Opera & Ballet / Pisa & Lucca

June 7th, 2012

Sorry for not posting these past couple of days, I’ve been extremely busy with midterms!

Two days ago I went to the opera and ballet and saw my first performance in one of the oldest opera houses in Florence. It was beautiful and was about being careful for what you ask for.  I could understand what was going on by the actions, while catching some Italian words here and there. I can’t wait to go to my next one! I also went to hear the Mayor of Florence speak about some issues going on in the city.  He held the conference right in front of the Duomo which was really neat to see.

Yesterday, everyone from USF took the train into Pisa and Lucca.  Lucca is what I imagined when I thought of an Italian town.  It was rich in history with tons of quaint shops.  They have a wall which completely encloses it and is one of only three towns left in Italy that way.  The wall is probably a good 12 feet high and almost 5 feet wide to protect them from cannonball damage back in the day.  Next, Pisa was extremely empty! I can’t believe it houses such a great and distinct Italian landmark when the place looks like a small town you would find on the side of I-75. After taking some pictures we left and were very excited to get back to Florence and go to Ganzo to meet the newbies.  This past week about 100 students arrived to start taking classes and will be here until the end of June too.  The food was great and we met a bunch of new people who are going out to dinner with us tonight.

Random side note, but I’ve been obsessed with the work of Dante Alighieri.  There is a massive statue in Santa Croce and I noticed we have a book full of his poems in our apartment so I started to read them. They are amazing. I love is work and now everyday before I get ready for school, I read one of his poems. It definitely should be something you guys look into!

For tonight, it’s all about packing and Gusta Pizza. Tomorrow we leave for Rome and won’t return until late Sunday. Fingers crossed on seeing the Pope!

secret bakery

May 23rd, 2012

Last night was incredible.  We went out to our guy friends’ apartment to hangout for a bit then headed out to find a secret bakery.  A secret bakery is simply a place where you can get delicious baked goods anytime after midnight for 50 cents.  It sounds sketchy, but what you have to do is go to the address, knock on the door, a person will take your order, then open the door up 15 minutes later with everything from chocolate croissants to apple pies. You have to be really quiet though, or the neighbors will find water, eggs, or anything else to throw at you for waking them up so late in the night.  We were soaking wet from the rain, numb from the cold but those pastries made it all worthwhile.  (don’t worry joans – a mob of 20 of us went out to get them)

Today started with me and my roommates waking up at 9am and heading out to the local market.  I picked up prosciutto crudo, balsamic drizzle, eggplant, and bread all which I devoured even before lunch time.  I was able to order without using any English, but we still are having a hard time converting the sizes from grams and “ettos” to pounds, so today Kim ended up with over 2 pounds of pasta for herself haha. After the market, we met up with some friends and went to the gelato festival which had just as many gelato flavors as tourists! Most of the festival was a tourist trap and overcrowded, but the prices of gelato were reduced because of the festival.  Next, we explored some more of the town, went shopping for a bit and then sat out in the Santa Croce plaza which is a 2 minute walk from our place.

Dinner tonight was amazing as always since we went back to Ganzo for their special Wednesday pricing.  I absolutely love the people I have met here on the trip.  So many of us have become really good friends and I love that we now have our dinner dates every week! Tonight, we are having a late study date in our living room and eating some fruits and Baccio, which are the Italian version of Hershey kisses. I hope everyone is having a good time back in the states – I miss you all!