3 days to fall in love with Florence
I love Italy! I’ve only been here three days, but I already know it. Time has passed so strangely: though it seems like forever since I left the States, at the same time, these three days have flown by.
Italy is starting to feel more natural for me. The daily walk to school is more a customary passage and less a confusing and harrowing trial of our navigational skills, street smarts, and ability to ask for directions in Italian. I know to always close the shutters in my room at night, as flies and mosquitoes make it hard to sleep. I know not to respond to Italian street vendors, since they don’t take no for an answer, unless I truly want a pair of white “euro-trash” shades. I also know that Italian gelato is more amazing than any ice cream in the United States.
I’ve started to take Italian lessons, at the nearby Italian language school. I already know a little, so I took the placement test to skip level one, and passed. Now, I’m taking a more advanced class, with other people outside the AYUSA group. It’s a good way to expand meet new people outside of the six in my program, though my little group is still great. I was instant friends with my roommate, and we have a great time together. There are some other interesting people in my group that we spend time with often. We’ve also met a few people beyond our group, through our classes, who we hang out with in our free time.
Our daily excursions have been great. Today, we walked past the Duomo, to the ponte vecchio, and then through some pleasant alleys and quiet streets, until we ended up at the foot of an very intimidating large hill. A worn rock staircase led to the top. It was a long hike to the summit, but after much blood, sweat and tears (well, mainly just sweat) we arrived at the piazza Michelangelo. From this ancient church, one could view the entirety of Florence. The Arno River flowed between the innumerable red and orange terra cotta rooftops, and, in the distance, the large domed roof of the Duomo rose above them as an easily visible landmark among the organized chaos of Florence. Just as I had mastered the walk to school, for a moment I felt as if I had conquered the entire city.
I also visited the Uffizi museum, containing famous paintings such as the Birth of Venus, the Grom Galeteria, which is supposed to serve Florence’s best gelato, and the Duomo, the huge and incredibly beautiful ancient Roman cathedral. It’s been the museums and the sights, the food and gelato, and the long walks through Florence’s picturesque streets and alleys that make me have to say it: I love Italy.