My first week in Florence was definitely a full one. After arriving from Cinque Terre, checking into my study abroad program, and settling into my apartment, there was nothing I wanted more than food. I met one of my roommates and we both agreed we needed some good pasta and we needed it quick, and luckily my taxi driver from earlier in the day had recommended me a trattoria nearby.
The trattoria ended up being one of the most renowned steakhouses in Florence, but I was in no mood for a hefty steak unfortunately. We didn’t have a reservation and the place was packed, but thankfully they squeezed us in. That night I had the best carbonara of my life, and yes I have thought about it every night since. It honestly was the perfect end to my first day in Florence.
My second day was full of culture shocks. For one, I realized that in the United States, we do groceries in bulk. Everyone is walking around with their Sam’s Club, BJ’s, and Costco memberships and doing groceries weekly or even bi-weekly. As I pushed my full cart down the aisles, I observed that Italian locals were buying so little, and I was so confused. Once I made my purchases, i had about 4 reusable bags full of groceries, sure to last me two weeks. I kept wondering why everyone was looking at me in the grocery store, like “What about my groceries concerns you”! As I stepped out of the grocery store, hands and arms full of bags, I realized I had committed my second rookie mistake: I would now have to walk 6 blocks home with bags as heavy as cinder blocks.
In Italy, locals buy their groceries daily, or every other day, and they don’t go to the supermarket, they go to the local markets. They also don’t have as many cars since Florence is very walkable, so they can’t load up two week’s worth of groceries into the trunk of their car like how it’s done in the U.S. I pieced this all together on my walk of shame from the grocery store to my apartment, and I could feel all of the locals’ eyes on me, watching my struggles. The 98 degree heat did not help my walk at all, but now, I most definitely learned my lesson!
Apart from my mistake, my first week of class went well! We learned about local markets and got to visit one, and I will definitely be returning for fresh local groceries. I also cannot believe that I pass the Duomo on my way to class everyday, it feels like a dream! I’ve been discovering, learning, and walking around so much, and some of my experiences simply can’t be put into words, so here are a couple photos to document my week:
I am so excited for the weeks ahead, and cannot wait to see what more Florence has in store for me. After those groceries, I’m ready for anything.
Italy, hit me with your best shot!