We got to spend the weekend on an all expenses paid trip to Florence with ISA, the study abroad program. We left on a Friday morning by bus which takes 3 times as long as a train. It was a lot more scenic ride than the train but I slept most of the way so it was not worth it. Once we arrived in Florence I was immediately impressed. I had been there for about and hour with my parents a few years before but I didn't remember much of it. The streets were a lot smaller, cleaner and easier to walk on. We checked into our hotel, which was conveniently located in the center of the city, only a few blocks from the Duomo.
After only being there a few minutes we were off with tour guides touring the city. We saw the inside and outside of the Duomo. The outside is alot more decorated and beautiful than the inside. The inside is very plain and open; it was a nice change from many of the other churches I have toured.
We then walked by a few other landmarks on our way to the art museum where the David is kept. All of the art within the museum was beautiful but nothing compared to the David. He was gigantic and so perfectly carved. I wouldn't call myself an art enthusiast but this was pretty magnificent. The carving was so intricate you could see the veins in his hands.
After the tour we went to dinner at a restaurant recommended by our hotel. It was called Anita and had traditional Florentine dishes. We had been told to try the Ribollita, a traditional vegetable and bread soup. It had a very interesting flavor and looked a lot like stuffing. I then ordered pasta with mushrooms and truffles. It was by far the best pasta I have ever had in my life. The pasta was perfectly Al Dente and the truffle sauce was to die for. I could have eaten five servings of it.
Once we had finished dinner we headed to check out the nightlife since it is a lot easier to get around Florence than in Rome. We ended up going to a huge nightclub called Yab. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. We got a punch card when we entered and had to keep it all night. Each thing we bought we would get a punch and then we had to pay for everything at the end. Apparently if you lose the card, you have to pay 50 Euros. Yikes! The club was fun but really crowded and filled with the usual creepy Italian men. The atmosphere at clubs and bars here is different than in America.
The next morning a few of my friends and I slept in before heading out to explore the city a bit more. We crossed the Ponte Vecchio and headed to a restaurant on the other side of the river. The food was also extremely delicious and we even splurged on some tiramisu. After lunch we headed to the San Lorenzo market to buy some leather goods. We ended up staying there for a good 4 hours getting sucked up in the beautiful leather goods and the fun of bartering with the vendors. I blew quite a bit of money there …but it was for Christmas gifts so its ok then. Right?
After all the shopping we were in need of a quick power nap before we headed out for another dinner and night out. We found a small restaurant near our hotel that didn't seem too busy. We were the only customers placed in the back of the restaurant so we got the whole room to ourselves. Our waiter really like us so he kept bringing out free prosecco, wine and bread. We each ordered delicious pastas in which we all taste tested.
After dinner our waiter invited us to a posh bar up the street so we gathered our other friends and headed there to check it out. It was a little too posh for our liking but we decided to stay for a little bit before getting tired and heading back to the hotel.
The next morning we had to get up early to catch the bus to Arezzo and then back to Rome. Everyone on the trip was so worn out that we didn't really enjoy the tour of Arezzo. The town was really cute and we ate some delicious food there but we had all had our share of tours for the weekend. Overall the weekend was a success but it was time to return back home to Rome.