Every day on my way to school I get to walk along Florence’s famous river Arno. The Arno is the largest river in the region, stretching a vast 241 kilometers. During my walk, I pass another famous milestone, the Ponte Vecchio. As I wind through the streets, it takes me about twenty minutes to get to the CAPA center. When I sent photos of my apartment and school to my family, they asked if I was living/going to school in a museum because of how beautiful both places are. One of my favorite things about my walk to school is that I can take a different route every day and still somehow end up where I need to be. There are so many long and skinny streets in Florence that you could wander aimlessly for hours and never see the same store twice!
Thus far, I have only taken a bus two times. Bussing within Florence is quite difficult because of the narrow streets. Most people here prefer biking or walking. The busses are nothing like the ones I am used to in Pittsburgh. In fact, they are more like compact square vans, only holding about 10 people at a time. There are larger busses that take you places outside of the city, for example for excursions or to a place my roommates and I go to hike. There are bike sharing apps that allow you to “sign-out” bikes and pay per minute. I have yet to try biking in Florence, but I plan to do so in the near future!
Finally, I would like to touch on the train system, since many people like to travel on weekend while studying abroad. The train system is very simple. There is an online website where I order my tickets, and the train station is a five-minute walk from my apartment. Florence’s central train station is quite small compared to Rome, Milan, or any other large city. Trains run all through the day and night, which is extremely convenient when you have classes until 3pm and then want to travel somewhere in the evening. So far, I have taken the train about twenty times, and not a single issue has arisen. Italian people are very enthusiastic about helping tourists and are very friendly in general. It is extremely manageable to balance school work and traveling to make the most of your study abroad experience!