Let’s face it: when in Italy, you must eat gelato. It’s on basically every corner. While I do miss Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream, authentic gelato is to die for. Tip from a local Florentine: don’t go into the gelaterias that have gelato stacked up really high in the display. Those do not have the best gelato and are aimed at tourists.
- Art and Architecture
There are museums and art everywhere. At the end of my four months in Florence, there will probably still be a lot that I haven’t seen. ISA Florence offered a boat tour down the Arno River that I was able to attend, and it was crazy to see all of the bridges and buildings from a different perspective.
I also walk through Piazza della Signoria everyday, which is where the Uffizi Museum is as well as multiple sculptures. If you walk towards the river from there, there’s also a nice view of the Ponte Vecchio.
The food here is unbelievably delicious. A constant worry for most people that study abroad is gaining weight. Well, the food here is much more fresh than anything in the United States. Every single pasta dish I’ve gotten has been to die for, but before you head to Italy, you must know that spaghetti and meatballs is not a traditional Italian dish. I’ve only seen it offered at a few restaurants.
- The Trifecta: City, Beach and Countryside
While Florence is a bustling city constantly filled with tourists, many locals live outside the city. One of my professors has an hour commute every day to get to school; she lives out in the countryside.
There are also plenty of easy to get to beaches near Florence. They even built a make-shift beach down the Arno River, but I wouldn’t suggest getting in the water. I took a day trip to Viareggio, which is about an hour and a half train ride away. It’s also easy to get to Cinque Terre and the Almafi Coast, which are more well known.
Florence is in such a great location for traveling not only throughout Italy, but throughout Europe as well. For example, I’ve already been to Germany, Venci, the Almafi Coast, and Croatia. The next ones on my list include Prague, Amsterdam, London, Ireland, Siena, Pisa, and Venice. There are a lot of travel companies here that are affordable and plan your weekend out for you, so it’s not as stressful.
Overall, Florence is an amazing city, super easy to get around and has a lot of history and beauty. If I had the chance to go back and change where I chose to study abroad, I wouldn’t.
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