Words by Brooke Scanlon, an Indiana University student and CAPA Florence alumna who studied abroad during spring semester 2014.
Below, Brooke shares a list of her top 10 favorite places in Florence.
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1. PIAZZA MICHELANGELO. My favorite place in Florence is Piazza Michelangelo. It offers an amazing panoramic view of Florence. There are always incredible musicians performing there. When my family came to visit me while I was studying aborad, we spent a lot of time at Piazza Michelangelo, drinking wine, listening to musicians, and enjoying the beautiful view of the city. Watching the sunrise and sunset at Piazza Michelangelo is a must for all students studying abroad in Florence. I spent my last night in Italy watching the sunset there and reflecting on my incredible study abroad experience.
Photo: Florence at sunset from Piazza Michelangelo by Benson Kua
2. SANTO SPIRITO. My favorite neighborhood is Santo Spirito because it is not touristy. I enjoyed having relaxing dinners at Osteria Santo Spirito, eating Gusta Pizza on the steps of Santo Spirito while talking to locals, and perusing stores. I liked going there to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
Photo: Antique market, Piazza Santo Spirito by Miles Berry
3. BOBOLI GARDENS. The Boboli Gardens are simply breathtaking. I sometimes forgot that there is beautiful greenery to be found in Florence. The Boboli Gardens are a great place to go to relax and spend an afternoon reading a good book.
Photo: Boboli Gardens, Florence by Eugen Naiman
4. THE ROSE GARDEN. The Rose Garden is incredible. I love flowers and it is nice to spend a relaxing afternoon exploring there. It's is close to Piazza Michelangelo, so take a little detour to check it out the next time you go!
Photo: Giardino delle Rose by Yann Le Moing
5. SAN GIUSEPPE SCHOOL. I loved spending my Tuesdays teaching fourth-grade Italian students at the San Giuseppe School. I felt comfortable at the school and looked forward to my walk there every week. Teaching English was one of my favorite things I did when abroad.
6. SANT'AMBROGIO MARKET. The Sant’Ambrogio market is my favorite market in the city. I enjoyed going there after class to get my favorite Italian bread, schiacciata, and fresh vegetables. I also enjoyed spending time exploring many of the Florentine markets in my "Understanding Modern Italy" class!
Photo: Sant' Ambrogio Market by Eric Parker
Photo: Ristorante Pizzeria Il Teatro via the restaurant's website
8. ZAZA. ZaZa is another one of my favorite restaurants in Florence. The food is absolutely incredible. I went there on my last night in Florence with a friend, who was kind enough to let me stay in her apartment for a few days after the program ended. I capped off my incredible semester abroad by sharing a delicious meal with a great friend - what could be better?.
9. PINO'S. Pino’s is my favorite panini shop in Florence. The owner, Pino, is the cutest Italian man. The first time I went to Pino’s, I was acting like it was my last meal and took forever to decide what I wanted to order. He was so patient with me. I looked forward to seeing Pino anytime I stopped by to grab a delicious panini on the way to class.
Photo: Pino's panini via FourSquare
10. VIVOLI. Vivoli is my favorite gelateria in Florence. Located in the Santa Croce neighborhood, it is close to the CAPA Center. I am currently craving pistachio gelato from Vivoli!