June 11, 2016
After four amazing weeks on the college of business trip in Italy, I am doing my best to savor the last week. Friday, June 10th, I woke up frantically thinking I missed the bus to Florence for our weekend trip. I checked the time and realized I had woken up with time to spare for once. I packed some clothes into a suitcase and then walked upstairs for the usual breakfast provided from CUOA in Altavilla Vicentina. Shortly, I realized I was feeling a tad under the weather, four weeks of minimal sleep and non-stop action had finally caught up with my body. Regardless, I was not going to let a cold hold me back from enjoying Florence. At 8:30 am the majority of the students on the trip boarded a coach bus and departed for Florence. We all arrived around noon and checked into Hotel Boccaccio. Based off prior weekend trips, the size and layout of your room will vary between fellow classmates’ rooms. Alex Walsh and I lucked out and scored a large balcony attached to our room. Our neighbor, Dr. Dellana, seemed to have wished he acquired the balcony, but these room assignments are just luck of the draw. After getting settled, five others and I explored the nearby streets and stopped for lunch. I was extremely satisfied with my order of cannelloni, which is a pasta stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese. After only being in the city for a little over an hour it became evident to look both ways before crossing the streets. Almost every street in Florence seemed to be extremely narrow, but that did not stop smart cars and street bikes from whipping around corners. After lunch, Dr. Dellana accompanied myself and few other students to view the famed leather market.
The small outdoor setups sold wallets, belts, jackets, suitcases, purses, and anything else leather had a stylish purpose for. The dynamic I found most intriguing was the aspect of bargaining. Every one of these vendors would jack the price up as much as possible, which I could not blame them for. After some negotiating, I would end up at a reasonable price. Next, I would ask for five to ten euros lower then that reasonable price and walk away after he or she said no. Now, my tactics were rarely successful, but in this instance they were. I got a stylish black leather belt for twenty-eight euros. The belt was usually sold for thirty euros, so I took my two leftover euros to Edoardo’s Gelato. The gelato is delicious anywhere, but based off research and other friends who had spent time in Florence before, this was the spot to go. The store was located across the street from the Duomo (Florence Cathedral). The line was out the door and across the street and my friends and I were willing to wait. After about a forty-five minute wait I ordered a scoop of blueberry and peach gelato. It was delicious and I understood why so many Italians were willing to wait that long.
To end the night, a few other students and I sat down in a small restaurant and watched UEFA Euro match between France and Romania. Soccer is highly valued by Italians and wherever one is watching the game the surrounding atmosphere is entertaining. It was an intriguing game and France scored a game-clinching goal in the 88th minute to beat Romania two to one. A solid portion of this day was spent traveling so everyone decided to go to bed early in order to wake up with plenty of time to shop and sight see. Just like many of my days in Italy, I appreciated the leisure speed Italians live by. It is no wonder their life expectancies are much longer then Americans. Not to mention, I enjoyed writing this blog on my spacious balcony overlooking the city streets of Florence. The Italian style of living is something I could get used to.