Sadly, my January Term has now reached its end and I have had to say “goodbye” to the beautiful city of Florence. I had the most incredible experience; I have made some great new friends, learned to appreciate the craft tradition of Florence through my class work, and learned so much about the Italian culture. Though I was only there for three weeks, I was able to do so much, and made the most of each day.
I loved each and every moment of my time in Italy, but, as I now look back on my whole study abroad experience, a few moments stand out from the rest. One such moment was reaching the very top of the Duomo. After climbing 463 steps in a dark, narrow corridor (feeling a little tired, even more nervous, and very adventurous), we emerged into the light of the circular terrace atop the dome of the cathedral. The views were breathtaking; you could see the entire city. It felt like we were on top of the world. As I stood up there, I couldn’t help but feel so lucky to be given the opportunity to live and study in such a beautiful place.
Another of my favorite moments was visiting a local craftsman’s workshop during class. In my Italian Fashion class, we had been talking about the strong craft tradition that has persisted in Italy for decades, but actually seeing an artisan at work was really special. The man we went to visit worked with metal. He created jewelry, small decor items, and other various trinkets. It was so refreshing to see items being made by hand and to see him show such care for each object, paying attention to every detail. I was able to buy a bracelet from his shop, which he made to fit my wrist perfectly. Every time I wear it, I am reminded of this unique learning experience.
And my last, but definitely not least, favorite event was visiting the Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace in Florence. After being in Florence for a week and a half, where the green spaces are few and far between, and coming from Wisconsin, where there is no lack of trees and greenery, I was in need of some nature. The Boboli Gardens were the perfect cure. We went on a perfect sunny day, with mild temperatures, and were welcomed by 111 acres of landscaped gardens. Paths led to gorgeous fountains, wide open spaces dotted with sculptures, and up hills that offered stunning views over the city. I had a blast exploring the different areas of the gardens; around every corner was something new to see!
Much like the Boboli Gardens, the entire city of Florence is full of new and interesting things around each corner. I feel as if I was able to see a lot of the bigger attractions, but it would be impossible to see everything that the city has to offer in three short weeks. Though the Duomo, the various craft workshops, and the Boboli Gardens are certainly special and unique to Florence, the true beauty of the city is in the smaller details. From the street art found in a small alley, to the “love locks” that adorn the corners of the bridges, to the cobblestone streets, Florence is every bit as charming and picturesque as it is made out to be.
I am happy to be home and reuniting with friends and family, but I cannot wait to go back to Florence one day. My trip has opened me up to the world and I am eager to see more of it. I am so grateful for the adventures I have had, the friends I have made, and the knowledge I have attained. My study abroad experience was definitely a trip that I will remember forever and Florence will always hold a piece of my heart.