I'm excited to announce I will be studying abroad in the spring semester in the beautiful city of Florence, Italy! I've decided to document my experiences, from the preparation and packing to the trip itself. Right now my knowledge of Florence is vague, at best, so here's some interesting facts I've compiled through some quick research.
Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy.
The Duomo, designed by architect Filippo Brunelleschi, is actually two domes. The inner dome is made of sandstone and marble. The outer dome is made of brick-and-mortar -- each brick carefully designed, shaped, and fired to support the dome. The dome was constructed without any supports beneath it.
How Italians really eat pasta: Apparently, the correct technique involves piercing some pasta near the edge of the bowl, not in the center but at the twelve o'clock position, then twirling the pasta around the fork against the rim of the bowl.
According to UNESCO, nearly a third of the world's art treasures reside in Florence.
Tuscany was the birthplace of the Italian language. Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio (literary artists) were the first to use a language other than Latin -- Tuscan -- which eventually developed into the recognized Italian language.
In 1339, Florence became the first city in Italy and in all of Europe to have paved streets (guess not all roads lead to Rome).
During Medieval times, the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge was home to the city's butchers, who would clean and prepare their meats while letting the wastes fall into the river. When Cosimo I de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, moved into the Pitti palace on the south side of the river he realized he would have to walk across the bridge to get to work, but instead he had an architect design a corridor that would link his home with his office. The corridor is still intact today.
Just south of the city is the Chianti region, considered the "heart of Tuscany," and home to vineyards that produce Chanti wine (good thing there's no drinking age in Italy).
Driving is strictly limited in Florence in the city center, making walking the only option (or maybe I'll rent a Vespa...).
Evidentially, the best shopping street in Florence is the Via de Tornabuoni (I'll be frequenting this area).
Streets in Florence can be one name at one end and another name at the other end, for example Via Martelli turns into Via Cavour at the first intersection (great, I'm bad enough with directions as it is).
All pictures found on Google