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Studiare All'estero in Italia

As part of the Beacon in Tuscany cohort, you’ll experience an unforgettable opportunity to study in the cradle of the Renaissance. Each semester’s coursework is organized around a central theme with instruction provided by both Beacon faculty and local educators and experts. Students live and study in the heart of this medieval city with regular trips to various historic and contemporary sites of interest.


Living in Prato, the third largest city in Central Italy, offers you a chance to be in the heart of Italian life and learn about history at your fingertips. The Etruscans had a settlement in Prato which the Romans used for commerce, and the current town dates to the 10th century. Prato was a notable center for the textile industry from the Middle Ages through the Industrial Revolution. In Prato, you’ll be able to explore the imposing 13th-century Castello dell’Imperatore — built for Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Sicily, and King of Jerusalem — visit significant churches — including the cathedral, which was built in the 10th century and added to over hundreds of years — and walk to several museums including one dedicated to the textile industry.

Living and Learning

Students reside at the Hotel Giardino, a 19th-century hotel seated at the foot of Monte Retaia, facing the central Piazza del Duomo (cathedral square). It is a two-minute walk to the Prato Porta al Serraglio railway station. Hotel staff is always present in the reception area near the front door. There is also a lounge area in the lobby and a large room with tables for quiet study. The included meal plan allows access to 25 restaurants in Prato.

Extra Curricular Activities

Students are invited to exercise their curiosity by exploring the shops and sights of Prato and by interacting with local staff. As part of the “Travel in Tuscany” course, students will participate in guided weekday excursions that facilitate a more immersive experience. During weekends and breaks, students may also travel to other parts of Italy and Europe.

Excursions Have Included 

  • The Villa Rucellai, a 16th-century country estate still occupied by descendants of the original family and hosting a working olive oil factory
  • Pistoia, a small medieval walled city known for its ancient ironworks and recognized as the 2017 Cultural Capital of Italy
  • Medici villas throughout Tuscany
  • Viareggio, a seaside town
  • Fiesole, the town that figures in E.M. Forster’s “A Room with a View,” the site of an Etruscan settlement, and training center for ancient Roman prognosticators
  • Venice
  • Rome
  • Lucca, another medieval, walled city on the site of an ancient Etruscan settlement and hosting architecturally significant Roman ruins
  • Pisa
  • Siena
  • Florence (several trips)

Learn More About Study Abroad

To learn more about class credits for study abroad opportunities, contact Dr. Kevin Reilly at kreilly@beaconcollege.edu.