You Know You’re Becoming a Local in Florence When…

Meghan Harmening is a student at Buena Vista University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Florence, Italy.

Nap time is strictly at 3pm when all of the shops close for the afternoon.

Here in Italy, a majority of stores and restaurants close down around 3pm – it’s simply how the work culture is here. What does that mean for the under-rested college student? Nap time! Really I’m just adjusting to the culture and doing life as the Italians do.

High heels are just as easy to walk in as Converse are.

My first few days here were filled with weak ankles, blisters, and Band-Aids. I would walk around and wonder how in the world these Italian women were walking in 4 inch heels. The cobblestone here is just large enough that with the right steps you could probably get through unscathed. But I wasn’t about to leave my ankles out for the wolves. The answer? Wedges. I’ve seen more wedges here than I care to count, often as a platform rather than an actual heel. Excuse me, I’ll be right back, I have some shopping to do.

Drinking coffee is done at the counter, not while sitting at a table.

At nearly all of the cafes, grabbing a coffee at the bar is cheaper than sitting down. Because waiters aren’t often tipped here, service fees are added into the price of a sit down meal or drink. We college students don’t have extra Euro just sitting around waiting to be spent, so we budget and try to save money. Thus, coffee is always sipped standing up.

Counting steps becomes pointless because your daily goal is always reached by mid-afternoon.

Walking is a necessity. Public transportation is a great way to get out of the city or around the outskirts. However, when staying in the center, walking is the only way unless one has access to a moped – which I do not. Sigh. I better have nice calves when this semester is over. At least when you walk you come across beautiful scenery such as this fountain in the Boboli Gardens.

Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy - Harmening - Photo 1

Selfie-stick salesmen no longer try to sell to you.

I’m not sure if they all just recognize me at this point, or if it’s the way I seem to have tunnel vision when I walk right past them, but whatever it is, it works! I’m pretty sure I’ve mastered the “local look” – earbuds in, purse on shoulder, walking with a purpose, sight on some undefined object straight ahead.

Despite forgetting cash at home, the coffee shop still gives you your much-needed caffe macchiato.

Of course I have to go back tomorrow and pay them, but they know my face, trust me even. *smiles to self*

Coffee Shop, Florence, Italy

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