ASU in Florence: Exploring Science Through the Arts

This week’s post focuses on a group of Arizona State University students studying literature and medicine in Florence. When asked about their favorite study abroad moments, the students and faculty gave some truly wonderful responses. We are more than happy to share them below, and wish the students the best of luck as they get settled in back home! This summer, students from Arizona State University traveled to Florence for a program that delved into the fascinating intersection between the arts and sciences. The program, “Exploring Science & Medicine through Art & Literature,” involved an innovative study of both medical and literary subjects, and included many site visits and excursions that fall outside the mainstream tours in the “Capital of the Renaissance.” Among these were the beautiful Museum of Zoology and Natural History (“La Specola”), the Galileo Museum, and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. Of course, a stay in Florence could not be complete without seeing the statue of David crafted by Michelangelo in the Accademia Gallery, as well as the amazing paintings collected in the Uffizi.

Beyond Florence, the ASU students also visited the Museum of Medieval Criminology in San Gimignano, the old civic hospital Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, the Archiginnasio Anatomical Theatre in Bologna, and the Anatomical Wax Museum within the University of Bologna.

In concluding this wonderful program, we thought it would be fun to ask ASU participants what their favorite experience was during their time in Florence.  This is what they said:

  • “Wandering through the streets at sunset with a gelato in hand and a stomach full of pizza!”
  • “Walking across Ponte Vecchio to go to class. Beautiful views!”
  • “Bonding with my roommates. Trying different restaurants and gelato places as well as shopping. My favorite part was the relationships formed while here. Whether we were walking around, eating, or traveling to other cities, it always felt like an adventure in Florence.”
  • “Meeting an Italian girl studying English with her boyfriend one night. She helped me on my Italian, I helped her with her English, and she translated for me and her boyfriend. He was the head cook at a restaurant right down from where I stayed, and he cooked me the best meal I had in Firenze.”
  • “My favorite moment was when the whole group went to see an outdoor concert. The concert was mostly jazz. We all were having a chill night, simply enjoying the Italian night air. It was a slice of the Italian night life that was simply beautiful and enjoyable.”
  • “My favorite experience in Florence was the walking tour of the city. We had actually already been here for about a week, so it was interesting to learn about our surroundings.”
  • “Our first weekend in Florence, everyone in the group walked to Piazzale Michelangelo and sat in the rose garden under an olive tree and did homework and hung out. It was the first time we were all together outside of class and we had a view of all of Florence. It was something I’ll always remember.”
  • “Getting to see David and [Botticelli’s] The Birth of Venus!”
  • “My favorite moments in Florence were walking by the Arno river. I always felt so relaxed and happy by the river. In the morning when the sun was shining just right, or at night with all the lights twinkling on the water.”

The program’s faculty also weighed in:

  • “Learning from, with, and about a group of 13 amazing and insightful members of the ASU student community – and future members of the health care team.”
  • “Watching the expressions of our students when they first saw the David in the Accademia.”

We also asked everyone to describe Florence in three words. This beautiful word cloud shows the most frequently used words in order of size:~Francesca Pannozzo, ACCENT Florence

If you’re faculty or a study abroad office looking to collaborate on a custom program with ACCENT, check out our program design FAQs (link: or contact us for a quote at