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Studio Art Centers International (SACI)

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year


Florence, Italy




2.75 GPA and in good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Fall 3/4, Spring 9/24, Summer 3/4

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

sky line

SACI is the oldest and most prestigious American art school in Florence. The institution was founded in 1975 by painter Jules Maidoff, whose goal was to offer the finest and most challenging training to the next generation of artists, art historians, and art conservators, as well as the opportunity to live out a full, first-hand immersion within Florentine culture and customs.

SACI's mission is to provide a unique, life-enhancing study abroad experience in the center of Florence for Students of both traditional and contemporary studio arts and design by offering:
• Direct access to centuries of Florentine and Italian culture;
• A wide range of art and design studio and complementary academic courses of outstanding quality;
• The opportunity to be part of an institution engaged in leading areas of research and exploration;
• The unparalleled opportunity to interact with the Florentine community through a variety of social and humanitarian programs.

Academic Program

Duomo at night

The student body is comprised of students enrolled at US universities and at institutions in other countries. In both Fall and Spring, a student can enroll in five classes for a total of 15 credits. During these terms advanced students may be eligible to take a directed independent study or traineeship in a design firm, museum, or gallery. As part of their classes, SACI students often create artwork for local hospitals and human rights organizations, and restore major art treasures that are a part of Italy’s cultural heritage. Outside of class, student volunteers can teach English at elementary schools, serve as English-language museum guides, and assist at human rights agencies.

In addition to visiting many famous Italian cities over the course of the year, students use a museum pass provided by SACI to visit Florentine museums and historic sites. Students visit artists’ and designers’ studios, private collections, galleries, art fairs, and theaters. They have access to modern and historic art collections, research libraries, and contemporary art museums.

Academic Year and Semester Abroad Program students enjoy many opportunities to exhibit their artwork in SACI’s two galleries. The Academic Year Abroad culminates in a major end-of-year student exhibition which serves as an opportunity for students to display their work also to the Florentine public.

Students studying abroad at SACI can take coursework in the following disciplines:
• Two-dimensional Area
• Three-dimensional
• Multidisciplinary Studio
• Photography and Media
• Design Area
• Art History, Museology, Cinema Studies
• Art Conservation
• Italian Language
• Creative Writing
• Craft Arts Area

Specific course listings can be found here (note: courses vary from term to term): SACI Courses

Embedded, Credit-Bearing Internships

SACI offers credit-bearing internships that can be completed alongside other coursework during the Fall and Spring semesters in the following fields: Museology Internship, Design Internship

Some internships require Italian proficiency, some do not. Please consult SACI and the webpage for more details.

Cultural Activities and Excursions

Field trips throughout Tuscany and elsewhere in Italy are an integral and deeply rewarding part of the SACI overseas study experience. Students will be attending the field trips that are scheduled in classes in which they are enrolled, as well as field trips that are open to all enrolled students. Tuition includes all required class field trips and museum entrances.

Some of the numerous sites typically visited by SACI students include Venice, Rome, Milan, Naples, Bologna, Pisa, Lucca, Ravenna, Siena, Fiesole, San Gimignano, Arezzo, San Sepolcro, Monterchi, Assisi, Urbino, Tivoli, Hadrian’s Villa, the Certosa di Galluzzo, Vinci, Faenza, Pietrasanta, and Carrara. See the Downloads section of the website for a list of required and optional field trips each term.

Program Dates

Dates for SACI vary by semester. In general, the Fall semester begins in early September and ends in late December, the Spring semester begins in early January and ends in late April, the Late Spring session begins mid-May and ends in late June, and the Summer session begins in late June and ends in late July. For exact dates, please check SACI's term dates.

For More Information About Study Abroad

Amy Bowes, Advisor
The University of Iowa
Office for Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242-1802

Phone: 319-335-0353


ponte vechhio

The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence (Firenze) is possibly the most beautifully preserved and artistically rich city in the world. Here, artistic treasures and architectural masterpieces of the past blend with ancient streets lined with elegant boutiques, peaceful parks, streetside cafes offering steaming hot expresso and fresh biscotti, unforgettable dining establishments and breathtaking views at every turn. Set in a valley on the banks of the Arno, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, Florence (Firenze) is one of the best-known and best-loved cities of the world. Striking buildings, treasure-filled galleries and ancient churches attest to the nature of the Florentines to proudly display their riches for all to enjoy. With the historical part of the city largely contained in a small area, many of the places to visit can be reached easily on foot where pedestrians often mingle between the popular mopeds dashing through the city streets. - See more at:


Aside from the unending, tangible history in Italy, the nation has beyond remarkable landscapes which bring any visit to an entirely new level. You can go skiing in the Alps, visit Roman ruins and Greek temples, or explore the Grand Canal in Venice.

As one of the world's best-loved destinations, Italy is also the land of la dolce vita meaning "the sweet life". After an adventure tourists can unwind, relax, and be pampered by staying at one Italy’s high end spas or simply enjoy Italy's sophisticated dining pleasures, such as family-owned places where you can experience real Italian cooking.

People and Culture

Despite its rich and magnificent art and architecture, there's no reason to be intimidated. Italian people are very hospitable and are rarely indifferent. Hundreds of local festivals take place across the country in any given day to celebrate a saint or a local harvest, including the daily domestic ritual of passeggiata, a collective evening stroll celebrated by the young and old alike in towns and villages across the country. If there is one special national characteristic Italians are known for, it's that they know how to live life to the fullest.

Living Arrangements

View of Florence

SACI apartments are fully furnished and allow students to live independently. All apartments have bathrooms and kitchens, and are fully equipped with stoves, refrigerators, heat, and hot water. The SACI accommodation fee includes reasonable utilities usage and an administrative fee. SACI apartments differ in style, furnishings and amenities. Although most have been recently renovated, there is no way to standardize student apartments - some are in buildings which date back to the Renaissance and others are only a few decades old. Please note that none of the student apartments have telephones. Students can arrange for private portable cellular phone rentals if their budgets allow. Wifi is provided in all SACI apartments. All UI students are required to use SACI housing.

More information about SACI's housing can be found here:SACI Housing Information

Travel Arrangements

Participants will make their own travel arrangements to Florence, taking advantage of any frequent-flyer options and/or internet specials available to them. The cost of travel is not included in the program fee. Within Florence and around Italy, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Italians are also very used to walking, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes!


A mandatory pre-departure orientation will be held for all Iowa students attending SACI. The orientation will discuss the Credit Approval Form, visa information, and registration. In addition, a student returnee from SACI will be on hand to address questions students have about life in Florence, what to pack, classroom structure, etc.

SACI students are also required to complete the mandatory online Study Abroad orientation distributed through ICON prior to departure. Optional pre-departure sessions are available as well. Past topics have included: First-Time Solo Flyers, Packing, and Traveling in Europe. Information will be emailed directly to students and past information can be accessed here: Prepare for Departure.


This program is open to students in good academic and disciplinary standing with a GPA of 2.75 or higher. You must remain in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university until departure. If you are not in good standing at the end of the semester your acceptance will be revoked and you will be responsible for the associated withdrawal fees.

Program Cost Sheet

SACI Summer 2017 Cost SheetPDF
SACI Spring 2017 Cost Sheet

These documents outline the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill, as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship Opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.

Scholarships are also available directly through SACI. More information can be found on their website.

Withdrawal policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to University of Iowa Study Abroad. The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which your costs will be calculated. If for any reason you withdraw after the confirmation deadline and before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what you will be required to pay to the University of Iowa.

Full Payment Dates

• Fall, August 1
• Spring, December 1
• Late Spring, April 15
• Summer, May 30

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
Within the first nine days after the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
Portion of course fee: $500
After FULL PAYMENT DATE Passes Administrative fee: $400
Portion of course fee: 75%
On or After the first day of the term Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of course fee: 100%

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

How to Apply

SACI Application

Steps to Completing Your Application

• Complete the SACI Advisor Form and bring it with you to your meeting with the Study Abroad advisor
• Schedule an appointment to meet with Study Abroad advisor by calling 319.335.0353
• Fill out Iowa Study Abroad Application
• Fill out SACI's Application.

Application Deposit

Notice: Students will pay a $500 program deposit directly to SACI to complete the application process. This deposit goes towards the total cost of the program and is not an additional expense.

A Note About Summer Applications

For the Summer Term, this program has late spring, summer, and late spring & summer options. In the UI online application under “Offering” you will be asked to choose between “Codes” A, B, or AB.

Code A= Late Spring

Code B= Summer

Code AB= Late Spring & Summer Sessions

Please be careful to choose the correct session that corresponds to the dates you wish to be abroad. If you need help with this, please consult your study abroad advisor.


Acceptance is made by SACI directly via an email to you, at that time you should work on completing the documentation they need from you to complete your admission. After the application deadline you will be informed of an orientation session. At orientation we will go over the credit approval process, visas, and other logistical information (airfare, travel, etc.).


Flight/Travel Arrangements

View of River Arno

Participants will make their own travel arrangements to SACI, taking advantage of frequent-flyer options and/or internet specials available to them. The cost of travel is not included in the program fee. Dates of travel should be determined by using the Term Dates given on SACI's webpage.


U.S. citizens will need a visa for the semester program only. Non-U.S. citizens should reference the Italian Consulate Webpage to see what is required of them. We will have group advising for Italy visas and assist students with processing. The visa process can begin 90 days prior to departure, no earlier.

Program Payment

You will be billed for the program on your U-Bill through the University of Iowa's billing office. Billing occurs the semester you're abroad and is due with the first U-Bill of the term, this allows for financial aid and scholarships to disperse BEFORE the bill is due.


In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

Helpful Information

SACI's Website

Admitted Students
Checklist and Required Forms
SACI Facebook

Florence Information

The Florentine
Timetables and Train Ticket Information
Hotels, Restaurants, etc. in Florence

Student Blogs

Karlyn Lienhard, Academic Year 2016-2017

An American in Florence

Hannah Grahek, Spring 2016

Ciao Firenze!
Wherever the Tracks May Take Us
Get to the airport early, they say. Listen, I did not.
The teachers becomes the student
It's time to adjust... again

Madeline Rosa, Summer 2014

Preparing for the summer of a lifetime
A surprise Andrea Bocelli performance and other happenings in Florence
Live, love, lead: lessons from Italia
When in Rome: Exploring Italia
Two Weeks Notice
The most beautiful place in the world
Back in the USA