What I have observed of Florence so far has been pretty great but not in the least what I had expected. A professor recently told me that Florence is sometimes considered the Disney of Italy and I can most definitely understand why this is so. The city is filled with tourists, particularly Americans, whom are pretty easy to spot and flood the streets on a daily basis. If one were to sit on the steps of the Cathedral/Duomo, you would see countless tours shuffling throughout the Piazza, pigeons scurrying between the legs of those consumed in the immaculate architecture around them in order to pick up measly crumbs of freshly baked croissants and prosciutto paninis, and hear the beginning drops of a short afternoon rain splash against the cobblestones. A quick fun fact: the entire city is indeed completely covered in cobblestones; heels are only welcomed for the advanced women.
Getting back to my original point, It has been slightly difficult to find local Italians with whom I can practice my Italian with but this will push me to try even harder to converse with the locals. At this point, I find it easy to write off Florence as the “city I studied in” and spend most of my time and efforts travelling all over Europe; however, that is not why I came here even though it may be for many other students. Of course I am amidst planning my spring break to Ireland and already have been to Venice (post coming soon), Rome, Bologna, Pisa, and Naples (I promise I will write about all of these amazing places soon enough) BUT during the four months I truly want to understand the backbone to Florence. Speaking to locals, going on Tuscan wine tours and even leaving for these trips but returning to Florence as my temporary home will be the most valuable of all. This city has an ease about it and there is never the sense that you don’t belong as a visitor or tourist or student and I can’t wait until that moment when I no longer feel like a visitor or tourist or student but as a true Florentine.
p.s.: Look at this store I found called ZOPPINI (my last name is ZOPPINA)