Study Abroad in Florence, Italy

Study Abroad in Florence: Orientation

Fall Semester: One-week orientation in Pietrasanta (Marina Beach)

For students on the fall semester Traditional Academic Programs only

Spending a week in a small, charming town on the beautiful Tuscan coast gives students the unique opportunity to become familiar with the Italian lifestyle, culture and language. Richmond runs a comprehensive orientation in this beach town which covers academic expectations, policies and procedures, living arrangements, behavior expectations and disciplinary policies and health and safety information.

Marina di Pietrasanta is located on the Versilia Riviera, well known for its 30 miles of sandy beaches. Its perfect location in northern Tuscany, beautiful promenade along the seashore with outdoor cafés, restaurants, shops and natural setting of the Apuan Alps make it the ideal place to explore the local nature, art and culture. In addition to orientation meetings and activities, the Richmond program organizes several trips to nearby towns to help students discover this region. Students visit Pisa, with its famous Leaning Tower and Lucca, a well preserved medieval town enclosed in 16th century walls. The great tradition of working marble began in ancient times in the Apuan Alps, a range of high mountains with steep, rocky peaks, which are also known as “marble mountains.” Students visit the marble quarries where Michelangelo got his “white marble,” and the town of Pietrasanta, known for its numerous studios where several artists, especially sculptors, live and work.

Students will also visit Cinque Terre, known for its five miles of rocky coast, vineyards and charming villages. Each of the Cinque Terre towns has something different to offer. Monterosso has the most famous beach, a 16th-century Capuchin monastery and an ancient castle. There are great views of the other towns in Corniglia and Vernazza has a delightful little harbor. Riomaggiore with its pastel-colored houses is very picturesque and Manarola is the most authentic fishing village.

The path that winds along the coast and connects Riomaggiore to Monterosso is the most famous and spectacular one and is called the “blue path” (“il sentiero azzurro”). Students can walk part of or the whole of the path during their visit.


Students enjoy a wide variety of cultural and social activities in addition to swimming in the Mediterranean Sea and walking along the sandy beaches. Activities and sports with Italians are organized to help students meet local students and practice the language.


You will be housed and have breakfast and dinner in a comfortable hotel across the street from the beach. The hotel has a nice garden and students will have access to a private beach.

Spring Semester: One-week Orientation and Art History guided tours of Rome

For students on the spring semester Traditional Academic Programs

Spring students head to Rome to begin their cultural immersion. In the mornings students have the opportunity to admire the beauties of the eternal city of Rome and the Vatican guided by professional art historians. Students participate in a comprehensive orientation program covering academic expectations, policies and procedures, living arrangements, behavior expectations and disciplinary policies and health and safety and emergency information.

Full-year students do not participate in the Spring Semester orientation and should plan to return to campus for the start of the semester on January 27.

Housing in Rome

Students stay in a centrally-located hotel with half-board accommodation.