Written by Rosie, High School/Pre-College Student Correspondent for Italian Food, Art, and Society in Florence, Summer 2018
Although I have only been in the beautiful city of Florence for one week, I feel as if it is already my home. In six days I have walked approximately 47.8 miles, according to the very useful “Health” app on my phone. Some of these steps have taken me past the Duomo, to the central market, through the rows of leather market vendors, across the Ponte Vecchio, up to Piazzale Michelangelo, and of course, to class. Though I am still in the process of completing the touristy parts of my stay, I can’t wait to feel more like a local than an outsider.
My great grandparents emigrated to America from Naples in the twenties. Since I was young I have seen the passion that surrounds Italian food and culture from watching my grandfather prepare dinner and tell me and my siblings the exact correct way to go about a proper meal.
From taking a pasta making class with an amazingly enthusiastic cook, to visiting a farm in Chianti with an indulgent tour guide, and finally to learning how to make gelato with a charismatic gelateria owner, I was reaffirmed that food plays a central role in Italian culture. This past week has been a glimpse into my family history and it has been incredible to see firsthand the emotion that everyone I have met puts into their daily job.
Since Florence is the true home of the renaissance, I cannot forget the immense history of art in this city. From graffiti on street signs to the magnificent architecture of the Duomo and everything in between, the city is filled with timeless art and culture. Seeing the monumental cathedral for the first time is something I will never forget. It sounds cheesy, but I could feel the presence of the Duomo even before my taxi took the corner to reveal its facade.
Though I am just beginning to get past the awestruck phase of seeing all of the incredible cathedrals, churches, and statues, I am still taken aback by some of the street art I see. Florence is somewhere that I can find beauty in nearly everything. I look forward to discovering the (metaphorical) Chianti in my life throughout this next exciting month.