First- I could not be happier with the destination I chose to study abroad. Europe alone offers so many beautiful and unique places. I chose Italy because of my Italian heritage which I wanted to explore more of, but I'm so glad I chose the beautiful city of Firenze rather than another city in Italy. With that being said- during my research before I went abroad, people only tell you the "good" stuff. How beautiful the buildings are, how accesible everything is, the delicous food & wine, the leather markets etc. While this is all very true, when people ask me what it is really like to live here, I want to give them an honest answer. So, let me just be blunt for a minute to allow people to fully understand ALL of the aspects in which living in Florence entails. What previous travellers don't mention is the dog poop on the streets, the frequent smell of sewer, the creepy and very persistent men, and the mosquitoes that never die. And in our particular neighborhood 3 blocks north of the central market, every night as we fall asleep we're accompanied by the sound of a cat and dog howling and meowing at eachother. At first we thought it was a baby crying- it's terryfying to hear in person! Of course every city has its pros and cons. So let me finish by saying that in Florence, the pros definitely outweight the cons.
|The Duomo is particularly beautiful in the rain at 2AM|
On Tuesdays I have class from 12:00-8:30pm, after being in class for so long my favorite part of the day is walking home through the city. Everyone is enjoying their dinner, the markets begin to close for the evening, yet the city is still so alive. My favorite time of day in Florence, however, is before 8am. Only a few early-riser elderly couples are up starting their day as tourists, taking pictures of the Duomo while the rest of the crowds are still sleeping. I also love to catch several of the market owners sweeping their steps and opening their stores at this time each morning.
|Piazza Repubblica in the morning|
It's hard to imagine our time here is almost already half-way through as mid-terms are the week after next. I still have so much to learn about this city that I feel overwhelmed sometimes with the amount of time left here and the amount of things I still wish to do. Every day on my way to class I notice a new store and make a mental note to go there "one of these days". While Florence is a fairly small city it is absolutely big enough to explore a new area each day that you've never been to before. I should mention though for future travelers, out of the places that I've discovered so far the best gelato in my opinion is Bellamia, and the best panini place is Antica Sosta Degli Aldobrandini- both right near my school and provide discounts for students!
|Crema & Chocolate Gelato from Bellamia|
|The Diner is a great spot to satisfy those American Breakfast cravings!|
This past Wednesday LdM hosted a 40th anniversary dinner at the Gardens of the beautiful Corsini Palace. When we arrived we were greeted with champagne and tickets for food vendors scattered around the garden. The venue was decorated with christmas lights and large white tents. The caterers were dressed in all white and wore straw hats. I was in awe the whole night about how amazingly perfect the party was planned. And that it was all FREE! Endless wine and champagne led to a fun night on the dance floor with the LdM staff after we stuffed our faces with some of the best food I've yet to eat in Italy!
Overall, I think anyone who has the oppurtunity to study abroad would be crazy not to take it! Of course it's a hard adjustment living in a foreign country and among several things I'm really missing my family, my car, Doritoes and the rest of my wardrobe- but I wouldn't change one detail of this experience so far for the world. I already can't wait to return to Italy one day with a larger bank account and memories from when I was 21 years old!