Ciao! I’m in Italy studying abroad right now and meant to blog about it sooner but haven’t found the time. We started off over a week ago now in Rome and it was amazing, and it’s almost been a week now that I’ve been in Florence and it’s even more amazing here. My best friend got me a little journal to write in so I’ve been jotting some stuff down in there, which I’ll share now:
ROMA – 6/21
It’s been a couple days already but I am in Rome! The flight wasn’t too bad — I was nervous being on my own, but it was fine. I sat in the middle section on the left with 2 little old Italian ladies who only spoke Italian to my right.
Once I landed, I found my luggage, went through customs (which was NOTHING like the U.S.) and then randomly saw a bunch of girls with ISA luggage tags and joined them. I purchased my first item in euros, which was a Caffe Latte (I think!)
After that, Lucia & Sabrina (the people in charge of the program) found us and off to the hotel we went! Once we got to the hotel, a bunch of people went out to get food and we walked around and explored. It was sooo hot and I was getting disgustingly sweaty, but finally, after what seemed like hours of searching, we found a gelato place. I was so hot so I got something refreshing, which was a passion fruit flavor. After that I had to shower and change, met more people, and then we had a mandatory orientation. I was so tired that I felt myself dozing off/twitching multiple times — thanks jet lag.
After that, we had a welcome dinner. It was at this really cute place. First they gave us an appetizer plate — zucchini, prosciutto, and some other stuff. Then came the pastas! We tried 3 different kinds. First was penne vodka, which was delicious. The sauce was PERFECT! Next was a meat sauce I believe and a butter/wine sauce. I was so full and felt like I was gonna burst (not good, also probably a combo of nerves/heat/time difference). We also had dessert too, then just walked around the piazza a little bit. It was so pretty and lively when the sun went down. I was so exhausted and slept like a baby that night.
The next day we got up early, had breakfast in the hotel and then went on a bus tour around more of the central parts of Rome. One thing that surprised me was the amount of graffiti everywhere. It was kind of difficult to see everything out the window of the bus, but I was completely in awe. I knew what to expect from pictures, TV shows and movies, but seeing it in real life for yourself is completely different and surreal. We saw the Coliseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Roman forums and more. Everything was so beautiful. I love the history behind it and it’s crazy to imagine gladiators roaming the streets of Rome and fighting each other years and years ago.
After all of the tours, we got lunch in Piazza Navona. I got bruschetta (amazing) and then a margherita pizza (which was so good but so filling) and a Prosecco! After lunch, we went to a few places and just walked around and explored, saw the Spanish steps and browsed some shops/piazzas.
Later, we got back to the hotel and decided we were going to go to a Rome pub crawl. With no time to eat, we met up where we were supposed to and took a bus to a sketchy area. It wasn’t bad though — we got a free welcome shot of Limoncello, and unlimited mixed drinks until a certain time. Also free pizza. I had 3 drinks and I was pretty drunk already. Then we got on a bus again and went to a different bar and I bought myself a huge beer. Finished that and was done for the night. Then we went upstairs to a club, and I danced with a random Italian who I never actually looked at. I got my free t-shirt and we got a cab ride back to the hotel. Interesting night.
The next morning, we all woke up hungover and went to the Vatican (I know…). The tour was a little rushed, it was hot, my back and feet were killing me, not to mention I was dehydrated. So when we got back, we all napped for 2 hours until the mandatory meeting we had. By the way, the Vatican & Sistine Chapel were crazy incredible. Later we got dinner in Ciampo dei Fiori which was adorable, then walked around and explored some more — our last night in Rome.
This morning, we woke up and checked out of the hotel. I’m on the bus to Florence right now and I’m excited to get to a smaller city. Rome was great but super crowded and busy. I’m excited for a less fast paced 3 weeks there! The scenery of the country is so pretty right now. Can’t wait to see Firenze!
6/23 – I had only been in Florence for a couple of hours yesterday after we arrived, and I could already tell that I loved it. Compared to Rome, it is SO much more relaxed — no crazy drivers and Vespa riders speeding by without a care and weaving between people. It is a lot smaller, which I don’t mind at all. Rome was obviously great because of all of the history and landmarks, but the whole vibe of Florence is a million times better.
The Duomo amazes me every single time I walk by it. Pictures can not accurately portray its beauty. You have to see it in person.
6/24 – Today it rained for a while, which sucked 😦 I think my shoes are ruined! BUT it stopped later on and there was a beautiful fireworks show over the Arno River at night to celebrate St. John’s day. Tomorrow classes start and I hope all goes well. This is only the beginning…
6/25 – Classes begin! I kind of got lost on the way there by myself and freaked out temporarily thinking I’d be late to my first class, but I made it just in time at 9 am! The class seems good even though I have an assignment due every day, but they are short so it’s not bad. I’m also glad I have another girl from ISA in my class because afterwards we walked together to get ID cards, “textbooks” and shopped a little too.
After all that I ate a quick lunch and then went to Pitti Palace and the Boboli gardens — SO MUCH WALKING and I wore the worst shoes. But it was so pretty there! After that, we went and did more walking at Piazzale Michelangelo — even better views of the whole city of Florence! Then we got dinner at Tijuana, a Mexican place (which was actually really good for being in Italy) and shower, rest, homework, sleep. Zzz