My Great Spots
Christina, Florence, Spring 2014
April 10, 2014

I definitely have some of my favorite spots to go to in Florence. Whether it is for eating, relaxing, and self-reflection, I have found some great places through the help of friends, locals, and exploring.

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For groceries, I definitely have been fond of Conad. It literally is a giant supermarket grocery store that has a huge selection of goodies. It reminds me of the grocery store I go to back at home, Kroger. For produce and fruits, though, I definitely prefer the Mercato Centrale. This huge market is set up much like a flea market, with many different vendors selling all different types of things. Every time I go, I have a few vendors that I am loyal customers to. I am glad that I have a vendor for my poultry items, Italian sausage, bread, and fruits and vegetables. The vendors I get my fruits and vegetables from know me by name and always give me a clementine as a token of my loyalty. Just recently I was in Spain for a week so when I came back to Mercato Centrale to restock up on fruits and vegetables, they were happy to see me and greeted me with a hug. How awesome is that! Although there is a significant language barrier, they seem to always understand what I need. They are the sweetest group of gentlemen that I will dearly miss when I go back home.

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Eating out can be quite costly so I try to keep it at a minimum. Some of my favorite places to grab a bite vary and are located all around the city. Mesopotamia is the best spot to grab a doner kebab. The owner, Mustafa, is also very chatty and makes you feel right at home. Gusta Pizza is a local favorite among my friends and I. The brick-oven pizzas are to die for… same with the pizza crust! It is located near San Spirito, so it’s the perfect pairing to grab a pizza and sit out in the plaza to people watch. One of my friends suggested I try Royale Indian and I’m so glad I did! I didn’t realize how much I missed ethnic foods here in Italy. I highly recommend the Chicken Tikka Masala if you ever get the chance to go. Everything is decently priced as well! Fedora has also become a favorite of mine for a caffe and pastry. Maybe because I am a pastry student studying at Apicius, but the caffe and pastries there are bomb! They also sell sandwiches that are very tasty.

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One of the locals I’ve met here suggested me go to the Rose Garden right below Piazza Michaelangelo. Even though the rose buds aren’t in bloom yet, it is a great place to unwind with a book, write in my journal, or even nap! I like to go there to just relax on a sunny afternoon or evening. I can’t wait to see what the garden will look like when everything is in bloom. I also like to sit along the river and reflect while I listen to music. I wouldn’t recommend it for those afraid of heights, but just watching the water is so relaxing. Sometimes it is nice to get away from the busy city and be by yourself. I would highly recommend both of those places to anyone who is looking to chill out and escape the stress from midterms or finals.

I only have less than two months here and yet have so much to explore! I haven’t been to many museums or any mass services yet, which is really upsetting, but I will soon. Even though Florence is small, there are so many hidden gems within the city. I can’t wait to see what I find next!

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Christina is a student at University of Houston studying at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Italy during the Spring 2014 term.    

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