I have now finished this lovely tale for you all! 

My trip to Florence was wonderful. Honestly I had a great time even with a few bumps here and there. 

I really enjoyed writing for all of you and I hope you enjoyed reading! 

Until next time! 

Tips (what to do/where to go/general)
  • Eat everything (or try it) 
  • Be open to meeting new people 
  • Travel as much as you can 
  • Bring deet (the mosquitoes are horrid) 
  • Go out as much as possible 
  • Mostadolce (in Florence)  is a good place for food and drinks 
  • Good drinking places: Old Stove, Lion’s Fountain, Mostadolce, Dublin
  • Don’t be afraid to indulge (for yourself) every once in awhile 
  • Be aware of your suitcase weight 
  • Write to your family and friends, they appreciate it 
  • Get to know your professors 
  • Take part in a cooking class if you can 
  • Go on all the side trips; they’re fun, educational and you see things you might not necessarily see 
  • Go to the markets - good prices and they enjoy bargaining with you
  • Trains are expensive but a good way to travel 
  • Be respectful to your host family 
  • Learn Italian - while people may speak English learn the language 
  • Take advantage of the nightlife 
  • Don’t be afraid to explore 
  • Internet can be sketchy 
  • Bring a raincoat 
  • Don’t bring a lot of toiletries 
  • Don’t be afraid to bargain in the markets 
  • Italy has great leather and paper - get some 
  • Learn background history before you go - on the Medici family especially 
  • Go to as many museums as possible
Useful Italian Words and Phrases
  • Good morning - buongiorno (use from time you wake up until after lunch (in Florence))
  • Good afternoon/evening - buonasera (afternoon until after dinner) 
  • Good night - buonanotte (just before bed) 
  • I like… - mi piace 
  • I don’t like… - a me non piace 
  • What does this mean - cosa significa 
  • How do you say… - come se dice 
  • Thank you - grazie 
  • You’re welcome - prego 
  • I am - sono 
  • What time is it? - A che ora? 
  • So… - allora 
Highlights and Need for Improvement


  • Einaudi concert 
  • Trips: Venice, Rome, Pisa, Siena, Arezzo, Greve, Viareggio, Castiglione, Capezzana, Poggio a Caiano, Fiesole, Monastery
  • Leonardo da Vinic’s original sketches 
  • Cooking class
  • Host family 
  • Private tour of San Marco’s Basilica 
  • Ireland - fall break 
  • Jodie 
  • Christmas markets 

Room for Improvement 

  • Sacks 
  • Piled up work at end 
  • Not enough balance between work and travel 
  • Dealing with roommate situation 
  • Unfairness of some professors 
  • Mosquitoes 
  • Living so far away from center 
Trip Summary


  • Stresa
  • Cinque Terre
  • Milan
  • Portofino
  • Portovenere
  • Lake Como
  • Florence


  • Florence
  • Siena
  • Greve
  • Pisa
  • Venice
  • Italian
  • Leonardo’s drawings
  • Art history
  • Viareggio 
  • Castiglione 


  • Italian
  • Love, Beauty and Eros
  • Arezzo
  • Patrons and Artists
  • Decorative Complexes
  •  Cooking class
  • Ireland 


  • Classes continued 
  • Rome 
  • Capezzana 
  • Poggio a Caiano 
  • Allergic reaction 
  • opera 
  • Christmas markets 


  • Finals 
  • shopping 
  • Einaudi concert 
  • monastery 
  • return flight of craziness 
  • art show 
  • last dinner 
  • goodbyes 
On My Journey Home

Woke up at 5:30, finished packing up, ate breakfast and said goodbye to my roommates and host mother before catching a cab to the airport. 

Now here comes the fun part., I got to the airport and my cabbie gave me a trolley which was lovely. Then I got in the elevator and got  little stuck in there for a minute before getting out and seeing the line for some airline (which later turned out to be mine as well). 

First I found the Swiss Air ticket office because I couldn’t seem to find the check-in line and I got a receipt thing from them before I got into the long line and waited for a bit. Then I got in to the non-existent Swiss Air line and waited. Then it was my turn to check my stuff and guess what? I was overweight by 6 lbs so I took some stuff out re-weighed it and got back in line so I could check it. 

So when I got to the front of the check-in line again my suitcase was fine (what a relief) and then they asked to weigh my carry-on and that was fine. Then they saw my duffel and that’s where problems happened. I apparently couldn’t have 2 carry-ons. Yes, they still have the same rules but now apparently both of those bags can’t be more than 8 kilos total so I had to check yet another bag which cost more money and I was not happy about it. 

By that point I had been there for 2 hours and I was pretty annoyed (along with everyone else I might add). So after that it was security time and I got through there in about 5 minutes. 

Then I got some water and then I sat by my gate for a bit and talked to 2 new friends Tina (Florida) and Teresa (Seattle). 

Then it was time to get on the shuttle bus to take us to the plane. And when we got on said plane, it was empty and continued to stay so. We were not too happy with that as we could’ve had our other carry-ons with us…they were empty! 


Anyway, we arrived in Zurich around 11:15 and I had to wait to find out what my gate was going to be until 11:50 so I wandered and then went through passport checks before going to my gate where I ended up staying for quite awhile because we were delayed due to snow (on both ends). 

Isn’t that awesome architecture?

SCHNEE! (yes I threw some German in there…why not!) 

Finally, we boarded but we didn’t take off for quite some time as they not only had to start the engines but they had to defrost the plane. We finally took off around 3. 

I was fascinated by the defrosting of the plane and because I was sitting right on the wing it was easy to watch. 

When we were finally in the air, I listened to music, slept on and off and watched a British sitcom called “Vicious” which was great. We also got fed a lot: crackers and pretzels, roast beef with mashed potatoes, green beans, cake and salad, ice cream, a pizza thing and chocolate. 

Almost home! 

It was a nice 9 hr and 40 minute flight and we landed in Chicago around 5. 

Then we got off and went through customs and they had some new things like scanning your passport and taking your picture before you get into another line and talk to a real person who asks you questions about your life. Then I got my luggage right away (usually do) and got a trolley (that was a good life choice) and then I came out and found Mom and Papa and went HOME. 

So ends my journey “There and Back Again: A Florentine Tale” 

*This blog is not finished but I hope it will be by Saturday. I hope you have enjoyed reading! 

Packing and Final Moments

Woke up, ate breakfast, relaxed a bit and then worked on packing. I got everything into my suitcase, no problem, but now I needed to worry about weight. Since there really wasn’t much I could do about that, I edited my final paper for Jodie and sent it off. 

After struggling with packing, I went out and did some last minute shopping and then went back home and relaxed some more before our “last supper”. 

We had risotto, fries, meatballs, other potatoes, chicken and panetonne. 

Then it was time to say goodbye to our host family (since a lot of us would be getting up early).

That’s me and Rosa.

And me and Raffaele.  

Then I showered, relaxed, packed more and went to bed around 1. 

Tomorrow, the long trek home. 

An Italian Virtuoso

Woke up, ate breakfast, and worked a little on Jodie’s paper. Then I went out for a short while before coming home and showering. 

Then we had dinner; pasta with tomato sauce, cutlets, spinach, chocolate and fruit. 

Then I caught the bus, and walked to the theater and I got there early and by the time it was time to start, it was a complete full house. It was one incredible concert too! He not only did his entire “In a Time Lapse” album but then he did some of his old solo stuff and later he did more older stuff with his mini orchestra. And basically I knew all of his pieces and there were some I didn’t know but I really enjoyed myself. I was front row and just rocked out! It was 2 and a 1/2 hours of awesome bliss. 

I got there early and it was fairly empty. 

As I said front row (A16)

Yes you could take pictures in the theater, so I did. That’s the “mini orchestra”. There were violins, violas, cellos, drums, synthesizers, violets, guitars and really cool, unique instruments that I have never heard of or seen before. 

IT’S EINAUDI! And he’s playing at a Steinway and Sons piano. 

There was a light show too, during one of his pieces “Planets” I believe. 

And this was right before his encore so we got to see all of the musicians nice and clearly…or at least, I did. 

Then I went home and went to bed. 

Tomorrow is packing day! 

Goodbyes Begin

(This is being written a week later than it was supposed to so bare with me guys…I will be finishing this blog soon too ah!) 

So I woke up and finished my Love paper (so glad to be done with it) and then I relaxed for a bit. 

After that I went out for a bit and shopped at some of the markets and stores before going on a 2 hour bus adventure (that was not very fun) and I missed my classmate’s art show (I mean, I got there but they were putting everything away). 

Then we all went to dinner and had our last group dinner. I had crostini (we all did), bread, tagliatelle al sugo (meat sauce), and meatballs with peas and torta della nonna for dessert. 

Then I said goodbye to everyone and several of us went out but I left early, got back home, showered and went to bed. 


Of Renaissance Love and Raphael

Woke up early again, ate and went to school which took about 40 minutes (about 4 times longer than normal). 

Then we had 4 hours of Jodie’s class with a good break thrown in and we had panettone which was good. But yeah, I gave my presentation on Raphael and it was ok but it needs work which is fine. 

After class, I came home and had a snack of bread and marscapone which was good and then I relaxed a bit before working on my Sacks paper (yeah I had a 3 hour long final and then I still have a paper…10 pages 2400 words…) 

Then I had dinner, we had pasta with salmon, bread, this really awesome fried mozzarella stick like thing but in a calzone form, fruit and chocolate. 

Then I showered, worked more on the paper, and went to bed. 

Tomorrow, paper turn in, art show and final group dinner.