Above: Medici Chapel in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Anna Burgess)

Going to college in Charleston is special, but then spending a semester in Florence, Italy – well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

The 26 students who spent the spring semester there couldn’t agree more. And, after more than two years away from the Tuscany capital due to COVID-19, program director Celeste Lacroix was ecstatic to accompany the students.

“Words cannot express how excited I was to be back in Florence,” says the professor of communication. “We have so many Florentines connected to our program – local tour guides, farmers, artisanal gelato makers, chocolate and pasta producers, winemakers, chefs and restaurant owner/operators. The pandemic was the longest we hadn’t seen some of these friends of the program in probably close to a decade.”

This year, classes were held in the Piazza della Repubblica, only steps away from the Duomo, the landmark cathedral (above in photo). The curriculum is focused on food and sustainability, with weekly field trips to farms, wineries and artisanal producers to learn about the slow food movement that originated in Italy.

“This experience abroad challenged me, brought me to new heights and taught me more about myself than I ever imagined,” says Ciana Feliccia ’22, who earned a degree in communication. “I’m humbled to have taken part in this long-awaited, unparalleled experience.” 

Left: Basilica di Santa Maria Novella. Right: An interior dome at Medici Chapel. (Photos by Melanie Rocha)

Left: Katy Macklin ’22 and Calley Goulet ’22 with truffle pasta. Right: Ciana Feliccia ’22 at the Piazzale Michelangelo. (Photos by Courtney Smith and Celeste Lacroix)

Students attend a Slow Food cooking class. (Photo by Courtney Smith)