Our new program video is here!

We look forward to it every year. We get together (with lots of tissues) and we cull through the endless footage from the summer (and all the summers before). There’s laughter. There’s crying. There’s the ooh and the awww and then finally, there’s the perfect expression of how much the trip means to so many wonderful and amazing women. Its all the feels all the time. Enjoy.


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Select Study Abroad June 2015: Week 3 (arts & crafts, Uffizi, cooking, gardening, and…eating!)

Week 3 baby! We took advantage of a gloomy monday to be inspired by all the gorgeous masks and art we saw in Venice and made some fun arts and crafts to take home. We got over to the Uffizi galleries, a must-see in Florence, no question. Michelangelo and Botticelli did not disappoint. Then we dropped in on some of our cooks-in-traing during their awesome cooking class in the Mercato Centrale in San Lorenzo. They are basically professional and made some of the most beautiful cannolis we have ever seen. Then our Alpha Phi ladies hit up Orto Dipinti again (a community run and managed garden in the center of Florence) where we watered and pruned and painted the homemade flowerbeds to help extend their lives. No week is complete of course without some epic eating. This week we took our ladies to one of our all-time favorites, Cesarino. A hidden gem. We took over the entire outside patio. What a blast.
Arts & Crafts Day
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Ten Books to Read Before Coming to Florence

Saving_ItalyBooks have played a large role in my relationship with Florence, Italy and I wanted to share my some of my personal favorites. Here are ten books to read before coming to Florence, while you’re in Florence, if you miss Florence, or if you always wanted to go to Florence.
1. Saving Italy, Robert M. Edsel, 2013. By the author of the popular (and adapted for the big screen by Mr. Italy-loving George Clooney himself) Monuments Men. Saving Italy narrows his focus in this compelling read. He looks at the repercussions of war in a new way and pays respect to the unsung heroes who protected and saved Italy’s greatest artistic treasures during World War II.
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Jewelry Making Demonstration in Florence

Jewelry_demonstrationBy far one of my favorite activities we enjoy during the summer is a visit to the gorgeous studio of Paolo Penko, a goldsmith in Florence. Paolo still uses the old Renaissance techniques and is inspired by traditional Renaissance designs – some drawn directly from famous works of Renaissance art. Along with jewels in gold and religious icons worked in silver, he also knows a thing or two about making the famous florin (florino d’oro), Florence’s original currency, a gold coin first struck in 1252. Paolo introduces us to the tools, the trade, and the tradition while immersed in the beautiful works of art found in every imaginable corner of his gorgeous studio.Artist_desk Continue reading…

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Novità: Paper Marbling Demonstration in Florence

marbled_paper_italyThis past week we had the great pleasure of visiting the workshop and laboratory of Giulio Giannini e Figlio, one of the oldest bookbinding and paper marbling studios in Florence. Right on Piazza Pitti, the store is hard to pass by without walking in. Brimming with journals, frames, and loose paper decorated in the traditional style of paper marbling, it takes a moment to acclimate to the many gorgeous patterns that surround you. You would never think that all these beautiful works of art were made just upstairs by Guido Giannini Jr. Guido makes unspeakably beautiful pieces of handmade paper and objects in the same traditional way that his family has for six generations. Their business survived through World Wars and a decline in the demand for hand bound leather books. In fact, it was the high cost of leather after World War I that inspired them to make more affordable items bound in the stunning marbled paper they produced. We went to see more of these gorgeous artworks and learn a little about the technique from the man himself.
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