Nearly six months ago, I announced to my family and friends that I had been accepted to IU’s summer program in Florence, Italy. Upon making the decision to go abroad, I received an influx of comments about the things I would see, the people I would meet and travel with, and that amount that my Italian language skills would increase. Prior to my departure I did a lot of listening to all things Italy-related, as well as to opinions and suggestions regarding study abroad opportunities and the experience of traveling.
My time left in Florence has dwindled to minutes. In just 125 short ones I’ll be waving goodbye to the Duomo from the window of a taxi, headed to the Florence airport. Over the past few days I’ve been frequently voicing my regrets about not having scheduled an earlier flight home so that I could spend more time with my family before heading to Bloomington for the second summer session—I can say now, I have no regrets.
After having visited 14 (soon to be 15) cities/areas in beautiful Italy, I am now boldly declaring myself to be qualified to make recommendations for and opinions about traveling within the country. Today’s post will serve as a fast train to four popular Italian travel destinations; so, book your tickets, write down the confirmation code as you will NOT receive a confirmation email regarding your ticket nor will you be able to access your confirmation code after the initial time of purchase, and make sure you sit in your ASSIGNED seat that is stated on the confirmation email you will NOT be receiving—the ride is going to be fast but not troppo veloce (too fast).
I am a productivity addict. When I am at home, I typically have my daily planner penciled to the margins. I often start my day before the sun comes up and schedule my day to continue several hours later than a normal person would consider a reasonable hour for bedtime. It gets neurotic and I am happy to say that life in Italy has been a sort of “productivity rehab” for me.
My friend, Ali, had a panic attack inside of a medieval fortress in Assisi, last Friday. I have known Ali since we were three years old, but it was purely a random coincidence that we both ended up at IU, in the same sorority and studying abroad in Florence together; we didn’t plan any of it.
The last time I got ice cream during school it was probably a reward for my 5th grade class having been deemed the most frequent and efficient group of readers at East Side Elementary School in regard to earning Accelerated Reader points. I definitely can’t remember a teacher ever suggesting that we all go out and get coffee (or anything, for that matter) during class—that is, until I got to Florence.
During my first week in Florence, I sampled a smorgasbord—or antipasto platter—of Florentine culture. I toured two cathedrals and one museum, tried 5 different gelaterias (ice cream shops), sipped cappuccinos from 6 different bars (cafes), and walked dozens of miles down cobblestone roads.