So Much Prettier
Esperanza, Florence, Fall 2016
September 18, 2016

Esperanza - Fall 2016 - Florence

Overlooking all of Florence is the most unbelievable thing! It is still hard to believe that I get to call this amazing city my home for the next couple months. To get to see this view of the whole city, you have to hike to Piazza Michelangelo.

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.

Esperanza - Fall 2016 - Florence

This is a dark chocolate and coconut gelato and it was only 2.50 euros!!! SO CHEAP AND SO GOOD! The place was called Il Procopio.

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.

Esperanza - Fall 2016 - Florence

In Florence, street stands sell about anything, for example, this one sells mostly leather. You’ll see these in every block and it is very easy to bargain with the seller for a lower price because of how many little stands there are.

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.

Esperanza - Fall 2016 - Florence

I wasn’t kidding when I said everything is bigger and prettier!! This is in the Duomo plaza and the buildings are so renaissance like and beautiful!

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 - Fall 2016 - Florence

The famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge is just stunning! I love how there are many shops throughout the bridge. It looks like something out of a fairytale!


Esperanza is a current student at the College of Charleston studying at Florence University of the Arts, Italy during the Fall 2016 term.

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SAI 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.