The International School of Florence (ISF) is one of the oldest international schools in Europe, culminating in the International Baccalaureate Diploma, the surest path to accessing the broadest choice of colleges and universities throughout the world.
The International School of Florence (ISF) is one of the oldest international schools in Europe, culminating in the International Baccalaureate Diploma, the surest path to accessing the broadest choice of colleges and universities throughout the world. As a non-profit educational institution, ISF embodies the values of the Renaissance. How? By striving for academic excellence while developing our students’ creativity, intellectual curiosity, innovative spirit and appreciation for beauty. Why? Because developing the whole person is at the heart of our mission. ISF offers challenging and internationally recognized academic programs alongside a rich extracurricular offering. At ISF – in our Renaissance villas and Tuscan setting – students are prepared for the challenges of tomorrow through a focus on their potential today.
Capturing 70 years of tradition in Florence, the International School of Florence (ISF) is one of the oldest international schools in Europe. ISF is an independent, non-profit, co-educational, college preparatory day school for students in grades PS-12, with innovative academic programs, the arts, athletics and a community that celebrates the dignity and worth of each individual. The school, with a current enrollment of approximately 541 students on two campuses, is comprised of families from over forty countries, including about 40% of Italian Citizens.
One of the defining features of the student body is its diversity. ISF students represent over 44 nationalities and speak over 25 languages. The school has two campuses, one in the Tuscan countryside near Florence, the Junior school, with around 210 students; the Upper school has its home in a 13th century Florentine villa in the stunning Oltrarno area, with approximately 330 students.
Paul Burke-Mahony and Horace Gibson co-founded the school in Rome, in 1952. Eleven years later, the school transferred to a farmhouse on Via del Guarlone just outside of Florence. In 1968, the school moved again to Torre Bellosguardo and remained there until 1980 when it transferred to the present Junior School location at Via del Carota in Bagno a Ripoli. The 15th century villa was purchased through the generosity of Julie Jenkins and the Gucci family. Mr. Gibson retired, in 1983, after 31 years with ISF.
The IB Diploma Programme was introduced for the first time in 1983. 20 years later, in 2003, the school was renamed the International School of Florence. Emerging student growth, and consequent space restrictions, caused The Board to create a Middle and High School at Villa Torri di Gattaia, a 13th century villa immersed in the countryside just outside of Florence. These facilities incorporate classroom space, science labs, a library, art studio, computer labs. In the 70 intervening years, it has grown and changed dramatically, developing into a model international school with programs offered such as the International Baccalaureate Organization’s Primary Years Programme (Preschool through Grade 5), an integrated Italian equivalency program (Grade 1 through Grade 8) for our host country students who wish to prepare for and take the Italian Terza Media exam, and the challenging International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for high schools students. The IB Diploma Program is recognized for admission to universities in Italy, the U.S., the U.K, and countries around the world. ISF is fully accredited both by the Council of International Schools and the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges.