By Eduarda Liz Klaser Colvara – Student in Florence & Blogger
September is coming around and Florence is getting ready to receive students from all over the world. Whether you are new here or are coming back for another year do not miss all the amazing events around town that are featured in this edition of Florence is You.
I will start university in September as well but because I have been here since last January, I can share with you a few of the things that I love about Florence. Florence hosts a few marathons throughout the year and if you want help getting in shape for them, all you have to do is join the Firenze Corre team. Meetings start taking place in October and go on throughout the year until June. It happens once a week and leaves from in front of the store Universo Sport, right at the Duomo Square. If you are close enough to your classes that you can get there by riding a bike, I strongly suggest that you do so. It will be a fun extra exercise and it will also save you time. Better yet if you get one with a basket, it will be a great relieve for your back to have somewhere to carry your books in. Finding a good, cheap, second-hand bike can be a hassle though. I found mine at cooperativaulisse.it under the menu Ulisse Bike/Vendita Biciclette. While riding your bike, the bus or walking around, Florence can be easy to get lost in. It is actually a really easy city to get around in but in the beginning it can be a bit confusing. Make sure to give yourself an orientation walk to and from your classes, a supermarket, a pharmacy, an after hours convenience store and specific spots you may need to reach in your daily routine. If you will be in the center it’s a good idea to learn how to get to Santa Maria Novella Station, the Duomo, Piazza Repubblica, Palazzo Vecchio, Galleria degli Uffizi and the Arno river. Once you understand where these monuments and places are in relation to each other and the many routes between them, you will not only get places a lot faster but also discover a lot of cool streets and businesses along the way. Don’t miss all the art and culture that Florence has to offer. Some of the exhibitions are quite large and will take a whole day, so make sure you pack a snack and always research the opening hours for the season you will be visiting in.
On the first Sunday of every month, state museums are free in all cities of Italy by the way – just in case you feel like hoping on a train every now and then. Florence offers a wide range of libraries where you can find research material and sit quietly to study. A favorite among them is Oblate on Via dell’Oriuolo, in the center, it offers a silent study area, computers, wireless internet and the hours are just great. With the exceptions of Mondays when it opens from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Oblate’s regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to Midnight. Another place I quite enjoy is the bookstore La Feltrinelli in Piazza della Repubblica, that has a caffè on the ground floor. The prices for coffee and pastry are reasonable and you will see a lot of other people on their computers too. Feltrinelli also has great hours – opening everyday from 9:30 am to 11:00 pm. In the rare moments when you will have some time off from studying, the best thing you can do in Florence to relax and at absolutely no cost, is to walk around the city and listen up. Yes, life in Florence has a soundtrack and it is a beautiful one. At the moment that I am writing this article, the soundtrack of my life is sung by a very talented woman, with a beautiful opera voice.
I always find her at Piazza Santa Trinita, right in front of the Colonna della Giustizia and a few steps away from a beautiful sunset on the bridge. When I want to flip the record, I head to Piazza della Repubblica where a variety of very talented artists share the spot throughout the week. They will make your jaw drop. Further ahead, in Piazza Signoria and Galleria degli Uffizi, more beautiful music will be waiting and on the way between them, often a hand harmonica will be playing for you. While you are enjoying your new life full of beauty and music here in Florence don’t forget to check out La Prosciutteria and All’Antico Vinaio – both on Via dei Neri – for the best, less expensive, sandwiches in town. A must for newcomers is also the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo and on your way back down, look for the Aperitivos and parties on Via dei Benci at the heart of the Santa Croce neighbourhood.
Florence is waiting for you!