Week two was a good one! I was starting to get more familiar with my new home. Meaning I was a little less lost than usual! Class began on September, 1, which was kind of weird being that everyone in the States was celebrating a work free holiday. Nevertheless, life in Italy continued with a great start to a week that only got better!
Here are some of my favorite parts!
1.It’s not called Eataly for nothing!-
There is one rule to follow when picking a restaurant in Italy: In order to get the best food you always should try to dine away from the main attractions. Not only is it usually more expensive the closer you are to the tourist sites, but sometimes the food is not the best either. Sometimes even when you try to follow this rule you will still end up eating at some of the “misses” instead of the “hits.” Unfortunately, this is exactly what has happened to me since arriving in Italy, until I ate at Rubaconte! This was my first really great meal in Italy! I mean I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it too… Isn’t all of the food in Italy supposed to be mouth watering, delicious, best meal you’ve ever had type of food?! Well my friend, I hate to break it to you but this simply isn’t always the case! Like anywhere, there are good restaurants and not-so-good restaurants.
Although I’ve had my fair share of the latter, I’d prefer to tell you about my good experience instead! Rubaconte is the name of the restaurant that serves a huge appetizer, three different kinds of unlimited pasta, and unlimited wine to all students on Tuesdays. Now, it may not be the very best meal you can get in Florence, but for a very hungry and frustrated college student desperate for a really good Italian meal, it hit the spot! Rubaconte is located on Via Ghibellina 178/r.
These pictures were taken in front of Rubaconte!
2. Scoring 50% off with Smart
Ever wonder how the college students who study abroad can afford to travel all over the place for a full semester on a student’s budget? Well, I’ve got an answer for you! Other than transforming into a mini travel agent, many of us (at least those of us in Italy) use different tour companies created specifically for foreign students who wish to travel during their time abroad. Most of these companies travel by bus. Yep, that’s right. We students pay to ride on a bus for up 11 hours in order to travel to the destination of our choosing! I mean it is all about the memories made, right? I guarantee you that is one thing I will never forget.
Anyways, the tour companies offer a variety of trips within and outside of Italy as well as city tours, day trips, weekend trips, and Fall/Spring break trips. Most of which include the cost of transportation, sleeping accommodations (if necessary), and an English speaking tour guide! The price of the trips can vary anywhere between 25 – 600 euros.
Here’s the part I am so excited about! Within the first week that students arrive in Italy there are a ton of tour guide employees scouring the city for foreign students to hand discount codes to. Now, I know your first instinct is to say “no thank you” or just ignore the random stranger trying to speak to you in a foreign country BUT this time you should make an exception. The booklets, cards, or pamphlets that they give you have a discount code on them. Surprisingly, it is only 5% or 15% off, but if you wait about a week or so some of the companies will have a 50% off sale for the students who have a code from one of the tour guide employees! My suggestion is to take the pamphlets and give the tour guide employees just a minute of your day, because it could save you a lot of money!
My friends and I booked two trips for half the price of what most people pay, and easily saved nearly $400 that we can put towards a trip elsewhere.
One of the classes I am taking while studying abroad is Italian Food and Cultural Perspective! Basically, it’s a cooking class where we learn to prepare dishes from 15 of the 20 different regions in Italy (there isn’t enough weeks in the semester to learn all 20). We are also taught the history behind each dish we make. The main ingredients used in each region are the result of historical, economical, or geographical influence!
This is hands down my favorite class ever! On the first day the chiefs/ professors cooked Pappa al pomodoro, because they said we could not cook in our “contaminated clothes”. We have to wear a chief outfit in order to cook in the kitchen/classroom! Just picture the guy from Ratatouille, and that’s exactly what our outfit looks like. I’ll be sure to post a picture so y’all can feel #maddinspired to go get your own! 😉
Below are the three dishes we’ve made so far. The first is the Pappa al pomodoro, which is just tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and a little bit of pepper. It’s a traditional Tuscan dish, which is why tomatoes are one of the main ingredients. They grow abundantly here in Tuscany since the weather is warm. The second dish is Testaroci al pesto! If you love pesto then this is a dish for you. The third dish is Tortino Alla Gianuduia Con Crema Alle Pere. Basically, it’s a chocolate tart with pear sauce!
I’ll be posting some of my favorite recipes on Madd Inspired so y’all can try your hand at a traditional Italian recipe.
One of the friends I’ve made during my time in Italy is a brilliant photographer (actually several of them are)! Lucky for me, I get to model for her anytime she asks while posing in front of some of the most beautiful backdrops I’ve ever witnessed. Now, some of you may have heard of the term “rooftopping,” but I have not until recently! My same friend messaged me to see if I’d be down for “rooftopping” in London. Of course, I immediately took to google to avoid looking too uncool at the time (I told her later on), and Urban Dictionary clarifies, “Also known as Buildering is an off shoot of urban exploring or urbex which involves climbing onto the roofs of buildings, preferably the higher the better. Done to take pictures or just for kicks.” Then I snuck a peek at google images, and all made sense.
Next thing I know it’s a random weekday when she mentions she is meeting up with another photographer in Florence for a bit of rooftopping and needs someone to model for them. I never say no to an opportunity to make new creative content with someone and eagerly said yes! Here are the results: Outfit Details: Sweater ¦ Jeans
I’m continuously amazed by her talent, and by the beautiful city we both call home! Behind me sits The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as The Duomo in Florence.
5. Split, Croatia:
For my first trip outside to Italy we traveled to Croatia! Croatia was never at the top of my list of places to travel while abroad but it should have been for several reasons. It is a beautiful country with so much to offer! Prior to arriving in Croatia I had not heard very much about the country. Later, I found out that Croatia is well know for it’s wide variety of outdoor activities from rafting, hiking, zip lining and rock climbing to paragliding, sailing, diving and snorkeling! All of these outdoor activities can be found in Croatia, plus a bunch more! During our weekend trip we went white water rafting, island hopping and water fall exploring in Krka National park. It was definitely a jam packed weekend, but totally worth it!
Although Croatia is well known for it’s clear blue waters and beautiful beaches, one of my favorite parts of our trip was the views of the mountains as we rafted down the Omis river! It’s truly a memory I will never forget. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the scene, but I’m not sure that it would do the view justice anyways. On the second day we toured around a few of the islands in the Adriatic sea from Drvenik Veli (Blue Lagoon), to the island Šolta, and then to Čiovo. Each island had a picturesque view from any angle, but then again I’ve never heard of an island that was not beautiful. Lastly, we ended our trip at Krka National Park, and then began our nine hour bus ride back to Florence! Outfit Details: Hari Mari Flops ¦ Similar Bikini Top ¦ Just USA Denim Shorts
It might not even fair for me to complain about the mosquitoes because I’ve heard they are much worse in the heat of the summer, however, they have still been pretty bad! I often see tourists walking along the streets with nickel size bites all over their legs. The weather has started to cool down a little which has helped a lot! They mostly come out at night now.