Deciding whether or not to study abroad can be a very conflicting choice for some, however, choosing where to study abroad is an even harder procedure. With beautiful places all over the world and awesome programs taking you to those places, it becomes a very overwhelming process.
How are you supposed to narrow it down to one country when there’s so much to see and do?
I was stuck at this crossroads too. I knew I wanted to study abroad, particularly in the summer, I just didn’t quite know where. With aspirations of places like Greece, Prague, London, and Italy — I truly couldn’t go wrong. Not knowing much about any of those places, I took a gamble and eventually decided on Florence, Italy.
Three weeks ago, my sister and I ventured 13 hours across the globe to this unfamiliar Italian city. And I couldn’t be happier where our decision back in November led us today.
If you would’ve asked me the first day we arrived, as we hauled our 52 and 53-pound suitcases up three flights of stairs in our small two-bedroom apartment (with a very questionable air conditioning unit) if I would feel the way I do today, I probably would’ve quickly rejected that statement. But after spending 21 days here and looking forward to our next 21, I can’t imagine being in a different city.
Here are the 10 reasons why you should undoubtedly study abroad in Florence, Italy:
1. The food
As this topic goes without question, let me just emphasize, there is nothing better than authentic Italian food. I have yet to experience one bad meal here. Around every street corner is a new hidden gem. Pizza, pasta, gelato — bring on the carbs baby. And coat them in olive oil and parmesan, per favore.
2. The scenery
Pictures don’t even do this city justice. Whether your viewing famous historical landmarks such as Piazza del Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio bridge, or Boboli Gardens (Kimye’s wedding venue, nuff said), or watching the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo — God’s beauty is truly overwhelming. Clear those camera rolls people, you’ll want to make room for these views.
3. Rich historical background
Speaking of famous historical landmarks, Florence is filled with rich cultural history. Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, it has been called “the Athens of the Middle Ages.” According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, it was politically, economically, and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe and the world from the 14th to 16th centuries.
And while I’m sure you’d all love to read a novel about more of its history — I’d highly recommend visiting one of the dozens of museums this city has to offer instead.
4. The people
While it may seem like you’re one among the thousands and thousands of tourists visiting this town, the local Florentines are some of the nicest and welcoming people. Shout out to our Marketing professor, we may have been laughing at him more than with him, but he definitely made for an entertaining classroom experience.
5. The nightlife
Yes, it is called “study abroad”, but if your intention was merely just to “study” you would’ve stayed in America at your own University. European nightlife is quite the experience for students, and Florence does not disappoint, with an array of fun bars and clubs. I’d highly recommend avoiding early morning classes at all costs.
6. It’s close proximity to many other cool Italian cities
Another great aspect to Florence is its geographical location in relation to its neighboring major cities. Just a two-hour train ride to Venice, hour-and-a-half ride to Rome, two-hour ride to Milan, and three-hour ride to Cinque Terre (amazing) — you’ve got lots of options for easy weekend or even day trips.
7. The wine
Italians drink wine like water — in fact, even more — and I’m not complaining. Located in Tuscany and the famous Chianti Region, this area is one of the most well-known wine regions throughout the world. Forget Barefoot and Woodbridge, a glass of house wine at any restaurant is usually below 5 euros, and this kicks Barefoot’s cheap little booty. I’ll take the bottle.
My biggest weakness. Nothing better than passing Gucci on the way home from class! The shopping here is absolutely incredible, pack light ladies — I will for sure be purchasing another suitcase to safely transport these valuable goods home.
From all the name brands of Chanel, Gucci, Louis, Hermes, etc. to Zara, Brandy, and more Zara — they’ve got you covered, and your wallets drained. But before spending all your money in these places, definitely check out the local Italian markets and boutiques. The leather market is dangerous, my friends.
9. Art and culture
As previously mentioned, Florence is known for its rich cultural history, and art provides a majority of the context behind that history. The birthplace to the first museum in the world, the Medici family created the first Uffizi Gallery to showcase many influential art pieces.
But art is everywhere within the city, not just museums. Walking past the Duomo is like witnessing a 3-D Picasso painting in real life, you can’t make this stuff up.
10. An unforgettable experience
As if you needed even more incentive to study abroad here, Florence will undoubtedly provide you with an immense appreciation for Italian culture and endless memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Ciao for now!