Wandering and Wondering

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Firenze è una bella citta (Florence is a beautiful city)

All good things must come to an end, and the sun is finally setting over my time in Florence. I've been feeling a little melancholic over the last week or two as I've had to say goodbye to all of the people and places I've grown to love over the last 4 months.

The things I'll miss:

  • Being able to walk pretty much anywhere in the city centre within 20 minutes (or ride anywhere by bike in 5 minutes).

On the way home from the market

  • Being able to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, cheeses and meats from the San Ambrogio market, just around the corner from my apartment, and receiving personal greetings from the vendors.

San Ambrogio Market

  • Watching the activity in the street below or in the park just outside my apartment window.

Piazza Ciompi Antique Market

Nip in the butt

  • Walking past the beautiful Santa Croce church on my way to university, or getting a glimpse of the Duomo as I walk around town.

Sante Croce church

The Duomo

  • Cycling along the Arno river and Cascine park.

Arno River and Cascine Park

  • Discovering some festival or parade by chance (there always seems to be something interesting going on in this city).

Scuola Militare Aeronautica

  • Being able to make day trips to amazing places such as Viareggio Carnivale, Sienna and Chianti.

View from the bell tower in Sienna

  • The hordes of tourists (ok, that is a lie - the tourists are the one thing I won't miss).
The main thing I'll miss, however, are all of the people I've met and friends I've made.

Urbano, who I get all my prosciutto and cheese from at San Ambrogio market:


The friendly Bangladeshis where I buy my fruit and vegetables:

Weighing bananas

Nicola, who's antique workshop I walk by pretty much everyday, and who always gives me a wave or lets me practice a little Italian:

Nicola's workshop

My neighbour Nita, who greeted me with a smile on the day I arrived, and has always been helpful and friendly to talk to ever since:

My neighbour Nita

The always smiling and laughing Kandace, who helped organize many of the great student activities, such as Viareggio Carnivale:

Darren and Kandace with new hats

The two Francesca's, always greeting me with a smile from behind the front desk at the university:

The two Francesca's

Micaela and Clair, the friendly duo at the Study Abroad Italy office:

Lunch at Castello di Verrazzano

The Italian family who were kind enough to invite me for dinner:

Dinner with an Italian Family

Lorenzo, who was always a friendly face around university, and who invited me to watch his band rehearse:


All the guys on the school newsletter team:

The student editorial team for the school newsletter

The friendly staff and locals at Finnegan's Irish Pub, who made me feel like a regular after only my first visit:

3rd place in the Pub Quiz

Sarah, the only other Australian I met in Florence, and who when she found out that I was Australian at the Quiz Night at Finnegan's Pub, jumped up and gave me a big hug:

Sarah and I

Finally, there are all of the other students who I became friends with over the course of the semester, whether from my classes or whether I met them on field trips or other student activities. You may recall the blog article I wrote when I first arrived in Florence, in which I was a little apprehensive as to whether I would fit in with all of the other students given the age difference. Of course, as it turned out things couldn't have been further from the truth.

Monday night champions

Perry, Ryan and Clare

Masked companions

Oltrano walking tour group photo

View from Capri Town

Restaurant Reviewers

Meggan, Darren and Stephanie

Heather, Pepe, Camina and I

Thea and I

Sean, Zac and I

A girl named Sidney and a guy from Sydney

Bethany, Kristin, Kelly and I

Dance partners

Cecilia and I

Best friends

There are many other people who I unfortunately don't have photos of: all of the teachers, staff and students at the university, and other locals I've met around Florence. You all know who you are. Thanks for making my stay in Florence such a memorable one. You are all welcome to come and visit me in Sydney.

Sunset over the Arno River

Ciao, Firenze.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Darren, how sweet!

I love your tribute to Florence. We miss it too! Especially the walking everywhere and the markets... and the vini sfusi!

Aw, sant'Ambrogio, we hardly knew ye... sob.

And we may take you up on the Sydney offer! And you're welcome in Louisiana or Texas or wherever we are. Seriously.