(2)FIT in Florence | Page 2

FIT in Florence

April 4, 2016
by Rose
1 Comment

The Best of the Best

After living in Florence for a year, a few places have become familiar to all of us in the program and we return to them again and again. In this post, I will tell you all about some of our favorite haunts that we have come to know so well over time.

Lets start off with one of the most important aspects of Florentine society: gelato. There are two gelaterias that we always end up at, the first of which is Gelateria Edoardo (http://www.edoardobio.it), a small shop right behind the Duomo where everything is handmade – even the cones! The mouthwatering scent of fresh cones that wafts outside makes waiting in line almost unbearable, but it is so worth it once you get ahold of your frozen treat. Also, even though it is not listed, there is a student price of €2.50 that you can get just by showing your college ID. The second notable gelateria is Gelateria La Carraia (http://www.lacarraiagroup.eu), which is on the southern side of the river right next to the bridge, Ponte alla Carraia. This gelateria does not have homemade cones, but it has a much larger selection of flavors than Edoardo so, if you are looking to try an interesting combination rather than just the classics, this is the place for you.

Frutti di bosco (mixed berries) and fondente (super dark chocolate) gelato from Carraia.

Frutti di bosco (mixed berries) and fondente (super dark chocolate) gelato from Carraia.

Regarding schoolwork, the Oblate Library (http://www.biblioteche.comune.fi.it/biblioteca_delle_oblate/) is a public library right in the center of the city that can provide a great working space outside of the Polimoda campus. However, it is not open on Sundays so, if you want to be productive then, go to a cafe like Todo Modo (http://www.todomodo.org) or to a friend’s apartment to get some work done!

Ana and I working hard (or hardly working?) at Todo Modo.

Working hard (or hardly working?) at Todo Modo.

Although this category is not technically “in” Florence, I think that it is one of the most important things for study abroad students to know about: travel on a budget. It is difficult to travel easily and cheaply but, while in Europe, the companies “Ryanair” (https://www.ryanair.com/gb/en/) and “Terravision” (http://www.terravision.eu) will become your new best friends in regards to this. Ryanair is the cheapest airline I have ever seen before and it flies to locations all over Europe for as low as €10. It sounds unbelievable, but it is true and my friends and I have used this company every time we have visited another country. However, Ryanair does not fly out of the Florence airport so, in order to move from airports to train stations and vice versa in cities like Milan, Bologna, and Rome, Terravision buses will get you exactly where you need to go for only 5 or 6 euros! These two companies form a dream team that have helped all of us in the program explore Europe without having to pay an exorbitant price and I will certainly miss them when I am back in the United States.

This may sound strange, but many of the other fashion design students and I have come to the conclusion that the school bar at the Polimoda Design Lab is the best place to eat in all of Florence. With an array of delicious pastries, salads, sandwiches, hot meals, cakes, drinks, and more, it has come to be our favorite restaurant (not just because we are stuck in the lab working everyday). A bonus factor that plays into our love for the school bar is the incredibly low pricing of the menu items, with the most expensive meal coming to €6!

Tagliatele di pollo con verdure with some freshly squeezed orange juice at school - YUM.

Chicken and vegetables with some freshly squeezed orange juice at school – YUM.

Scandicci also wins the award for “Best Sunsets in Florence”.

Scandicci also wins the award for “Best Sunsets in Florence” – this photo has not been edited at all. 

So, if you’re coming to Florence to study abroad or just for a visit, make sure to check out some of these places because we’ve come to love them and you certainly will too!

March 30, 2016
by May
1 Comment

My Internship Experience Abroad

Me at FLO Concept Store.

Me at FLO Concept Store.

One of the main reasons why I decided to study abroad in Italy is to gain international exposure in fashion. So, when I learned that there was an opportunity to do a credit-bearing fashion internship during my time in Italy, I went for it. There were three different local businesses in Florence, Italy, looking for interns from the Fashion Business Management Program at Polimoda. Prior to applying for the internships, I visited each place to do research about their businesses. I went on interviews for all, but felt the strongest connection with FLO Concept Store after interviewing with the store’s Vice President, Serena Asso, who explained to me the values of the organization. I sent a thank-you email following up the interview, hoping it was culturally appropriate, and was offered an internship at the store.

FLO Concept Store is unlike any place at which I have ever worked or interned before. It is the first example of a non-profit, social-commercial retail business in Florence that nurtures young Italian designers while providing work opportunities for people with mental or physical disabilities. The products the store carries are made with the very finest or recycled materials and are produced in a small-scale, ethical production by young designers in Italy; 90% of them being sourced from local artisans in Tuscany. This ensures that the pieces are creative, unique and 100% Made In Italy. Currently, the store carries women’s ready-to-wear, women’s accessories, childrenswear and small lifestyle products such as Libri Muti, ash-trays and decorations. Its target customers are fashion-conscious women looking to add a special piece to their wardrobe, mothers looking for safe, organic and cozy clothing for their babies, and tourists looking for one-of-a-kind gift/clothing made by Italian artisans. The store’s interior is small but colorful and fun. From the hanging racks to the wallpaper, everything in the store has a character and coziness to them.

Hanging racks inspired by bed frames.

Hanging racks inspired by bed frames.

My personal favorite shirt at FLO!

My personal favorite shirt at FLO!

Libri Muti, which translates to "Mute Books" in Italian, are inspired by forbidden books of the revolutionary period in the history. They reinterpret classical titles, mixing traditional printing and binding technique together with a fresh spirit, added by the hand-colored edges.

Libri Muti, which translates to “Mute Books” in Italian, are inspired forbidden books of the revolutionary period in history. They have blank pages and their covers reinterpret classical titles. These books are made in Florence, mixing traditional printing and binding technique together with a fresh spirit, added by the hand-colored edges.

While I am absolutely in love with FLO’s products and the interior design, my favorite thing about the store is its staff. As mentioned, FLO hires people with disabilities and develops them to enter today’s workforce by training them to work in high-level customer service and store management. This creates a work environment that is gentle, supportive and patient. While each of us has our own personality, everyone has mutual respect for each other and is all working towards the same goal which is to advocate FLO’s mission of connecting fashion with social responsibility without compromising tasteful style. I am constantly inspired by working alongside the FLO team!

And since FLO is a small business, everyone’s hands are on deck with all the tasks and there are many opportunities to learn and to initiate projects/ideas. As the store’s intern, I am challenged every day by my supervisor, Elisabetta Renzoni, who assigns me a great variety of tasks and provides constructive feedback on the results. One day I would be taking pictures of the new inventory and populating spreadsheets with them, the next I would be working on the visual merchandising of the store or assisting Elisabetta during buying trips. No day is ever the same – something exciting and challenging is always going on! Since Elisabetta speaks English very well (on top of Italian and French!) I have been spoiled and have not had any issue communicating. However, I am encouraged to learn and speak Italian by observing/assisting on the sales floor and exchanging new words with my Italian co-workers who are always willing to help! FLO is also cooperative with scheduling which really helps me manage my time between school, the internship and extracurricular activities.

With my supervisor Elisabetta Renzoni who is the President of FLO Concept Store.

With my supervisor Elisabetta Renzoni who is the President of FLO Concept Store.

I am grateful for this internship opportunity at FLO Concept Store. It has shown me a different way of running a fashion business and the importance of putting people before profits. I am inspired by the products and the people I work with, and I plan to consider everything I am learning at the store when I start my own social-commercial business one day. I highly encourage students to apply for an internship during their time abroad. Not only will you gain a different perspective of the industry from interning in a foreign country, but also learn the work environment and customs of the country and build international contacts.

I hope this post has given you some insight about doing an internship abroad. Feel free to ask if you have any question! And, if you haven’t been to FLO Concept Store already, be sure to stop by! It is an absolute gem sitting on the banks of the Arno River, a few doors down the Rivalta Cafe. Here’s the address: Lungarno Corsini 30/3/R
50123 Florence
, Italy.



March 25, 2016
by Stephanie

Gluten Free in Firenze


Italy is the capital of mouthwatering pizza, pasta, and pastries. Unfortunately I have Celiac disease which means, not by choice, but out of necessity I can’t eat gluten. I always feared that traveling would be a little more difficult for me when I was younger because of my food intolerance. However, it is becoming more and more common all over the world. Something that still amazes me a little because it seemed like my family was the only ones for awhile. I have been able to find great treats throughout all the countries I have been to. I am currently writing from Prague as I am traveling for spring break and although the language here is something that I don’t understand in the slightest, I can find things everywhere. There are delicious treats for those of us in all countries.

However, to my surprise Italy has continued to maintain the title of the easiest. In every city that I go to, it is a non issue there is always something delicious for me to try. Part of the reason why it is so easy is because there is the, Associazione Italiana Celiachia. During last semester I happened upon a restaurant guide published by them that has lists and address of different places throughout all of Italy.

Celiac association logo. When in doubt look for this logo.

Celiac association logo. When in doubt look for this logo.

Some of my favorites are, Ciro and Sons, in between Santa Maria Novella Church and San Lorenzo Church. Lasagna, garlic bread, and banana caramel cheesecake for dessert. Enough said. Okay one more thing said, they have great pizza too. Another one is, Mr. Pizza. They have several locations throughout Florence. My friends and I discovered that they deliver, it is a real dangerous game changer now. It’s rather inexpensive and so easy that is very tempting on busy homework nights. Da Garibardi is close to the central market and they are the only one that I have found Tiramisu at, it’s fantastic!

Photo from Ciro and Son's website

Photo from Ciro and Son’s website

Now, when studying abroad I don’t expect you to eat out every day, that’s not needed. I cook a lot, it saves a lot of money. At all grocery stores there is some array of pasta, bread, cookies, crackers, frozen meals, etc. It just depends which one you go to. The large COOP that is outside of the city has the greatest selection, it is also the largest grocery store that I know of. It is along the tram line towards the design lab, so those of you design students, you take the short trip every week just past the grocery store to the design lab. Speaking of the design lab, there is a cafe in it and the owners are great, they serve fantastic lunches for very reasonable prices. When they first opened I asked them if they had anything I could eat and unfortunately they did not. The next week there was gluten free pasta available. It makes for a quick and delicious lunch.

The greatest discovery for us Celiacs is by far, Starbene. This is a bakery on Via Dineri just past the Palazzo Vecchio. It is an entire gluten free bakery I might add. Complete with croissants, eclairs, sandwiches, bread for sale, and a selection of pastas and snacks that you can stock up on. The owners are very sweet and the food is fantastic. This is by far my favorite mid-week treat. A calzone and something to satisfy my sweet tooth. 

Photo courtesy of Starbene

Photo courtesy of Starbene

So fear not those of you with dietary restrictions. It is possible to eat delicious, non-cardboard tasting food all around the world. Buon appetito!