College is an exciting new chapter for young adults to embark on, and what better way to enhance your university experience than to study abroad for a semester (or more!) Studying abroad provides you with the unique opportunity to engage with diverse cultures, broadening your perspective beyond your learned cultural background. Italy, with its old-world charm, alluring architecture, and delicious cuisine, is unsurprisingly one of the most popular destinations for American students to study abroad. If Italy has been on your study abroad radar, but you are unsure of which specific city would be the best fit for you, then we are here to break down the best places in Italy to study abroad and what they have to offer.
With its grandiose “Duomo” standing proudly at the heart of the city, Florence exudes a Renaissance-era charm that is intrinsically woven into the fabric of its charming cobblestone streets and lively piazzas. The city was and still is, a haven for artists, and its history with the Renaissance art movement makes you feel as if you’re walking through a living museum. Florence appeals especially to those studying art, architecture, and history. The city also serves as a gateway to neighboring medieval towns like Lucca, Siena, and San Gimignano, making it ideal for day trips. While Florence may seem like a large city due to its tourist appeal, it is actually quite small in size, with a population of under 400,000 inhabitants. In that sense, it's fairly easy to make your way around the city without public transportation but may be too small for those looking to experience the energy of a bustling metropolitan.
Speaking of bustling metropolitans, Italy’s capital city, Rome, is perfect for those looking for an exhilarating blend of ancient Roman history with just a touch of urban chaos! In Rome, you’ll truly never be bored, as this city offers large parks, plenty of tasty food and beverage, and most notably, relics of antiquity at every corner you turn. Rome's central train station, Termini, offers direct connections to cities all across Italy, allowing you to experience the entirety of the Bel Paese during your time studying abroad. However, one thing to keep in mind is that as beautiful as Rome is, its infrastructure is not for the faint of heart! Oftentimes, public transportation is unreliable, and some areas are not well connected all together, making it a bit difficult at times to navigate the city with ease. However, if you’re willing to look past these limitations, then there’s no more invigorating place to be than the Eternal City!
Nestled in the Northern region of Lombardy, Milan stands at the intersection of modernity and historical charm. Milan definitely has more of a contemporary flair than most Italian cities, boasting a state-of-the-art metro system and being a fashion capital pushing out avante-garde looks onto the runway. Fashion students can draw inspiration from the city's streets and browse vintage boutiques for curated haute-couture pieces. Best of all, students looking to pursue their inner wanderlust are situated at the heart of Europe when they make Milan their home base, as countries like France, Switzerland, Austria, and more are just a short distance away by train.
Emily Rascon is from San Diego, California and is currently in the process of completing her Masters in Human Geography through the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. She has always had a passion for traveling and learning new languages, having lived in Germany and now Italy. Emily loves reading books, going hiking, and of course, practicing her Italian! In addition, Emily enjoys creating content on TikTok, where she documents her life abroad and encourages people to find the confidence to pursue their inner wanderlust.