Classes have officially started! I’m currently taking Business Law and Health and Fitness in the Mediterranean. Although it’s only the first week of my study abroad program, I’m blessed to have visited several places within Florence and around the Tuscany area. Actually, I owe most of the experiences to the classes I’m taking. I was able to visit local markets, churches and other notable landmarks which were unknown to me before.
Moreover, the classes offered Field Learning Experiences which further immersed students in the Italian culture. Last Saturday (May 19), my Health and Fitness in the Mediterranean class went to Bagni San Felippo. It was a local spa with natural hot springs. Hot water was flowing down from the top of the Fosso Bianco which was a white mountain-like rock formation with “built-in bath tubs”. Basically, we had to climb the Fosso Bianco and find a little spot to relax in while hot water flows down from the top of the formation. After lunch, we also swam in a local pool and got the chance to submerge in a rejuvenating mud bath.
The following day, my Business Law class visited the Medici Villas which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Not only were given a guided tour of the villas, but we were also given a brief history of the Medici family. Who are the Medici? Well, the Medici family was a prominent banking family and political dynasty. They were instrumental in ending the dark age and bringing forth the birth of Renaissance. As for lunch, we visited a local winery owned by Fabrizio Pratesi. Personally, he gave us a guided tour of his 18-acre vineyard. Afterwards, we were offered a 3-course meal paired with 5 different kinds of wine made from his local winery. The food was spectacular, and the wine was so refreshing. Honestly, I never liked the taste of alcohol, but these, l actually enjoyed. I think it has to do with the food pairing as well!
So far, I’m gaining a lot of knowledge and experiences beyond the confines of a normal classroom setting. Not only did I get the chance to try local food and wine, but I also learned more about the Italian history and culture. I’m so excited for the weeks ahead, and I hope you are too!