What NOT to pack for Florence

Jacquelyn O’Malley is a student at The College of New Jersey and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jackie is currently studying abroad in Florence on an ISA Summer 3 program.

I’m a self-diagnosed over-packer.  Beach trip?  Better bring my winter coat!  Going skiing?  I’ll pack a few bathing suits, you know, just in case.  So much to nobody’s surprise, I completely overpacked for Florence.  If I could re-pack, here are the top 6 items I would have left behind:

  1. Jeans/Sweatpants/Sweatshirts– I’ll put this simply.  In July, Florence reaches 105 degrees by day, and 85 by night.
  2. Heels–  After one attempt at wearing your black stilettos on Italy’s cobblestone streets, I can assure you that they won’t make another appearance for the remainder of your trip.  It’s a lot smarter to pack one good pair of wedges and a nice pair of flats instead.
  3. Sheets/Towels-  In Florence, there’s a Coin store, which is a lot like our version of Macy’s.  Located right by the Duomo, it has plenty of cheap linens that will allow you to save money and space in your suitcase.
  4. Shampoo/Conditioner- At every turn there are Pharmacy’s with plenty of recognizable brand names, like Pantene.  Just look for a light up green cross on the side of the building, and that means there’s a pharmacy.
  5. Hair Dryer/Straightener– Even with the converter, these items just don’t work like they do back in the States (a close call with lighting my hair on fire let me figure this one out).  Either make peace with your curly hair or buy a cheap dryer/straightener at a pharmacy or Coin.
  6. Backpack/Bag– With the world’s largest leather market right outside your door, it’s going to take a lot of willpower to pass up on shopping.  I gave in and bought a satchel, which turned out to be the best purchase I’ve made.  The leather bags and satchels are super useful throughout your trip, and they are all reasonably priced as well (especially if you mention you’re a student!)

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