Studio Art Centers International (SACI) was founded in 1975 to create a complete program in Florence for students seeking excellence in studio art and liberal arts instruction at the university level. In 1976, SACI was incorporated as a US non-profit 501 c (3) educational institution. In 1999, SACI acquired the Palazzo dei Cartelloni, a Baroque building in the center of Florence that is a few steps from Michelangelo's Medici Chapel, the Laurentian Library, and the bustle of the Mercato Centrale.
This palazzowhich recent scholarship indicates was the home of Francesco Del Giocondo, whose wife was the subject of Leonardo da Vincis Mona Lisaprovides highly dynamic and exciting surroundings for study. The palace was rebuilt in the 17th century, and commemorates the achievements of Galileo. It is a landmark building, with light-filled interiors, which includes, in addition to classrooms and studios, an art gallery that leads to SACIs Italian garden. More classroomsand graduate studiosare in SACIs Jules Maidoff Palazzo for the Visual Arts, a spacious Renaissance palazzo, just two blocks from Florences majestic Duomo and down the street from the newly refurbished Library of the Oblate.
SACI's ownership of these two inspiring buildings in Florences historic center enables the school to fulfill its mission of providing art students with unique and incomparable facilities. SACI is recognized as one of the leading overseas institutions in the areas of studio art, art history, art conservation, design, and Italian language and culture. Our long experience in the field of overseas education has led us to develop the programs which are described here. Separate materials are available which give more detailed information about our graduate and scholarship programs (see SACIs web site: the course of the year, students in SACI classes visit, among other places, Rome, Milan, Lucca, Arezzo, Bologna, Carrara, Assisi, Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Faenza, Urbino, and Pietrasantaas well as the major museums, churches, and monuments of Florence, Tuscany, and surrounding areas. In addition, students in studio art, art history, and art conservation classes participate in field trips to artists' studios, private collections, galleries, art fairs, professional designers' studios, and manufacturers of Italian design products. SACI students have access to modern art collections, research libraries, and contemporary art museums. Optional trips are offered to Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Venice. Over mid-term break, optional week-long trips have been offered to Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne, Malta, or, as graduate workshops, to Belgrade, Geneva, Havana, and London.
SACI makes available to students detailed information regarding a wide range of travel, sport, and cultural activities in Italy. For students of art conservation, there is the unique opportunity to participate hands-on in the conservation of works on site in Florence owing to a special cultural arrangement between SACI and the Soprintendenza per i beni artistici e culturali. SACI's library, with over 12,000 volumes, is specifically designed for use by students enrolled in SACI classes; it consists of a growing collection of books, periodicals, slides, CDs, and videos. Additionally, complete art history bibliographies are available to help students locate books and materials in other Florentine libraries to which our students have access. All SACI students are permitted to use the documentation centers at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Prato, the British Institute library, the Biblioteca Nazionale, and the Library of the Oblate. SACI has an Artist-in-Residence Program, which enables our students to work with major international artists, and an Artists Council with artists who facilitate diverse initiatives. Each year, SACI features in its gallery a number of major exhibitions. SACI also hosts an evening lecture series. Speakers include artists, art historians, conservators, museum directors, curators, critics, and scholars specializing in art and the humanities.
Additional evening activities include life drawing sessions, film screenings, and courses on Italian culture and cuisine. SACI symposia have included recent forums on the restoration by SACI conservation students of Florences Santa Maria degli Angeli chapel and an international forum, featuring David Hockney, on Caravaggios and other artists use of optical devices and innovative painting techniques. SACI's extensive language program includes unique features. In our Italian Language Exchange Partner Program, students are introduced to a selected group of Italian students and young professionals who accompany their SACI partners to interesting local events and activities. SACI has a wide-ranging volunteer program. An interesting part of this program is the artwork made by our students in the hospitals through an agreement made with the local health authorities. Working with the doctors and nurses, students have decorated the Oncological Departments and emergency facilities in hospitals (more information about student volunteering and community service is on the SACI web site: For over thirty-five years, SACI has proved to be a stimulating environment for the serious student of art, art history, art conservation, design, and Italian language and cultural studies. Many of our alumni attribute their professional success to their time at SACI. If you are seeking a creative, challenging, and rewarding Italian study program, SACI is the right choice for you.
SACI is a directly accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). SACI is affiliated with Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio, which is accredited by NASAD and by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
SACI Support Staff
There is a complete student assistance staff at SACI who do an outstanding job. The staff includes a Dean who deals with all student problems, a Registrar, housing officers, and staff for all emergencies. SACI also has a 24-hour emergency phone system.
Through SACI's integration into Italian society, a full range of English-speaking medical doctors and consultants are available. SACI is also in direct contact with the security officers at the US Consulate in Florence.
SACI encourages students to buy or rent cell phones as an easy and affordable way to keep in touch with friends and family both here in Florence and back at home. Students can often sell back or turn in their phones at the end of their stay, or sell them to another student. Locations, rates and offers change quickly, but this information should help you get started.
When buying or renting a phone, many students choose one with a pre-paid card (scheda telefonica ricaricabile). Every time you make a call, money will be deducted from the card until it is used up. You can then recharge it before your credit runs out by buying another pre-paid card from a bar or cell phone dealer. You can also set up a billing contract, and the store that sells or rents to you will explain its system and fees.
There are different kinds of phones you can buy: e.g., Omnitel, TIM, 3, and Wind. Although all phones should be able to make and receive international phone calls, you might want to double check with the vendor your ability to communicate internationally before buying or renting the phone. In general, it does not cost anything to receive calls within Italy on these cell phones.
Cell Phone Dealers
Following is a selection of the many cell phone stores in Florence. Visit their web sites or stores, compare prices and customer service, and take your pick.
Money Transactions With advances in technology, it is easier than ever to do banking worldwide. You should be able to do most transactions easily while abroad, provided you inform your home bank that you will be overseas, and set up your account accordingly. Different banking options will be covered during Orientation, but you will NOT have to set up a bank account in Florence. If you have any questions particular to your situation, speak to someone in the Administrative Office.
Before leaving, find out if your bank has a website, or put your account online to keep close tabs on activity. It is also good to get a number for assistance from your bank that is not a 1-800 number since many 1-800 numbers cannot be called from overseas. Remember to budget extra money for emergencies! A good way to budget is by arranging a monthly deposit into your ATM account.
Students planning their budgets should allow approximately $1000 a month for food, supplies, and personal expenses (based on the current rate of exchange and particular needs). English-Speaking Doctors If you have a medical condition that we should be aware of (including allergies to medicines), please inform the Dean. You can always speak to the Dean about any personal problems you may be experiencing. Professional counselors who speak English can also be recommended. The US government has a website with a list of English speaking doctors and medical facilities in Florence http://italy.usembassy.gov/acs/professionals/doctors/doctors-florence.asp.
ON FOOT - Since Florences center is dense and closely packed with fascinating things, you can easily get around on foot. In fact, youll probably want to, since its the best way to meet people, explore quaint little sidestreets, and see the culture face-to-face. A good map is a useful idea at first. SACI provides students in SACI housing with one in the orientation packet. You may also want to pop into a major bookstore to purchase a larger one. Open the map first to make sure youre getting everything you want the best maps have a street index.
BIKES - Having a bike is a great way to get around town. The city of Florence has a new service that loans bicycles for free to the city's youth. All you have to do is get a Carta Giò card, the city's new student card, at Palazzo Giovane, in Vicolo S. Maria Maggiore 1. Carta Giò gives students an array of discounts throughout the city. For a complete list of stores, theaters, etc. that give student discounts, see http://portalegiovani.comune.fi.it/cartagiovani/convenzioni_public_list.phpThe hours for getting a bike are: Mondays and Fridays from 10am to 12am, and Thursdays from 3pm to 5pm.
Florence has another municipal bike rental service called "Mille e una bici" (A Thousand and One Bicycles). Using a bicycle to get around Florence is easy. The city has over 63 kilometers of bicycle paths and most of the city center is off-limits to cars. You can rent a bicycle from one pick up point and turn it in at another. There are various rental options (depending if you are a city resident, whether you also have a bus pass, etc), but the most common one is for tourists and non-residents and costs 1.50 an hour, 4 for 5 hours, or 8 a day. Pick up points are at the Central train station, Campo di Marte train station, Piazza Santa Croce, and Piazza Annigoni (near Sant'Ambrogio). For more information about bike paths and rental fees, you can download a pdf of the city's informative flyer.
BUS SERVICE (ATAF) - Florences bus system spreads a huge network over the city, and buses run frequently. You can get to or near any location simply by using the bus. Especially useful are the small buses A, B, C, and D, which never leave the historical center of town, so you can use them to get just about anywhere you need, and you will never be carried too far from home! Bus stops are marked by large orange signs (FERMATA) indicating which buses stop there. Some lines run only during the day, but night buses (indicated on the signs in black) often take over their routes. You may find yourself taking one number in the morning and another at night!
Bus Tickets - You can buy bus tickets at most bars, magazine stands, or shops with an orange ATAF sticker. There is also an ATAF ticket booth at the train station that sells all types of tickets. Standard tickets are valid for 90 minutes. Once stamped, these tickets give you 90 minutes to use as much of the bus system as you wish. You can also buy four-trip tickets, or tickets good for 24 hours, three days, or other time periods. These tickets are all available at the ATAF booth at the train station.
Bus Passes - It is very convenient to purchase a bus pass. If you want to obtain a pass that will enable you to ride buses at less expense throughout your stay in Florence, bring your SACI I.D. passport, and one passportsize photo of yourself to the ATAF bus companys main locati on at Piazza Stazione (Piazza Adua side, tel. 055 5650642), which is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am-7:30 pm and Saturday from 7:30 am-1:30 pm. You will be asked to fi ll in a form with the exact numbers of the buses youll need to ride to reach SACI from your apartment. Youll only be allowed to use this card on those bus lines.
Bus Hours - Since each bus has its own schedule, you can go to the ATAF booth on the northern side of the train station and pick up printed schedules for your particular bus number. Schedules are free; you should also get holiday listings.
TRAM SERVICE - Work on the first of three Florence tram lines has recently been completed. You can now catch Sirio, Florences tram, just outside Florences Santa Maria Novella train station, and take TramVia Line 1 to the Cascine Park and to other stops along the Arno as far as the Florence suburb of Scandicci. The tram leaves Santa Maria Novella stati on every 8 minutes and takes 23 minutes, stopping at 14 stati ons along a 7.4 km route, to reach Villa Costanza in Scandicci. The costs and tickets are the same as for Florence buses. As when riding the bus, dont forget to stamp your ticket once youre on board the tram. TAXIS Taxis can be quite expensive. However, they are also one of the only ways to get home if youre out past bus hours and far away. Going in groups is one way to cut the cost, but night ti me rates include an extra fee.
Many organisations offer scholarships or grants. Some of these might help you to study for a Master at Studio Art Centers International!