I have been in Florence for just over a week now and live with four roommates in the tourist-y area of Via de Guicciardini. We have an apartment on the second floor with tile flooring, wood-framed windows, lace curtains, no air conditioning, and a small washing machine and refrigerator.
For the first few days, doing everything was an adventure. We knocked on our neighbors’ doors to ask how to use the washing machine, but nobody answered. One of my clever roomies figured it out by Youtubing it. The first grocery store we went to was very expensive and about the size of a 7-11 in the states, but since then we found a bigger store – about ½ the size of a Stater Brothers. There’s also a market across town where they have a good selection of produce – but we don’t go over that way too often. Also had to learn how to reheat food without a microwave.
So far, we’ve only had media workshop classes – a CSUF professor is teaching us basic photography skills and showing us how to use iPhoto, GarageBand, and Final Cut on the school MacBooks. I’m not great at this sort of thing, but am slowly picking it up.
During the week, we walk fifteen minutes to get to school, which is about halfway between Piazza Signori and the Santa Croce church. This is my favorite part of the day. We go over the Ponte Vecchio bridge, dodging crowds of tourists and walking over cobblestones that are who knows how old, cobblestones that Dante and Michelangelo could have walked on a few of these stones! The streets are narrow between the high brick buildings. Laundry hangs out on the balconies just like in the movies.
A few days ago we went to the Accademia and saw Michelangelo’s David; this weekend we spent five hours in Venice, walking around St. Mark's Square & Basilica, eating, and riding gondolas and the water bus. Today we saw the Pitti Palace, which housed the rulers of Florence (including the Medici family) for hundreds of years. There is so much Renaissance and Modern art in there, you wouldn’t believe it. I’m definitely going back to spend more time there; we had a three-hour guided tour, but even that wasn’t enough time.
Tomorrow is the Uffizi Gallery and Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”!
"Corner of the Ponte Vecchio bridge at dusk," photo by CCM.
"View From Our Door in the Early Morning, Before It Gets Busy," by CCM.
Photo of Michelangelo's "David," by howstuffworks.com.
Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus," photo not mine - unknown photographer.