Top 5 Things to Do in Florence, Italy
I studied abroad in Florence, Italy at Florence University of the Arts during the Spring of 2020. I loved my time abroad and here are my five favorite experiences during my time overseas.
#1 - The first time I climbed to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo.
From this vantage point, you saw the entire city even the Tuscan Hills in the background speckled with houses. Nothing compares to seeing the city of Florence from this perspective; it was absolutely spectacular. There are stairs to the side of the top where I would sit with a couple of friends and enjoy the view. Those steps also led to another seating area and a place where a live musician would perform. It was just perfect to enjoy this view and listen to music on a beautiful, sunny day. I’ll never forget this experience.
#2 - Walking around the city of Florence at night with a few of my friends.
The city is great during the day, but it’s a completely different experience at night. There were different musicians scattered throughout the city, some just singing and some playing an instrument while they would sing. My favorite musician that I came across was a man who played the flute. The best place to walk at night was on the Ponte Vecchio. The street/bridge was lit beautifully with overhead lights and had a peaceful view of the Arno River. A live musician also was playing on this street, and my friends and I would sit on the curb and listen to his music while enjoying the nice night.
#3 - Going to La Carraia, a gelato shop in Florence.
There were two locations in the city - both locations were cute and had friendly workers. I tried to taste a different flavor every time I went, and each one was fantastic, but my favorites were the mint chocolate chip and raspberry sorbet. I also tried different gelato places around Florence, but this one, by far, was my favorite. My friend and I would come here at least two times a week and walk around the city while eating our gelato.
#4 - Traveling to different places around Italy.
The train provides easy transportation at an inexpensive price to different cities in Italy. I travelled to Prato, Bologna, San Gimignano, Siena, and Pisa. Each place was unique with its architecture, food, and lifestyle. I learned a lot about the culture, and I had fun exploring these new places. My favorite place to travel to was San Gimignano because it’s very different from all the others and was very cute and cozy. This city was located on a hill surrounded by wine vineyards and there was a ledge overlooking a vineyard and the top of buildings in the city.
#5 - A class I took at Florence University of the Arts (FUA).
This university offered special project classes that students can apply for and the one I took was called Special Project: Experiential Learning in Book Publishing. For this class, I helped in the process of editing articles for the school’s magazine and weekly newsletter. I also worked alongside the school’s designer on different projects. One of the main projects was creating a new logo/headline for the photography magazine FUA creates. This class provided me with tips and lessons that have helped me in my work at RIT and for later in my career.
These are just a few ideas to get you started! There are so many amazing places in Italy, especially Florence, but it’s the little things and moments that were always my favorite because I never expected them.
Megan is a 3rd-year Photographic & Imaging Arts major in the College of Art and Design and studied in Florence, Italy at Florence University of the Arts through RIT’s partner SAI.