Photos by Tessa Beazley, (The George Washington University), Student Correspondent for CET Florence, Fall 2022
The first night, the roommates and I were all jetlagged and craving aperol spritzes, so we tried out our very limited Italian at a cute corner restaurant before heading home to unpack. I honestly can’t remember the name of the place, but it was only the start of the amazing food I’ve had this first week!
Our room was so much more spacious than any of us thought it would be, considering the reputation of Italian housing. There are six of us in the apartment and we all have plenty of storage and are coming to love the quirks.
My first trip to the Conad grocery store was both better and worse than I anticipated. I spent five minutes in front of the spice rack trying to translate spice names and items were not always grouped together how I am used to. But, after a few minutes of walking around it became much easier. And all the prices are AMAZING compared to what I am used to from the States!
With some of my free time I’ve explored the areas by the CET center on the opposite side of the river from where I live. These streets feel much more residential and full of hole-in-the-wall local shops. I’m excited to go back and check out some of the spots I found, like a guitar bar (Chiodo Fisso) and an art cafe (L’Arte di Diory).
On the second night, we hiked up to Piazzale Michelangelo, watched the sunset with a bottle of wine, and stuck around for some live music in the evening. While belting Despacito with the European tourists and watching the locals do an apparently well-known Italian social dance, I definitely had the moment of, “this is why I am in Florence!”
One of the things I have loved about Florence so far is the variety of people I’ve been able to meet. From study abroad students to local shopkeepers to the Australians visiting for the weekend that we met at Piazzale Michelangelo, I feel like I’ve met more people from different places in this past week than in the past year of my life!
On Saturday, CET took us to Villa Ilangi to learn about the process of making and bottling wine, eat some delicious lunch, and go to the villa’s pool. Even when it was raining in the morning, the views were absolutely stunning, though I was glad it cleared up for us to spend time at the pool and explore the grounds a bit more.
It took me about half an hour to find the public water fountain that is actually only a two minute walk from my apartment, but now I use it multiple times a day. Water isn’t free in Florence restaurants and tap water isn’t always everyone’s favorite, so having these around is a good option. And it is always fun to see the dogs running around the park it’s in!
Back in DC, I love heading over to the Georgetown flea market on Sundays, so it was fun to find a Sunday flea in Piazza Savonarola. I unfortunately didn’t bring cash with me on that walk but I will definitely be back in the future.
Sunday we didn’t have anything officially scheduled so I woke up and read at a very peaceful park nearby called Piazza Massimo D’Azeglio. Everywhere I turn, there is something beautiful to see — even the graffiti across from where I was sitting in the park!