Florentine Sorpresa!
Luz, Florence, Spring 2017
February 20, 2017

The first impression I had of Florence occurred to me as I was leaving the airport upon my arrival. Right away, I noticed the similarities between the suburbs of Florence and my home country, Mexico, which I was recently in. The city’s infrastructure, streets, driving style, and buildings were very similar. Even the language, Italian, printed on murals and advertisements was almost identical to Spanish. It gave me an advantage and a feeling of comfort. However, as I was approaching the heart of Florence I started noticing its unique beauty. Downtown Florence has beauty on every corner, every sidewalk and every building in between its lovely narrow streets. I got a deep sense of history and culture as I was standing in front of my new apartment/home for the semester and I could not wait to explore the rest of the city!

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My Florentine leather blue purse!

As a fashion design student, it was impossible for me not to notice the differences in Italian apparel. In America, comfort overshadows personal style.  But that is not the case here. I closely observe the personal style of all the natives I run into. It is currently winter in Florence, and I have noticed that the key piece for women of all ages is a fur coat. Big, long, thick, warm coats made from various types of fur. They are thoroughly available in all leather boutiques, which are more than frequent here, in Florence. I already bought my first Florentine leather purse! It was purchased at a local family-owned leather shop. Bags vary ranging in size, color, style and length to please all customers. Mine is a small, but an extremely bright royal blue side bag.

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Overlooking Florence

I got my first look at the Duomo one morning as the rising sun hit the remarkable cathedral. First of all, I was blown away by the size, but the sun rays helped me look past that and focus on the intricate details of the wall’s exteriors. Since  then, I have walked past and admired the Duomo many times, however I am convinced that it looks its most beautiful during a sunny day. The Duomo is so grand that it has also helped me find my way around Florence when I get lost. The top is noticeable from certain streets, so I walk towards the Duomo and I know my way home from there every time!

One of the many narrow streets of Florence

Luz is a spring 2017 SAI Florence student from Western Michigan University.

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About SAI

SAI Programs is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.