About ISF

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.

The entire student body (PS-Grade 12) in 1987

Capturing 68 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 520 students on two campuses, is comprised of families from over thirty countries, including about 40% of Italian Citizens. Paul Burk-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 lacation at Via del Carota in Bagno a Ripoli.
The 15th century villa was purchased through the generosity of the Fancelli and Gucci families. Mr. Gibson retired, in 1983, after 31 years with ISF.

The entire student body at The Junior School (PS-Grade 5) in 2016

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 65 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 (grades Pre-School through 5), an integrated Italian equivalency program (grades 1 through 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.

Proud to be a NONPROFIT School