Florence has been the capital of Italy since 1865 and has a metropolitan population of 1.5 million people. Florence is famous for its historical and cultural significance in Europe since the Middle Ages. Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is a great place to study abroad if you are interested in art history, classics, Italian, or history.
Have you decide that you want to study abroad in Florence? Here are EDUinReview’s tips for how to get the most out of your study abroad experience in Florence.
1. Go back in time at the Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio. The Piazza della Signoria has been an important political center in Florence since the Middle Ages. The Palazzo Vecchio is the medieval town hall, which is located on the piazza. This is the most famous piazza in Italy and is a great place to soak up the culture. You can visit several public rooms and private apartments in the piazza, which have been decorated to appeal to tourists. Another great thing to do here is grab a cup of coffee at a café and read a book or watch people going about their daily lives.
2. Look up in Il Duomo. This Duomo is often overlooked when people think of cathedrals to visit in Italy. However, it is absolutely beautiful and you should definitely visit it if you are studying abroad in Florence. The dome of the Duomo is what is so amazing. When you walk into Il Duomo, look up so you can really appreciate the wonder of this dome. Designed by Brunelleschi, the dome is nearly 142 feet tall, making it taller than the domes at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., St. Peters in Vatican City, and the Pantheon in Rome. I recommend taking the tour which allows you to climb to the top of the dome to get a better look at the “Last Judgement” fresco painting and to better understand how Brunelleschi built the dome itself.
3. Learn about wine at the Florence Wine Academy. This course on wine education is taught by Vittorio, a sommelier, who teaches the class out of his home. This is a fun way to spend a day as you learn about the different types of wine that are produced in Italy and get to sample various wines. The lesson should last about two or two-and-a-half hours, depending on how many questions you ask.
4. Look at gold and jewels on the Ponte Vecchio. This bridge was built in 1345 and is the oldest bridge in Florence. It is lined on both sides with goldsmiths and jewelers who use this prime location to sell their wares. The stores are packed so closely together that it is easy to forget you are actually walking across a bridge instead of being in a small shopping street. This is a fun tourist attraction, but the jewelry sold here is usually overpriced, so it’s more economical to not buy anything here. Also, this is a prime pickpocketing spot, so hold onto your wallets and purses closely when you are here.
5. Enjoy a beer and get to know the locals at the Joshua Tree Pub. This bar mixes Italian and Irish foods and cultures to create a truly unique atmosphere. The Joshua Tree Pub has a relaxed vibe and is a great place to meet locals who you can practice speaking Italian with. Alternatively, your friends and you can take a break from studying here and just chill out. You can also watch a sports game here or listen to late night DJs spin some tunes.
Have you studied abroad in Florence, Italy? Do you have any tips for other students who are planning on studying there? Share them with us in the comments section below.