Ciao amici! It is currently my fourth week here in Florence and I can confidently say that I have adjusted to the Florentine lifestyle well. There were certainly a few things I had to get used to, such as stores closing at 9 PM, dinner being served later at night, and not having a drying machine in our apartment, but beyond those small things, I cannot complain. I could not have gotten luckier with my current living situation; I am living with three other students from Pitt. None of us knew each other before coming to Florence, but it worked out really well because we all get along and travel together on the weekends.
As for the actual apartment, it is a two bedroom two bathroom flat located in the Duomo Repubblica neighborhood, which is central to both the historic city center and the CAPA building. A two minute walk in one direction will take you to the stunning Piazza del Duomo, and two minutes in the other direction will take you to a grocery store, the gym, and the post office. The local grocery chain here is called CONAD, and the closest one is located across the street from my apartment, which makes cooking meals at home very easy. One thing I found interesting when I got to Florence was that Italians go to the grocery store every or every other day! They usually pick up only what they need for their dinner or the next day of meals. I definitely got some weird looks the first time I went to CONAD and got in the checkout line with a week’s worth of groceries.
We are fortunate enough to have a dishwasher in our apartment, which is apparently a luxury here in Florence. The apartment is very modern and I feel very safe in it. Instead of keys, we have pin code at both the entrance to our building and to the door of our apartment. We even have windows with shades that go down at the touch of a button! The apartment is definitely a lot smaller than houses and apartments in Oakland, but for such a fantastic location, it is definitely worth it. My roommates and I do not spend as much time in our apartment, anyways, because we are too busy exploring the city.
There are definitely pros and cons to each living situation offered by CAPA. Some of my friends at CAPA are located across the Arno river, which is a twenty-minute walk, but they get to enjoy a scenic walk every day and experience a different part of Florentine culture. Some even have the option to take public transport to get to CAPA, which may sound tedious, but they at least can understand the bus system and probably know the city of Florence on a much broader scale. I make an effort to explore different neighborhoods by walking around, trying different coffee shops, exploring various piazzas, and sometimes even getting lost on purpose!