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Florence bursts with language schools. Most offer supplementary courses on Italian culture, art history, cooking, music and the like, although for these categories you will also find more specialised schools.

Florence’s APT office also has lists of schools and courses, which it will mail out on request.

Non-EU citizens who want to study at a university or language school in Italy must have a study visa – obtained from your nearest Italian embassy or consulate.

Most schools will organise accommodation for students, on request and at added cost, either in private apartments or with Italian families.

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Art & design

Accademia Italiana (055 28 46 16; www.accademiaitaliana.com; Piazza de’ Pitti 15) This school offers a wide range of design programmes, including one-month courses and more rigorous semester-based courses in painting, graphic arts, glassware, furniture and fashion design and related fields.

Istituto per l’Arte e il Restauro (055 24 60 01; www.spinelli.it; Palazzo Spinelli, Borgo Santa Croce 10) Here you can learn to restore anything from paintings to ceramics, interior and graphic design, gilding and marquetry. It has short courses and full academic programmes. A full-time four-week course costs €2000.

Università Internazionale dell’Arte (055 57 02 16; www.uiafirenze.com; Villa Il Ventaglio, Via delle Forbici 24-26) Those contemplating serious art studies could look into courses offered by this institution. They range from museum studies through restoration, to specialist courses in such areas as African art history.

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Cordon Bleu (055 234 54 68; www.cordonbleu-it.com; Via di Mezzo 55/r) This is the place to go to learn some stylish cooking methods. Specialised courses range from haute cuisine to making gelato. Classes take from eight to 15 students. A basic eight-lesson cooking course costs €415.

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Centro Lingua Italiana Calvino (055 28 80 81; www.clicschool.it; Viale Fratelli Rosselli 74) You have the option of standard and intensive courses here, the latter totalling 30 hours per week (€225). The main drawback is the unattractive location around the back end of Stazione di Santa Maria Novella.

Centro Lorenzo de’ Medici (055 28 73 60; www.lorenzodemedici.it; Via Faenza 43) This school is popular with American students. Four hours per day for a month costs €600. It offers many levels and a variety of courses in art, cooking, history and the like. You can also arrange individual tuition.

Istituto Europeo (055 238 10 71; www.istitutoeuropeo.it; Piazzale delle Pallottole 1) One-week/four-week courses cost €220/440. It offers discount scholarships for students. And the school is a wifi zone!

Istituto di Lingua e Cultura Italiana per Stranieri Michelangelo (055 24 09 75; www.michelangelo-edu.it; Via Ghibellina 88) Four-week course (80 hours) costs €540 in classes of not more than 12 people. The school will organise private one-on-one courses, starting at €728 a week (four hours a day).

Scuola Leonardo da Vinci (055 26 11 81; www.scuolaleonardo.com; Via Bufalini 3) Four-week course (80 hours) costs €560. Courses offered range from two to 24 weeks, averaging four hours of class per day.

Società Dante Alighieri (055 247 89 81; www.dantealighieri.it; Via Gino Capponi 4) The national cultural association, with branches worldwide, offers a broad range of courses. One month (80 hours) costs €480. The society is housed in the 16th-century former Oratorio di San Pierino, whose courtyard retains many frescoes from that time.

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Performing arts

Florence Dance Cultural Center (055 28 92 76; www.florencedance.org; Borgo della Stella 23/r) Apart from being a hive of theatrical activity, this centre offers a range of courses in classical, jazz and modern dance.

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Darkroom (055 21 68 74; www.thedarkroom.it; Via del Leone 8/r) The Darkroom runs photography workshops in Italian and English, and also rents out darkrooms (per hour €7.50).

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