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Travel Blog: Arrivederci Italia

Ciao Ragazzi. I am sorry to inform you all that my adventure in Italy has come to an end. These past six weeks have gone by too incredibly fast, but I will always carry the memories and friendships I have made during my stay. Since I have already blogged about my day trips and weekend trips, this blog will be about specific things I personally noticed in Florence. There are cultural habits that I noticed daily that are different from back home. Florence was like stepping into a time machine and it was interesting to see such differences surrounding me because of this.

1. Casually drinking on church or cathedral steps. When I first saw this I was completely confused. For being such a Catholic city, the people on Florence really do not take drinking in front of holy places as a bad sign. This all seems pretty contradicting and sinful, but they did it every day so it was the norm. There would be couples on a date splitting a bottle of wine, young adults meeting there to pregame or even older men with their dogs and sipping on a beer. The crowd that you would find on the steps would be pretty random.

2. There are bikes EVERYWHERE. There are more people walking than biking, and more biking than cars. It is funny to me that people walk on the streets and are not scared of cars whatsoever. The streets in the main areas of the city would be full of people just walking or standing and taking pictures. This doesn’t stop the bikers from almost running people over. I can personally tell you how close they get to pedestrians. TOO CLOSE.

3. The coolest thing to me was that toilets do not have lever you push down for it to flush. Instead there are buttons. Sometimes it was on the wall or on the toilets, but every time it was just a simple big button.

4. Back in the day, the Florentines must have liked big doorknobs right in the center on the massive doors. Maybe back then they actually worked, but today the only way to open the main front doors is with a key. The locks are also backwards from back at home, so it got complicated trying to open the doors sometimes. My friend got lock out of her apartment constantly because the lock did not always cooperative with the key.

5. There are these operations called Secret Bakery. They open up around midnight and there are only a handful in the city. What these bakeries do is make fresh pastries very early in the morning and then sell the baked goods to smaller cafeterias around the city. While the Secret Bakeries are operating, people sniff out the pastries and buy their famous croissants and doughnuts for only 1 euro. It is a perfect after-club snack.

6. Pigeons are crazy. They are called “city rats” and are very fat and scary. People feed them even though they are not supposed to and they linger around the Piazzas. When they fly, you literally have to dodge them because they never get high enough. This is one thing I definitely will not miss. Birds are not my friends.

7. There is no air conditioning anywhere unless they are built into big buildings or offices. Our apartment only came with radiators and you can’t use those after a certain day because it gets too hot. Some nights we just wouldn’t sleep with sheets and would still be hot. This is one thing I definitely could not get used to, but I had to suck it up either way.

8. Almost everyone in Florence smokes, young or old. This is another habit I did not get used to, but most people there you can spot smoking at any given time of the day. Talking close and personal with some Florentines was not too pleasant because of this.

Despite all of these little things I noticed, whether good or bad, I absolutely loved my time in Italy. Experiencing a new culture by actually living there is very different from just visiting and staying in a hotel. I would highly recommended studying abroad for at least six weeks, to anywhere you have always wanted to go. Start saving up as soon as you know you want to do it and then go from there. Learn a new language, make new friends, surround yourself with a culture you have never really known, and just don’t be afraid. 

Until next time, ciao!


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Ashley Harnish is an Alumna of the University of South Florida. She graduated May of 2016 with her Bachelors in Dance Studies and minor in mass communications. Ashley is a former Editor's Assistant for Her Campus at USF. Even though she has be dancing since was just three years young, she loves it more everyday. Writing is another passion of hers, especially on her blog http://ashleycamille24.wordpress.com/. Her favorite show is F.R.I.E.N.D.S and one day she hopes to travel the entire world while writing about her experiences in each dance community.
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