My first impression of Italy was OH MY GOODNESS! EVERYTHING IS SO PRETTY!! That was literally my thoughts about every building as the shuttle drove me to my apartment. Everything is so big and different, and so much prettier compared to my hometown.
Obviously, the first thing on my mind after being dropped off and unpacking was food, so as soon as my roommates and I got settled in, the first thing we did was explore our new home and hope to find some gelato. We quickly learned that there are about 10 different places per block that sell gelato. I honestly don’t really know what makes gelato different than ice cream, but whatever it is, it WORKS. Now every single time I pass by a gelato store (which is a lottttt of times per day), I literally crave it all day until I get myself a cone! I’ve heard of this really yummy gelato place called Amorino that serves their gelato in the shape of a flower, but I have yet to go! I promise no gelato place will disappoint your taste buds though.
While we were exploring the city, my roommates and I always smelled this particular odor and we couldn’t figure out just quite what it was until recently. The whole city smells like leather. There are soooo many little leather stores per block! (The Italians must really love their gelato and leather). In the tiny little stores you can find just about anything that can be made out of leather in about every single color you can imagine! In the U.S. any leather product is usually black or dark brown, so I was like a little kid in a candy store when I found out real leather purses could come in a teal or purple color!! I’ll be sure to stock up on some real quality leather for a great price before leaving Florence.
Florence is such a unique and beautiful city. It is still so surreal to me every time I pass the huge Duomo that this is my home for the next 4 months. Nothing is even remotely similar to back home. All the architecture is so different and Renaissance-like, which is nothing compared to boring old Spartanburg, SC. The view from the Piazza Michelangelo gave me chills! I have never seen a city look so elegant and beautiful before. Even the Ponte Vecchio Bridge is a jaw-dropping feature with all its little markets. Basically, everything here is better and prettier than anything in the United States.
Esperanza is a current student at the College of Charleston studying at Florence University of the Arts, Italy during the Fall 2016 term.