Florence: Week One is Coming to a Close

 Ciao from Florence!

Week one of my four-week summer semester is already coming to a close and I honestly do not know how this is even possible! Between “oo-ing” and “aw-ing” at the Duomo (that is a 5 minute walk from my apartment) every time I walk by it and tripping over the cobblestone in every street, I have completely lost track of time. Florence is a place I don’t think I will ever fully know, and that is what is so beautiful about it!

at the Duomo, day 1

On the first day, my roommate and I decided to do some exploring after we got all unpacked. We found the Duomo and continued walking around the area, referencing the map occasionally. When we decided it was time to return home, we were completely turned around and lost. The good news is that we were so busy taking in the beauty of the city and it’s buildings and streets that we did not really mind. Ironically, we walked past our own apartment, not once, but twice, taking pictures of the surrounding shops because they were so unique and beautiful. When we finally arrived at our apartment door, it occurred to me that I had pictures of the Macelleria (butcher shop) that is right across the street from our door, as well as the small leather shop that is right next to us! Like I said, I don’t think I will ever fully know Florence, but I certainly can get lost in its beauty!

the view from Piazzale Michelangel

SRISA is the school that my roommate and I are studying at, and on the second night, after a full day of orientation to both the school and the city, they threw a “Welcome Gala” for all of us summer students. It was an elegant event that was invite only (very fancy!). We drank plenty of wine, ate way too much pasta, and danced the night away in the courtyard of an old palace! It really was a memorable way to kick off our time here in Firenze (Florence).

new roomies at the Welcome Gala

The first day of class was just like you would imagine; we reviewed the syllabus, filled out a questionnaire for our professor to see where we were all at, and did awkward introductions. After all of that was out of the way, Gloria (my professor), walked us all to a Photo Shop where we purchased our film and printing paper that will be used for the duration of our time in her course.

small market near Photo Shop

Typically, we do not have classes on Fridays, but the first week was an exception to that rule due to the short amount of time that we have here in Florence. I am not going to lie, I was a little overwhelmed as class was coming to an end and I was really questioning if I would be able to successfully complete this course. We had a 3.5 hour lecture over photography, its history, the camera, how the camera works, exposure, how to calculate proper exposures using ISO, aperture, and shutter speed…I was so lost and the weekend assignment that Gloria handed out had me even more confused and concerned. Luckily for me, I asked for some guidance and she more than happily helped me to understand everything that was unclear to me. The next thing I knew, I was out, on my own, in the middle of Florence, shooting analog photography in manual mode, calculating my exposures all by myself!

on the Arno River

Saturday was S. John the Baptist Day here in Florence, and this meant lots of fun! Saint John the Baptist is the patron saint of the city, so everyone celebrated with parades, food, games, and fireworks on the Arno River. My roommate and I unintentionally picked a really good spot for firework viewing right on the river, just past the Ponte Vecchio. The mosquitos were bad by the water, but the gelato made up for it!

gelato at Ponte Vecchio, St John the Baptist Day

Today, Sunday, has been a day of individual exploration and homework completion. My roommate is taking an Intro to Drawing course; she left early this morning to seek out a good place to sit and draw. I, on the other hand, set out to walk all around the entire city to take all of the pictures I could. Now that I have the hang of using manual mode on my camera, it is much easier, and kind of fun figuring out what I need to adjust! According to my iPhone, by 2pm today I had already walked 7.3miles! It was really fun to explore independently, and it was very exciting to realize that I am finally starting to know how to navigate the city without getting horribly lost!

the Duomo peaking through side streets

As this first week comes to a close, I am grateful for:

-getting lost

-asking for help from my professor


-roommates that are easy to get along with

-the opportunity to be here in Florence for the summer!

I cannot wait to see what this upcoming week has in store for me! Ciao!



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