Fall Break Part II: Florence and Rome

Fall Break Part II: Florence and Rome

I’m a complete slacker, I know. Fall break was a month ago, and I finally managed to roll this out. I miss Italy. My heart aches for homecooked pasta, fresh pizzas, and cannolis. I miss staring down the entire city of Florence from the Dome of Santa Maria Cathedral, listening to live, acoustic music on top of Piazza Michelangelo, and sitting in front of St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican City because I couldn’t be bothered to line up to get in.

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400 steps of stairs-climbing later, here’s the view from the campanile of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral in Florence.

Florence – Where should I even begin? I was actually a little dazed when I arrived from Venice, because that’s the thing about Italy – each city is so distinctively its own world. I went from small, mystic, colorful Venice to the more medieval-looking yet also ironically young and care-free Florence. The city seems to be tinted in yellow and brown, the dominant architecture colors, with vestigial brick walls dating from who-knows-how-long-ago.

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The square near the fake Statue of David (see below) and Uffizi Gallery.
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Oh hello, David.

But if you peel your eyes off the buildings and look around you on the streets, there is an abundance of bars and clubs, pumping with music at night, flowing with young people looking to have a good night out. My Airbnb was literally right above a bar and I can testify that it was pretty lit. Florence has the most bizarre yet wonderful mix of old and new.

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Downtown Florence.
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My first ever real cannoli 🙂
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Italy is flowing with leather goods. Be prepared to feel flustered and overwhelmed as you walk through the leather vendors on the streets.
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All the fibre and vit C.
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Italian bakeries! Fact: People call these long, crunchy Italian cookies “biscotti,” but did you know that biscotti literally just means cookies in general? These have a name: cantucci. Now get it right.
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All’Antico Vinaio: If there’s one thing you have to try in Florence, it’s this La Favolosa sandwich. Packed with an odd combo of fennel salami, goat cheese and eggplants, this was a freakingly bold yet delicious sandwich.

And then there’s Rome. It was nice to be back in a truly metropolitan area, because I love the city. We did all the touristy stuff – the Colosseum, the Roman Ruins, the Pantheon, etc. But my favorite part is wandering around the streets, and running into “accidental” finds. Impromptu hunt for the best tiramisu, visiting the cite where Julius Caesar got killed and which is now turned into a cat sanctuary, walking past Altar of the Fatherland during sunset. Oh, and the best pizza I’ve had in my life.

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Rise and shine! (with 3842373864 other tourists)
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Sapori e Delizie: Caprese pizza – light, airy Roman pizza dough with fresh mozarella and Buffalo cheese. Easily one of my favorite pizzas I’ve ever had.
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Pompi: one of the most highly raved tiramisus in Rome – it was delicious but not exceptional. STILL ON THE HUNT!

I spent my last full day in Rome with quite a few cats, which was kind of unexpected. There’s a vegan cat cafe near where I was staying at and it was such an adorable cafe with delicious food and cute cats. I also wandered around the city and ended up at Largo di Torre Argentina, which is a square of ruins from the remains of Pompey’s Theatre. It was believed to be where Julius Caesar got assassinated, and nowadays it has now been turned into a cat shelter, so you’ll see dozens of cats roaming the site!

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Romeow Cat Bistro Roma: charming little cafe with adorable cats. I got the soy cheesecake with wild berries and it was light and refreshing.
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Largo di Torre Argentina.

Italy has always been on top of my travel list. I think this trip is probably my biggest accomplishment during my study abroad. (Meanwhile struggling for all the finals coming up…)

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