The Villa utilizes different options for housing designed to meet the specific goals and needs of its students. The Villa itself features living accommodations for up to 21 people, including bathrooms, dining facilities, and communal study and social spaces. Students enrolled in summer programs usually reside and take classes on the premises. For semester students, the Villa also offers the option of living with an Italian host family for additional linguistic and cultural immersion. Regardless of a student’s accommodation preference, the success of the Villa as a living and learning community depends on all students’ willingness to actively and respectfully contribute to its intellectual and social life.
Students who live at the Villa are placed in double or triple rooms, which include private bathrooms. All of the bedrooms are fully furnished, with windows facing either the Arno valley or the private gardens of the Villa. Meals are provided, with the exception of three weekend meals (Saturday lunch and dinner and Sunday lunch). Group meals are an important part of the community life of the Villa. The Villa’s two cooks provide a varied menu of Italian meals, and where possible will take into consideration dietary restrictions. Members of the faculty regularly join the students for the midday meal in order to continue the conversations of the classroom.
Accommodations with an Italian Host Family
Living with an Italian host family offers the opportunity to improve language skills and to develop a deeper understanding of Italian culture in an authentic setting. Host families are selected with each individual student’s needs and interests in mind. While this option is best suited for students looking for robust Italian language immersion, there is no language prerequisite for living with a host family.
Students living with host families normally stay either in single rooms with private baths or double rooms with private baths, usually with another student from the Villa. Host families provide students breakfast and dinner with the exception of Saturday lunch and dinner and Sunday lunch. Weekday lunch is taken at the Villa with the other students, faculty, and staff. All host families are located within short and easy access of the local bus route that runs from the Center of Florence to the Villa, and daily transportation costs between the host family’s home and the Villa are covered by the program.
Students are required to adhere to the Villa Le Balze Housing Policies while participating in programs at the Villa. A copy of the policies are located in each bedroom. The guidelines cover topics such as communal living, security, guest at the Villa, meals at the Villa, and much more.