I have taken a break from blogging for a while and am super excited to get back into it! Last Spring, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy for four months, and it was an amazing experience. Since I have so many pictures and stories from abroad, I am deciding to to post every week about one of the cities I visited and my favorite things about each one! First, I will start with Florence, the city in which I spent most of my time and became my second home. I studied at the Lorenzo di Medici Institute and was able to take some really interesting fashion classes as well as an Italian cooking class which I loved! Florence is such a unique and beautiful city with so much culture to appreciate. I had traveled there once before when I was younger with my family, but I was really able to appreciate how amazing this city was now that I am older. The best part about Florence is that the whole city is walkable and I can count on one hand how many times I had to take a cab anywhere. Though the streets can be really confusing, I knew the city like the back of my hand by the first month. Florence is filled with amazing architecture and museums and is a city that has a really amazing history. Some major things to visit while in Florence are the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce Church, and Piazza Michelangelo. These places are really amazing to see in person and is a totally different experience than seeing it in a picture. However, my favorite part about Florence was getting to know the smaller stores and cafés within the city, places that became my ritual over the course of the semester. Since I am obsessed with finding cool health food places, I was surprised to find that Florence actually had some of my favorite health food spots I have ever gone to! My two favorite spots to eat were The Shake Cafe and Le Vespe Cafe, both breakfast/lunch places. While The Shake Cafe has many native Italian customers, Le Vespe Cafe was always filled with American study abroad students and was a place that was both fun and comfortable. The food is amazing and they have the best juice I have ever had, seriously! My favorite was their green juice and I ordered it every time I ate at Le Vespe. While for dinner my friends and I would usually explore traditional, authentic Italian restaurants in the area, sometimes it was refreshing to go to a café where the staff spoke English and I was able to interact with other students my age studying abroad.
Florence has amazing shopping and I definitely took advantage of that while I was there! They have one major department store in the city, La Rinascente, which is similar to a Lord and Taylor or Macy’s. It was nice, but they did not carry a lot of super high end merchandise. They have a lot of American brands in Florence such as Brandy Melville, which was really popular there. I would say the two places I shopped at the most were Kiko Cosmetics and the Zara there. I first learned of Kiko Cosmetics when I was in Florence, and now it still continues to be one of my favorite cosmetic lines- luckily they deliver to the U.S! Kiko is a Milan based cosmetic company and they have really awesome products at great prices. I love their lipsticks and makeup brushes, but I now have almost every type of makeup from there. I also visited the Zara in Florence often. One thing I love about Zara is that all there stores are a little different in every city. The Zara in Florence had really cool pieces and it was a popular destination to shop. Overall, the shopping in Florence is amazing and you could spend days doing it- I did!
Though some people look at Florence as a cliche city to study abroad, it is truly amazing and lives up to all the hype. Experiencing the city first hand and seeing all it has to offer is completely different than looking at pictures or reading about it online. Living in Florence for those months is an experience I will never forget, and it will always have a special place in my heart.
Piazza Michelangelo, the best spot for an amazing overlook of the city.
The view from my bedroom window in my apartment in Florence.
My view of the Duomo walking to class every day.
Le Vespe Cafe
The cutest frozen yogurt place in the city, Yogurt&Co