Learning From the Locals
Rachael, Spring 2021, Florence
April 26, 2021

Ciao, it is Rachael! Today, I wanted to share some amazing opportunities I have had in my home city these last two months. The Florence SAI team has put together unique and fun activities for the students to take advantage of while studying here.

Before I even landed in even knew I was studying in Florence, I always told myself that I would love to learn how to make handmade pasta. Well luckily enough, SAI must have read my mind, because, within the first two weeks, I had the chance to sign up for a cooking class. FOODStudio offered an exceptional cooking lesson to small groups and we learned how to make homemade pumpkin ravioli in a butter and sage sauce and tiramisu for dessert! This class was so much fun because I got to enjoy it with my roommates and meet some other girls in my program. I cannot wait to try and replicate the dish for my family back at home!

Here is the pumpkin ravioli we made from scratch at FOODStudio. It was so yummy!

Another experience my friends and I got to do was join in on a virtual aperitivo tasting and olive oil tasting. SAI did a great job of coordinating the tastings with local businesses and delivering the food straight to our apartment, so it was completely stress-free. From there, we could join the zoom lesson and learn more about the company and products we were tasting! The aperitivo tasting consisted of different cured meats, cheeses, dipping sauces, and olives. For the olive oil tasting, we received individual bottles of olive oil and some homemade Tuscan bread from a local bakery.

Another viva experience I did was a homemade personal pizza-making class.

More recently, I attended a bookmaking workshop. Veronika works at her local shop and she restores old art, documents, and books. The class she taught showed us how to hand sew together pages and make a hardcover book with canvas and Florentine decorative paper. This was class was something different that I have never done before, so I loved trying something new! I am planning to write down my favorite Tuscan recipes I have cooked and learned in my book.

These are my two roommates and I at the start of our E-Bike tour.

I cannot wait to see what else the Florence SAI team has planned and allows the students to take part in! Whether they are day trips, hopefully soon with Italy allowing travel between yellow regions, or even a quick bike tour, I have loved every bit of the Viva experiences and they have all positively impacted my study abroad experience so far.

Rachael is a Spring 2021 Florence student from the University of South Carolina.

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