In between Rome and Florence, we went off of a stranger’s recommendation to go to the small village of Orvieto. Although it was beautiful and had an excellent view, it certainly was not at the top of my list of favorite Italian cities.
I was so excited for Florence because of all of the stories I’ve heard from people who previously studied abroad there, including Katie (my sister for the random people that read this blog). When we arrived, we set down our things and went to an Elon club soccer game against another study abroad program. It was so fun cheering on fellow Elon-ers in a foreign country, and I loved that everyone got so involved to support their classmates!
We went to dinner at O’Vesuvio’s, which I mention only because the cast of the Jersey Shore worked there during their season in Florence, and it definitely did not disappoint. After a night out, we went to the infamous Secret Bakery for the most delicious chocolate croissants in the entire universe, and yes, I’ve tried them all. It was definitely a treat, and I was so happy I could actually go to one of the same places Katie went when she was abroad. I couldn’t wait for the tourist attractions, but I was most excited to barter at the leather market! I absolutely had to purchase an authentically Italian leather jacket, and I absolutely did, with a bit of negotiation, of course.
We stayed right near the Ponte Vecchio, which not only provided us with an excellent view, but also a convenient distance to the gold shops. It was overwhelming looking at all of the intricate jewelry, but even more overwhelming for my bank account (sorry mom & dad…)! We were also able to ride the carousel in the Piazza della Repubblica, which brought us back to our childhoods and was completely necessary. We saw the famous Duomo, and climbed all 463 steps to the top to see the magnificent view of the city of Florence. I took a picture from just about every angle, but I simply could not believe what I was looking at, as it was unbelievably stunning.
The rain hindered us from continuing past a late lunch, but it was Halloween, so we went back to get dressed up for the night in our costumes! By costumes I mean put on witch hats, but costumes nonetheless. Upon yet another recommendation, we went for a family style dinner at Il Gato, which consisted of several courses and several bottles of wine! It was such an amazing time, and it concluded a great day.
The next morning was again wet and cold, but Courtney and I were insistent on going to the Piazzale Michelangelo. We were almost blown over the cliff by the intense monsoon coming our way, but we were simply happy to see the Piazzale and Il David.
Favorite Meal: Tie. Bagel with veggie cream cheese and lox (yes, I got a NY bagel in Florence, but I couldn’t help myself and it was the best bagel I’ve ever eaten-it just hit the spot!). VERSUS meal at Il Gato: A cold antipasto with meats, fresh mozzarella, roasted vegetables; three different pasta dishes including truffle-pesto ravioli, penne alla vodka and some other unidentifiable dish that was delicious regardless; accompanied by limoncello and plenty of wine as well.