Written by Elizabeth Persons (Vanderbilt University) Student Correspondent CET Florence, Summer 2018
This is the view from the bridge that we have to cross every day to get to class from our apartment which is close to the city center. The bridge farther down the river is the Ponte Vecchio which is always packed with people shopping.
We met everyone in the group for orientation and we hung out in the student area in the CET center.
On orientation day, Laura, our housing manager, took us all out to a traditional Tuscan lunch a couple minutes away from the CET center. This is almost everyone from our group (one person is missing plus me). There are only eighteen of us in the CET Florence program right now, which is pretty great because we are able to get to know each other really well.
Every Tuesday, CET plans a group activity for all the students to do together. This week’s activity was a pizza and gelato making class. Here is Deniz getting ready to cook our dinner!
I think we rocked the pizza making game. Mine is the one in the front and Deniz’s is in the back. We added truffle salt to our pizzas to give them a little extra Tuscan flavor.
The views from Piazzale Michelangelo are the best in town, since you can actually see all of Florence from one spot. It is up on the hill across the river from city center but super close to the CET center so a great place to go visit. On the left is the Duomo, which is right in front of where my apartment is.
Another view from Piazzale Michelangelo. The covered bridge is Ponte Vecchio, which is a pretty cool place because there are shops built into the bridge. On the city center side of the bridge/river, there is Piazzale Vecchio (the tower) which is like the town hall.
There are tons of museums and historical places to visit in Florence. We decided to take an afternoon trip to the Boboli Gardens, which are on the grounds of the Palazzo Pitti or the Pitti Palace. The Palace, though not originally built for them, was expanded and lived in from the 16th to the 19th century by the Medici family. The whole place was gorgeous but here is a picture of Ana, Adeline, and Izzy walking down the Ragnaie, literally translating to the spider’s lane.
This is the view from the very top of the Boboli Gardens looking down on the Pitti Palace. You can see the original building, the length of which is five windows across. Although you can’t really see it, the statue in the middle of the pond is of Neptune.
Florence has a very central location, from which we are able to travel all over on the weekends (no class on Fridays means three day weekends every week). This weekend we decided to stay close to home and went out into Tuscany. There are a lot of super cool groups that run amazing trips for students studying abroad in Florence and Rome. We decided to go on a Tuscany wine and food tour with Bus2Alps but there are a lot of different options so look for the things you really want to do. We were able to go to two wineries for wine tastings and we made a stop in San Gimignano for the “best gelato in the world” (they actually won a competition for the title TWICE). This was the view from the first winery we visited and you can see the town of San Ginignano in the background with the towers.