Falling in love with Florence
Where do I even begin?
So much has happened here in Florence in the last week and a half, I don’t even know where to start! The first few days were settling in days, where the roommates and I slowly unpacked our massive suitcases and began to explore the city. Florence is fairly easy to get around, but the fact that the streets change names every block and sometimes don’t even have a street name caused a little confusion and frustration. More than a few times my roommate and I found ourselves completely and utterly lost when finding out that we were only a few blocks off course. Realization: everything looks different at night.Including the beautiful Duomo… :)
My roommate and I joke about how getting lost is our secret plan to stay skinny because we’re walking at least double the steps we should be to almost every destination.. ha. Its gotten better though.. now we aren’t walking around with our maps of Firenze glued to our faces and I somehow feel like I’m a part of the ebb and flow of the people.
The first week we all had a cooking class where we cooked a full course meal in groups! It took about 3 hours, but we made a delicious baked eggplant appetizer, a Primi Patti and Secondi (First and Second courses) AND a delicious mini-size Tiramisu. Our chefs were so funny and thankfully assisted us in our (lack of) cooking skills. The best part was making our own noodles—they weren’t as perfectly shaped as our chef’s example was, but they still tasted preeetttyy good to me!
Meandering the streets in the evening hours is one of the things I like best in Florence. Although many shops close down, there is always so much to see and hear that you don’t get to experience during the day. I’ve discovered the amazing guitarist/vocalist guys who play on the Ponte Vecchio almost every evening.. they have become my roommate and I’s guilty pleasure… sitting on the street listening to them serenede us with beautiful Italian words and guitar solos! I’ve also stumbled upon a group of talented rollerblading men who set up tiny cones spaced a few centimeters apart and show off their skills at 10 at night. There’s also the artists drawing with chalk and oil pastels—drinking bottles of wine and doing nothing else but what they love to do. Perfect. Our first free weekend a bunch of us made day trips to two beautiful towns: San Gimignano and Arezzo. San Gimignano was amazing! It is a beautiful old medieval town with lots of towers, a torture museum (beyond scary..enter. at. your. own. risk.), and beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside.
After walking up a random street uphill, we stumbled upon a playground…nothing can truly show how excited all of us college students were to see it!!!
Ahh… to indulge in our child-like side again..pure joy. :)
Words nor pictures can quite describe the awesomeness of this view… but all I can say is that I love the companga d’Italia (Italian countryside) like no other. I have enjoyed all of the cities we have visited as each one has something unique to offer and gives bits and pieces of insight into the Italian way of life, but I think the true meaning of dolce far niente is shown in Italy’s rolling, bucolic hills and the gorgeous farmhouses nestled into them. I love seeing how the Italian people live and thrive away from the hustle and bustle. It’s easy to see how they unconditionally love their country and the beauty of what mother nature created for us to enjoy.
The other day trip we made was to Arezzo. The first Sunday of the month the whole city is overatken with tables and tables of antiques on every street.. so awesome. There was so many awesome things to see.. old postcards written between Italian lovers, mirrors (a few of which I almost knocked over being my clumsy self), jewelry of every kind, and all kinds of cool furniture. My roommate and I planned our imaginary houses with all of the unique furniture, tables and lamps that were there. While most things were too expensive for my frugal budget, I ended up buying an awesome turqouise ring for 10 euros and a few cool scarves! (my splurges for the day!)
While in Arezzo we also got to see a cool Roman amphitheater and a beautiful church that had some really well preserved frescoes! While the amphitheater is obviously not as grand at the Colosseum, there weren’t any mobs of annoying tourists surrounding it and taking 500 pictures from every angle. It was oddly calming to stare at the silent remains of an important structure that was at one point, as bustling as the city of Arezzo is now. Anytime I see pieces of the past, whether it be in art or architecture, it always drags my mind back into the past with its history-I always think of what life would be like if this piece of art came to life, or if this building was still standing strong. What if this place was a part of my everyday life? What if this amphitheater was a place I went to to watch concerts or listen to the King speak? Seeing places like that makes me sad that they are so deserted and lacking of the vibrancy and importance they once had. It makes me wonder if that is what our civilization will look like to the future inhabitants of our world when they begin sifting through our history; looking through an iron fence at the scribbles of our words on sides of buildings and bits of concrete and stone, trying desperately to piece back together what went on in our complicated world.
…..And this is why I wish I would have chosen Anthropology or Archeology as my major.. human life interests me. The human experience is so interesting, how, as humans, we all go through similar experiences, but in different ways, in different contexts, with different results. I definitely think looking at the past is a great way to predict the future, and this is why I feel the need to absorb everything I can while I’m abroad. Learning through what I’m feeling, seeing, tasting, breathing, liking, loving, and hating throughout my experiences here in Italy and beyond. I feel like I’m trying to suck an entire strawberry milkshake up through a tiny straw with full force… As we all know, this leads to an indefinite brain freeze. Oops. I hope there’s not such a thing as a culture brain freeze…
Arrivederci a presto! :)
Alycia Parrish is a student contributor to the API Tumblr Blog, and is currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy.