Pre-College at CET Florence:
Italian Food, Art, and Society

Epic Summer. College Courses. Lifelong Impact.

Dive into Italian culture. Collaborate on a creative project. Experience magical Florence.

Florence—the cradle of the Renaissance, a source of inspiration for creative minds throughout history, and the perfect access point to explore Italian food, art, and society. Expert professors will help you study local art, architecture, and politics, dabble in Italian cuisine, and even travel to learn how the Palio horse race has influenced Sienese society and culture. After three in-depth modules, you’ll choose a topic that piques your curiosity and design a project to present to your peers—an experience that will prime you for college-level studies.

Begin Your Experience AbroadApply Now

arrival date
departure date
program length
recommended credits
application deadline
Summer 06/20/2019 07/20/2019 4 Weeks 4 $6,390
What’s Included
None March 31

Your transcript will come from the University of Florence, with a CET cover letter.

Classroom Meets City. Hands-On Learning.

  • Take a cooking class focused on a regional menu
  • Visit a farmer’s market and interact with the merchants
  • Examine Renaissance art at a museum with your professor
  • Tour an olive oil farm and production facility
  • Attend a contrada (neighborhood) meal with your host family


Conversational Italian

You are placed into one of these courses:

LANG 105 Beginning Conversational Italian
1 credit | 15 hours

Offered at the beginning level and includes supporting vocabulary for success in the core course. Classes incorporate activities outside the classroom to practice language skills.

LANG 205 Italian Language Tutorial
1 credit | 15 hours

If you have any previous Italian experience, you will have an individual tutorial customized to suit your language level.

Core Course

ITLS 125 Introduction to Contemporary Italy: Food, Art, and Society
3 credits | 45 hours

In this course, you’ll examine Italian culture through dedicated modules on food, art, and society, each of which is central to the national identity. Classroom study is enhanced by excursions and site visits. Then, you’ll choose one of the topic areas for a project (group or individual) to present to the rest of the class.

This course will cover:

  • Italian culture and lifestyle
  • Renaissance art and space
  • Purpose of family meals in Italian culture
  • Calcio storico, a predecessor to football
  • Design of Italian Piazzas
  • Role of soccer in Italian life
  • Regional cuisines of Tuscany, Sicily, and Piedmont
  • Siena and the Palio horse race

Your Home Base in Florence

Florence, or Firenze, frequently tops lists of the world’s most beautiful cities, and past CET students would agree with that. Whether you’re strolling alongside the Arno River with a cup of gelato in hand, or simply commuting to the CET center from your apartment, practically everything is worthy of a photo. Take a group hike to Piazzale Michelangelo and take in the panoramic city views from above. Check off all the museums on your bucket list. Practice your Italian with the barista at your neighborhood café. Play bocce in the park.

Housing & Meals

You’ll live in a shared apartment with other students and a group leader, a short walk away from the CET center. Most meals will be taken with the group in local cafes and restaurants, or put your culinary skills to the test and cook in the apartment.


Your courses are held at the CET Center located in the historic city center of Florence. The spacious center features six classrooms, a small library, a student lounge, and computer labs.

Out and About

  • Visit museums like Uffizi, the Accademia, or Boboli Garden to take in art from some of the greatest minds of all time.
  • Meet up with Italian students for a pickup soccer game.
  • Explore the medieval city of Siena and learn about the world-famous Palio horse race.
  • See a movie at an outdoor cinema in a piazza.

Experience the Palio in Siena

On the surface, the Palio is a world-famous horse race where the city’s 17 contrade (neighborhoods) compete to take home first prize. But it’s so much more than that—it’s the culmination of centuries of Sienese pride in their contrada, their city, and their traditions. As a CET student, you’ll spend 6 days steeped in Sienese culture with your cohort. Go on a walking tour to learn about the race’s influence on the city. Attend a pre-Palio dinner in a local contrada. See the parade, then watch the race in Piazza del Campo. You can’t dive into Italian society and culture without experiencing the Palio.


A Typical Day in Florence

8:00 am: Meet with your cohort and group leader to go over the day’s schedule and themes.

8:30 am: Grab a cappuccino and pastry at your favorite café along the Arno river.

9:00 am: Italian! Learn new vocab related to buying vegetables and how to ask for the best olive oil.

10:00 am: Dive deep into the importance of food and meals in Italian family life and culture.

12:30 pm: Pizza and study hall – review your vocab from this morning and practice how to order four different types of pasta.

2:00 pm: Visit a famous farmers market and order all the ingredients you need to cook tonight’s meal – Pasta anyone?

4:00 pm: Make a tough decision: Stop by your favorite piazza to watch an impromptu ballet performance or head to the nearby café to catch a calcio (soccer) game on TV—which team are you rooting for?

6:30 pm: Group dinner at the apartment—did last week’s cooking class make an impact?

8:00 pm: Grab a late-night gelato before turning in.

9:00 pm: Group meeting to discuss and reflect upon cultural differences you’ve noticed between the US and Italy. Review tomorrow’s schedule.

Full-Time, Bilingual, On-Site Staff

Emiliana Caldarelli
A native Italian, Emiliana earned a Laurea in Political Science in 1996 and a Post Graduate Master in Mediterranean Studies and Islamic Finance in 2013 from the University of Florence. In 1994, during her graduate studies, she was awarded a scholarship from Rutgers University in New Jersey where she conducted a research study about the financing of political campaigns. After returning to Italy, her work has focused on educating American students in Italy. She served as coordinator for the Rutgers Study Abroad Program in Florence, and from 1997 until 2002, taught classes on Italian culture, politics and history in US university programs in Florence such as Rutgers Junior Year in Florence, Richmond College, Portland Community College and University of San Diego-Law School. Emiliana has been involved with the CET programs in Italy since their inception. She began as the CET Siena Resident Director (2001-2003), continued as the CET Florence Resident Director (2003-2004), and has served as Italy Programs Director since 2004.

Emiliana Caldarelli

Director of Italy Programs

Anna DiBiase
Anna received a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in 2006 and an MA in Italian Language and Linguistics from the Middlebury College School in Florence, Italy in 2007. She is an Italian-American dual citizen and has spent many years studying and working in Italy, with Georgetown University where she served as the Resident Coordinator, with The Institute at Palazzo Rucellai where she served as the Housing Coordinator, and with CET, where she has served as Resident Director for the Siena Program and Academic Director for Academic Affairs. Anna adores her adopted country and all of the opportunities that it has afforded her.

Anna DiBiase

Assistant Director for Academic Affairs

Flight Estimate

Summer airfare tends to be between $1,300-$1,700 on average.


$6,390/ Term

On Site Expenses

Students typically spend about 300 EUR on personal expenses while abroad.

What's Included

Courses & Textbooks

Every course you take on the program is included in your tuition. We even supply the textbooks, too.

Activities & Excursions

The activities & excursions that we arrange are included in your tuition. All you need to do is grab your camera.


We arrange your housing in an apartment with other students and plenty of resident staff nearby.

All Meals

All of your meals are covered by tuition. Special dietary needs? We’ll help you accommodate those, too.

Supervision and Staff Support

We are your support network. From pre-departure questions to academic support to emergency management, we’ve got your back.

Medical Insurance

Comprehensive medical insurance that includes medical evacuation coverage is included in your tuition.


We’ll send you an official transcript at the end of the program…the icing on the cake of your college applications.

Scholarships and Financial Aid AvailableLearn More

Application Requirements

CET seeks motivated high school students interested in a fun and challenging summer experience. The online admissions process includes submission of an application form including short essays, an official high school transcript, and one letter of recommendation from a teacher. CET advisors are available to help choose the program that will be the best fit for you. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the final deadline of March 31. Students are generally expected to have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Apply early to ensure space is available in your first-choice program.

What's Not Included

The program fee does not include round-trip transportation to & from Italy, items & services of a personal nature, and medical expenses not covered by the insurance provided.

Price Subject to Change

CET reserves the right to increase quoted charges at any time without prior notification, based on increased instruction costs, exchange rate fluctuation or other cost increases beyond CET’s control. This right includes, but is not limited to, surcharging students for additional costs incurred due to under-enrollment in any given course.