I apologize for the delay in posting but I am now officially living in Florence, Italy for 4 months!!
I am so happy here and cannot wait to document what’s ahead.
Here are the highlights so far from my first week here.
The food here is unbelievable! Pizza, pasta, gelato, cannoli desserts – everything I’ve tried so far has blown me out of the water. My roommates and I have been hitting up the Central Market right next to our apartment (!!!) which has been a cheap & chic stop each time. They have booths for each food item that you order from and they make to order. The pistachio gelato from there has since gotten me on a pistachio kick and we have been frequent customers to the cannoli cart nearby. Another must try is the secret bakeries in the late night hours – once you get a location, knock on the door and a chef tells you two options. Pick one (or both) and you pay about a euro or two each! Crazy cheap & oh so good! I got a Nutella doughnut for my first time – so good!! Their menus change each night so its always fun to come back just to see what’s next.
The buildings here make you think you just walked onto a movie set. Most of them are from the 1600s onward – can’t say the same for buildings in the US. The Duomo (dome) church is the focal point of Florence and is lit up each night to show off its beauty. Its also a great landmark to look for if you get lost in the city – very helpful if you are traveling from a friend’s apartment or coming back from a night of dancing and just need a quick check on your direction home. Another few points to not miss are the Ponte Vecchio, the river that divides the city and is home to different silver shops and little bars/pubs lining it. After crossing it, take a hike up to the Michelangelo steps (bring a water bottle – it is steep!) to see the BEST view of the city and the hills of Tuscany. The long walk up is worth it! To make the experience more worth wild, bring a bottle of wine and drink up on the top (makes a cute picture too). When walking back home from the Ponte Vecchio, hop on the pretty carousel in the Piazza della Repubblica near the Arcone (arch). This Piazza is where all the hot shops and markets are home to, even some familiar ones like H&M and Zara. Before leaving this spot, make sure to find the Porcellino (boar) fountain. Toss a coin into his mouth & rub his snout for good luck & as a way to insure your return to Florence! One last highlight is that every first Sunday of the month, all museums in Florence are free (WHAT?). With this in mind, my friends and I ran to see the David and a few Bottichelli pieces all at the low price of zero euros – how awesome right?! I recommend waiting for these free days if possible since the rest of the museums that these were featured in did not have much of a variety of pieces besides these world renowned ones.
Carnival was crazy (and creepy at times!), so many people in costumes (and just in general). They even had a contest to pick which one was the most beautiful/creative! After buying a mask of my own, my friends and I walked around the square to take it all in. We knew we would be back again through school so we didn’t waste time waiting in the long lines to see the Doge Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. We’ll go when its less crowded! We also wanted to wait on the Gondola rides since we knew we had one included on our second trip so we mainly just took in the city and the camaraderie around us, stopping inside a shop or two and a church. One water taxi and bus ride later, we were back home in Florence!
I also had all my classes the following week – all of them went well, thank goodness! I’m taking a couple fashion courses (it’s my major!) and a food class along with a pairing food & wine class so I can get better at cooking. I’ll keep you all posted on the food classes since I think I’ll be learning the most from these courses!
See you all soon – Arrivederci!