Living and Learning in Tuscany

The city of Prato is situated in the region of Tuscany in Central Italy. Prato’s central location within Tuscany makes it an ideal base for exploring all the important sights in the region. When our students want to spend a day in a larger, more bustling city, they’re just 20 minutes away from Florence and less than two hours from Rome. And when the sun is shining, Tuscany’s beautiful beaches are just an hour away.

Prato is a typical Italian city, unspoiled by tourism and strong on tradition, so it gives students a genuine international experience. The University of New Haven's Tuscany Campus is also the first U.S. program in the city, so the local community has embraced us with curiosity and affection, which means that experiential learning opportunities abound for our students. Many local institutions and firms, from biscuit makers and the mayor to the radio stations and the local music academy, enthusiastically offer our students opportunities for firsthand experiences and collaboration.

While studying in Prato, students will learn, visit, explore, taste, and experience new and exciting things every day. While learning both inside and outside the classroom, students will develop skills that can only be enriched through the study abroad experience.

Activities in Prato

Studying at the Tuscany Campus gives you many opportunities beyond the classroom to learn, explore, grow, and immerse yourself in Italian culture. Volunteering in the community, going on excursions, or playing a game of soccer with your classmates or some locals could be among the most memorable and meaningful experiences you’ll have abroad.

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Housing and Dining

Housing in Prato comes in many shapes and sizes and will be part of the experience of studying abroad and adapting to the differences of other cultures. All of the housing and many eateries on the meal plan are no more than five minutes from campus, and no more than a 10-minute walk from each other.

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Diversity and Inclusion

By the very nature of its mission to provide international experiences to our students, the Tuscany Campus is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion among our University community and aims to create a climate that fosters the ideals of civility, respect, and open-mindedness.

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The University of New Haven opened its satellite campus in Tuscany, Italy, in the fall of 2012. The campus, located in the historic city of Prato, provides an exceptional opportunity for University of New Haven students to immerse themselves in the culture and language of Italy.

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  • Prato's historical city center, with its medieval and Renaissance monuments, is especially remarkable for its compact scale and easy-going atmosphere. You’ll quickly discover that almost everything in Prato can be reached on foot through the old streets.

    To help you get to know the city, part of your Orientation in Prato will be a special walking tour of the city to explore key points of interest and services, including major stores, the post office, banks, ATMs, markets, libraries, medical centers, churches, and museums.

    You’ll also find that the people in Prato will be curious and enthusiastic about the presence of U.S. students in their city. People in Prato live closely together in the city center, and they are not especially accustomed to the student lifestyle or to young Americans.

    For these reasons, our students serve as "ambassadors" of the University of New Haven, and of the United States of America. As members of the University of New Haven community, we strive to repay the trust showed by our hosts with the highest standards of conduct and consideration for the traditions and civilized atmosphere of this city.

  • Like much of central Tuscany, Prato enjoys a mild climate.

    In the spring, temperatures usually range between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and the fall is often slightly warmer at 50 to 70 degrees. Winters are generally cool and rainy, with temperatures ranging between 35 and 50. Summers are usually sunny and hot with most days in the 80s.

    Fall, spring, and winter tend to get the most rain – and Italy does get a fair amount, which helps keep the country so green. For much of the year, Prato can be quite humid. Snow is not nearly as heavy in Prato as in New England. However, in the winter, the temperature will occasionally dip below zero and the city may get a dusting of snow. Likewise, it’s not at all that unusual for summer highs to reach 100 degrees.

    One thing that can surprise students is that Tuscany has mosquitoes for a good part of the year – from the spring through the fall, and not just in the countryside but in the city as well. Luckily, there are a number of products available to keep the mosquitoes at bay, and they can be bought at housewares shops, herbal shops, or larger supermarkets. Sprays and plug-in repellents work particularly well.

    The bottom line is that during your semester, you’re likely to experience warm and cold days, sunny and rainy days, and everything in between. While the climate here is mild, remember that you will often be outside, traveling on foot around town.

  • When students first arrive, they soon notice that shopping choices in Prato are very different than those they’re accustomed to at home.

    Unlike many large supermarkets and department stores in the U.S., shops in Prato tend to be smaller and family-run. Like many shops in Italy, their hours are generally dictated by city law and are listed in the shop window. Such small shops often open around 9 or 10 a.m., close for a mid-day break between 1 and 4 p.m., and then stay open later, usually until 7 or 8 p.m.

    Remember, this is not a "siesta." The mid-day break gives shopkeepers a chance to run their own errands, pick kids up from school, and coordinate family meals. During your stay in Prato, you’ll learn to plan your shopping and eating activities around these opening times until it comes naturally.

    As with restaurants, most shops will be closed one or two days a week, with Sunday being the most common "day of rest." Certain shops and services, such as hairdressers, tend to stay closed on Mondays.

    Shops in Prato are also more specialized than many of their U.S. counterparts. Here you’ll find plenty of bakeries, stationery shops, shoe shops and perfumeries, just to name a few. One of the many benefits of Italy’s smaller-sized shops is that the salespeople usually know their merchandise very well, and can make suggestions for you. And if you visit often enough, you just might get to know the shopkeepers.

    While these shops look small, it’s interesting to note that nearly everything that can be found in a shopping mall can also be found in the city center, if you know where to look. Keep in mind that in any given shop, not all merchandise for sale is necessarily put on display, which means that you have to be brave and ask! And shops can often order special merchandise for you if they don’t ordinarily stock it. As a result, you’ll generally have more of a relationship with local shopkeepers than you might in the U.S.

Frequently Asked Questions

For questions specific to the Tuscany Study Abroad program, please see our Tuscany Campus FAQ.

General FAQ

Tuscany Success Stories