The Institute at Palazzo Rucellai

The Institute at Palazzo Rucellai was designed by Leon Battista Alberti, one of the great Renaissance architects and thinkers, in the 15th century. The famous building is a model of Renaissance principles of harmony and balance, constructed for a famous banking family whose heirs continue to occupy parts of the building today.

The Institute at Palazzo Rucellai comprises the piano nobile or main floor of the grand urban mansion, and classes are held there for visiting students from around the world. Roanoke students may take courses in art history, political science, history, Italian, architecture, drawing, business and other fields. Students are housed with other program participants in centrally located apartments in Florence, equipped with kitchens.


Florence is the historic center of the Italian Renaissance, the capital of Tuscany, and the home of famed works of art such as Michelangelo's David, the Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti, and Donatello's Mary Magdalene. The campanile (tower) of Giotto is paired with the celebrated dome of Brunelleschi in the cathedral group called simply, the Duomo. Florence is a city of over 500,000 population, famed for its goldsmiths on the bridge over the Arno, and for its leather craftsmen in the public market. Students at the Palazzo Rucellai make the city their classroom.


Roanoke College students pay their tuition, fees and room to the College. Students are responsible for purchasing and preparing their own meals in Italy as students share a kitchen. Financial aid is available for qualified applicants who wish to spend one semester at the Palazzo Rucellai.