An 18th-century palazzo in Prato, near Florence, once a private gaming club for the gentlemen of the city's textile oligarchy, will house a new centre established by Australia's Monash University.
Monash director Bill Kent said that it would be much more than an overseas study centre.
Professor Kent, a historian, said the centre would resemble "a kind of Australian academy in Europe, with conferences, seminars, workshops and promotion of the Australian arts".
The centre will be inaugurated on September 17. The event will include music by the Monash Students Ensemble and an exhibition of Australian contemporary art.
Between 60 and 100 under-graduate and graduate students will work at Prato. The fields covered will include history, art history, law, drama and business.
Monash already has a centre in London, at King's College, and campuses in Kuala Lumpur and Johannesburg.