Let’s Talk Florence. Real quick. So I didn’t do a lot of traveling this semester, so I spent 90% of my time here in the actual city of Florence. First things first, taxis…don’t take them. Only exception is moving luggage around and getting to the airport. Even then the tram line should be open in a month so by the time you read this, don’t take taxis to the airport (unless you’re moving luggage). They’re disgustingly expensive and move at the speed of stupid. Just don’t. Okay, so it’s your first night in Florence, your roommates all already know each other and you’re sitting in your room crying about how you don’t have any friends…go to Mr. Pizza. Is it the best in town? Not by a longshot, but its open til 4am and you will be there multiple times. The menu is in English, and if you’ve never had pizza in Italy before, it’s a good way to actually start diving into the cuisine. So now it’s your first week in Florence, what should you do? First things first, get familiar with the bus so you don’t have to take a cab to school the first day (whoops). Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people, they might be a bit grumpy giving it, but you’ll be thankful you asked when you realize the both the 25A and the 25 go to campus and back to San Marco, but the 25L stops at Ponte Rosso and it would have been better just to walk.
During your time here, I’m sure you’ll find your favorite places for food, but here are some of my recommendations in general:
Pizza: Gusta Pizza…Southern Italians doing it the Southern way, worth it for the price.
Traditional Tuscan Meal: Il Contadino…14.50 for 2 main dishes, a side dish, water, wine, bread and cover. Amazing food a really wide selection, I can’t recommend this place enough.
Sushi: Wasabi: You’ll want it after awhile, trust me. This place is all-you-can-eat for 23 euro! Their menu is disgustingly large, and they’ll let you stay seemingly forever. It’s more than just sushi too, their sweet and sour pork (included in the all-you-can-eat) is to die for, and the closest thing to “American-style” Chinese I found in Florence.
When you’re indecisive: Marcato Centrale: This place is just a big adult food-court. It’s awesome, there’s pizza, pasta, arancine, stracotto, roast stations and fry stations. It’s great if your family is coming to visit and everyone indecisive (especially during the middle of the day when everyones exhausted and wants very specific things to eat).
When you’re just lazy: Download the delivery apps. Food delivery is actually really affordable here, usually there’s just a small 1 or 2 euro fee for delivery with a very optional tip. On those nights that you want to try different foods but you either don’t have anyone to go out with, our you don’t want to dress up to Italian standards, these apps have your back. I recommend Deliveroo, Foodora, and Glovo.
Some other miscellaneous things I want to mention; Walk the gardens at La Pietra, they’re amazing and people pay 10-20 euro to see Baroque gardens at the Piti and Versailles, and though ours aren’t as large, they’re designed in the same way with better views of the landscape (and they’re private!!!). Don’t be tempted to travel every weekend. Take a day-trip sure, and don’t be afraid to venture around Italy, but too many people use Florence as a hoping off point for the rest of Europe rather than apricating and living within the city. While you’re here, do a tour, visit free museums on the 1st Sunday of the month, get some gelato and walk around the city center. Smile. Because 4 months will pass with the blink of an eye…trust me.