Archive | February, 2011


21 Feb












When you visit new cities around your area locals around the world would tell you specific places to visit, go out or restaurants to try. However, in Italy everything revolves around gelato. Whenever we tell our Living in Italy teacher we are going on a day trip outside of Florence he maps us out all the best gelato places to visit..thank god if we make it to a new town we won’t know what the heck we are looking at but at least we have a great ice cream in hand as we wonder. So in Florence we have tried too many gelaterias to count and have all decided on a favorite: Grom. They don’t have the allure of stacked ice creams enticing you from the window, but all of their flavors with no colorings or artificial flavors are AMAZING. My favorites are crema la grom and pera (pear), but if you are a true chocolate lover (Shannon ahem) you would die over the dark chocolate with chocolate chips. As excited as we were about this delicious treat, we soon learned there is a Grom in New York City. Very disappointing when we discovered our local treat was in reality a chain. So while we may be able to get great gelato even when we leave Italy, we are on a mission to find a new, truly local favorite mmmm


Another great day in Italy!

20 Feb

Yesterday Kendal, Chelsea, two other friends from our program and I took the train to a small town about an hour and a half away from Florence called Lucca. We rented bikes and rode around the 3-mile wall around the city called the Baluardi, it was so beautiful! After our ride we visited the churches and climbed the Torre Guinigi, a tower with trees on top. It’s interesting in Lucca they only allow local foods to be sold, so we went to lunch a great restaurant called Trattoria da Leo. There wasn’t a ton to see in Lucca, but it was a really cute town and a fun day trip! Later that night we decided to have a girls date night and go to a nice restaurant called Aqua al 2.  We decided to all share the pasta sampler and the steak sampler to taste it all. We got to try about 5 different pasta dishes and all were great! The best part of the meal was by far their unique steaks. There was a blueberry, a balsamic and a rosemary steak. All of them were AMAZING, but my favorite was the balsamic! The blueberry is something you have to try though, it sounds random but so good. After dropping Chels off at her house, walking home we stopped to listen to a man playing music to a local crowd in the Piazze della Signoria. We are so lucky to have such an amazing study abroad experience in a city as beautiful as Florence!

Riding Bikes along the Baluardi!

Balsamic, Rosemary and Blueberry Steak Mmmmm

Fiorentina vs. Genoa

20 Feb









We all got decked out in purple and walked to the Fiorentina “Calcio” (soccer) game with our school! We had a great time, even though we lost 1 – 0 : (


14 Feb

This weekend I met a bunch of friends from Colorado in Paris for my friend Jaclyn’s 21st birthday! It was Kendal, Jaclyn, Chelsea, Whitney, Jacobi, Mallory and Kendal Simon who is studying in Paris. It was so fun to see Kendal studying abroad and meeting her friends there, all were very trendy! To go out at night everyone has to be very dressed up and wearing heels, much different than in Florence. We stayed at a hostel called Square Caulaincourt. It was a pretty good location and a nice hostel but verrryyy weird sharing a room with three strangers! We had one roommate form Germany, one from France and one from Argentina. There were not nearly as many college travelers staying at the hostel as I imagined, a lot of young European travelers and older workers. We got to Paris on Friday and visited the Eiffel Tower and walked around before going to dinner at Refuge de Fondue were they give you lots of fondue and wine in baby bottles! The waiter was so rude it was funny haha you know when he is shhing french people he had big issues with American college students. The next morning we woke up early and visited the Notre-Dame, Arc de Triumph, Luxembourg Gardens and the Lourve. We had amazing crepes and tried the french onion soup, french banquettes and french fries! I LOVED Paris, there is so much to see I am glad we are going back to see more!











Eiffel Tower






























Birthday Girl ICED!









Love Locked on Valentines Day!

Piazzo Michelangelo

14 Feb


































We visited the local market in the Piazzo de Republica and bought a baguette and cheeses. We across the Ponte Vechio and hiked up the hill to a beautiful lookout point over Florence called Piazzo Michelangelo!

View of the City

10 Feb

We visited Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo in Florence) today and climbed the 463 steps to the top of the Dome! It is the largest brick dome ever created, and is still one of the largest domes in the world created by Filippo Brunelleschi. You can see the Last Judgment frescos inside the Dome on your way up and then an amazing view of the city.


Trattoria Mario

10 Feb

Our Living in Italy teacher had been giving us restaurants and sight seeing tips for all over Florence. One restaurant he was raving about it called Trattoria Mario. Today after hiking the Duomo, a few of my friends and I went to check it out. Before going you should definitely be prepared for a very unamericanized meal! As we walked in it was packed with local Italians, and make sure you check out the menu on the wall because that is the only time you get to see it! Everyone working there was super friendly and willing to help us, we even made friends with the Italians sitting next to us! But there aren’t many options of meals, so if you are a picky eater hopefully you come on a good day because the menu changes according to what is at the nearby market. And don’t even ask for steak cooked any more than rare, they even have a sign telling you it is only served rare! I tried the traditional Ribollita Soup, but my friends accidentally ordered the deer meat pasta (ah!). But it all ended up being really good! The craziest part of the whole restaurant is the bathroom, girls I would say pee before you come because it the toilet looks more like a shower haha. If you are looking to get into the Italian culture I say definitely visit this trattoria!

the bathroom?