Florence: Orientation

Official orientation has wrapped up and I’m truly started to get settled in Florence. Here’s an overview of the past few days:

When I arrived in Rome, I felt overwhelmed and out of context; when I arrived in Florence, I was excited and everything felt “right.” I arrived in Florence’s Santa Maria Novella by high-speed train from Rome. Then, I took a taxi to the Florence University of the Arts offices. If I had gotten a receipt, I would have been reimbursed for the taxi. I was too excited to remember to ask.

After I filled out some paperwork and collected my keys and welcome packet from the bustling office, I drug my suitcase to the apartment on Via Sant’Egidio. I was expected to live near Santa Croce, but the apartment is actually about two minutes from the Duomo. It’s an amazing location!

Soon after I arrived, my roommate Emily joined me. We had been talking for a few weeks (even planning our spring break trip together) but had yet to meet. Olivia, the program coordinator for Global Semesters, also welcomed me to Florence.We spent some time unpacking before heading out with one of our other apartmentmates, Hannah, for our first Italian meal. While we were out, we also took at peak at the Duomo.

The next day at orientation, we listened to two hours of information about FUA’s academic and student life programs. I found myself interested in a few different programs, including Family Club and a volunteer program that has some placements in museums. They also walked us through the proper way to fill out the paperwork for our permit of stay–I still managed to write something on the wrong line.

After a tour of the FUA facilities, we had our Global Semesters orientation. Part of our orientation included lunch at a restaurant called Moyo. Everyone was extremely pleased with their food; I have never had such extraordinary brie.

Bronze cast of Michelangelo’s David at the Piazzelle Michelangelo.

Emily and I made a quick turn around and headed up to the Piazzelle Michelangelo to watch the sunset. When I visited Florence in high school, my teacher took us up to this famous lookout; he had seen it for the first time himself when he backpacked Europe in college.

A little luck never hurts when you’re getting ready to start the semester!

On our way back to the apartment, we wandered across the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, rubbed the boar’s snout in San Lorenzo, and passed the illuminated Duomo. Jet lag hit us hard and suddenly we were wide awake…until 4:00am.

Fresh fruit, vegetables, and cheese (!) from Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio.

This morning we struggled to wake up, but made it to FUA for our last official orientation task: going to the post office for the permit of stay. We were done with the paperwork by 9:30am, meaning we had the rest of the day! Emily and I stocked the apartment with fresh foods from Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio, groceries from Conad, and assorted goods from the ,99€ store. Keep an eye out for a future post on shopping for food in Firenze! We continued to settle into the apartment and made our first meal!

Firenze at night from Piazzelle Michelangelo.

Orientation has been a twofold process. What we’ve learned from walking in circles trying to find our apartment when we know it’s close [like the fact that street names change at random] has been just as important as the “official” orientation process. I cannot wait to keep exploring this beautiful, old city.

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