5 Reasons Why I'm Glad I Spent a Fall Semester in Florence

Dec 20, 2019 11:00:00 AM / by Sarah Graham

Sarah muses on her experience in Florence and shares why the fall season might have just been the best time to study abroad. Check out to see what she saw and experienced at both the beginning and end of her semester!

1. Smaller Program

I personally love the fact that CAPA’s program is smaller in the fall. I like that I’ve gotten to know everyone in our program. Also, the class sizes are smaller. Three of my classes have six or less students in them. I think this allows you to form closer relationships with your teachers. The classes feel more personable and comfortable this way.

Here’s the Florence CAPA fall program on our excursion to SienaHere’s us on our excursion to Siena.

2. Better Weather

All of CAPA’s staff tells me that the weather is nicer in the fall semester than it is in the spring semester. It really didn’t get cold until towards the end of my semester. September and October were beautiful and warm. November was rainy, but still not so cold. I really think only recently it has gotten cooler here. And some days are still pretty temperate.

The Arno in SeptemberThe Arno in September.

The Arno in October
The Arno in October.

3. New Olive Oil Season

While living in Florence, I have fallen in love with olive oil. Every fall, there is a new production of the oil. As a student studying in the fall, you get to try it first! CAPA also hosts an olive oil tasting as a my global city event.

4. Festive Lights All Around Florence

The Holiday season in Florence is beautiful. Right after Thanksgiving, you’ll start to notice lights everywhere. Walking around at night suddenly becomes much more beautiful and festive.

Florence lights up in December!Florence lights up in December!

5. Christmas Markets

Something completely unique to the fall semester are the Christmas markets! Christmas markets originated in Germany, but now exist in other European countries as well. I have been able to visit the Santa Croce market in Florence, and also markets in northern Italy and Prague!

Florence: Santa Croce Market

The Santa Croce Christmas market has a bunch of crafts and street food that are bound to get you in the Holiday spirit.

Piazza Santa Croce transforms in December!Piazza Santa Croce transforms in December!

One of my favorite booths.
One of my favorite booths.

Northern Italy: Merano and Bolzano

I also visited Christmas markets in northern Italy in Merano and Bolzano. These markets are located very close to the border Austria, so it feels like a whole different place here! Many of the people here speak German, and I almost forgot I was in Italy at times. Here, there are many different crafts, ornaments, and street food options. These markets are nestled into a beautiful landscape of mountains. Without a doubt, I think these were my favorite Christmas markets.

Me in Merano!Me in Merano!

An ornament booth in Merano
An ornament booth in Merano.

Another charming booth in Merano
Another charming booth in Merano.

Here are some very cool crafts I found in Bolzano
Here are some very cool crafts I found in Bolzano.

The Bolzano Christmas market.
The Bolzano Christmas market.

Fun fact: Bolzano has the largest Christmas market in Italy!
Fun fact: Bolzano has the largest Christmas market in Italy!


Prague was one of my favorite cities that I traveled to, and the Christmas markets here are really cool. Their street food was delicious. I enjoyed several different sausages and a dessert called a “chimney.”

A Christmas market in Prague.A Christmas market in Prague.

The Christmas tree in Prague was beautiful.
The Christmas tree in Prague was beautiful.

We even saw a concert while we were here!
We even saw a concert while we were here!

Chimneys roasting over open flames.

Thanks, Sarah!

Sarah Graham


Sarah Graham is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2019, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. An English major at University of Massachusetts Amherst, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

Sarah's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Florence Program

Topics: Florence, Italy, Why Study Abroad