Firenze updates.

Hi everyone!

It’s a beautiful day here in Firenze. It is sunny and about 70 degrees, which is nice since it’s been chilly and rainy for the past couple of days. I wanted to fill you in on what we’ve been up to.

The first day here was sort of a blur since we had been up for almost a full 24 hours. After we arrived in Firenze at 11 a.m., we set out to walk around the city a little bit and headed to the market to grab food!

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The Sant’Ambrogio market is probably one of my favorite things in the entire world.  It is where all of the local farmers come to sell fruits, veggies, meat, cheese and all kinds of other things from 9 a.m. to about 1 p.m. every day in Piazza Sant’Ambrogio. The vegetables and fruit are so fresh that they’re still covered in soil! We asked one of the farmers how old the vegetables were so that we knew how long we could keep them, and he said they had just been picked that morning. Amazing! My favorites are the red peppers and tomatoes. They’re so juicy and rich that they taste creamy! But seriously, everything is so good. One of the farmers is nice and knows us well because we come to his stand every day, so he always gives us free rosemary, spinach, carrots, basil and a bunch of other herbs just because he likes us! After we stocked up on all kinds of colorful things, we made some delicious salads for lunch.

photo 2That evening, we headed to our favorite restaurant for dinner (I just realized this post has been all about food so far! …When in Italia, right?)

It’s a restaurant called Il Gato e il Volpe, which means: The Cat and the Fox. It’s by far the best restaurant in Firenze, in my little opinion, and it’s really local and authentic too. The owner is this guy named Fabio, and he has known Vince for almost ten years.  He calls him Chuck Norris because of his beard and the fact that he does martial arts.  But because of his accent, he says “Chuck Norrees” …so funny! Because he and Vince are such good friends, he gives “the Vince discount” to us and everyone who knows us.  He usually takes 15% off of every meal and just gives us pizza and all kinds of things for free. Anyway, they have the most amazing food, and if you’re ever there, ask for Fabio and tell him that you know Chuck Norrees.

The next day, we hung out with our friend Jason for a little bit!  Jason is an amazing sculptor from Michigan and the first person my roommates and I met in Florence when we studied abroad a couple of years ago. More importantly, he has THE cutest kitten in the entire world! She is the most playful, lovable thing on this earth, and I don’t even like cats. Her name is Ombretta, which translates to: little shadow.

After that, we had aperitivo with our goodfriend Emanuele, his girlfriend Lindsay, and Vince’s student Margeaux. I met Emanuele at the same time that I met Vince, and he is such a great friend!  He even came to visit us in Boston over the summer, and it was so fun! His girlfriend, Lindsay, is from Rhode Island, but she lives in Florence and teaches English as a second language at a preschool here.

Aperitivo means appetizers, and it’s an italian tradition that you usually have before dinner.  Most bars, cafes and restaurants will have aperitivo from around 7-9 p.m., and you can buy one drink for 5-10 euro depending on where you go. Then, there is a whole buffet full of appetizers and finger food, and you can eat as much as you want! It’s pretty amazing.  We used to just do that for dinner because it was so cheap and such a good deal! Anyway, it was so great to catch up with old friends, laugh about inside jokes and have so much fun for a couple of hours. I didn’t realize how much I missed everyone!

On Sunday, we headed to St. Mark’s for church, which is where Vince and I met!  It was so amazing being back at church there.  The people are just so incredible, and I feel so connected to that church. I wish I could pick it up and take it with me wherever I go, because I can’t imagine going to church anywhere else.

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This is the terrace where we met!

Tonight, it is Notte Bianca in Firenze, which means “white night.” This is a big festival throughout all of Florence where everything is white and everyone is supposed to dress in all white. There are also concerts, tons of things to do and all of the museums and nightclubs are free. It goes all night until 6 a.m. They also have all kinds of light displays and fog machines throughout the whole city…it’s pretty crazy.  Emanuele, Lindsay, Margeaux, Vince and I are going to go later tonight, and I’m really excited. I love how there is so much going on here every single day.  There’s always something fun to do! And I swear italians just make up their own holidays and shut everything down whenever they want. We’ve been here for exactly a week and there have already been TWO holidays where everything is closed.

Everyone is like, “Oh, everything is closed today.  It is a holiday.”

But….it was a holiday yesterday….and the day before! Basically, Italy just does whatever it wants.  And I love it.

Anyway, there is so much more to tell you, but it is beautiful outside and I need to go explore. There will be more posts coming soon. Thanks for reading! For now, arrivederci!

xoxo Lizzie xoxo

Where to next?

Ciao amici!

Guess where I am?

Well, you probably guessed right since its only like my mom who reads this….but I am back in Firenze! And I decided to dust off the blog for some NEW travel updates because, well, my life is somewhat exciting again!

Long story short…I came back to Florence with Vince (Vince is a handsome guy that I met last time I was here for four months in 2012…..for full details, check out my story about how we met in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game)

Vince is an awesome artist who owns his own jewelry business (vwhjewelry.com) where he designs and fabricates all of his work by hand using florentine styles of engraving (hence, here we are in Florence).

Last time he was here to create some work (check THIS brooch out), and this time, he is teaching a two-week intensive engraving workshop at an art school here in Florence. I am here with him to blog (if I actually do it) and work on some writing. However, both of us are absolutely in love with this city and our lives here. We can’t help but feel like there is a bigger reason why we’re actually here and can’t imagine life without moving back someday, at least for a longer period of time than a few months. There are some things in the works….but…..we’ll save those details for later. Right now, nothing is set in stone yet, but I will keep you posted!

So…here are a few updates about what we’ve been up to so far! We left Ohio and all of its snowy/rainy glory on Tuesday (good riddance) and arrived here Wednesday morning. We have been here for a little less than a week. We took a LOT of planes to get here, with the first one leaving from Akron/Canton airport and landing in Atlanta, Georgia. Somehow, I always end up having a connecting flight in Atlanta even though I HATE the Atlanta airport. You would think they would take me into consideration when deciding which route to take, honestly.

I also think it’s dumb that no matter where you’re going, you always have to fly to Atlanta, which seems to always be totally out of the way.  I also think its dumb that they board planes from front to back. I also think its dumb that they always, ALWAYS overbook so you have to check your bag at the gate and be without all the food you snuck in for the entire flight.

Okay, before this post turns into me just lamenting about planes (I think it already has), let’s get back to our trip!

After Atlanta, we took a nine hour flight to PARIS! As soon as we stepped off the plane, I commented on the fact that I love the way Paris smells like potpourri and perfume all the time. It smells exactly the way you would expect.

We got to experience it for a split second at least as we were sprinting through the airport in typical Charles de Gaulle fashion. The Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris is HUGE, and nobody is ever walking, or acting humane in any way.  No matter how long of a layover you have, you are doomed to never, ever make your next flight; so everyone is sprinting, and pushing, and shoving, and yelling in French, and, with about 40 minutes to get to the other side of the airport, we joined them as soon as our feet hit the ground.  Although, it did feel good to run about twelve miles with heavy suitcases after sitting on a plane for nine hours.  We can check exercising off the list for that day.

We DID make our flight, however, (first people ever!) and we got our first taste of French coffee and croissants on the plane, which made everything better. Typically, plane food, and ESPECIALLY plane coffee, does not appeal to me at all, but in Europe, even plane bread and coffee taste like a piece of heaven.

We got to see the Swiss Alps out the window again, which take my breath away every time.  As we were flying closer and closer to Florence, I kept getting this peaceful feeling that I wasn’t going somewhere new and exciting, but instead, that I was returning to somewhere comforting and familiar. It felt like I was coming home!

We made it to Florence, and we have the cutest little apartment while we’re here!

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I’ll fill you in on everything we have already done so far next time!
 Right now, there is an entire city full of places to explore. The only question is: Dove?

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Where to next?

Talk to you soon!

-Lizzie