Fabulous weekend in Florence

To start off this blog post I must say that I successfully completed my first week of school! Whoo! I genuinely like all of my professors so far and the workload has not been too overwhelming. Academically speaking, I’m looking forward to what the rest of the semester has in store. (Just in case some are wondering, I’m taking 16 credits: Italian 101, a Machiavelli Political Science course, Global Economics, Economics of Environmental Protection and a Dietrich Bonhoeffer religion course.)

I signed up for a couple of extra-curricular activities during the week.. One of them called English for Pasta. I will go over to an Italian family’s home once a week and in return for helping the family’s younger children with their English skills, they will cook me dinner! I’ve heard nothing but great opinions from past students who have been part of the program, and I can’t wait to be part of it. I also signed up to attend a football (soccer) game this Monday evening! The Florentine team will take on Parma in the match tomorrow night and I cannot wait to witness the Italian fandom! I’m sure it will be an unforgettable experience. I plan to sign up for an Italian cooking class this week too, so hopefully I can share some photos and recipes with you all! 

Now to get on to the weekend.. and what a wonderful weekend it was! Thursday night was fun and simple, my friends and I ate at an Asian restaurant (as much as we love our Italian food, it was a nice break) and afterwards took a nice stroll along the Arno. Of course the night would not have been complete without stopping by our favorite gelato shop, “Perche no!” National Geographic and other established newspapers and magazines have listed “Perche no!” as one of the top ten best gelato shops IN THE WORLD. Needless to say, the gelato is incredible. I have been trying a new flavor every time we go (which is more often than I’d like to admit), and they are all so good. I think my favorite so far is mint and chocolate.

All in all, Friday was probably the best day I’ve had in Florence so far. It started off with a LONG trek to a lookout on the other side of the Arno, called Piazzale Michelangelo. I emphasize the LONG because we were told that the trek was to take 20 minutes.. Well we got lost and it ended up taking almost 2 hours to reach the lookout point. The hilly walk though was filled with stunning scenery of Florence’s countryside. Sweaty and exhausted we finally made it to our destination and quickly settled for some panini at a restaurant with a breathtaking view. (The photo below was taken at the lookout!) We rested and ate for awhile, and after some pictures we headed back in the direction we were supposed to take getting to the lookout, so our trek back took only 30 minutes or so. When we got back, I did some homework/reading and took a well-deserved nap. For dinnertime, we took the recommendation of a former Gonzaga student and set out looking for a restaurant, called Il Gatto & La Volpe (The Cat and the Fox). On our way to dinner, we ran into Daniela, one of the Gonzaga coordinators. Daniela is one of the new coordinators and as we are new to Florence, so is she. We invited her to dinner with us and she accepted. We eventually found the restaurant and the food was absolutely delicious. We talked with Daniela for almost 3 hours over pasta, salad, sweet balsamic and white wine, and we had great and interesting conversation. It was so nice getting to know her better! And to our surprise, Daniela paid for our meal! It was such a generous gesture and I was very taken aback. I couldn’t thank her enough. After dinner we parted ways, and my friends and I celebrated our great day by grabbing some gelato and Limon cello.  

A new week starts tomorrow and I’m looking forward to what is has in store. Slowly but surely I am becoming more accustomed to life in Florence, and I really still can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to spend the next 7 months of my life here. Next weekend, I take off to Dublin, Ireland so look out for my next Irish-inspired post.

(Also, I have to share this.. Earlier this week, right in front of me, an Italian man slapped a pigeon off a bench. It was one of the funniest and most ridiculous things I have ever seen in my life, and I’m still disappointed I don’t have a video of it to share!)