The NYU Florence campus is about a 20 minute bus ride from the city center, this means for most of the week days we are able to escape to the campus and get away from the tourist atmosphere and just go to school. There are multiple bubbles in Florence, and often times the campus does become a bubble because it gives you the routine of something like a high school. You see the same people everyday and you know almost everyone. The bubble allows you to be in such an unfamiliar place, and yet there is familiar people so it lessens the stress of the unknown.
Another way the bubble exists is through my apartment and my roommates. Everyone on my floor is close, but that also means we do almost everything together and we almost always only hang out with each other, even on campus. There is a sense of comfort in escaping even the school life for familiar friends and a routine at home. We all cook and eat at home more often than not. This means we have to deal with the strangeness of Italy even less then others. The food is another large part of that bubble that allows us to feel comfort. I will be honest and say I do not love the food in Florence and I think a lot of that has to do with the tourism.
The cuisine in Florence is often not authentic Italian food because it is more Americanized with a lot of combinations of different cultures instead of just Italian alone. Florence itself runs off of tourism which is why they try to make it as comfortable as possible for tourists, this creates even more of a bubble. However, it is easy to escape the bubble by visiting a city close to Florence, even if it is just outside the city or a 10 minute train ride away. I visited Prato which is very close and the food there felt more authentic than Florentine cuisine, it tasted better too.
Traveling can be a stressful time and by making people feel as welcome and at home as possible the more tourists cities will get. Even when on tours many guides ask where people are from and try to find a commonality in order to ease some worries. They also often make jokes about certain topics they know certain groups of people will find funny, for instance for Americans Trump is often a common use for jokes.
The daily routine of just school and home does put me more times than not in a bubble. However, I am still able to travel around Florence and find new things to discover. There is comfort in familiarity, but there is also a chance to find something beautiful in the unexpected. Although before I found it hard to be more spontaneous and to search our things we find uncomfortable at first. I am now starting to realize that unknowing feeling only lasts for a little and so far everything new i’ve found has been a welcome change and I have started to see the beauty in escaping the bubble and getting lost. Just last week I was wandering around and saw a beautiful building with flowers down the side. I walked up about 50 stairs and realized there was this beautiful church that held a Michelangelo sculpture that I had not seen or heard of before. It was a good surprise and I did this by simply going away from my routine and what I was used to. I am starting to see the appeal to walking around aimlessly and being able to see beauty in the things we find or that find us. Escaping the bubble is the best way to find things that truly move us and interest us, and I am starting to escape the bubble more and more.