Sunday, January 10, 2010

Orientation/First trip to Florence

It's hard to believe we've only been here two days; it feels like so much longer! Yesterday morning was orientation...we met the villa staff and the faculty, got to hear descriptions of our classes, went over all of the rules and class policies, and filled out some paperwork. Then, after lunch, we took a walking tour of Sesto with the house fellow, Amanda (essentially the RA for the villa). Although seeing the city and getting an idea of where everything is located was really cool, it was raining the entire time so we were pretty cold by the end.

After dinner a group of us decided to go out in Sesto for Savannah's birthday. There's a little cafe/wine bar that is supposedly pretty popular with the locals, and we were thinking about going there, but they ended up closing early so we decided to save it for another time. We ended up finding a really small irish pub a little further down. It had a great atmosphere; there were board games and puzzles set up and they were showing a movie on the television. All of the posters and decorations were in English but all of the customers and waitresses were Italian (and only spoke Italian), so it gave us a chance to work on our language skills a little bit. It was pretty fun but I think we're all excited to start the language class and learn some basic phrases for getting around.

Today was a very busy day as well. It was our first trip into Florence! We took a chartered bus there in the morning, and then took about a 2.5-3 hour walking tour of the city. Professor Mariotti gave the tour, and she explained the historical significance of quite a bit of the city on the way. It was pretty incredible to see the wall that was built in the 12th century still standing. After the tour we were able to spend the afternoon in Florence on our own. We definitely wanted to see more of the city, but at that point we were all so cold that we decided to save the museums and churches for another time. A group of 6 of us went to lunch together at a place called Trattoria Da Garibardi. We ordered pizzas and a bottle of wine to share, and spent about 2 hours there. It was really nice to just relax and not feel rushed. The pizza here isn't all that different from that in the united states, it just seems to have a thin crust and fresher ingredients. Plus, they had a pizza without cheese on the menu! So we all really enjoyed the afternoon. After that we took a city bus back to the villa and just relaxed for the rest of the night. I think everyone is pretty tired at this point; all of the walking and exploring, combined with Jet lag, is starting to take its toll.

Classes start tomorrow, hopefully all goes well!

Also, we have too many pictures to post on the blog, so they will be posted here:


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