The NEH summer institute stipend is $3300. Provided flights are reserved early, this should cover most of the cost of transportation to Florence and housing for the month. The Institute budget will pay for all museum admissions required by the class and transportation for field trips. NEH summer scholars will cover all other normal costs (including food, laundry, entertainment, books, and personal travel).
Flying to Florence
Flying into Florence airport (20 minutes by taxi, costing approximately 22 euros, or bus, approximately 5 euros, to the historic center of the city) is the best way to arrive in Florence. Since the Florence airport is small, there are no direct flights from the US. Flights go through the major airports (London/Heathrow; Munich or Frankfurt; Paris; Rome or Milan). The easiest way to get to Florence is via Germany, with usually one flight per hour from Germany to Florence or from Florence to Germany. Flying through London usually requires a change of airport. Flying to Rome or Milan without a connection to Florence creates complications because the traveller has to get via train from the aiport to the central train station in Rome or Milan, and then from there by train to Florence. If your return flight is before 2 in the afternoon, you may have to stay the night before in either Rome or Milan.
A housing agency in Florence, Florence & Abroad, offers well-equipped, comfortable apartments in the historic center of Florence. Although all buildings in the historic center of Florence can be several centuries old, nonetheless these apartments are all modernized internally, fully furnished, and come equipped with stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, hair dryers, fans (one per bedroom), and internet access. Two bedroom apartments usually have two bathrooms. The apartments are equipped with bedding and towels, as well as all kitchen equipment. Normally apartments will not have dryers or air-conditioning. Rarely are apartments on what we call the first floor (piano terreno), so you can expect to have to climb at least one flight of steps. Some apartment buildings do have elevators. All apartments will be within walking distance of the central sites, the train station, and the classroom or other meeting places.
All apartments will be equipped with internet service (for which you will pay a nominal fee to the housing agency). In addition, the city of Florence is wired, so it is very easy to access the internet in cafés and bars throughout the city.
Florence has more cultural wealth per square inch than probably any city in the world, so even after twelve years of staying in the city for several months at a time, I have not exhausted all its museums, churches, and historic sites. There is always something to do in one's free time, whether wandering the markets, strolling into a church designed by Brunelleschi, climbing the local hills, visiting any of the small neighboring towns (Settignano, Fiesole, Arcetri, for example), all accessible by bus, or spending time in the museums. For going out of town, Florence is on the main train line, so from Santa Maria Novella Station (about fifteen minutes walking from most of the apartments), you can get a train to Rome (1hr. 20 mins on the fast train), Pisa (1 hr), Prato (10 minutes), Lucca (1 hr.), Orvieto (1hr. 20 mins), Arezzo (1 hr.), Venice (2hrs on the fast train), Cinque Terre (2 hrs), Bologna (1 hr.), Milan (2 hrs 30 mins), Naples and Pompeii (3-4 hrs.). Florence lies between the mountains and the coast, and there are buses to the mountains and to the coast. Greve (capital of Chianti, the wine center of Tuscany) is one hour by bus, as are Siena, Certaldo, and Volterra.
Summer is very hot in Florence, so be prepared with light clothing (linen and cotton). Since you will be doing a lot of walking, you will need a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Sturdy sandals, because of the heat, are advisable. The classroom will be air-conditioned, but most places will not. Be prepared to cover your knees and shoulders to enter churches. It can rain, so an umbrella is needed, as well as a light raincoat.