Words and photos by Gabriella Vitulli, a CAPA Florence study abroad alumna and Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management major from Indiana University.
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Yes, I cannot believe it, but week one is said and done and has been all sorts of crazy. Getting settled here in Florence has not been an easy feat, but gets easier with each day. Classes have begun, I have figured out a little more geography, and have learned a WHOLE LOT.
Yes, classes have begun and I actually love them. The faculty is really great and the things I am learning are very interesting. I'm taking classes on Italian Film, the Italian Language, Italian Art and Italian Architecture. I'm learning not only things that are useful and interesting, but I'm learning about them in the place they were created! It's incredible to think about, really. (Fun fact: the official Italian language was derived from the Florentine dialect!)
What did I mean by figure out more geography? Well, if you're a friend of mine you know that I have about as much sense of direction as your average piece of lint, but I tackled a very large feat -- I made it to class... ON. MY. OWN. I know right?! So exciting. The first time I did, I was so happy when I walked through that door that I gave the front desk at CAPA quite the laugh. Anywho, my roommates and I have been adjusting in our apartment, cooking family dinners and getting more and more used to living in Florence - for example, figuring out the bus system and now, the supermarket is a slice of pie. Yay!
I have also found a group of girls in my program that have been an absolute blast and pleasure to be around. Looking back, I'm not exactly sure how we all found each other, but we did and we've been having the best time together. This past weekend, we went out for one of our very own, Morgan's, 21st birthday! Although those aren't as big a deal here, we still celebrated it like Americans.
On Saturday, CAPA provided us with the opportunity for a hike up the Fiesole Hills that ended with a lunch. Well, let me tell you, we earned that lunch. This was probably the most real hike I've ever been on, but it was really very beautiful. The views were so vast that no picture would have done it justice, but it was great to be in nature with some fresh air and good, ol' fashioned exercise (I'm literally sore from it.. who knew?). We saw a quiet old town in the countryside where we stopped for a very delicious lunch, mine being lemon pasta – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. A beautiful and exhausting day, but nevertheless one for the books.
To conclude our weekend, a group of us went on a trip to the countryside which included two wine tastings and two tours of quaint, countryside Tuscan towns. First, we bussed to Montepulciano where we were dropped off. We walked around this sleepy town and saw some indescribable views where we ended up at the first winery. We tasted three different wines after we learned about this family business and its history. We then were able to eat lunch, where I had the most delicious pulpi salad and then headed off to the next town. We had a tour of the town where the views were vast and breathtaking and ended up at the Brunello Winery, where we were greeted by Mario - the owner and quite the ladies' man. We learned about the production of wine, how they made it in the old days, vintage and collectibles and were even shown his private collection cellar filled with bottles dating back to the 1950s. This was followed by our favorite part - the tasting, of course! We were served four different wines, a variety of meats and cheeses, and a fun time. It was absolutely delicious and definitely something I'll remember forever.
I’m going to be honest, this past week has felt like a month, but I'm sure this month will feel like a week when I look back, so I'm making the most of it. Sorry this was so long, but I could have told you even more!! So much has happened, and it's only week one.