Photo Essay: CET Florence

Photos by Emilee Zhang, (Brandeis University) Student Correspondent CET Florence, Fall 2018

The longer I’ve been here in Florence, the more I find myself appreciating the city at night. When the city is asleep, I often find myself just walking alongside the river, seeing the lights reflect off the water, illuminating the Arno in a golden glow.


Two weekends prior to finals, a few friends and I decided to visit Verona, the famed setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. For fellow photography enthusiasts, there is something about river and architecture photos that always seem to capture the beauty of a place.


These are the Rose Gardens, which I always pass on my climb up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. I find myself always stopping here, just to see the view (and to take a well needed break). While not in full bloom since it’s winter, these gardens always are a pretty sight, offering a view of the city’s skyline.


Just as I was prepared to go home to see family and get onto campus in January, the Christmas markets came. They are right in the Santa Croce piazza, and it is everything you would expect in a Christmas market. There is food from various European countries being sold, holiday ornaments, scarves, wall art, jewelry, pastries, and so much more!


Again and again, I find myself at this piazza, especially at night when it’s quiet and lit up purple. Often, there are street musicians playing, their content ranging from modern pop to classic rock to classical music.


Around the holidays, on each of the main streets as well as all of the smaller side streets have decorations! This city really redefines the term “Christmas decorations”, since decorations as such would never be hanging over our main roads at home. It really makes you feel as if you’re in another world around night time.


I’m not going to lie, I do miss the snow at home on the East Coast. However, I also do love rain, but not necessarily when I need to walk to and from class each day. But through my time here, I’ve learned to love the rain, especially the glazy, wet hue it leaves on the city streets.


While the Ponte Vecchio is the most well known bridge in Florence, I think the others are just as beautiful. This photo is from the center of the Santa Trinita bridge, looking towards the Santa Trinita piazza, where more beautiful Christmas decorations dangle right above our heads.


The Palazzo Vecchio is technically considered the city’s town hall and while the outside might not show it, the interior is breathtaking. This specific room is called the Salone dei Cinquecento (Room of the 500) and it’s the main room where events take place. While at home, our town events would occur, well in the town hall. But it’s usually not as spacious and as history rich as this room in the Palazzo Vecchio.


To finish off our last week of classes, our final Medici class took place behind the Pitti Palace in the Boboli Gardens. The entire palace itself is already so spacious and large, but in my opinion, the gardens are doubly as magnificent.


One of the things I’ll miss the most about this city is the view from the bridges. The sun generally has been setting at 4:30 or 5 pm, so I always end up walking home right when the sun is going down and the sky is a mix of various colors.