplemental fee of $695)

Rome (3 Days - Program ends in rome)

As the old saying goes, “All roads lead to Rome.” A legendary capital, and one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, it truly is the “Eternal City.” The streets are alive with shops, restaurants, art and entertainment. Get your shopping fix at the Spanish Steps, home to Fendi, Gucci, Armani, Bulgari and Valentino, then stand in awe at the Colosseum and even get your picture taken with a local “Gladiator.” IN ROME YOU’LL SEE…
  • Monument to Vittorio Emanuelle II Known by the Romans as the “wedding cake” or “typewriter,” it is also home to the tomb of the unknown soldier, guarded around the clock by loyal carabinieri.
  • The Colosseum Where gladiators did battle to thrill the cheering Roman crowds. The word arena comes from the Latin word for sand, which was spread on the Colosseum floor.
  • Spanish Steps Built in 1725, and long a gathering place for foreigners, it is today a renowned destination for those favorite Italian activities – designer shopping and people watching!
  • The Forum Here’s where Romans found out who had the real gift of gab. A site for festivals and ceremonies, the Forum also surrounds the most ancient part of the city.
  • The Pantheon Final resting place for Italy’s most famous kings, it has architectural innovations not found even in contemporary designs!
  • Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel The smallest country in the world, the center of Catholicism and home to priceless art, it is protected by the magnificently costumed Swiss Guard.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica Marvel at the architecture, especially the magnificent dome designed by Michelangelo.
  • Trevi Fountain One of the city’s most splendid and cinematic landmarks. Make sure you throw in some coins to ensure your return to the Eternal City!

San Gimignano (2 & 3 WEEK PROGRAMS)

As you explore the streets of this 14th-century town, you’ll be transported back to the heyday of the Florentine republic. Fifteen splendid medieval towers command the city, including the only one left on the famous Pentagonal Fortress. A careful climb rewards with a breathtaking view. The Piazza della Cisterna sits at the heart of San Gimignano. Surrounding it is a host of museums, galleries and cathedrals, each home to splendid works of art.

Siena (2 & 3 WEEK PROGRAMS)

Founded by Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, Siena has preserved its medieval feel. For a classic example, head to Il Campo Square and race to the top of the Torre del Mangia, a 13th-century tower that has an incredible view. Catch your breath in the Piazza, the location of the famed Palio horse race, a colorful yet intensely competitive event among the city’s neighborhoods.

The Greek Isles Extension

Add 5 days to your European Adventure

Add to your European experience and explore the wonders of Greece, from Athens to Santorini to Mykonos!

You’ll remain in the secure company of trusted ACA staff members, as well as many of the friends you’ve made on your ACA program. Of course, you’ll also enjoy the comfortable accommodations and superior guidance you’ve come to expect from ACA.

The best part? ACA students from our European adventures will be together for our time in Greece! (supplemental tuition required. Transportation is not included.)

Catch some rays on the black sands of Santorini, check out the scene at the party resorts of Mykonos, and soak in the rich historic legacy. It’s all possible in the fabulous Greek Isles. You’ll visit . . . 




What Alumni are Saying

"My summer on ACA-Florence was truly an amazing experience. There was never a dull moment as each day was jammed packed with exciting daily and evening activities. ACA Florence was truly the best summer of my life!"

New Jersey

" ACA provided me with the best summer I could have imagined! This trip was life changing! I was able to see so much of Italy and to meet so many fantastic people! I am forever grateful that I did this program!"

New Jersey
"Claire had a fantastic time on her ACA program in Florence. Thank you!"


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