Photos by Emilee Zhang, (Brandeis University) Student Correspondent CET Florence, Fall 2018 Having just arrived in Florence the day before, I was both excited and nervous upon the realization that this city would become my home for the next three and a half months. Early next morning, as my roommates and I went on our way to the CET center, we couldn’t help but stop and take photos on the Ponte alle Grazie. It seemed almost surreal that we would be walking past such beautiful scenery every morning to and from classes. With the entire weekend ahead of me, I was eager to sightsee and explore Florence. After walking only 5 minutes, I was in an enormous square with a magnificent basilica standing in the center: I was in the Piazza Santa Croce. While the square was bustling with tourists just hours before, it was late enough at night that the crowds had dispersed. If you look closely towards the left, you can see that there is even a sculpture of Dante. The Ponte Vecchio is probably the most well known bridge in Florence and it is especially beautiful for any night time strolls. We walked past numerous shops lined up one by one along the Ponte and often there were even music acts late into the evening. Although I can’t really consider myself an “art buff”, I do enjoy art, which is why I couldn’t pass up a chance to go to Pisa with my roommates to see the Keith Haring mural titled “Tuttomondo” in Pisa. While walking around Pisa, we had to stop and take photos on the Ponte di Mezzo and its stunning views. The Baptistery in Pisa is huge. Simply huge. Standing beneath it, we were amazed by the details and both the Romanesque and Gothic styles. Fun fact: this baptistery is also on a slight lean, although evidently not as prominent as the famed tower. If you look closely, you can see that the line for the baptistery is also very long. It wouldn’t be a trip to Pisa without the classic picture (so obviously, we each had one). You simply have to have one, no matter how common it is! My absolute favorite part of the trip was taking pictures of people taking pictures of people posing! Everybody is trying to get that perfect shot of them holding up the tower. This picture really doesn’t do it justice. The Duomo is magnificent, but from street view, I could only capture a small part of its beauty! It is magnificent and too large to get into one picture! I already knew coming here that Florence would be a huge tourist hub, especially considering its history here; however, it was on another level at the Duomo. There were lines of people waiting to get into the baptistery and the cathedral. Within the short time span that I’ve already been here, I’ve probably walked past it at least 5 times, still amazed by its beauty each occasion. This is probably one of my favorite squares, simply because of the statues. For my Florence Sketchbook class, we visited the Piazza della Signoria to sketch some quick gesture drawings! While this area is most notably recognized as the “place with the fake David statue”, it was a very fun class since we learned to draw human figures from statues at real sites, rather than from images on screens. This hike may have been one of the most beautiful scenic hikes I’ve been on. This was during a CET activity where CET students went outside of Florence to hike in the countryside of Fiesole and Settignano. We left around 5:30 in the evening on a bus to Settignano and then hiked for about 1.5-2 hours with a picnic at the top! We were able to see Florence from above while the sun was setting and it was so beautiful.