Art History Abroad | Summer Courses in Italy

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About

If you are between 17 and 22, AHA's 2-4 weeks courses are a brilliant way to pass some of the summer while doing something worthwhile and of real value. Study many of the greatest works of art on site while travelling through Italy. Carefully structured, this course is an excellent overview of art history for those new to the subject and particularly useful to those already studying it. There are two courses: Northern Italy, which travels to Venice, Florence & Rome, and then there is the adventurous Southern Italy Course which travels from Naples and Pompeii to Sicily. Some students do both courses and stay in Italy for a month.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 28 reviews
  • Housing 8.9
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.6
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 1 - 15 of 28
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Oliver
9/10

Fit for Any Student

I went into this program having little to no knowledge and experience in art history; in fact, the only art related courses I had taken in school were the easiest ones I could find to fulfill my art requirements. But I am a fond believer in exploring outside your comfort zone, so I decided to give this course a shot, and I am so glad I did. The tutors are all so engaging and funny that even if would not normally be particularly interested in the subject that they are teaching about, you will still find yourself engaged in the lesson and enjoying every minute of it. Additionally, the tutors cover such a wide variety of topics and take the students on so many different activities, that you are bound to find things that truly interest you. The summer course is a very fast paced course and you are traveling around quite a bit, but as long as you utilize the free time provided to get any rest you may need, you should have no problem at all. And if there ever is any problem, the tutors are incredibly approachable and helpful, so if you ever, say, swap bags with someone at the London airport, they will do everything in their power to help you get the bag back and keep the mind off the fact you've been wearing the same pair of clothes for nearly a week! While the lessons and activities are a joy to partake in, the most valuable experiences for me were the relationships I had formed with the incredible tutors and fellow students. This group will become like a family abroad, with some pretty hip parents I might add, and if nothing else, you will have such a great time exploring the beautiful country of Italy with them.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ben
10/10

An absolutely amazing experience

I didn't know what to expect when I flew to Italy for AHA, but wow - it was a wonderful, life-changing trip. As I'd hoped, I learned so much about the world through art history during my time in Italy, but I also made some of the best friends I've ever met. How can I describe my tutors... words really wouldn't do justice to how much I enjoyed their company. I think it's so nice that I can stay in touch and go and visit them in the future. The same for my peers - we came from different places around the world, but everybody was friendly and open-minded. Our trip was the perfect balance of learning, laughing, and having fun. We saw the most beautiful art pieces of all time, we visited some of the most beautiful views I've ever seen, and we shared some of the most beautiful conversations I've ever had (blackcurraant :).

I was quite unsure of what direction I wanted to take in life before this trip, but AHA helped me so much in figuring out what I want to do and the people I want to be with.
GRAZIE to all of my tutors, peers, and people who made this trip possible. I won't forget you!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Omi
10/10

Looking back 3 years later, AHA was amongst the best things I did on my year out

I found AHA's program online and was keen on doing an art history course as I was going to study History at university but knew my course wouldn't extend too far into arts and wanted to do an academic course whilst having the fun of being in a group with people my age and to travel. AHA really hits the nail on the head with this combination - to learn about a painting, sculpture, or architecture and the history of a city/town whilst you're in it is entirely different to learning about it from a classroom. 3 years later I continue to look back at AHA fondly and wish I could do it all over again. I enjoyed the company of everyone on my course and keep in touch with many of my tutors and peers regularly.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Henry
10/10

Perfect balance of fun and learning

The weeks I spent with AHA were some of the best in my life. The learning experience was wonderfully led and there was a mutual respect between the tutors and the students which I haven't encountered yet. It was fascinating to learn about Southern Italy and it's extremely rich cultural history. There was a large spread of different sites and something to interest everyone. It was also very amazing being put with other people of your own age who share an interest in History of Art. I made some very good friends during the two short weeks.

How can this program be improved?
I hate to quote someone who has left a review before me, but it was literally perfect.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Yiwen
8/10

Northern and Southern Italy Combination Course

I highly recommend the AHA combination course of Northern and Southern Italy. We went all the way from Venice to Sicily in four weeks, and enjoyed a lot of amazing art ranging from Greco-Roman ruins to Renaissance and Baroque paintings and some interesting art shows that juxtaposed ancient archeological finds with contemporary art. Sometimes the traveling schedule might be really intense, and socializing with a group of people all the time can be stressful. But on the other hand, this was also a life lesson for me to get out of my comfort zone. Overall, I feel that I have learnt in this course more than just the canonical art history, but moreover experienced different kinds of art and tried to think beyond the single narrative of art history. Definitely, Italy and this traveling course have made a precious mark on my life.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jude
9/10

Southern Tour

I really enjoyed all of the trip and thought that above all it was organised perfectly. There is great balance between learning and fun which made the two weeks great. The tutors know everything needed to have an easy and fun trip around Naples and Sicily. Highlights include seeing a wide variety of Caravaggio paintings, the Cathedral in Syracuse and the bronze sculptures in Messina. The trip is certainly worth anything and I recommend that everyone should do it.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Madeleine
10/10

My AHA Experience

I went on the Northern Italy course that AHA offers, travelling around Venice, Florence, and Rome!! I was lucky enough to have been to each of these places before, but going with the focused purpose of looking at art with a new group of people and some very knowledgable tutors was an entirely different (and amazing) experience. I have never studied History of Art formally but am really interested in it - for me this course was to help decide whether I should study it at university. I was worried about not knowing enough, and despite the fact that most other people on my course were studying History of Art at school, everyone was very welcoming and open. The course had also sent an extensive starter pack of notes beforehand which taught me all of the basics and gave me the confidence that I needed.
Apart from the academic side, I loved the amount of free time - we were given just enough to go shopping, nap, or go to more exhibitions, but not too much to get bored! The majority of my free time was spent seeking out more art to analyse with the other students - it was fun to have other people to share my passion with.
I'd really recommend this course to anyone interested in exploring Italy and learning about the history of it's beautiful art! :)

Yes, I recommend this program
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Charlie
10/10

Art History Abroad Northern Course 2017

It was a really amazing experience. Every day we were looking at different pieces of art in their locations. The tutors were so knowledgable and obviously had passion for the subject. They were also loads of fun to be around and didn't take anything too seriously. In Italy, the food was so good and we had great weather. One of the best experiences! Made some best friends. Would definitely recommend to anyone who even has a vague interest in Art History.

How can this program be improved?
It was literally perfect.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Bea
10/10

The most incredible two weeks in Italy thanks to the Sir Trenchard Cox essay prize

I was lucky enough to be awarded the Sir Trenchard Cox Scholarship after submitting two short essays arguing my stance on one piece of art/architecture/sculpture which I love (David’s ‘The Death of Marat’), and one which I loathe (The Shard). The generous prize of a place on the Northern Italy course ended up being two of the most exciting weeks of not just learning, but fun, imaginable.
As someone who would never have been able to attend the course without the generous prize, I cannot recommend entering two essays discussing art you feel passionately about enough, nor applying for any of the courses offered, regardless of whether you are successful or not.
Although our group began the trip as an incoherent group of individuals, we all left as friends bonded by the truly unforgettable experience we shared in Italy while learning from the brilliant, engaging and knowledgeable tutors in an intellectually and socially stimulating environment. Each day flew by with a schedule packed full of visits to galleries filled with influential art and buildings characterised by their incredible architecture, most of which I had only ever read about. The opportunity to engage with art work discussing contemporary society on a global scale, such as at the Venice Biennale and Damien Hirst’s ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’, was second only to being immersed in the deeply-woven sense of history ubiquitous in the cities we visited. For me, a memorable moment was feeling as though we were literally stepping back in time as we explored the various levels and former functions of the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome.
Altogether the trip was the perfect introduction to the culture, art and even language of Italy; although it has definitely set the bar high for the rest of my gap year, I am now more excited than ever to begin studying History of Art and Italian at university next year. My only regret is that the course was not longer!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Reginald
10/10

Great Art tour- fantastic extracurricular stuff

Our excellent and friendly tour guides impressed on us that we were seeing unique works. Nowhere else could we see a Caravaggio alone. They took us to the best places explained just how interesting everything was. At the same time those who wanted to could go further with an emphasis on thinking for ourselves, while others sat back and enjoyed the ride.

The atmosphere of the cities was fatanstic. It was very relaxed but never boringly touristy. Naples is an acquired taste but we quickly found our confidence within the group. It was hugely fun to be there.

To top it all off the tour included great non art history activities. We went snorkelling on top of submerged roman ruins; went on a boat trip to beautiful islands; and had a fantastic meal every night. It was very well rounded and never boring experience that I would definitely recommend.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Geraldine
10/10

Northern Italy Wonder

My daughter went on the Northern Italy trip this summer. She had the best time of her life. She was so excited to be able to see in person the monuments and arts pieces she had studied during her Art History class in high school. In her own words, Tom, Fania and Frankie made "Art History come to life". As a mom and a teacher, I was very impressed by the entire program: the Info session in Dallas, the registration process, the flexibility of the program, the knowledge of the tutors. My daughter has made friends and memories for life. I highly recommend this program.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Brooke
10/10

Amazing Four Weeks in Italy

I heard about AHA completely by chance after striking up conversation on a train with a college student who was going home for winter break. At that point, I had decided I wanted to take a gap year before college and she recommended some programs to look into. She said that one of her friends had spent a semester in Italy studying art history with AHA and described it as one of the best experiences she ever had. After that glowing report and some superficial online research, I decided to take the 4 week summer course.

I was a four sport varsity letter winner in high school, so from the age of twelve onwards, I spent the entirety of my summers training, practicing, and competing on playing fields. I had always wanted to take summer courses or go abroad during the summer but knew it wouldn’t be logistically possible. After spending four weeks studying art history with AHA, I am so happy that I decided to try something different (and can’t believe I spent all those years sweating on a field in New Jersey when I could have been studying Michelangelo and Caravaggio!)

The course was the perfect way to cap off my senior year of high school due to the passionate tutors, the sights we saw, and the people I met. I hadn’t taken an art history course before the trip but quickly learned that it wasn’t necessary as the tutors used concise yet evocative and thought-provoking language to describe not only individual paintings but entire time periods. The art and architecture we saw gave a whole new dimension to the European history I learned in school; it is undoubtedly worth seeing in person. To top it off, I was traveling with an intelligent, diverse and fun group of peers. The first two weeks I was with a majority of girls and the second two weeks there were six boys and two girls including myself. I had a fantastic time with both groups and made friends that I still keep in contact with and hope to keep in contact with longterm. Overall, my experience with AHA was intellectually and socially enervating and fantastic.

I cannot recommend AHA more highly and wish I had discovered it earlier! I know that what I learned about the canon of western thought as well as how to be a responsible and curious traveler will serve me well in college and beyond.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Brooke
10/10

Amazing Four Weeks in Italy

I heard about AHA completely by chance after striking up conversation on a train with a college student who was going home for winter break. At that point, I had decided I wanted to take a gap year before college and she recommended some programs to look into. She said that one of her friends had spent a semester in Italy studying art history with AHA and described it as one of the best experiences she ever had. After that glowing report and some superficial online research, I decided to take the 4 week summer course.

I was a four sport varsity letter winner in high school, so from the age of twelve onwards, I spent the entirety of my summers training, practicing, and competing on playing fields. I had always wanted to take summer courses or go abroad during the summer but knew it wouldn’t be logistically possible. After spending four weeks studying art history with AHA, I am so happy that I decided to try something different (and can’t believe I spent all those years sweating on a field in New Jersey when I could have been studying Michelangelo and Caravaggio!)

The course was the perfect way to cap off my senior year of high school due to the passionate tutors, the sights we saw, and the people I met. I hadn’t taken an art history course before the trip but quickly learned that it wasn’t necessary as the tutors used concise yet evocative and thought-provoking language to describe not only individual paintings but entire time periods. The art and architecture we saw gave a whole new dimension to the European history I learned in school; it is undoubtedly worth seeing in person. To top it off, I was traveling with an intelligent, diverse and fun group of peers. The first two weeks I was with a majority of girls and the second two weeks there were six boys and two girls including myself. I had a fantastic time with both groups and made friends that I still keep in contact with and hope to keep in contact with longterm. Overall, my experience with AHA was intellectually and socially enervating and fantastic.

I cannot recommend AHA more highly and wish I had discovered it earlier! I know that what I learned about the canon of western thought as well as how to be a responsible and curious traveler will serve me well in college and beyond.

Yes, I recommend this program
James
9/10

Amazing Art Adventure

As a mathematician I never thought that I would find myself on an amazing two week course, meeting new people and seeing the best of Italian art. But thanks to the Trenchard Cox Scholarship and the amazing AHA program that is exactly what I did. The art and architcture I saw was mind blowing but it is the little details like the evening picnics looking over Florence and the Gondola trips through Venice that make it truly special. Also to anyone not so inclined to art I would highly advice you to take a look, as the trip is so much more than just looking at pictures.

How can this program be improved?
Allow more time to explore on your own or in groups.
Yes, I recommend this program
Rebecca
10/10

Too good to be true, I wish it to happen all over again!

When the 'review section' suggest me to share a story, I didn't know where to start. There are so many memories, and they played in my mind just like a movie. Indeed - It is too good to be true, and let me tell you why:
The tutors in the program are all brilliant and extremely experienced. They use simple language and a sense of humour to make hundreds of years' history vivid and exciting. Therefore, if you think that you've never done Art History before and know nothing about it, it shouldn't be the reason to hesitate. It is true that the teachers are trying to give you a lot of knowledge and information throughout the program, but they will make sure that you understand even you started from zero. On the other hand, if you have learned Art history before, that is great! You will be amazed how much more you could learn about that particular area during the trip. For instance, during my two weeks in Northern Italy, I learned things about Renaissance and Baroque that I haven't or couldn't come across in school lessons. It saved me a lot of time and stimulated my interest in this period.
Another point is, being in Italy, having pizza and gelato, enjoying the sunshine while learning the history and art of this country is a whole new level of experience. Trust me it is totally different from sitting down and reading a book about Renaissance! In this trip, you will get to walk around the streets and interact with local people. It will give you a better understanding of why this kind of history happened in that particular place. The tutors will make sure that the amount of studying are balanced out with fun and pleasure. So they will give you free time to explore Italy after a few days of intense academic enrichment. Hanging out with people that you share the interests with while in this romantic country, will be one of the best parts that you have if you go on this trip. You will immerse yourself in this culture and environment.
The most important part of the journey is you will get to see artworks first-handed, also understand them through the language of art. Personally, my favourite theme in Renaissance is the 'Venus'. The moment I see Birth of Venus and Venus of Urbino in Uffizi Museum, I was so emotionally moved by their presence. I've seen so many copies of them, but the real one is so grand and an incarnation of perfection. The feeling is the same as you meeting up with an old friend. You already know so much and heard a lot about them, but seldom get to see them.
Trust me; there are so much more that I want to share with you and tell you how happy I was because of this trip. It's worth it, and you need to explore this. It will not let you down and surely become the highlight of your summer.

Yes, I recommend this program

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About Art History Abroad

Study art, architecture and European culture in Italy, France and London for a semester in the autumn, 6 weeks during the Gap Year or a 2-4 week Summer holiday course. Art History Abroad programmes are carefully structured and brilliantly taught so...