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.
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!
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!
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!