Tuesday morning started off with a practical walking tour of Florence; we met at the Piazza Santa Croce and wound our way through the streets, taking note of banks, restaurant and store locations, and also saw our two school locations for the first time. The city begins to make more sense in the day time. I had some Italian coffee (A “Caffe Latte”, predominantly milk with a little coffee) with some of my study abroad classmates.
Then we had sign-ups for all the AIFS cultural activities that occur before our spring break. I signed up for:
- The Pisa and Lucca Daytrip —A one day trip Pisa and Lucca.
- Pizza Making —Learning how to make pizza!
- Fiorentina vs. Atalanta Soccer game — An Italian soccer match! All the study abroad students will be supporting Fiorentina, the local soccer team of Florence.
- Opera — Madama Butterfly at the Teatro Comunale.
- An Italian cooking class.
- Venice and Verona Weekend — A two night stay and guided tour of Verona and Venice.
- Viareggio Carnevale Daytrip — Seeing the Carnival in Viareggio, which is one of the most famous and elaborate ones.
- Rome Weekend: A two night stay in the capital, and a tour of the Collosseum, Roman Forum and Vatican Museums.
I’m very excited for all the events! I’ll post about each one, and my experiences and thoughts on them.
After sign-ups we had our first Italian Life and Culture lecture, given by Alexandra Lawrence, and American that lives in Italy. The lecture was amazing — she detailed some highly interesting things, such as pickpocket behavior, how Americans are perceived by Italians, and safety (particularly for women).
- Safety consists of being vigilant and aware of your surroundings and possessions, like keeping your bag in front of you or keeping a wallet in a front pocket. Always take a taxi home if it’s late/dark out.
- Americans tend to be more naive, and also more flakey and indirect than Italians.
- To avoid unwanted attention from men, Alexandra suggested keeping a “game face” on. In a place where eye contact equals invitation, avoiding eye contact and knowing the difference between an “open face” and a “closed face” can be key.
Side note: There’s a 10% discount on taxi rides after 10 pm/22:00 for women that are alone in Florence.