Study Abroad in Florence, Italy

Living Abroad

AIFS in Florence Resident Director, Summer Program

AIFS Resident Director

Dr. Simona Michelotti

Phone: (+39) 055 213851

Ciao! I have been working with AIFS since 1998. I was born in Malta and received my Laurea from the University of Florence. I also studied abroad, spending a summer in the U.S. I love traveling and continue to enjoy comparing different cultures.

It is important to me to share my spare time with you during this hectic month to get to know you better. Our goal at the Richmond Florence Study Center is to try to transmit our culture through the courses and activities we offer. The program is a nutshell of the most important themes of our Italian history and I enjoy the fact that we experience this by day!

The Resident Director provides academic advice, introduces you to the community and handles communication with the University.

AIFS Campus Staff with First Aid Training

Because health and safety are top priorities at AIFS, at least one member of the staff at this campus has taken a first aid course in order to be available to help any student until a doctor or nurse can provide help. This is just one of many services that we provide to our students.

Housing and Meals

3-week and 4-week students will live in apartments with other AIFS students, and 7-week students may choose to live either in an apartment or with an Italian family. Wine Marketing students spend the first week in the Langhe, Barolo area and stay in double rooms in a hotel. While in Florence, Wine Marketing students stay in apartments. 

In general, housing is in the center of the city, not more than 30 minutes on foot or by public transportation from the Study Center. Students using public transportation should budget approximately 45 euros for a monthly bus pass to travel from their housing to classes.


  • Typically, between 2 and 10 AIFS students share one apartment (2 people share a bedroom) plus a shared, fully-equipped kitchen and bathroom (4 people share the bathroom). Each bed comes with two sets of linens and blankets. All apartments have a washing machine or access to one.

    Internet connection is provided in apartments. Students who do not have smart phones with Internet connection abroad can purchase a cell phone in Italy for a reasonable cost.

Guest in an Italian home

  • You will have a double or single room in an apartment with your own key so you can come and go as you wish. There is privacy for study and yet there is also a certain amount of contact with the Italian hosts. A large number of Italian apartments are occupied by a single person, so you are likely to be housed with a single woman or professional couple. The fee is based on a double room shared with another AIFS student. This option is only available for the 7-week programs.


  • The included meal plan is one of the highlights of the Florence program, with almost 100% of students rating it “excellent” every summer. Valued at approximately $400 for the 3-week Program and $700 for the 4-week Program as well as being incredible value for money, it gives you a unique opportunity to become part of the Florentine culinary culture, dining alongside locals in selected restaurants and trattorias or shopping in neighborhood grocery stores.
  • If you study on the standard 3-week program you will receive a total of 20 vouchers; students on the 4-week program will receive a total of 40 vouchers that can be used in restaurants, coffee shops, delis and grocery stores, giving you the flexibility to eat out or pool resources and cook in your apartment with your fellow students.
  • Students on the 7-week programs (Internship or 3-week + 4-week) receive both meal plans outlined above valued at approximately $1,100.
  • Wine Marketing students receive breakfast and dinner at the hotel for the first week, and 14 vouchers while in Florence, to be used in restaurants, coffee shops, delis and grocery stores.
  • A welcome dinner and a farewell dinner are offered by Richmond

Cultural Activities

Learning does not begin or end in the classroom. To help you get a true taste of Italian culture, the Resident Director arranges activities and excursions.

Many activities promote a way of learning through “hands-on” experience as well as integration with the local community to allow students to get the most from life in Florence. Most events are included in the program fee and only a few require a small supplementary fee. Examples of activities are:

Taste of Italy:

  • Cheese tasting
  • Food and wine pairing
  • Gelato tasting tour discovering the best “gelaterie” in town

Visits and activities in town:

  • Main museums (such as Opera del Duomo, Uffizi and Galleria dell’ Accademia)
  • On-going exhibitions
  • Concerts, operas and ballets at the theater
  • Backstage to the famous Pitti Immagine Uomo fashion show
  • Art and craft workshops

Boost your Italian language:

  • Dinners and events with Italians
  • Spaghetti connection program (to give students the opportunity to gather round the table with Italian families)
  • Language exchange with local students


  • Yoga gatherings
  • Richmond soccer team

Day trips discovering treasures of Italy (including some mandatory class-related field trips):

  • Pisa
  • Lucca
  • Cinque Terre
  • Siena
  • Tuscan Coast
  • Verona and Lake Garda
  • Tuscan farm
  • Fashion firm
  • Ferrari museum in Maranello
  • Parmesan and balsamic vinegar producer