Cultural Experience | Florence

Why Studying Abroad in Florence Will Ruin Your Life

Be prepared to experience a hunger that can’t be satisfied at home because all you want is to go on another adventure and get lost in another foreign city.

1. You don’t even have to walk one block to find food that makes you rationalize things like, “People will still love me if I’m 300 pounds, right?”

Each morning I would wake up in my one bedroom apartment in the middle of Florence and walk outside only to be greeted by an array of smells that would make even the most non-food loving person salivate. With over 1500 restaurants within only a few square miles, Florence is the ultimate haven for anyone who isn’t on the Atkins diet. Sorry Paleo, gnocchi with soft cheese and truffle oil is just too good to pass up. Of course coming into Florence I knew there was going to be amazing pizza and pasta, but no one could have prepared me for just how good it was going to be. If I could have, I would have made sure I was eating at all times. Whether it was at the small gelato shop, Eduardo’s, or the orgasmic Delicato sandwich I ate almost every day at Pino’s, there was never a time that I was thinking, “wow my pants feel tight, I should stop eating.” When my pants feel tight after drunk eating Taco Bell the regret is 1000 times worse because not only did I just eat my weight in tacos, they weren’t even GOOD tacos.



2.It is socially acceptable to get on the back of strange men’s motorcycles

I mean, Lizzie McGuire did it, so it’s pretty much a right of passage while abroad in Italy. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but my roommate would like me to mention that he was not strange, in fact he was actually swell… Or so she assumes since she didn’t speak Italian and he did not speak English.

3. The view out your window is one of the world’s most incredible architectural structures

 There are no words to describe waking up to gorgeous sites every morning. Somehow, the view of a parking lot from my apartment window back in Indiana just does not have the same effect.

4. Nobody parties like the Italians do

Notte Bianca, or White Night, in Florence is an all night long celebration where the streets of Florence are blocked off, there are concerts in every Piazza, museums are open all night and there are giant art installations all over the city. The streets are filled with groups of Italians popping bottles of champagne and singing Top 20 hits. Every bar is at capacity and the bridge across the river becomes a main hang out. If you do it right, you’ll be wandering home when the sun rises over the Duomo.

5. Airfare that costs the equivalent of a top from Forever 21

Although every abroad student will shudder as they describe Ryanair and EasyJet. I will be the first to say that I loved these airlines. Even the cheapest flights here in America will cost you around $200, if you’re lucky. In Europe? Not so much. I was able to get a round trip flight from Pisa to Brussels for 19 euros each way. While I may not have enjoyed the lack of padding on the seats or the fact that even asking for a water would cost you about half of the price you paid for the ticket, nothing will beat the fact that I flew to another country for the price I once paid for a dress from Tobi that broke the first time I wore it. A word to the wise: Everyone claps at the end of the flight because of Ryanair’s “on-time record” not because they thought they wouldn’t land. This fact was unbeknownst to me the first time I flew and I’m vaguely aware that I may have cried.


7. Once you’re home, there’s nothing to satisfy the love you have for Florence

When I started writing this article, I had a few, dare I say extreme, emotions including: deep set depression that resulted in staring at abroad pictures for about 3 hours, ridiculous euphoria from reminiscing that I can only imagine is equivalent to how parents look at their newborn, and a hunger that can’t be satisfied at home because all I wanted was to go on another adventure and get lost in another foreign city. For those about to start this whirlwind of a trip, make sure you approach each situation with a sense of awe and appreciation because there are tons of us old abroaders who would kill to be in your shoes. For now, I will continue to keep a price alert on flights to Florence and unfollow all those who are just landing in the best city of the world. Ciao Ciao.


Allegra Harpootlian

Indiana University | 1 story

Allegra Harpootlian is a senior at Indiana University studying marketing and political science. She spent a semester in Florence, Italy and is still in denial that she no longer has the Duomo in her backyard.

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