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Study Abroad- Florence, Italy

This Library Guide contains information on the Kent State Florence , Italy Campus and the study abroad programs available at this campus.

Florence Spring 2019 Newsletter



Spring Semester, 2019





Fabrizio Ricciardelli, Kent State University Florence Center Director

The past is at its best when it takes us to places that counsel and instruct, that show us who we are by showing us where we have been, that remind us of our connections to what happened here in a place. Places such as cemeteries serve as symbols of the past, acting as a reminder to society of previous historical events. The cemetery draws in the people who wish to remember and recognize historical events and the people associated with them.

Kent State University Faculty provide an outstanding education in the classroom and out, capitalizing on the Florentine setting with city walks, museum visits, and field trips. On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, KSU-Florence students visited the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial, slowed to a halt at the entrance of this peaceful place, and walked over the bridge that leads to the burial area where the headstones of 4,393 of American military dead are arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside.

In front of an incredible and emotional experience, the whole group felt the need to deeply thank the generosity of Angel Matos and Fiorenzo Iacono, staff members of the Florence American Cemetery, two officials who have demonstrated a great depth of care for the deceased, constantly working to make sure the lives of the soldiers are remembered and their graves well-kept. The whole group absorbed the message of continuing memory of the deceased, which includes finding out as much as possible about each person's life.

During the bus ride to Palazzo Vettori, I was constantly thinking about the manifold meanings of this visit: would the students be able to gain a full sense of the sacrifice of all the soldiers who died in the name of freedom during World War II? Would they remember this morning forever and describe it to family and friends? Sometimes in life, there are places to remember and moments which won't inevitably be forgotten. I feel certain that an experience such as this will not quickly fade away.


Prof. Paola Giaconia, CAED Coordinator in Florence

Students enrolled in the College of Architecture + Environmental Design at Kent State University in Florence had the opportunity to meet renowned professionals and local students, thanks to a series of events and workshops that were offered to them in the course of the semester.
The lectures series, fine-tuned with the programs developed in the studios and in the theory classes, hosted 5 guest lecturers: Adolfo Natalini (Italy), Clara Murado (Murado & Elvira, Spain), Casper Mork-Ulnes (Mork-Ulnes Architects, USA and Norway), Bernard Khoury (DW5 / Bernard Khoury, Lebanon) and Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu (Neri&Hu, China and United Kingdom). All of them significant international figures who powerfully influence contemporary architectural practice and shape the future of the built environment. A select number of students, enrolled in the Video Media and Architecture course, had the opportunity to personally meet the lecturers and interview them, producing a series of small publications that document their conversations.
Architecture and Interior Design students attended the fifth edition of the LOOK AT ME NOW! workshops. Instructors were two architects, Anna Positano and Davide Rapp, who are especially talented - one as a photographer and the other one as video maker - in portraying contemporary architecture and who have extensive experience running workshops. All works presented by the students, both in photography and video form, subverted many of the stereotypical notions we all have about the city of Florence. A renewed and fresh point of view was offered.
The "Between the Tower and River" workshop, coproduced by Kent State University Florence CAED and the Scuola di Architettura at Università degli Studi di Firenze, was open to the Architecture students. It continues the long-standing collaboration between Kent State University Florence, College of Architecture & Environmental Design and DIDA, Dipartimento di Architettura dell'Università degli Studi di Firenze. After an intense 5-day design charrette, the 11 teams, made up of students from both universities, presented their proposals for a site in Florence. 47 Architecture students enrolled at KSUF CAED and 21 students enrolled at UniFi worked side by side to design a new community center next to the Torrino di Santa Rosa as well as the open spaces between the bank of the river Arno and the road.


Prof. Nicoletta Peluffo, A&S Coordinator in Florence

Studying a new language is a challenging experience that involves a variety of personal and interpersonal skills and stimulates a multitude of competences. One of the greatest challenges relates to speaking skills. For a native English speaker, for example, the pronunciation of certain Italian vowel sounds and some particular consonantal sounds can be hard and unnatural: Italian is a musical, flowing language where vowels, diphthongs and double consonants are fully articulated. This semester, for the first time, a special workshop has exposed students to a voice method based on the pronunciation of specific Italian sounds with the help of maestra Claudia Guarducci. Claudia is a voice trainer for singers and a vocal researcher. This interactive workshop based on pronunciation and movement has positively impacted on class sociability, too.


Prof. Patricia Kinsella, Fashion Program Coordinator in Florence

In the post WWII period, Rome became many American movie directors' favorite city for making films. The setting was incredibly attractive and the natural beauty was so inspiring it had to be caught on film. Moreover, it was a lot less expensive to make films in Italy than in the U.S.A. This was the golden age of the Cinecittà studios when Rome became known as "Hollywood on the Tiber". Once Rome became the center of American cinema, Italian fashion took the American movie world by storm.

In March, the fashion students learned more about this heritage during their visit to Annamode Costumes, near Rome, one of the most important cinematic and theatrical costume workshops in Europe.  Annamode was founded in 1946 by Anna Allegri, who initially specialized in couture evening wear. With the arrival of younger sister Teresa Allegri in the early 1950's, the fashion house increasingly began to focus on costumes for cinema, working closely with many costume designers of the Neorealism movement. In over 70 years of activity, the house has worked with such Oscar-winning costume designers as Piero Tosi, Milena Canonero and Gabriella Pescucci. Recent films that feature costumes created by Annamode include "The Grand Budapest Hotel", Cinderella", "Beauty and the Beast", "Marie Antoinette", and "The Great Beauty".

Artistic Director Marina Ridolfi, here pictured with our students, explained the process of working closely with designers to create a costume. Showing examples from the archive, she explained how to realize the director's vision, beginning from a sketch, researching historical context, construction details, materials and special techniques, often working with severe time restraints.

C.E.O. and grandson of the founder, Simone Bessi, spoke about the history and the future of the workshop and led the students on a tour of the archive, which comprises thousands of costumes from all eras.

The students were excited to view many costumes from their favorite films and left with a greater understanding of the important role of costume in transforming an actor into a character.


Abigail Delaney, student of the College of Business


Studying abroad in Florence, Italy has brought me so much more than I could have imagined. I expected the typical culture shock, homesickness, language barrier, etc., but what I didn't expect was to rethink my outlook on life, gain so many incredible friends, and become the most independent I've ever been. Studying abroad is an incredible experience, but the culture and atmosphere in Florence, Italy specifically offers such rich history and deep cultural roots.


The Italian way of life is very laid back. I've got the impression that Italians truly value their time and experiences in life. I see this in the way Italians run their businesses because they usually close their businesses or end their work day early so they can have time to enjoy themselves. This is very different from what I've been used to seeing in the States, in that Americans spend most of their days working away at jobs they're not truly passionate about. As an entrepreneurship student, I came here with the excitement of learning about the way small Italian business are run and I hope to mimic the lifestyle of Italian entrepreneurs in that they are passionate about their work yet still take the time to have an enjoyable life outside of work. I've learned this in the classroom as well as by visiting local shops and experiencing small businesses in Florence. I also hope to emulate the way Italians prioritize their free time in my own life. I see this in the local Florentines who seem much happier and carry much less stress. This is a lesson I plan on taking back home with me.

Just like many college students, I have changed my major once or twice, and because of that, I am not in the same college that I originally started in as a freshman. Although I've been in the College of Business Administration for five semesters now, I always felt like an outsider since I never went though the orientation process or the First Year Experience class with my fellow business students. Within just the first few weeks of my business classes in Florence, I've expanded my number of friends in the business college exponentially. The business cohort in Florence, as well as the class sizes here, are so small that it's allowed me to create personal relationships with my classmates, as well as my professors, which I never had the chance to do in Kent, where my class sizes were in the hundreds and I was just one in a sea of students. Having these like-minded friends with aspirations in business like my own has only enhanced my experiences here in Florence, Italy, both in the classroom and in my social life. Knowing I will take these friendships back to Kent with me is a gift that I can take home and I have this program to thank for that.

One of the biggest goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of my time in Florence, Italy was to become more independent. I would say I achieved this before the halfway mark of the semester. The staff at KSU Florence offer so much aid in helping the students get acclimated to their surroundings, but the best way to become confident with navigating your way is to go outside and just try your best to figure it out. Florence is such a walking-friendly city with so much to explore that it invites you to get lost, but by getting lost you're actually getting more and more familiar. I've found this to be an empowering achievement. Florence overall is an empowering, influential city that has instilled a confidence in me, my ability to achieve my dreams and be a self-sufficient individual.

To study abroad anywhere is an amazing experience, but to study in Florence, Italy is life-changing in all the best ways. It has helped me become the person I've always wanted to be and has benefitted my life in the ways I never knew I wanted but am so glad it did. Yes, there are opportunities to travel to surrounding countries, take luxurious trips, and experience much more, but the city of Florence is not to be overlooked or taken for granted. I will be thanking Florence for years to come for all it has given me. 


Prof. Nicoletta Peluffo, A&S Coordinator in Florence

This Spring semester several stimulating experiences have put students at the center of meaningful connections among disciplines with a view to a co-construction of knowledge. Simona Ciappi, Professor of Biology, and Doris Kessenich, Professor of Forensic Psychology, have organized a project called "CSI in Florence". Students, divided into small groups, have examined a popular Italian case and then, combining knowledge in the fields of biology and psychology, they obtained interesting results which were further discussed in front of a public during the final exhibition week.

Another interdisciplinary project has developed around the field trip to Collodi, the small village where the Pinocchio park is located. Italian language students (prepared by Professors Gloria Venturini, Anna Gravina and Nicoletta Peluffo), ecology students with Professor Claudia Rossano and communication students with Professor Fabio Corsini, shared a total experience connecting culture, language, science and communication.

Professor Simona Ciappi and Professor Claudia Rossano have worked together on  a project based on the circadian rhythm. After a semester-long research based on genetic observations, students compared their final results, leading to the identification of two big groups: larks and owls.


Kent State University - Florence Program

Palazzo Vettori

Via Cavour 26- 50129 Florence - Italy

Tel. (+39) 055 265 8365