Getting to class and work each day feels quite similar to what I am used to back in Pittsburgh. My main mode of transportation is walking, and the city center is quite small compared to what I was expecting so the walks are generally not more than twenty minutes in any direction. In Pittsburgh, I would sometimes take advantage of the bus system on a rainy or cold day however here in Florence the bus system is not as frequently used. As students on the CAPA program we do have bus passes but it is much more convenient for us to just walk here. I love the commute that I have to class and work every day as there is so much to see I have yet to be bored. Granted, I have only been here for one week, so I’ll check back in on the end of the semester to see if the views have gotten “old” for me. My daily commute generally includes walking past the Duomo and il Mercato di San Lorenzo, two incredibly beautiful and interesting places. I have to pinch myself every time I realize that seeing these amazing sights is really just my walk to class!
I enjoy the commute right now because the streets are busy but not too crazy, however I do wonder if when the weather gets warmer more tourists will flood the city and my opinions will change. One dangerous aspect of my commute is the number of gelaterie and pasticcerie on my way to and from class and work. As for any roads in Florence, the streets are lined with delicious looking gelato, pastries and sandwiches which really forces me to exercise my self control at all times.
One tip that I would pass along to students studying in Florence in the future is to be aware of how much english is spoken here. Though Florence does not seem to be as “touristy” as Rome or Venice or other Italian cities, there is quite a bit of tourism here leading to a lot of english speaking people. Additionally, there is an incredible number of American students that study in Florence each year. Roughly 10,000 American students study here each year, so if you’re an American student interested in studying in Florence, you won’t be alone! This is cool because it allows us to interact with students from all over our country in an environment completely foreign to us, but it does feel quite odd to continuously meet American students while studying in a foreign. Of course, getting out of the city center eliminates a lot of these American dominated interactions giving us a comfortable mix of home and abroad!