Firenze, da Solo

The first time I went to Italy, something clicked.  I had to go back (check out that first picture from our boat ride on the Amalfi Coast…how could you not fall in love!?).  I applied to study abroad in Florence for the following spring and two years later, I’m heading back again.

The last time I was in Italy, I was going through a lot of changes.  My old friends decided they didn’t want to talk to me, and I couldn’t seem to connect with any of my fellow study abroad students.  So I went with the flow, trying to make friends through drinking and not really experiencing all that is Florence (more on this weird period later, probably).  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely saw the sites, went to the museums, and lived like a local at points.

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the Duomo is beautiful at night regardless of what you’re doing

But because of the negative parts of my study abroad trip, I shied away from Florence regardless of how much I loved it.  But at the end of July, I am returning to the most magical city to take a TEFL course for one month.  I am going by myself and I am excited and scared and grateful all at the same time.  I’m going to be living in an apartment with three other people also taking the course.  My apartment is actually about two blocks away from where I lived two years ago, near Santa Croce.

Three years ago I had never been to Europe and at the end of the month I am flying there on my own!!!  How crazy is that!!!

 

Here’s my to do list for Florence, to make sure I make the most of my short time there:

museums / art things:

  • climb the Bell Tower & go inside the Duomo (can you believe I didn’t do this last time I was there, when I was there for three whole months?? I can’t)
  • go inside Santo Spirito (the outside is simplistically beautiful and it has such a lively piazza, I’m excited to see what the inside holds)
  • visit Gli Uffizi (I’ve been there many times before but it’s always such a treat)
  • hang out with David at L’Academia (I love DAVID!!! Thanks Michelangelo for the best sculpture)
  • explore Palazzo Strozzi (I think I went here with an art history class, but we had so many excursions I forgot what it looks like)

 

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imagine seeing this baby up close!

outside / views:

  • watch the sunrise and sunset by l’Arno (I saw plenty of sunsets by l’Arno but never one truly on purpose or with much mindfulness.  I was up before sunset once walking from my parent’s hotel to my apartment and the city was so silent and still and I want to see Florence like that again)
  • Giardini BardiniBoboli, and delle Rose (I went to Giardino Boboli and it was breathtaking and huge and winding and I want to get lost in the rest of Florence’s gardens)
  • stop by San Miniato and the Holy Gates (near the Piazzale Michelangelo, where I visited many times (one of the first things you do when you study abroad in Florence) I never visited Florence’s hidden church!)
  • take a ride on the Carousel (located in Piazza della Repubblica, I’ve passed by the carousel hundreds of times)
  • stroll through Parco delle Cascine (I went here once on a date with a boy I was studying abroad with.  It was a really sweet time and the park was absolutely beautiful – a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city)
  • spend some time in Piazza Santo Spirito (I love Piazza Santo Spirito!!!! Save for tourists visiting Gusta Pizza and Gusta Panino, it’s hard to hear English in this part of the city)
  • get produce in Mercato Centrale (located near the train station, Mercato Centrale is a great place to get fresh fruits and veggies and bread, and I did not take advantage of it during my semester abroad!)
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a sleepy Piazza della Repubblica

things to do / events:

  • work with Enrica (Enrica is one of my photography professors from when I was abroad and she was so supportive and wonderful.  I emailed her to ask if I could work with her in her studio when I’m back and she said yes!  I’m excited to do art in Florence again)
  • go see an Opera (I feel like this one doesn’t need an explanation)
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the early stages of a show I had in my Florence school with the help & guidance of Enrica!

outside of Florence:

  • day trip to Fiesole (a small town just outside Florence, it’s a great place to unwind..  or so I’ve heard!)
  • ride a vespe in Rome (I’ve never spent more than 3 days in Rome at a time, but I think Rome is the city of my dreams.  Even dreamier than getting lost alone in the city of my dreams?  Doing something that would absolutely terrify me, alone, in the city of my dreams….This one is only slightly based on the Lizzie McGuire Movie, btw)
  • visit Calitri (I’m not sure if I have time for this one, but I’ll try.  Calitri is where my great grandfather is from.  Although I never met him and it’s a little dramatic, I think it would be incredibly cool to wander around the town where my ancestors lived)
  • return to Sicilia (I’ve been to Sicily twice and each time my heart felt at peace.  Sicily is just my speed, which is funny because Rome and Sicily are on completely different wave lengths.  But Sicily is beautiful and climbing Mount Etna feels like being on top of the world.  Also, I made eye contact with a man selling fish in the market, twice, so, my husband’s waiting for me)

 

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hiking Mount Etna in the summer

 

Do you have any more suggestions for me to add to my list?  Let me know!!

 

Ciao for Now,

Nikki

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