Title: Pizza, Pasta, and Piazzas: My Week in Florence, Italy!
When my three best friends told me that they were studying abroad in Florence, Italy, I knew I had to visit them. Have any of you seen a cobblestone road before? They are very old and a little tricky to walk on because the blocks aren’t connected like cement on a sidewalk. Imagine the roads of an entire city made up of cobblestone! For my spring break, I flew four hours from Istanbul, Turkey to Florence, Italy to spend a week walking on cobblestone streets, visiting museums, eating tons of pasta and watching the sun set over the Arno River with old friends and new ones too!
Some of my favorite cities in the world are the ones where you can walk through the streets and see yourself in another century, wearing their same traditional clothing, and nothing about the city has changed. Florence is similar to Istanbul in that their history is still visibly intact, but they are so very different.
Florence is a city that brings a relaxed traveler to its streets. People walk slowly, instead of in a rush. It is a beautiful city with wonderful architecture and views of the sunset that are unparalleled. The Boboli Gardens and Bardini Gardens are two examples of quiet places to escape to when the city life gets to be tiring. These gardens belonged to the Medici family, one of the most wealthy and influential families in all of Tuscany. The Medici family kept the city of Florence flourishing through the centuries. Now, there are museums, gardens, and national holidays in honor of this generous family. Florence has so much history and so much to see that even after a week of exploring, I felt like I could still explore so much more!
Local Time: 6 Hours Ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Time Zone: Central European Summer Time (CEST)
Location (Latitude, Longitude): Latitude: 43 ° 46’ North; Longitude: 11 ° 15’ East
How far did I travel this week?
How far have I traveled on your journey so far?
2,000 kilometers (minimum)
How did I get around this week?
My mode of transportation for most of the week was either walking or taking a train. Florence is a very easy town to walk through. In order to visit neighboring towns I had to take a train that was very easy to find.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week?
The Leaning Tower of Pisa was the most interesting thing I saw this week. Have you heard of it? There is a tower in Pisa, Italy that leans to the side, almost like it is about to fall over. People come from all over the world to take pictures pretending to push it down. The tower leans because the original architects did not build enough support for the building’s foundation.
Other travel news:
People in Italy bring their dogs everywhere with them. At first, I did not think it was unusual. Then I saw a dog on the train in a woman’s purse! Even that dog was not as funny as the dog I saw in the café where my friends and I stopped for lunch. Italians do not have rules against dogs in doors or out doors!
Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):
Partly cloudy: 4
What animals did I see this week?
I saw storks and a ton of pigeons!
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week?
When the sunsets on the Arno River, the river looks like it changes colors every few minutes. It was as if the colors changed on command.
What languages are spoken here?
What type of money is used here?
How much does a bottle of water cost?
What was the best meal this week?
Grilled vegetables, fresh mozzarella and cheesy gnocchi, which is an Italian pasta made from potatoes
What music did I listen to this week?
I listened to American pop music.
What activity was the most fun this week?
We climbed the highest hill in Florence to watch the sun set over the river.
What did I read this week?
I brought a book called, Snow by Orhan Pamuk, a famous Turkish novelist.
What games or sports did I play this week?
I kicked a soccer ball around with some friends.
Other news from this week:
My friend, Marissa, lives in Florence this semester studying abroad. We have played soccer together for four years. She joined an Italian soccer league to play in while she studied abroad. I went to her semi-final game one of the nights that I was visiting. It was so cool to see Italians and Americans playing together in a small, outdoor field right inside the city. The field was not made of grass. Instead, it was closer to a carpet, but that did not stop them from having fun! Marissa’s team won and after I left, they went on to the championships where they won as well!
Sunset over Florence
Me and the Leaning Tower of Pisa