FIT in Florence

FIT in Florence

September 23, 2016
by Maria

Benvenuti a Firenze!


Let me just start off by saying that every amazing thing that you hear about Florence before coming for the first time, is in fact true. Before I left New York, all I really knew about this city was gathered from people’s reviews and experiences, as well as from images found on the internet and seen in movies. But, believe me; they were not lying! Florence is just as beautiful and breathtaking as it is described to be, if not more so. In fact, even after living here for about 1 month, I am still pinching myself to make sure that everything I am experiencing is real life, and not just a figment of my imagination.  I am sure you will do the same once you get here too!


The Arno River!

I immediately fell in love with the winding Tuscan streets, historical buildings, breathtaking architecture, and of course the heavenly scents from the local gelaterias and neighborhood restaurants. The layout of the city, along with the rich history that embodies it, contribute to the charm that Florence offers. I couldn’t help but feel at home the second I first got a taste of Italy’s laid back lifestyle and rich culture, just from simply walking around and exploring. From seeing the locals getting their daily cappuccino at the local pasticceria, to enjoying a conversation with friends in the nearby piazza, you can’t not feel happy and at ease when really taking it all in.


Being that this semester is still fairly new, I have been trying to take advantage of the free time that I have and walk around as much as I can. Walking has always been one of my favorite activities to do in my free time, because I find it the best way to really explore and get to know your surroundings. One of the first thoughts that came to mind during my first week of being here was, “Everyone told me how tiny Florence is and how easy it is to navigate here, so why do I have no idea where I am going?!” I have come to realize that this feeling is completely normal when you first arrive in a new setting. Of course every street will seem like a maze to you and you might even have trouble figuring out where your apartment is. But, I can assure you that it does get easier! Also, don’t be afraid to get lost at first; sometimes, that is the best way to learn your surroundings.

Navigating the city streets and just assimilating to the culture altogether takes some time, so here are a few tips and pointers that may help you out if you study abroad here:

  • Use the Arno River as your guiding point: I have heard some people tell me to use the Duomo as a guiding point if you get lost, but this did not honestly help me much at first, because I had no clue where the Duomo was in relation to everything else! I understand that it is very possible to get lost even when you are using a map (you will find yourself squinting to even just figure out a street name). Since the streets tend to wind and intersect each other, I find it easiest to use a point of reference that is pretty much a straight line, and using the different bridges as a guiding point help a lot also!arno-houses
  • Coffee Routines: If you are someone who has grown addicted to coffee from living in NYC the past two years like me, then you should know that American coffee is hard to come by here. But believe me, as soon as you get into the routine of having a daily espresso or cappuccino, you will soon forget about the need for a large cup of coffee. Also, the cappuccinos are usually between one-two Euros here, so you will be sure to save some money!

A cappuccino and chocolate croissant at the News Caffe for only 2.20 Euros!

  • Speaking the language: I know it is difficult and intimidating to even attempt to speak Italian to the locals, because you may not feel all that confident with your vocab skills that you have gained from only a few years of Italian class. Nevertheless, you should still try! The first day that I got here, I had a reality shock when I tried to buy a bottle of water and realized that I had to speak Italian to ask for it. My mind must have been in a temporary fog and I forgot that I wasn’t still in America. So, I quickly scrambled a few words together and just hoped that the shopkeeper would understand what I was attempting to say. I realized that it doesn’t hurt to test out your language skills, because it is really such a rewarding feeling when an Italian actually understands what you are trying to say. If you don’t have such great luck at first, the good thing is that mostly everyone knows some English here, so you will definitely be able to get by!


  • Eating on a student budget: You will surely be tempted to try everything in sight the minute that you smell the wonderful aromas sifting through restaurant windows, and you will probably want to try it all at once. However, the reality of the situation is that we are still students after all, and probably don’t have the money to go out to expensive dinners every night. The good news is that you can still eat really well here without breaking your bank account! There are plenty of panino shops where you can get a panino for five euros or under (I recommend: Il Panino near Santa Maria Novella; All’Antico Vinaio; and Sandwichic). For a tasty treat after any meal, gelato is always the answer! My all-time favorite so far is La Carraia, where you can get a gelato cone for only one Euro, and it is the most amazing thing you will ever try! How much better can you get than that?


    La Carraia Gelato in a cup-1.50 Euros!

I could probably go on and on forever about the many things to learn and discover while exploring the streets of Florence. But, I will leave some of the surprise for you to find out, and I will be sure to give you more helpful pointers and thoughts in my post to come! So, ciao for now!

September 23, 2016
by Alexandra

Firenze Firsts

Ciao, amici! It has been a whirlwind first few weeks in this magical Renaissance city and I couldn’t be happier to be in the land of pizza, gelato, and Prada!

Although I’ve only been here a short time compared to the rest of the eight months I will be studying in Firenze, that hasn’t stopped me from exploring, seeing, and experiencing as much as I can.

Here are some of my “Firenze Firsts,” everything from my first gelato (#lifechanging) to my very first day of università.

First Gelato

I’d also like to refer to this as the day my life became significantly more enriched…My very first gelato came from La Carraia, which has also been considered my favorite so far. A small cup will charge you as little as 1,50! I highly recommend the fondente (dark chocolate) paired with peanut butter, which is a chocolate or Reese’s lovers dream.


The first of many…

First Glance at the Duomo

One of those “pinch me” moments hit me on my first night here. My friends and I decided to walk around a bit and get acquainted with the city, and there it was. P.S. it’s pretty hard to miss! The Duomo is without a doubt Firenze’s most iconic symbol and there’s a reason for that, it’s absolutely miraculous.


First Pizza

Do we see a reoccurring food theme here? My first pizza came from O’Munaciello in Santo Spirito. I went classic with a margherita and was amazed! A traditional Neapolitan pizzeria with an even better setting.


Italia has stole a pizza my heart

First Day of Università

FIT in Florence is lucky enough to be studying at Polimoda International Institute of Fashion Design & Marketing because not only is the school absolutely stunning, but the classes, professors, and fellow students are equally as wonderful.


First Adventure

During orientation week, we were able to sign up for some option field trips to attend. One of these included visiting Fiesole, a small town right outside of Florence, with some beautiful panoramic views of the city! I got the chance to walk around, hike to the top and see the city from afar, and of course, enjoy some gelato. Plus, what are the odds that we crashed two weddings within the span of minutes?! Only in Italia.

My time in Firenze thus far has opened my eyes and instilled my desire to travel and learn as much as I can and to soak up every experience I have. I know there will be many more memorable moments along the journey, and I can’t wait to share them with you all!

Con amore,


May 4, 2016
by Rose

We Made It!


The event that we Fashion Design 2 students had been working towards all semester finally took place last week… Our exhibition and graduation! Over the past four months, we have been tirelessly working on two massive projects that were focused around the theme of the exhibition: “Elements of the Code” and spanned across all of our core classes. Each student acquired inspiration from part of the Stibbert museum in different ways, whether focusing on a specific artifact, like an Ottoman rifle inlaid with stone, or actual parts of the museum itself, such as the marble walls and glass chandeliers. We then created a lingerie collection based on part of the museum and the two elements, earth and fire, and a cocktail collection inspired by another aspect of the museum along with water and air. We then spent the entire semester making these ideas come to life through illustration in our Fashion Art and Design course, technical work in our Flats and Specs and Product Data Management courses, and by physically creating one garment from each collection in Draping.

Me and my friend, Corinne, beside my dress - Look at that freshly obtained laurel wreath and diploma!

Me and my friend, Corinne, beside my dress – Look at that freshly obtained laurel wreath and diploma!

Ephie's dress on display.

Ephie’s dress on display.

The exhibition was absolutely amazing because it enabled us to show the fruits of our (seemingly endless) labor and to have our classmates, professors, and loved ones see the products of so much hard work and creativity. The evening began with a beautiful graduation ceremony within the Stibbert museum with speeches by our beloved Professors Vivarelli and Cardelli, our guest critic, Fiona Petroni Granata, the head of the program, Professor Kaplan, and our dear fellow student, Stephanie Skinner. Mr. Ferruccio Ferragamo then said a few words and, one by one, awarded us each our diplomas after a laurel crown (the Italian version of a graduation cap) was placed upon our heads. Then, after this beautiful, touching ceremony came to a close, we were free to lead our guests around and show them our final projects.

We made it!

Ready to graduate!

The graduating class!

The graduating class with Mr. Ferragamo, Professor Kaplan, Professor Vivarelli, and Professor Cardelli.

This exhibition was quite special because it was held directly within the Stibbert museum and the garments on display were shown throughout many different rooms, each placed next to the object or decoration that inspired them. Through this kind of setup, guests were able to walk through the entire museum and see every student’s garments displayed in various settings among priceless artifacts and gorgeous decorative items from all over the world. Our artwork was shown separately, in the Limonaia, a lovely, open space in another building, in which the reception took place.

Angelica's dress on display.

Angelica’s dress on display.

Paige, an FMM student, looking through our portfolios in the Limonaia.

Paige, an FMM student, looking through our portfolios in the Limonaia.

This is a day that I will never forget and certainly a year that I will never forget. Over many months, many countries, and many new, unforgettable experiences, I hope that you have enjoyed all of my posts on the blog as I have gone through this incredibly rewarding year and if you ever want to know more about living in Florence and studying abroad, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Lots of love,

Rose Chiarello