The decision to study abroad may come easy for some, but difficult for others. For me, I knew before going into college that I always wanted to spend a semester in another country. After the Lizzie McGuire movie made its notorious debut, I knew I wanted to go to Italy. However, after going to school and furthering my love for the arts and art history, I knew I had to go to the birthplace of the Renaissance itself: Florence.
Even if you don’t love the arts as much as I do, you can still find yourself easily equipped to calling Florence home for your time abroad. I compiled a list of the top reasons I think all students should study abroad in good old Firenze.
Gusta Pizza, Via Maggio 46R 50125 Florence, Italy
(Pro Tip: ask for the pizza in the shape of a heart <3)
(And the wine, too!) Of course, being Italy, this one is obviously at the top of the list. However, I travelled all around Italy and simply none of the food compared to the rather large amount of food I had in Florence. Florence has some of the most traditional cuisines in all of Italy that will leave your mouth watering for days after. I’m planning on creating a list of all of my favorite places in a post at a later date (stay tuned 🙂 ).
Location, Location, Location
View of Palazzo Vecchio
Florence is in the center of Italy, which makes it absolutely perfect for travel. Italy isn’t a very large country to begin with, so, it’s never anything but a quick train ride to any one of the major cities in the country. Florence is also home to many travel agencies geared toward study abroad students that provide weekend and week-long trips at an affordable price. Some of them being: Bus2Alps, FlorenceforFun, SmartTrip, and EuroAdventures.
View from Piazzale Michelangelo
Florence is the easiest city to navigate. The picture above is a view of nearly the entire city itself. To compare it to Boston, it is about the size of the Back Bay area, if not smaller. You don’t ever have to worry about public transportation. You can walk from one opposite side of the city to the other in no more than 30 minutes. That being said, upon arriving, don’t use your GPS! Go wander and get lost. And, if you really need help, ask one of the many, friendly, English-speaking locals.
Gucci window display
I added the exclamation point to this one considering I have a serious shopping problem. Florence is considered the home of some of the many modern fashion brands of the world such as Guccio Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, and the Fendi sisters. Head over to the Duomo or Piazza della Repubblica area for some high-end shops. (Hint: there’s a FOUR STORY woman’s Zara in Piazza della Repubblica and also another one RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET) Go to the Ponte Vecchio to window shop for some jewelry or one of the many leather markets to shop for great gifts to bring home.
Art & Architecture
Side View of the Duomo Cathedral
Chalk art in the streets
Wandering around this city is amazing. Every corner you take, every museum or palazzo you visit, you are struck with either a piece of art or architecture that leaves you speechless. To say you leave having a newfound appreciation for the city’s history and infrastructure is an understatement.
Like I said before, Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance. The Renaissance is still living and breathing in Florence today. The Medici family was the most influential and powerful family throughout the Renaissance and they reigned in Florence. They were major patrons of the arts; discovering and commissioning recognizable artists like Michelangelo and Giorgio Vasari.
I don’t go a day without my heart aching from having to have said goodbye to this gorgeous place. This city will always and forever have a special place in my heart. I couldn’t have been happier to have called it my home for four months.
Are you going abroad soon? Have any questions? Feel free to comment below and don’t forget to subscribe!
Thanks for reading!