Permesso Di Soggiorno

One of the wonderful undertakings that every study abroad student needs to undertake in when arriving in Florence is the acquisition of their Permesso Di Soggiorno (PDS) or “Permit of Stay”. While this can be a tedious and sometimes painfull process it is a necessary item for all foreign nationals to obtain upon arrival in Italy. Yesterday, after waiting for nearly two months for it to be ready, my PDS card was finally ready for pickup, concluding the PDS process.

The first step in me picking up my PDS card was a trip to the Questure building. This is the HQ for the State Police in Firenze and also contains the Ufficio di Immigrazione, which is the large room where you pick up your PDS.

When I arrived the next challenge was getting a ticket so that I could reserve a place in line to wait to see an agent to give me my PDS card. After asking
several security guards for what felt like twenty minutes, me and about five other confused students were finally directed to a booth where we received our tickets to wait for a PDS agent. My place in line was 226.

To my enjoyment, I found that me arriving a half-hour early to my appointment was rewarded. The agents were already on number 126 so there were only 100 other people ahead of me in line.
Finally, after waiting for 2 hours they finally called my number. I handed them my passport and my PDS receipt (obtained when you first apply for your PDS at the Questure), and was handed my card. The whole process took about 30 seconds. While examining my card, I was shocked at how much effort went into obtaining the little piece of plastic.

Line Place at Questure

Line Place 226 at Questure!

PDS Card Holder

PDS Card Holder

When in Rome…

This weekend I decided to escape from Florence and take an exciting one night expedition to Rome. My trip started with a 9 AM train out of a chilly rainy Florence. Within two hours of travel south, the weather not only became completely clear but became about 10 degrees warmer, a good omen for the beginning of my vacation.

Upon arriving and checking into my hotel, I went out to explore the city. My first stop was the beautiful Trevi fountain which looked
especially beautiful by night. I then moved onto the Spanish Steps. While this was a beautiful site, it was absolutely packed with tourists. At the bottom of the steps were the amazing and elegant shops that were all decked out for Christmas. The amazing shopping ranged from Dolce and Gabbana, to Louis Vuitton, to Emporio Armani. I ended my evening with a late night trip to a
sushi restaurant, where after a long day of traveling and exploring, I promptly stuffed my face.

The next morning I awoke ready to explore before returning to Florence. My destination for the day was the Colosseum. This was an
amazing site. I was mostly shocked by its sheer size, as it was clearly visiblefrom several blocks away. After thoroughly traveling the site, I checked out of my hotel and took the bullet train back to Florence. I truly enjoyed my day trip to Rome and hope that next semester I can possibly take a longer trip to see more of the sites.

Olives Galore!

Last weekend FITSA (FITStudent Activities) decided to have an event that would partake in the Italianritual of olive picking. Our trip began with a bus ride from Florence into the hills of Tuscany, to one of our advisors home, where we were promptly led tothe gorgeous olive grove.

We each chose one of two pre-selected trees and began getting down the olives into nets below. The olives were clumped onto the branches. The key of the entire endeavor was to be able to remove the olive clumps from the branch, without harming the tree or the leaves, which would need to remain intact for future seasons of olive growth. As such, the greatest care and ease was needed for the picking.

After picking for a two hours straight, we had thoroughly gotten all of the olives off the tree, and had filled two large containers. We were then led back to the home, for a mini-meal. The meal featured fresh Italian bread, excellent cheeses, and Italian prosciutto. Of course, there was also A LOT of olive oil, made from olives from the same trees that we had been picking from. I was stuffed from all of the great food.

The entire experience was a fantastic adventure. Not only did I enjoy picking the olives, but appreciated learning the techniques involved. The meal at the end was also an excellent capstone to a great day!

A Venetian Trip to Remember

In one of the last hurrahs of the season, FIT in Florence took its last academic field trip of the semester to Venice Italy. After arriving by private coach in the in the morning, and checking into our hotel, our first stop was a tour of St. Marks Basilica. This cathedral contained beautiful gilded walls and domes. After, we continued to the Fortuny Museum, which is an important and very respectable art museum in Venice. The museum contains fashion, paintings, and the infamous Fortuny lamps.

The next day was by far my favorite. We started in Murano, and were given a very interesting demonstration on how Murano Glass is blown. The pieces were beautiful, and I purchased quite a few as souvenirs. After a short lunch, we continued to Nicalao Atellier, where we were able to view many of the costumes produced for movies, as well as get an introduction to Renaissance Venetian dress. For a relaxing end to a long day, we finished by going to a FIT Student Activities (FITSA) event at the Ca’ Macana Mask Studio. We were first taught about the history of masks, and then allowed to decorate our own, something I found quite rewarding.

Our trip concluded with a trip to the Biennele Art Exhibition. This museum contained art featured in “pavilions” set up by different countries. In a way it reminded me of a cross between Epcot and the MOMA, but was still one of the best sights of the trip. Overall, I found our trip to Venice to be excellent mid-semester relaxation while still allowing me to feel like I saw the important sights of the city. I will absolutely be back for the Venetian Carnevale.