If you are used to studying at Starbucks or in other public places in the United States, you are in for an unpleasant surprise in Italy. People don’t study in bars, which serve to have a quick expresso and catch up with people in the neighbourhood. But Florence does offer a few student-friendly spaces – beyond, of course, the LdM campus. Here is a list of the most central libraries and study spaces open to undergraduate students.
Biblioteca delle Oblate
Via dell’Oriuolo 26, www.bibliotecadelleoblate.it
The Oblate library is the Florence study place par excellence. Always packed with mostly Italian students, there is free wifi for a limited number of hours per day and seating both outside, in a loggia area, as well as inside in various parts of the library. There’s also a cafè with reasonable prices, though this is closed on Sunday 🙁 .
Open from 9am to midnight Tuesday through Saturday; Mondays 2pm to 10pm; closed Sundays and holidays.
Vicolo di Santa Maria Maggiore 1, www.portalegiovani.comune.fi.it
Located right near the Duomo, down a little alley, this building houses the city’s student information point (you can pick up a free student discount card here, too). There is free wifi available. In the summer, it’s great to sit out in the courtyard.
British Institute’s Harold Action Library
Lungarno Guicciardini 9, www.britishinstitute.it
This English-friendly library at the British Institute has a good collection of books on Italy and art, helpful library staff and plenty of study space. Annual student membership costs 55 euros and includes Internet access. Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 6:30pm.
Piazza dei Cavalleggeri 1, www.bncf.firenze.sbn.it
For a very old-school Italian-style experience, the reading room at the Biblioteca Nazionale provides complete silence, an academic atmosphere and grand leather chairs. The library itself is closed stacks and contains a copy of everything ever published since the unification of Italy-in Italian, of course. Wifi is limited to catalogue consultation. Access to the library, including in-library loans, is permitted to anyone aged 18 or over upon signing up for a library card (you’ll need to bring your passport to do so). It is open Monday to Friday, 8:15am to 7pm; Saturday, 8:15am to 1:30pm.
There are 13 city-run libraries in Florence’s historic centre and residential areas. Most have vast study spaces, limited hours, and some offer wifi and/or computer use. They have very limited hours, but they are often quite nice, host local events and provide a calm atmosphere without disturbances for studying. The website is only in Italian, but there is a map and a list with each library at the bottom of the page.
A version of article was previously published in The Florentine by Alexandra Korey. Find the original article here: Student-friendly spaces