Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Florentine memories

So what have I been up to the last month? Has it already been that long? Well, I finished up my 4-week TEFL certificate in Florence. I am pleased to say that I finished at the top of my class with an advanced certificate! I know, I know, it wasn't rocket science, but it was definitely much more intense and time consuming than I expected. Let me just say that I have a new appreciation for teaching English. If it's something you want to take seriously, I learned that you have to put a ton of effort into it. It isn't easy and it's not for everyone. Nevertheless, I am excited to see what opportunities open up and am hoping I can figure out just how good at this I can be.

Florence was a very interesting experience. I know I wasn't there for very long, but it was a sort of a roller coaster ride. When I first arrived, I kind of already wanted to go back to Terni. It was extremely hot, touristy and all my classmates were young American kids, fresh out of college wanting to find the closest bar. My priorities were totally different and I felt sort of like the odd man out. Assignments and teaching planning got so intense, I felt myself getting burnt out. Half way through, I realized that I needed to make the best of my time in this wonderful city. I mean, I was in Florence for God's sake! I lived in the most fabulous apartment in the most perfect location, had an awesome roommate (who was also a classmate) and turns out hanging out with young kids made me feel, well...not so old! I eventually made it to a YAWN (Young Anglo Womens Network) event where I met a new friend from Montreal (and eventually her hubby from Sicily) and I also finally met Christy! I managed to hit up a kareoke bar in Santa Croce to watch my roommate sing Bon Jovi on stage, make an attempt at going a club (but after 10 minutes of being squeezed into a crowd of sleazy dudes I had to leave!), eat late night kebabs, go listen to live music at some "secret" bar, have amazing aperitivo on the weekends, and climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo to see the most amazing view of Florence at night.


1am: waiting for the "secret" bakery to open to get a late night fresh-out-of-the-oven cornetto (croissant).  

Chillin' out at Piazza Santa Maria Novella after class
I had fun discovering places to eat and places to stroll around, but the best part was the little street that we lived on. Via del Sole is such a lovely and quiet street. Oddly quiet, since it is a street that has the beautiful and busy Piazza Santa Maria Novella on one end, and the famous Piazza Repubblica not far from the other end of it. My roomie and I took advantage of the crazy hot September weather in Florence and parked our butts in the grass at Piazza SMN to make an attempt to study, but really, just people watched. 

On Via dei Neri. My classmates meeting new people, waiting for their lunch. Cheap eats, generous portions and self-serve wine. Can't get better than that.
It was fun living in the city, but it was also nice to spend time in our apartment. A fully renovated pad in an 18th century old building...imagine that. Some nights, we would pop in a Sex and the City dvd (I know, can you believe I ended up rooming with someone who brought the entire set? I couldn't fit mine in my luggage!) and enjoy a home cooked meal. This was usually followed by an evening stroll to Ponte alla Carraia to the most amazing gelateria ever.  
My roasted rosemary chicken with a pear & arugula salad

Having had the chance to live in Florence is something I will always cherish. The last day of class was a bitter sweet ending --I was so excited to hop on my train back to Terni, but it was difficult to say good-bye to new friends and to a city that I had only begun to discover. I will definitely be returning hopefully some time in the winter when the tourists have migrated back home and the Christmas decorations are plenty.

Places I will miss (and that you should check out):

via del moro, 48r
First night in Florence, my roomie and walked over to the famous "Il Latini" restaurant down the street from our place. The wait was too long, so we decided to check out Garga around the corner. Neither of us heard of the place. Thank God we walked in. We had to wait about 10 minutes, but they gave us two glasses of refreshing prosecco to keep us company. When we saw the girl at the front cutting avacados, we knew we were in the right place (I have yet to find avacado in a supermarket here). Without a doubt, we ordered the veal smothered with avacado...heavenly. Oh and I can't forget to thank the waiter who knocked 10 off the bill when he found out we were students! Ottimo!

via de' benci, 23r  
Best mojitos! Delicious aperitivo, made for a great celebration drink spot after school was out!

Chinatown Restaurant 
Think it's on via degli strozzi (around the corner from Piazza Repubblica)
Original name, I know. Whatever. You can't even imagine how happy my roomie and I were when we found a decent place to get shrimp fried rice. The prices were good, they offer take-out and they have hot sauce! Definitely killed our craving for something other than Italian. 

La Carraia Gelateria
Right at the south end of Ponte alla Carraia   
The place where we spent way too much money, even though each visit only cost us 1.50 each. Just do it. I forget the name, but the creamy lemon flavour with cookies inside, oh mio dio....

via del sole, 23r
Unique and beautiful bronze pieces made by Patrick. Every day I would walk by his shop and drool over the pieces in the window on my way to school when finally, I couldn't resist it any longer. I spent over one hour in there trying to decide on a few out of the hundreds of beautiful rings! He was super friendly and you can even watch him working on his craft. With my broken French and Italian, I soon found out he moved to Italy 30 years ago and has been making jewelry since. He told me stories and showed me pictures of his beautiful wife and children which made my frequent visits that much more special. Grazie Patrick!

via dei Neri, 49r
5 for an eyebrow wax! Ridiculous. Ask for Emanuela, she's great. They offer 20% student discounts too.

Things I won't miss:
Having to walk our stinky garbage to Piazza SNM to dump it out.
Having to walk up 76 stairs to get to my apartment on the 4th floor, especially on a humid day.
With the constant walking, not being able to find a cheap place to get a good pedicure!

How's that for an update friends? My Terni update to come very soon....
(ps. sorry for the poor quality pictures, most were taken on my phone)


  1. Congratulations on getting your TEFL! :) It is a lot more difficult than people realize but you will be impressed with how quickly job offers will come along.

    I love the big cities of Italy but after awhile it is nice to leave the city after a day trip or so and return home to small town life.

    Im anxiously awaiting your Terni post update. I know nothing about your new city but am interested to hear about a new place !

  2. Beautiful post Theresa! I am so sorry we werent able to hang out more, but I am thankful I was able to meet you in person. I am looking forward to hearing about all the incredible stuff that is about to happen to you in Terni. In bocco lupo bellissima!!!! XOXO

  3. Karla: Thank you so much! Are you teaching English right now as well? If I get to visit Rome any time soon, I will definitely let you know.

    Christy: It's all good! At least we did get to exchange some laughs at apperitivo that night. I'll be sure to give you a ring when I make it back to Firenze!


  4. I follow Christy and absolutely love her blog!
    Thanks for sharing! Where was this apartment and do they rent for about 3 days?
    I love Florence and am so excited to go back next year with my sister. I am slightly afraid that she will want to be bar hopping as well. She has been keeping track of all the bars that the Jersey Shore crew has been frequenting on their Italy trip. I hope to show her my favourite way to drink in Italy. During a delicious meal and savouring the night. And okay...maybe the Dolce Vita bar that David Rocco has been to.

    The Wanderfull Traveler


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