The British Institute of Florence Harold Acton Library

The British Institute of Florence Harold Acton Library

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The British Institute of Florence is a non-profit-making cultural institute founded in 1917 in Florence, Italy, with the aim of promoting Anglo-Italian cultural relations. Join students and members from around the world at the spectacular library on the banks of the river Arno. Browse the collection of over 52,000 books and magazines or attend a lecture, concert, film or afternoon tea.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

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15 reviews
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FG1Nyc
NYC57 contributions
Apr 2015 • Solo
If you are going to be in Florence for more than a day or two, check out the programs offered by the British Institute of Florence. The BIF is many things all at the same time, and successfully so-- a fabulous and user friendly library, evening cultural events in the library, short and long term classes in Italian and art history. It is both traditional (in a really great quirky kind of way) and immensely innovative. The new head of art history takes seriously the mission to deliver super high quality course content that is perfectly keyed to the city of Florence and its cultural history, and at the same time, relevant to the Florence of today. The BIF is more than an attraction--it is a way to get better acquainted with the magic of Florence.
Written May 5, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks for your very warm review of the British Institute!
Written May 7, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Isabel T
London32 contributions
Sep 2014 • Family
I came across this place by lucky, lucky accident. On the banks of the Arno, in the Lungarno Guicciardini, lies the British Insitute of Florence featuring the Harold Acton Library. Not only does this offer the largest collection of English-language books for loan in Continental Europe, it is also breathtakingly beautiful. A series of rooms in an ancient palazzo, with books floor to ceiling and wonderful old sofas to sink into to read them in, I wish I could have stayed for longer, as the programme of activities looks fabulous and presents a modern and insightful counterpoint to the ancient and traditional surroundings. I would love to come back and do one of their art history or Italian courses...maybe one day!!
Written March 13, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We’re glad you stumbled across the Library. Thank you for your review and do return!
Written March 16, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

penny_howard1
Florence, Italy275 contributions
Mar 2017 • Friends
The British Institute was established in Florence in 1917 but when the lease on earlier premises in Palazzo Antinori expired in the Mid 60's British writer Harold Acton made available three floors of the Palazzo Lanfredini. This gave all the English speaking Expats & some local Italians a marvellous meeting point as well as a huge well-stocked library. The Institute runs a Cultural Programme which encourages non-members to attend their Wednesday lectures - non-members can take out a 24 hour day membership for a mere 5Euro - this covers the library membership, the lecture, a break to chat with Florentine Residents (glass of wine offered for a donation of 2.50 Euros) & then a Film Club, films shown are usually in English or with English sub-titles & are introduced before & discussed afterwards with a local film expert. Just entering the building feels a privilege, & so much can be learned about Florence, the Florentine people, ancient & modern, and what it is like to live in this marvellous city from an evening spent in The British Institute. I highly recommend all visitors to Florence to visit this historic building on the banks of the Arno.
Written March 17, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Penny, Thank you so much for your review, very well documented. It's a privilege for us to meet such enthusiastic people. We hope to see you back very soon!
Written May 11, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

LRFaulkner
Ludlow, UK1 contribution
Jul 2014 • Solo
I spent a wonderful two weeks last summer studying on the 'Music in Art' course at the British Institute of Florence. I found the lectures to be well presented and informative, the course logically structured and enjoyable, and the staff welcoming and helpful!

The library itself is on the first floor, with excellent views over the Arno, and provides a quiet (air-conditioned!) retreat from the bustle of the streets in which to study. Would highly recommend both the course and the library!
Written March 13, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We’re so pleased you enjoyed the Music in Art course. Thank you for your review and hope to see you return one day.
Written March 16, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

TishSandos
Redlands, CA5 contributions
May 2016 • Couples
A superb month long course based on exposure to all dimensions of the Early Renaissance art encompassing painting, sculpture, architecture, thought, and politics of the period. Florence is THE place to do this. Live lectures were excellent and complemented by frequent visits to churches and museums as the goal was to expose each facet of art in situ including listening to music, and attending a class at working sculpture studio of today. I cannot recommend it highly enough. My wife and I will return in November 2017 to take the course on the High Renaissance in Italy.
Written June 1, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear TishSandos, we are very happy that you enjoyed our History of Art courses and we are looking forward to seeing you in November.
Written August 3, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

marabenti244
Parma, Italy13 contributions
Mar 2015 • Solo
Between students of thi institue you can feel, as well as I felt, something so royal, so British. Just as a little London, a little Britain in the middle of Florence and its history. You can hear Barrie and Charles Dickens in this Library and feel yourself a Victorian man.
Written March 10, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review. We are glad you had such a positive experience at the British Institute!
Written March 12, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

vaninabodurova
3 contributions
Sep 2018 • Solo
A place where British class and attitude meet American talent of organisation with Italian warmth and hospitality.
Human touch and knowledge in the beautiful and multidimensional capital of Art. Thank you for this unforgettable experience!
Written October 17, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Maggi713
Baltimore, MD11,842 contributions
May 2018 • Couples
I had read about tea at the British Institute of Florence’s Harold Acton Library and contacted them before we left the U.S. to see if we could attend and were told “Of course.” They offer their version of High Tea on Thursdays at 4:30 PM. For a requested donation of € 1.50 each, we had cups of tea with proper sandwiches, biscuits, homemade cake, and cookies. The tea is served in the one of the libraries. The British Institute sits right on the Arno River and we were treated to some wonderful views. It was a lovely way to spend a rainy afternoon.
Written June 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

getabed
Spokane, WA6 contributions
Nov 2016 • Couples
It is a given that Florence, Italy is the best place on earth to study the art of the Renaissance. One way to do that is to visit the museums, rent a hand-held audio device and wander aimlessly. The alternative for those with more time is to enroll in an Art History Course at the British Institute of Florence, which is what my wife and I did for a two-week segment in early November (the High Renaissance - Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, et al). This is a first class outfit led by a very knowledgeable and personable chair of the department, Jeremy Boudreau. Lectures were 1 1/2 ours in the afternoons, in English, in an old library with stacks of books 20 feet up. Great slides, great syllabus, great location (right on the River Arno, near the Ponte Santa Trinita). Most of the students were college-aged, but it made no difference. No credits, no tests, just learning. There was plenty of time to visit the museums in the morning, do the reading, drink wine, and attend classes in the afternoon. You pick the segments of classes that suit your schedule and interest, and your tuition is prorated accordingly. A fortnight of lectures, slides, reading assignments, teas, and receptions was 450 Euro per person. It was a perfect way to enjoy all that Florence has to offer.
Written November 26, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you very much for your wonderful review of our History of Art courses. We are pleased you enjoyed your time with us and hope to see you back soon.
Written November 29, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

R5440352
Seattle, WA41 contributions
Nov 2016 • Couples
The Institute screens series of films - not all British by any means - they are great! Please look into it.
Written November 9, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your review. We look forward to seeing you at the Library.
Written November 29, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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