Villa la Pietra Internship: Part I

Published by Willa Brock, all photos provided by author

As an intern this summer at Villa La Pietra, I worked closely with Cristina Fantacci, the Visit and Events Coordinator, to plan “The Season” of public programs. We put on 20 events in 30 days, and they ranged from intimate concerts to author panels to an immersive arts performance (I even played a small part in it!). I got to work with staff from all different departments in the Villa to coordinate these programs and to practice my Italian skills by sitting in on bilingual meetings and sending emails to locals. The hours were often crazy, but that was part of the fun of it all! When not designing invitations in InDesign or running the Season Instagram, I led tours of the Villa’s house museum and gardens to students and VIP visitors. I cannot recommend this internship enough — a fabulous supervisor, so many opportunities to learn, and obviously, the chance to live in Florence!

Stay tuned for Part II and hear from other past interns!

Interested in applying? Info below

COLLECTION INTERNS AT VILLA LA PIETRA: 2 positions, 300 hours each

Project:  documentation, collection care and communication in a house museum setting

The Acton Collection is displayed in Villa La Pietra, a Renaissance villa on the northern hills of Florence. Collected during the early 20th century by Hortense Mitchell Acton from Chicago and Arthur Acton from London, it was donated in 1994 to NYU by their son, Sir Harold (1904-1994). It comprises over 6,000 art objects including paintings, sculpture, textile, household objects and furniture, dating from the Classical Age to the early 20th century. The villa also preserves the family library and archive of photographs.  

The current database used for the collection inventory is EmbARK 9.5 (Gallery Systems). The two collection department interns will have the opportunity to get to know the Acton Collection on site and through the database.  New data gets inserted weekly and students assist the Collection Manager with this activity. Summer 2017 database-focused project will be dedicated to the group of the household historical linens (tablecloths, napkins and towels). The survey was started in summer 2016: the linens will be examined and photographed in collaboration with two textile conservators (identification will include: size, materials, techniques, identification marks – e.g. initials) and core records will be created.  An internal report of the objects studied and inventoried, with a reference to typologies, monograms and historical information will be prepared at the conclusion of the internship to be maintained within the Villa records. If time allows a digital exhibition could be created to highlight the collection, usually not visible to the public.

Interns will be also responsible for: creating new visual documentation, labelling objects in the historic rooms of the villa, assisting conservators with documentation and re-installation; and collaboration with the Collection Manager on daily preventive conservation (e.g. climate control). The interns will have the opportunity to meet NYU Institute of Fine Arts conservators and students and observe their work in the house museum. Often  the students from both departments collaborate to document the conservation projects. Finally, interns will be trained to give tours of the villa and assist with other activities related to the public events.

Both internships take place in Villa La Pietra, under the supervision of the Collection Manager, Francesca Baldry. Visits to other house museums will be organized. The beginning and ending dates, and the daily schedule of the internship will be determined after the interns are selected (approx. week of May 22 – week of July 10).  


Beginning in 2005 Villa La Pietra has hosted a rich program of summer events entitled “The Season”, which take advantage of the unique setting of La Pietra’s historical Garden. The Season has also presented programming in historic locations in downtown Florence, reinforcing the bond between NYU and its host city.  The program usually features theatrical and musical performances, literary and filmmaking festivals in both English and Italian languages, and other artistic events.

The intern will have the opportunity to be involved in all stages of planning the events, collaborating closely with the Visit and Events Coordinator and the Executive Director of Villa La Pietra, New York University Florence. Tasks include general assistance in the organization and use of the spaces for each event, whether outside in the garden or in one of the indoor spaces, in collaboration with the artistic directors and assistants, communication to the general public, design and preparation of the full program and of the individual programs and other promotional materials, data base and other clerical work, and follow up with statistical analysis and reports on the events. Knowledge of computer design or graphics is welcomed. There will also be opportunities to welcome special guests and show them around the art collection and the gardens.

Finally, a portion of the internship is related to the presentation of the collection and garden to visitors. The intern will have time to study the history of the villa, the artwork and the family that donated the estate to NYU in order to give tours of the villa and garden.

The Visit and Event Coordinator, Cristina Fantacci, supervises this internship. The beginning and end dates, and daily schedule of the internship will be determined after the intern has been selected (approx. week of May 15 – week of July 3).  

Information courtesy of:
     New York University Florence
     Villa La Pietra
     Via Bolognese 120
     50139 Firenze Italy

For more information contact :
Collection Manager at Villa la Pietra, Francesca Baldry – Internship Coordinator, Rosanna Flouty –

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