Now that I’ve been living in Italy for nearly 7 weeks, I am going to provide all of you with a guide to studying in Florence! This blog post will tell you the ins and outs to living like a true Florentine and offer advice to make the process of studying abroad go as smooth as possible. To make this post more effective, I reached out to friends back home in the States and had them send me a few questions they might have about studying in Florence or abroad in general. I’ve grouped questions together based on their relevance to make following along as easy as possible. This is just Part 1 of this string of Q&A posts, so be sure to check out Part 2 when you get the chance! Hope this helps!
What is your neighborhood like?
I couldn’t be happier with my current living situation in Florence. I ended up getting placed about 30 minutes by foot from the CAPA Center, which is in the bustling and beautiful area of Santa Croce. My walk to class each day is absolutely gorgeous, as I cross the Arno River and have a perfect view of the Ponte Vecchio. While a 30 minute walk can at times be a bit long, the GBI program provides you with a bus pass in Florence which can shorten the commute a bit. Most of my classmates live across the river in the much busier and more crowded side of the city, but I have come to appreciate living in a more residential and authentic area. Nearly all of my favorite restaurants I’ve been to so far are near my apartment! I am also conveniently located next to 2 supermarkets, a pharmacy, and a park so anything I need is just a short walk away.
Is your apartment nice? How many people live with you?
The interior of the apartment is very nice. It is somewhat small, but plenty of room for me and my 3 roommates. We have a nice kitchen, large bathroom, 2 bedrooms, and a beautiful balcony overlooking a terrace. The apartment came fully equipped with silverware, pots, pans, and anything else you may need. It was also very clean upon my arrival and though my roommates and I let it get a bit too messy at times, it’s not too much work to tidy up!
Adapting to the City
Do you need to know Italian to get by?
You most certainly do not need to know any Italian while living here, but it sure can help. Being such a touristy city, nearly all stores and restaurants in the center of Florence accommodate to English speakers. I do know a bit of Italian, and it has helped in a few instances (primarily in my less touristy area), but overall anyone can get by fine sticking to english here.
What is your favorite part of Florence?
Easily the food. I am constantly eating the best sandwiches, pasta, and meats I’ve ever had in my life and am having an incredible time discovering more places. But more specifically, there are so many aspects to Florence that I love so much. The culture is very unique and fun to observe. There are cafes, restaurants, trattorias, and bars at nearly every turn. The streets are full of people, cars, and motorcycles, and although you may feel a bit overwhelmed at first, you quickly get more comfortable walking among the commotion.
Also, the architecture and art history is truly remarkable here. There are so many old churches and buildings that are absolutely stunning and to be walking among so much history is such a cool feeling.
That’s it for Part 1! Be sure to check out Part 2 next!!