Thousands of students flock to Florence from around the US and all over the world, and it’s no secret why. Florence is home to dozens of universities, including American sister schools and Italian universities. The city is also gorgeous, rich in history and culture, and its reputation as the center of the Renaissance makes Florence ideal for many majors, such as art history, architecture and fashion.
2. The Food
Let’s face it – Florence is home to the best Italian food there is. This is evident in the many tourist favorites – like All’Antico Viniao (there’s a reason there is always a line), as well as the lesser-known gems like Trattoria 13 Gobbi. Where else in the world would you walk across a river just to get some (Gusta) pizza or repeatedly burn your tongue on steaming hot truffle gnocchi because you just can’t wait another second to eat? You can’t get any better than Florentine food. I’m drooling just thinking about it!
3. The Coffee
If there is one thing that Italians love most, it is definitely coffee. When you order your first “caffe” and are shocked to receive an espresso – don’t panic. Soon you will be enjoying them even without sugar added. If lattes or cappuccinos are more your style, you are in luck. In true Florentine fashion, even coffee can be a work of art. News Cafe is famous for its stunning cappuccino art that is as Instagram worthy as it is delicious.
4. Picture Perfect
Everything about Florence is absolutely stunning. The city itself seems like one giant work of art. The architecture is unlike anything you can see anywhere in the US, and everywhere you look you can find intricate details built into the streets, buildings and windows. The street art by artists like Blub, Clet and Exit/Enter add to the charm of the city and give the illusion of walking through a modern museum while walking the streets – except it’s free!
5. The Size
Florence is large enough that there is always somewhere new to explore and you don’t feel cramped or claustrophobic, (except maybe near the Duomo during the height of tourist season!) yet small enough that you see people you know or recognize on a daily basis. Whether it’s a student from your university or an Italian you met at Pino’s, it’s always nice to see a familiar face in your home away from home.
6. The People
Florentines in general are a very friendly and welcoming group of people. Even upon my arrival in Florence, I never felt like an outsider. Florence is also filled with some of the most gifted artists in the world. From the musicians you can catch in Piazza della Repubblica performing everything from classic Italian songs to the Game of Thrones soundtrack, to the artists that line the Uffizi Gallery selling their works, this city is home to some incredibly talented and interesting people.
7. The Nightlife
Nightlife can be a big part of your study abroad experience if you choose for it to be. It can be a great way to meet other students as well as Italians. No matter what day of the week, there is always something to do and people out in the streets. There are plenty of bars and clubs to choose from and even if going out isn’t your thing, you can always find an open restaurant to grab something to eat or a glass of wine with friends or a gelateria to satisfy your gelato cravings (which, if you’re like me, are constant!). Coming from a native New Yorker, Florence is definitely another city that never sleeps.
8. It’s Unforgettable
There is something about Florence that completely captivates you. For each person it’s something different – the food, the views, the art, the people – or maybe it’s a combination of everything, but I guarantee you will never forget your experience in Florence and you will leave hoping that one day you will return.