Florence is obviously very different than New York, for one it’s a small renaissance city in comparison to the busy metropolitan city that is New York. However the differences are more than just that, everything from classes to mass transit and of course the food is different.
- The food is not only better but also cheaper – unlike New York good food is very easy to come by, you can pretty much find it everywhere. The food especially from bars, the Italian coffee shop, is cheap; lunch probably won’t cost more than five or six euros. Even the food you find in the stores is better, Italians have a deep love for food and it shows, they demand the best and they get it.
- It’s a lot prettier – This may seemed a little bit biased, but it is true. This is partially due to the age of a lot of the buildings and the craftsmanship that has been put into their construction. It makes for amazing apartment views that seem like there a painting and not your view.
- Coffee lovers rejoice – The Italians are coffee people which means that not only is the coffee really good it’s also a lot less expensive than coffee in the US is, for example a cappuccino is only € 1.20.
- You can walk everywhere – or close to it, Florence is a small city, which means that if you can’t walk to where your going you can definitely bike to it. Florence also has a great bus system that is both inexpensive and fast.
- ART! – Florence is known as the birthplace of the renaissance for a reason, you can simply walk around and see the history of the city around you. There are also a multitude of museums around the city that have major works of art in them.
- Smaller classes – Florence is a smaller program than New York so there will be less people in your classes. For me I think the most I have is twenty, but my major related classes only have six people. This means more space to work and more time per student from your teachers.
- Closer Knit School – in total there are about 70 people studying in Florence, and because of FASA events we are much more of a group than in New York where the amount of students means you will never know everyone, or even close to it.
- You will get sick of Italian food – turns out there is a limit to the amount of pasta one can eat. However Florence doesn’t have the variety of food that you can find in the US, which is sad. On the plus side once someone finds say a good Chinese food place word spreads fast.
- You will walk a lot – for me it takes about twenty minutes to get pretty much anywhere, be it school, the supermarket, or the city center. Walking this much can be tiring and it does mean that you need to plan your time better. There are also a lot of stairs here and very few elevators.
- There is no Netflix or Hulu – if you are a TV person like me this can be a crushing blow, because nether site is technically speaking allow to stream content in Italy. So plan ahead bring your favorite movies with you or buy season passes of your favorite TV shows.
- Tea people and Starbucks lovers beware – there are no Starbucks in Florence, there is only one ‘American coffee’ place in the whole city and it doesn’t even come close. Tea can also be hard to find, it your not to picky your supermarket will sell tea but it’s so so. Personally I found a teashop, which is where I now buy my tea but if you like tea bring at least some with you.
- Store hours are very different – In Italy stores aren’t open as late, most places with close by eight at the latest and on Sundays count on them only being open for a half day this includes most supermarkets. Places will also close for lunch, this can be for only and hour or up to three. Bottom line look at the store hours for the places you go most often it will save you time and hassle in the long run.