NECA Study Abroad Italy Programs
Other Programs
with highly-qualified Professors and Licensed Tour Guides
NECA was founded as an American study abroad program. After decades of experience NECA expanded to meet the growing demands of the tourism industry. As an American academic program with a highly-qualified teaching staff, NECA can provide seminars and courses in all fields of study as well as Educational Guided Tours and Alumni Programs for curious travelers. The tours listed below can be developed into seminars and courses. NECA also offers Cooking Classes in Tuscany and crash Courses of Italian and English languages combined with guided visits in Florence to museums and places of interest with flexible scheduling and duration, also for short-term stays. Each meal is a crash course of culinary art, which includes visits to typical Trattorie or typical Restaurants.

The Programs and Tours are created for the curious traveler who wants more than the standard tourist visit. The guided tours are designed by NECA professors as short seminars, illustrating particular subject matters in the city’s history. Each seminar is a walking tour, which includes site visits to the city’s most important museums and monuments. Tours are led by a NECA professor and/or official licensed tour guide. Customized tours and itineraries upon request will be especially designed to satisfy travelers’ curiosity. NECA also provides assistance for accommodation in Florence.


Usual Educational Guided Tours:

:: Guided visits to selected museums in Florence, 2-3 hour tours;

:: Half-day tours and excursions with walking tour and museum visits;
:: Full-day tours and excursions with walking tour, museum visits, and typical Tuscan lunch;
:: Walking Tours in Florence out of the historical center;
Private tours.

:: 6-day Trip in Florence, Italy
-Accommodation for 5 nights;
-Two excursions;
-Two walking tours for curious travelers;
-Three typical Tuscan meals, typically three dinners.
The Programs and Tours are created for the curious traveler who wants more than the standard tourist visit and who wants to live as locals do. The Guided Tours are designed by NECA professors as short seminars, illustrating particular subject matters in the city’s history. Each seminar is composed of walking tours and site visits to the city’s most important museums and monuments. Each meal is a crash course of culinary art, which includes visits to typical Trattorie or typical Restaurants.

:: Introductory Walking Tour
As an introduction to the city, this walking tour focuses on the world-famous sites and monuments that have played a central role in Florence’s history. The tour will cover the city’s political, religious, and artistic developments through the ages. Highlights include: the Cathedral, with Brunelleschi’s landmark dome; Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria; Ponte Vecchio; and Piazza della Repubblica, once site of the city’s ancient Roman forum.
Duration: 3 hours.

:: Masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery
A guided visit through the collection which houses some of the world’s most treasured works of art. The tour outlines the major developments in Italian art from bejewelled Medieval altarpieces to Renaissance mastery of perspective and naturalism, leading up to the drama and grandeur of the seventeenth-century masters. Highlights include works of art by Giotto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Caravaggio. Visitors will also enjoy a roof-top view of Florence from the museum’s terrace overlooking Piazza della Signoria.
Duration: 3 hours (not available on Mondays).

:: Art History: Roots of the Renaissance
This itinerary traces the origins of Renaissance style, from the innovations introduced by Giotto, painter of the late Middle Ages, to the breakthroughs in sculpture and architecture of Brunelleschi and Ghiberti. Highlights of the itinerary include visits to the Basilica of Santa Croce and the Bargello Museum.
Duration: 3 hours or 4 hours.


:: History: Medici Power
The Medici family dominated the city’s politics, society, and cultural life for over 300 years. This itinerary begins with the family’s early fourteenth-century origins as shrewd bankers and traces its history to the Renaissance golden age, and finally its decline in the eighteenth-century. Highlights of the itinerary include the Medici Palace, the Church of San Lorenzo, and Palazzo Vecchio.
Duration: 3 hours or 4 hours.


:: Michelangelo’s Marvels
Michelangelo can be described as the epitome of the Renaissance artist. His works embody the fundamental aspects of Renaissance art and artistic theory. This seminar discusses Michelangelo’s sculpture as well as his contribution to architecture. Highlights of the itinerary include visits to the Academia Gallery to admire the colossal David, the Church of San Lorenzo (the New Sacristy), and Casa Buonarroti.
Duration: 4 hours.

:: Architecture: Architectural Monuments of Florence

The city of Florence is a perfect backdrop for a seminar focusing on architectural styles from the Early Middle Ages to Modern times. This itinerary focuses on important Florentine architectural monuments, which are some of the world’s finest exemplars, to trace the development of architecture. Monuments are placed in their social and historical context, as well as in the history of Western Architecture.

Duration: 3 hours.

:: Urban Development: Florence before the Renaissance, from its Roman Origins to its Medieval development
A fifteenth-century Florentine legend claimed that the city’s Baptistery was built on the foundations of an ancient Roman temple dedicated to Mars, the god of war and ancient protector of the city. Florentines, proud of their ancient republican origins, fostered this myth. Today, no architectural evidence exists to bring any truth to this myth, nonetheless traces of Florence’s Roman past can still be seen in the city. This itinerary begins with the foundation of Florentia, the Roman settlement of 59 b.C., and discusses the city’s history to the Middle Ages. Learn about the growth of the city, the building of the city walls and bridges, imposing tower houses, and the earliest Florentine residential palazzos
Duration: 3 hours.

:: Literature and Humanities: Dante’s Florence
Florentines refer to Dante as “The Supreme Poet.” His epic poem, The Comedy, labeled “Divine” by Boccaccio, is not only a masterpiece of world literature, but also the work that helped to establish the Tuscan dialect as the standardized Italian language spoken today. Although he was sent into exile by his fellow citizens, Dante is still cherished by Florentines as a hero of sorts. Strolling through the city one can see plaques with quotes from his Divine Comedy adorning various landmarks in the city. This itinerary is a walk through the city of Dante’s time, with visits to important monuments and landmarks.
Duration: 2 hours.

:: This is Florence. A walking tour with a view and a real taste of Florence

Begin your visit to Florence with a spectacular introduction. Climb to the top one of the hills surrounding the city and enjoy an incredible view over town. Take in breath-taking sites like the magnificent dome of the Cathedral, the city’s bell towers, bridges, and ancient city walls from Piazzale Michelangelo. Then continue up to the very top to visit one of the oldest churches in town, San Miniato (1,016 a.C.), where an active community of Benedictine monks performs Gregorian chants and runs a monastic pharmacy. Here you can buy their delicacies (like tarts, chocolate and lemon cakes, strudel, and various biscuits), artistic candles in beeswax, herbal products, and gift items such as ceramics, sacred images, and magnets, all handcrafted in the workshops of the monastery.

We then begin our descent towards the center of town with a stop in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in town, San Niccolò, where we will enjoy happy hour as the locals do. Possibility to sample local wines and savory appetizers at a local wine bar.

Sites: Lungarno, Piazzale Michelangelo, San Miniato, San Niccolò, Ponte Vecchio

Meeting Point: Piazza Giuseppe Poggi

Duration: 1.5 hours

:: Sinners and Saints: Tales of Florence. A walk through the history of Florence
The magnificent squares and landmarks of Florence become the backdrop for tales of divine intervention and saintly deeds, but also scandalous plots, murder, and intrigue during this guided walking tour through the city. See the city in a whole different light as you stroll down its streets and explore its famed monuments on this journey into its Medieval past and Renaissance golden age. Learn about the history of Florence and the lives of its illustrious inhabitants. Enjoy marvelous sites and stunning views over the Arno.
Beginning at Piazza del Duomo, under the shadow of Brunelleschi’s imposing dome, hear the legend of how the city was spared from imminent siege through divine intervention and how the city’s inhabitants showed their gratitude. Then plunge into the world of the influential Medici family as the stories of their rise to power and conspiracy unfold as you pass through their Renaissance stomping ground. Discover how an image believed to work miracles helped to transform a grain market into a church that later fueled an incredible production of Renaissance sculpture by the city’s famed masters like Donatello. Continue the journey with a walk through the Medieval quarter of Dante, the ultimate storyteller, and discover how his tales of sinners in his epic poem became the means of his revenge on his political enemies. Then step into Piazza della Signoria, where all the grandeur of Medici power is on display. See the spot where a charismatic Dominican preacher with a thirst for power was burnt at the stake. The tour ends at the landmark Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River, the city’s lifeline. Learn how it helped transform the city into a bustling industrial and financial capital but also how its ragging flood waters menaced the population over the centuries.
Sites: Duomo, Palazzo Medici, San Lorenzo, Piazza della Republica, Orsanmichele, Dante’s House, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio
Meeting Point: Piazza del Duomo
Duration: 2 hours

:: The Making of a Renaissance Genius: Michelangelo’s Florence. Tales of an extraordinary artists told tracing his footsteps.
Dive into the world of the Florentine Renaissance with a stroll through the streets where a rebellious son of a prominent notary challenged the restraints of his well-to-do society to go on to become one of the world’s greatest artists. Learn about the remarkable life of Michelangelo as you see the sites and squares that played a part in his exceptional development as the epitome of the Renaissance genius. Hear the tales and stories that transformed Michelangelo into legend in his own lifetime. Join us for a guided walk through the city to uncover the sources of Michelangelo’s early inspiration. We begin with Michelangelo’s early career, when he joins the workshop of Ghirlandaio, eminent fresco artist of Florence’s wealthy elite. Admire the frescoes of a stunning Renaissance chapel and learn about the fresco technique. Then the tour continues through the streets of Florence to uncover works of Michelangelo’s forerunners and sources of his inspiration. Learn how Michelangelo’s witty resourcefulness as a young sculptor caught the attention of Lorenzo the Magnificent, banker and leader of the Medici family, but also poet and extraordinary art collector and patron of the arts. Discover how Michelangelo managed to turn a block of marble that lay abandoned in a courtyard for over 25 years into a masterpiece, hear the incredible story behind the colossal David. Then explore the neighborhood of Santa Croce, Michelangelo’s childhood home and final resting place.
Sites:     Santa Trinita, Orsanmichele, Palazzo Medici, San Lorenzo, Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce, 
Meeting Point: Piazza Santa Trinita

Duration: 2 hours



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