From hanging out at Piazzale Michelangelo to taking a Food and Culture course, CAPA alumnus Erin Confortini shares a roundup of 8 things she's got on her mind—all thanks to a great semester in Florence.
I can’t believe it has already been 5 months since I returned home from my semester abroad with CAPA. Studying abroad was the best experience of my life—and Florence could not have been a better host city.
Check out the Ponte Vecchio behind me!
I miss absolutely everything about this magical place that I was fortunate enough to call home, but here are eight things that make me wish I could go back to Florence every day.
1. My Friends
With friends by the Arno River.
I went abroad to Florence completely on my own—but that didn’t stop me from having the best semester ever with the best people. CAPA did an amazing job of setting me up in an apartment with girls that I could connect with, and all of their activities at the beginning of the semester made it super easy to find somewhere to fit in. If you’re about to go abroad on your own as well, just know that everyone is in the same position that you are, so there is nothing to be nervous about!
2. The Food
It's panini time.
This obviously had to be high on my list because Italian food is amazing. I don’t think I ate one meal in Florence that wasn’t great, and I can’t wait to come back to Florence to go back to some of my favorite restaurants! Here is a super short list of some of my absolute favorite places in Florence to eat:
- Trattoria Zaza: a nicer restaurant for dinner that has great food and is very affordable!
- Osteria de Peccatori: a great lunch spot!
- Pino’s Sandwich’s: only about a 3-minute walk from CAPA. It doesn’t matter what Trip Advisor says because this is the best place in Florence for paninis.
- Il Teatro: This place has the BEST family-style dinners on Tuesday’s at 9 PM hosted by a company called Smart Trip. Definitely look into this as soon as you come to Florence because you’ll want to be there every single Tuesday!
3. Piazzale Michelangelo
Creating the best memories with my friends at the Piazzale Michelangelo.
Some of my best memories this semester are from my nights spent up at this Piazza watching the sunset with my friends! This is a super popular spot to hang out with amazing views of the city. People bring food and drinks and spend hours up there any time the weather is nice!
4. The Weather
Missing the weather in Florence.
I am from Pittsburgh, so the Spring semester in Florence was MUCH milder than I am used to. It definitely still got cold, but not seeing snow for a year made me extremely happy.
5. My Classes
When in Florence, have a gelato.
If you have the chance to take Food and Culture Under the Tuscan Sky as a course this semester—I would 100% advise you to do so! This class taught me SO much about the food culture in Florence and the professor was amazing! We went on so many field trips including a gelato making class, a food tour, a wine tasting, and a few others that really allowed me to discover parts of Florence that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
6. The Grocery Stores
Grocery shopping can make you hungry, so grab a bite before you go.
This may sound a little weird but I definitely miss going to Conad for my groceries. Grocery shopping is so much different in Florence than in America, and here are some of the differences:
- Produce is significantly cheaper in Florence.
- There really isn’t a “snack” aisle; bring some of your favorite snacks with you to Florence.
- You can only buy as much as you can physically carry back to your apartment, so you’ll be at the grocery store more frequently.
- The food is a lot fresher, therefore it goes bad faster. Good thing you’ll be going more frequently anyway!
You can find plenty of good dining experiences and restaurants in Florence.
Apertivo is an Italian food tradition that I definitely have missed since I returned from abroad. The name basically means “appetizer”, and restaurants across Florence will host Apertivo on certain nights for a few hours, where you’ll pay a fixed price for a drink which grants you access to a buffet full of appetizers. Some of my favorite Apertivo spots are listed below!
- Kitsch: This is by far my favorite Apertivo spot. Their buffet is so generous for only 12 Euros and the food is so good! There are two locations in the city and only one actually hosts an Apertivo, so make sure you check with them while you’re making your reservation!
- Moyo: This place was super close to my apartment, the food was great, and the atmosphere was awesome too!
Florence is geographically in an ideal spot to study abroad in and travel from.
I really miss how easy it was to travel throughout Europe during my time abroad. Florence is in a great location to travel to many different places, and I had the opportunity to go to 12 countries in 14 weeks while I was there! I did a mix of booking my trips through companies such as Bus2Alps, SmartTrip, and FlorenceForFun and booking them on my own—and both ways was super simple and not super expensive!
Erin Confortini is a Junior at Robert Morris University studying Finance and Economics. Erin studied abroad in Florence with CAPA in Spring 2019 and is now a CAPA Ambassador.