Offering endless opportunities to explore Italy's arts, history, and culture, Florence is also small enough to feel at home during our three-week immersion program.

Starting at: $4,990 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Panorama of Florence at dusk  The iconic Duomo of Florence  Palazzo Vecchio in the evening  Michelangelo's <i>David</i>, the centerpiece of the Accademia. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy  Visitors outside the renowned Uffizi Gallery. Credit: John Kellerman/Alamy  Art work at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Credit: Art Kowalsky /  Botticelli's <i>The Birth of Venus</i> in the Uffizi in Florence  The historic Ponte Vecchio  Enjoying the moment in Florence   Enjoying the food market  Taking a break over gelato  Typical scene in the central market in Florence. Credit: LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen Gmbh/Alamy  Traditional foods of Tuscany  Freshly made pasta  Panoramic view of Florence  The Campo in Siena  The facade and distinctive belltower of Siena's cathedral  The hill town of San Gimignano, featuring its many medieval towers

Living in Italy

A Stay in Florence

23 days from $4,990

Offering endless opportunities to explore Italy's arts, history, and culture, Florence is also small enough to feel at home during our three-week immersion program.

or Call 855-330-1542


Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. View Special Air Rates/Services to learn more.

A memorable opportunity awaits solo travelers, couples, and friends eager to live in the famously relaxed and graceful lifestyle of Tuscany while learning about its culture, history, and language. Fulfill your dream of living abroad during a three-week immersion program where you can customize your stay with scheduled activities and personal interests. 

Highlights Include

  • Immersive Stay: Offering endless opportunities to explore Italy's arts, history, and culture, Florence is also small enough that you can feel at home within a very short time. 
  • Excursions, Day Trips, Presentations: Enjoy an architectural walking tour of Florence and tours of the Uffizi and Accademia galleries. Go beyond Florence on day trips to Chianti, Lucca, Siena, Colle di Val d’Elsa, and Cortona. Plus, attend sessions on art and contemporary Italy.
  • Special Enrichment Tracks: Personalize your experience with special enrichment tracks featuring language lessons, cuisine, and art (at an additional cost).
  • A Team of Local Experts: Learn from a variety of local experts who provide insightful presentations on art, history, and culture and join you on select excursions to important local sites.
  • Resident Director: Enjoy the support of an engaging and resourceful resident director who handles logistics and helps you plan your free time.
  • Apart/Hotel: Reside in modern, spacious accommodations at PopArtment, located just outside the city’s historic center. Apartments feature all modern amenities, including WiFi, air-conditioning, and a well-equipped kitchenette, plus a friendly, helpful staff. 

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

2018 Itinerary

Day 1 – Depart the U.S.

Depart the U.S. on your overnight transatlantic flight to Florence, Italy.

Day 2 – Florence, Italy

Arrive Florence and transfer to the PopArtment apartment-hotel in central Florence. After quiet time to relax and unpack, join fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers for a short welcome briefing. Each traveler will receive a one-month city bus pass to use when exploring on your own. This evening, meet new friends at a Smithsonian Journeys welcome reception and dinner at the hotel. (R,D)

Day 3 – Florence

A private breakfast is included this morning at the PopArtment. After breakfast, take a short orientation walk around the hotel’s neighborhood followed by a welcome briefing.  Begin exploring today with a walking tour led by an expert guide. Explore the cradle of the Renaissance with a full day in unforgettable Florence, a World Heritage Site. The tour begins with the façade of Il Duomo and includes churches, palazzi, and libraries commissioned by Cosimo de Medici and highlights the city’s fine art and architecture. See the cupola of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and marvel at the spectacular bronze doors of the Baptistry. Walk to the fabled Arno River to visit the Ponte Vecchio, known for its many gold shops. People watch and have an espresso at a café on the Piazza della Signoria. After seeing the sights, stop for lunch in a popular local trattoria. Get together at the Smithsonian Journeys traveler’s corner this afternoon to visit with new friends and enjoy lively conversation at a café near the hotel. (B,L)

Day 4 – Florence

Breakfast will be served this morning in the hotel. For those who subscribed to the Track #1 Language Option visit to your Italian language school for an orientation of the facilities, a placement review and your first language class. Get together for lunch at a local restaurant. The day is free of planned activities. Your Smithsonian Journeys resident travel director will be in the lobby each day to answer questions, make restaurant recommendations and help with your personal plans. Later this afternoon, attend an informative talk about the Art of the Renaissance. Dinner this evening is served at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 5 – Florence

Track #1 Language Option students depart the hotel for language instruction. If you subscribed to Track #3 Arts and Architecture program visit the interior of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Baptistery, followed by an architectural walking tour through Florence. In late afternoon, attend an engaging lecture on the great masters of the Renaissance. Later, gather for dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 6 – Florence

Track # 1 Language Option participants depart the hotel for language lessons. This morning, for those on the Track # 2 Culinary Option enjoy a market experience and learn how to prepare Italian appetizers and pair them with local wines. Then, enjoy the spread you prepared.

Day 7 – Florence

For those who selected Track #1 Language Option, there’s morning language instruction. Gather for a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon, visit the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David and other remarkable museum collections. Later, join fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner at a local cafe. (L)

Day 8 – Florence / Colle di Val d’Elsa and Siena

A field trip today will take you to the beautiful town of Colle di Val d’Elsa where you’ll have a guided walking tour of the quaint Old Town. After lunch, travel to the World Heritage Site of Siena. Like a crown atop three hills, the stunning city of Siena has remained remarkably unchanged throughout the centuries. Its streets wind through a city of majestic cathedrals, museums, and wonderfully preserved Gothic buildings. See the renowned Piazza del Campo, one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Italy. Admire the 14th-century Torre del Mangia, the stunning bas-reliefs on the Gaia Fountain and the black and gold striped Duomo. (L)

Day 9 – Florence

Today is free of planned activities. Enjoy an aperitif before joining fellow travelers for a wonderful al fresco dinner on the rooftop of the renowned Grand Hotel Baglioni overlooking the Duomo. (D)

Day 10 – Florence / Cortona

Learn about the history of the quintessential Tuscan town of Cortona and discover its many artistic and architectural highlights. Visit the Romanesque Cathedral and visit the engaging Etruscan Museum to see its fascinating collection of artifacts. Lunch will be served in Cortona. This afternoon, meet in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner and enjoy a lively discussion. (L)

Day 11 – Florence

For those who selected Track #1 Language Option, there’s a morning language class. For those enrolled in the Track #3 Art & Architecture Option, you’ll explore Medieval Florence including the Basilicas of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella.

Day 12 – Florence

The day is at leisure so that you can explore and follow your own path. Attend an engaging discussion on current events and life in Italy today. This evening, stop for an aperitivo prior to dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 13 – Florence

Enjoy a morning at leisure. For those who selected Track #1 Language Option, there’s a morning language lesson. For those taking the Track #2 Culinary Option, learn about different types of pasta and try your hand at making the pasta and different types of sauces.

Day 14 – Florence

The morning is free for independent activities. Track # 1 Language Option participants depart the hotel for language lessons. This afternoon, explore the Uffizi Gallery home to the most brilliant art collection in the world. This evening, get together with fellow travelers for dinner at a Florentine pizzeria. (D)

Day 15 – Florence / Chianti and San Gimignano

Between Florence and Siena, you’ll find quiet back roads, lovely hill towns, woodlands, and vineyards. This is home to Italy’s most famous red wine, Chianti. Travel to its heart to visit Castello di Monsanto built in 1750. Taste wines made from handpicked Sangiovese, Canaiolo and other grapes. Learn how the rooster became the symbol of the region and how the area got its name. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Castellina, a delightful hill town. Later, explore the historic hill town of San Gimignano, a World Heritage Site that boasts 14 medieval towers. (L)

Day 16 – Florence

The day is free of planned activities, so let your interests be your guide and explore on your own. For those subscribed to Track #3 Art & Architecture Option, visit Michelangelo Square for a beautiful view over Florence. Next, continue to the Archeological Museum in Fiesole with its Etruscan and Roman artifacts including an Etruscan temple and tombs as well as Roman baths and a very well preserved Roman theatre. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Fiesole.

Day 17 – Florence

Let your passions be your guide, and enjoy a day of personal discovery. Later, join friends in Smithsonian Journeys Traveler’s Corner for a drink and lively conversation.

Day 18 – Florence / Lucca

For those who selected Track #1 Language Option, there’s a morning language class. On an afternoon excursion, travel to historic Lucca, once a fortress with enormous walls in the ancient Roman tradition and very narrow streets. Visit the famous Romanesque Cathedral dating from the 11th-century that showcases a carving, said to be the true portrait of Christ. Dinner will be served at a local restaurant in Lucca. (D)

Day 19 – Florence

This morning there’s a Track #1 Language Option language class. For those subscribed to Track #3 Art & Architecture Option discover the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens. See the Palatine Gallery displaying a wide range of Renaissance and Baroque paintings. Continue to the Royal Apartments, the residence of the Medici, Lorraine and Savoy families. The Boboli Gardens have recently been added to the list of World Heritage Sites. Enjoy the simple pleasure of an Italian lunch with friends today. (L)

Day 20 – Florence

For those who selected Track #1 Language Option, there’s a morning language lesson. If you enrolled in Track #2 Culinary Option, you’ll learn how to make a traditional Italian three-course dinner or cena from antipasto to dolce or dessert.

Day 21 – Florence

For those who selected Track #1 Language Option there’s a morning language class and a Graduation ceremony at the school. Get together for lunch at a local restaurant. This evening, gather in the Smithsonian Journeys travelers corner. (L)

Day 22 – Florence

Spend the day at leisure. Celebrate with new friends and all you have experienced and accomplished at this evening’s Smithsonian Journeys farewell reception and dinner. (R, D)

Day 23 – Depart Florence for your U.S. Gateway City

At the appropriate time, transfer to the Florence Airport to begin your journey home.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)