Sarah has been looking forward to studying abroad for years, and now she's finally in Florence. She kicks off her experience abroad with a mini trek to catch the most breathtaking views of the city. Not only was she able to rack up her step count, she was also able to gain a better feel for her new home base this semester.
Me at Piazzale Michelangelo with Florence behind me.
Ciao! My name is Sarah Graham, and I’ll be studying with CAPA Florence this fall. After arriving on Friday, it’s been a whirlwind settling in and getting to know the city. This is actually my first time traveling internationally, and I’m happy to say things are going really well! I’ve been looking forward to this for so, so long, and I can’t believe I’m finally here.
On Sunday, I had the amazing experience of walking to Piazzale Michelangelo with CAPA. It’s one of the many My Global City events that I’m so glad I had the opportunity to experience. Apart from some of the time I spent walking around the city on Friday and Saturday during orientation, this was one of the first times I really started to see more of Florence. It was even my first time crossing the Arno River!
I took this photo later in the day, at the end of our walk, while crossing back over the river.
I find it so cool that the countryside is directly outside the city, as Florence is surrounded by hills. Our program director, Lorenzo, was an awesome guide and led us through the Oltrarno neighborhood and to Piazzale Michelangelo. Our walk definitely helped me gain a better feel for Tuscany and the surrounding areas of Florence.
I enjoyed seeing the expansive city walls throughout the hills. The city of Florence itself has lost so many medieval remnants, but the walls remain. Throughout the entire walk, I felt like I was in shock (in a good way). Here I am in the 21st century, in Florence, a city full of history. We also passed Forte Di Belvedere, the largest fortress in Florence, built during the 16th century. I learned that you can pay 3 euros to enter the fort and spend the whole day there if you choose to. I definitely want to do this sometime. I think this might be a really interesting place to relax and do homework, and a cool place to spend some time alone.
Forte Di Belvedere.
The walk to Piazzale Michelangelo was both beautiful and breathtaking. I enjoyed leisurely chatting with and getting to know my classmates while experiencing the immense beauty. I’m told the view from Piazzale Michelangelo is the best in Florence, and I know I haven’t been here for long, but I have to say it’s hard to beat. It made me realize how large the city is to me, even though while I’m walking through it I don’t get that feeling. This only means I have so much more to explore. I’ve seen this view in pictures, but nothing beats seeing it in person.
View from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Another view from Piazzale Michelangelo.
While taking in the view, I really felt like I was in awe. I’ve been looking forward to studying abroad for years, and now I’m finally here. I am so incredibly lucky to be in this city with the opportunities that I have. I’m not lying when I say I am so, so happy to be here.
To give you an idea of the land we covered check out this screenshot from my phone’s health app!
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.