To be honest, I was dreading writing this post – how could I possibly have a reflection about my time in Florence if I’ve barely unpacked? But as I began to reflect on my short time here, I realize that Florence has already begun to make an impact on me.
I go to my state university, only about an hour and a half from where I have lived my entire life. I’ll be honest – I was really nervous preparing to leave home, even though I have always wanted to live in Italy, especially in Florence. I’m a huge art history nerd so walking around a city every day where I recognize buildings or sculptures I have learned about so many years ago is really hard to wrap my head around. But still… leaving my life in South Carolina meant leaving all my friends, family, and fried chicken. For what? To live for 3.5 months in a city I don’t know, with people I don’t know, speaking a language I don’t know? It was really daunting, and it still is. But while the first few days have been overwhelming, what I am most overwhelmed by is all the beauty here in my new home.
The first night, my roommates and I had dinner (and our first bottle of prosecco!) and wandered around, exploring. We didn’t know where we were going, but it didn’t matter. Every tiny sidewalk we squeezed into led the way to a different gorgeous cathedral or charming piazza. We watched locals sip wine on church steps and hopped out of the way as Vespas narrowly missed us. Ending up at the Piazza Della Signoria and marveling at the Fountain of Neptune, the copy of Michelangelo’s David, and an entire open-air sculpture gallery was both breathtaking and insane. Did I really just move into an apartment only a fifteen-minute walk away from all this?
It surprises me how we are surrounded by such ancient buildings and yet, they are treated just like any other would be. It is wild that they are just a part of normal Florentine life, and already becoming a part of mine – I have passed the incredibly ornate Duomo every day and will walk by Santa Croce on the way to every class. I am having a hard time simply believing that this is going to be my life for the next three and a half months, but it is. And I’m so excited.
Sophie is a spring 2020 Florence student from the University of South Carolina.