After being in Italy for bit, I have noticed a lot of differences between Florence & New England. An update on school: if anyone didn’t know, my program is a four-day week schedule for classes, but each class is about 2 – 2 1/2 hours long. MW I have a class in the morning, and a class after 2 pm. On MW I have a two-hour break after my first class. On T TH I have 3 classes. After my first class on Thursdays I have an hour break, but then I have two classes in the afternoon pretty much back-to-back. Mon-Thurs I am at school from 9 am – after 4 pm. Stressful? Yes. What time do I have to wake up Mon-Thurs.? 7:40 am. Yup. I have 9ams, and I have to wake up at 7:40 am to get up and get ready to leave my apartment at 8:20 am, because it’s a 20 min walk to and from school, get breakfast, and then go to class. I either get out at 4:10 pm or 4:40 pm, so you can only imagine how exhausted I am. If I am waiting for my next class, you can most likely find me in the library, or lost somewhere in the city because I get lost at least once a day. A majority of the time I get lost is between classes trying to look for a place to buy something I need.
I eat a lot of carbs, but it’s kind of impossible not to. The carbs are everywhere. Whether I am in the US or a different country, I will always be eating pasta and pizza, and I’m not ashamed! They are my favorite foods and make me happy! Everywhere you look there’s a restaurant, a gelato place, a bar, a grocery store, and even Valentino. And Gucci, and Pucci (not related), and a big Lindor chocolate shop, and MORE high-end stores. I’m literally surrounded by high-end stores, it is so hard NOT to shop. I will buy an extra suitcase and pay the fee to check it along with my other suitcase when I fly back, it’s happening. I already bought two clothing items…but hey, they have two H&Ms so.
Having a lot of shopping around me is definitely something different from New England. I have always been used to living in the suburbs, and walking on the street and across a bridge to get to school and back to my apartment is different.
Differences (not in order)
- Like I mentioned before, living in the city. I guess this depends where you grew up and where you currently live, but I’ve never lived in the city
- No trees, no grass. If you want to see at least one of those, then you go outside of where I live, and there are some parks around, and there’s Tuscany, but as far as I know, that’s about it for greenery
- People don’t say “excuse me,” or “scusa”
- You don’t wave to someone who’s in/on a vehicle that lets you cross
- You’re only supposed to spend 2 euros on gelato and nothing more
- There are guys in your face trying to sell you selfie sticks
- There are other guys/girls trying to put bracelets on your wrist and persuade you to buy them…aka keep your hands in your pockets
- dog poop on the sidewalks…there’s no grass
- puke on the sidewalks…not all the time, but I’ve seen it a few times…unfortunately.
- Bad news for those who party all the time: you can get arrested for getting drunk in Italy, so yeah don’t be stupid
- Also bad news for those who smoke weed: it’s illegal to smoke/carry marijuana in Italy, and without a doubt they will catch you, and you will be in jail for seven years. The police told us and they ain’t kidding
- Because you can’t smoke weed (not that I do), everyone smokes cigarettes (once again, I don’t do this either), and you will see evidence of it everywhere on the ground (Rome is 100x worse with that though)
- Flying into Rome, I thought it would smell like pizza and parmesean cheese. The entire time it smelled like cigarettes, and I really wish I was kidding.
- Crossing crosswalks can be difficult because the people in/on vehicles will keep going towards their direction as you are walking and it can be scary
- ^ If you thought the people driving on your college campus were bad, you haven’t experienced this yet
- Not having my absolute favorite, go-to stores around. American Eagle, Garage, ULTA, (they have two Sephora’s, and one of them sells Chanel), PacSun, Aeropostale (judge me if you want but I’m starting to like that store again), Forever 21, you get the idea. I’m really starting to get into H&M because the clothes they sell really go with the style here in Florence, and I notice that I am slowly starting to transform my wardrobe. Believe me, I am having withdrawals from not wearing my brighter colors, but that’s just not a thing here and I just have to deal with it.
- You buy your groceries for the next few days, not a whole week
- Everything is fresh
- Italians take their time–especially when making food because it’s all fresh and handmade
- Italians are definitely in no rush when it comes to anything
- Wifi/internet can be spotty…be grateful at your college and your home that you have fast working wifi. My apartment has better wifi, but it can be spotty here and there
- Target isn’t a thing here either, but there is this store in Italy called, “TIGER,” and it is just the cutest store ever. It has literally everything you can imagine for home decor, school & art supplies, kitchen, technology, just everything. Except for clothing. I even found a carrot sharpener and a banana box…weird…but cool! Highly recommend if you travel to Italy or any other country if you can find it
- Although I have not yet been here during the summer time, you will probably never see a preppy brand here like Vineyard Vines or Lilly Pulitzer. Once again, bright colors are not a thing here
- Everything is more fashionable, fancy, & sometimes sophisticated
I could literally go on and on and ON how different Florence is from New England. I am still putting together my similarities list because everything is just so different here, that it’s almost hard to find similarities. But I am doing my best! I hope this post gave you a little more insight on what it’s like living in Florence, Italy from an American perspective.
See you in the next post!