It has been about two weeks now that I’ve been living here in Florence. I’m getting around the town pretty easily and don’t get lost as often. Already, there are a few things I love about living here.
I love waking up each morning, sticking my head out the window andlistening to Florence wake up. A vendor sets up his fruit market right below my bedroom window and soon the chatter of Italian starts.
I love hearing the accordion, violin, and chiming bells as I stroll through the city. I love how the citizens of each city are so proud of their home and distinct history and culture. They gladly will boast about the famous people who were born, lived or died in their cities.
And, of course, I love the food. I have a meal voucher plan through AIFS for a number of restaurants in the city; so far I have eaten at three of them: Il Teatro, The Diner, and Osteria de’ Peccatori. The food is delicious and the portions are large, keeping me full and happy. Back home I don’t eat red meat, but I decided that I couldn’t experience Italy without tasting all of its amazing dishes that include red meat; so I have been eating just about whatever here. There are so many great dishes and a few strange ones. At the AIFS welcome dinner I had pate, chicken liver, which is a local specialty! Tortellini in cream sauce, thinly sliced prosciutto, nocciola gelato… I don’t think I could ever tire of this cuisine.
In my classes I learn about so many different pieces of art and architecture that are within walking distance, it’s amazing. Just a couple of minutes from my apartment is Il Duomo, Piazza della Reppublica, and many more monuments. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so much art and history.
Last Saturday we had the chance to go on a day trip to Pisa and Lucca. In Pisa we toured Piazza dei Miracoli, including the Cathedral, Baptistery, and of course the Campanile (Leaning Tower of Pisa). Inside the cathedral there are numerous paintings, mosaics and beautiful things to gaze at. I was awed by all of it and am unable to truly express what a rewarding experience it was. Hearing and seeing the history and art of Pisa was a wonderful. A short bus-ride away in Lucca we strolled through the streets and along the city walls. The surrounding area and top of the large wall itself are so green; it was a welcome break from the city-feel of Florence to see nature and take a leisurely walk through, what felt like, a pretty quiet town. I plan on taking my mom to visit both Pisa and Lucca when she flies over.
I really enjoy the fresh market in Sant‘ Ambrogio square. It’s a little bit of a walk from my apartment, but now I have the path down and it’s definitely worth it. There are a lot of fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses and other items to choose from at good prices. I’ve even gotten to know a couple of vendors.
I’ve been trying to use Italian where ever I can, but I often have to say “Parla Inglese?” or resort to hand gestures and motioning. I can’t wait until I can communicate easily with the locals!
Last night I explored the other side of Florence across the Arno River with some students. The Ponte Vecchio bridge and Florence was lit up by shining lights. The day had not been rainy (finally!) and the clouds made for a beautiful sunset.
Until next time, arrivederci!