Soccer and Swing
17 September, 2012
So another awesome week has gone by in Florence… time is FLYING! Lots of exciting things this week, including finally visiting the Duomo, a dolce workshop, and taking the weekend to explore Florence!
I have had the itch to enter the Duomo since the second I arrived, but thus far, the moment hadn’t presented itself. Who would have known that a simple walk home from class would provoke my long awaited reentrance into one of the most breathtaking buildings in all of Italy? I’m usually not the biggest art appreciator, but I could not help but stare up in awe at the intricate masterpiece covering the famed dome.
Thursday night brought a ‘culinary treat’ from FUA’s culinary school, Apiscius – a Dolce Workshop! Being the cake fanatic that I am, this was a cannot-miss opportunity! It was wonderful to be able to learn the art of Italian baking from a true Italian chefs, but it was even better to learn just how simple that art is! After two hours and minimal fresh ingredients, we had trays upon trays of fresh almond biscotti and orange zest cakes! Did you know – biscotti were named so because they are baked twice?
Finally the weekend came and I decided to stay home to enjoy my temporary hometown and have some down time before the crazy weekend ahead (Sicily with everyone from the Stony Brook program!) Though traveling will definitely be fun, it was nice to kick back and take in that which I walk past every day in my rush to get to school and work. First stop – Mercato Centrale! Picture this, (and if you can’t, I’ve got you covered) hundreds of stands piled with fruit, cases packed with every type of Italian cheese out there, and not to mention the fresh prosciutto and salami hanging everywhere you look! Let’s just say we didn’t go hungry this weekend.
Saturday, we took the day to explore the city’s winding streets, which led us to the beautiful Piazza di Michelangelo on the other side of the Arno River. After a calf-killing hike up what seemed like thousands of stairs, we arrived at one of the city’s best spots where you can look down on the entire historical city center, an absolutely picturesque view and something that cannot be passed up during a visit to Florence!
A great day turned into the best night in Florence so far. We decided to hit the town in search of a good pub, and wound up at a small bar with some live music – a jazzy swing band called La Fascia del Cotone (who I highly recommend!) After several encores, the band packed up and everyone headed outside, where we met them as well as some fantastic Italians who were genuinely excited that a few Americans appreciated the Italian culture so much, as well as spoke Italian! I wound up gabbing in Italian all night with them and realized that my dreams of a real Italian experience abroad were actually becoming a reality. Let’s just say that we definitely found our ‘spot’ for the rest of the semester and learned one awesome lesson – cross the river, get out of the tourist-clad city center, and find some real Italian culture!
Sunday arrived with a great treat provided by FUA – a trip to the Fiorentina-Cantina Soccer game! Decked out in purple, we walked to the stadium about 20 minutes outside the city center, and situated ourselves in what seemed like doll-sized seats compared to the ones back home. I had heard so much about the Italians and their affinity for soccer that I could not wait to experience a real game with some crazy fans; but what I got was shocking – one of the quietest and most concentrated sporting events I have ever witnessed (until the first goal at least). In the end, it turned out that I am not as unlucky as I thought, and for the first time ever, the team I was routing for won – FORZA VIOLA!
So now it’s back to the school grind and assignments are starting to pile up! My brain is filling with everything Italian, and I am excited to see what the rest of the semester has in store for me! We leave for Sicily Thursday night which is sure to be a great bonding experience for everyone in the program, but all that’s on my mind is cannoli and rice balls!!
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.