Florence on My Mind

Florence, Italy is teeming with rich art and history, including NYU’s Florence Academic Center. Archita Arun, Class of 2020 shares her experience. 

Archita Arun, Class of 2020.

Think Florence in Italy, and images of renaissance artwork and museums naturally come to mind. For my January Term (J-Term) class Museum History, Theory, and Practice, my classmates and I navigated through Florence to learn about its complex history as liberal arts students. 

Visiting one or two museums a day, we often met with curators and directors of art collections, allowing us to contextualize the city’s historical artefacts, paintings, sculptures and objects.

I investigated seminal artworks from renaissance masters like Michaelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and Botticelli, and used my museum visits as visual research for my Capstone project that deals with the installation and documentation practices. 

Villa La Pietra

Villa La Pietra, NYU Florence. Image from Villa La Pietra

It wasn't just the city that seeped with heritage — Villa La Pietra, our classroom in Florence, did too. Villa La Pietra is one of NYU’s fourteen Global Network of academic centers.

Besides being our classroom, Villa La Pietra also serves as a museum that displays the Acton Collection of more than 6,000 objects from early Italian panel paintings, to Flemish tapestries, and Baroque furniture. We were fortunate to also be given a behind-the-scenes tour on the functioning museum spaces and historical significance of the villa by Francesca Baldry, the Collection manager.

There is one tip I can offer to better prepare students for the intensive few weeks in Italy — have a gelato. A gelato a day, keeps the stress at bay!