Florence Diaries: Viva Italia

Ciao! First week in Italy and it's unsurprisingly great so far. From the delicious food (#eatingmywaythroughitaly) to the beautiful vistas and towns to the rich and historical culture, it's primed to be an awesome experience studying abroad here.

This past week before the semester starts, my mom and I did a sort of tour around Tuscany and the surrounding regions. We started in La Spezia, near Cinque Terre, where we spent a day touring four of the five cities that make up Cinque Terre (literally means "five towns"). Since it is winter, the off season for tourism, the area was almost a ghost town -- better for photos, though almost nothing was open. Then the next day, on to Lucca, an adorable walled city west of Florence with narrow streets (that we drove through, insanely), beautiful buildings, and very friendly people. Though it was rainy while we were there, we tried to explore the best we could around the city and I'd love to go back and spend more time there. Next, south to Siena, where we stayed in the center of the city and got lost every single time we tried to drive in to our hotel... We spent those days touring the Siena region, from wine/cheese tours to Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano, to a walking tour of Siena, to a traditional Tuscan cooking class. We arrived in Florence two days ago and have since taken another wonderful cooking class and have shopped and eaten and explored the area. And finally, today, I moved into my apartment literal blocks away from the Duomo. Let the semester begin!

Photos, in order: A view of Manarola in Cinque Terre, along the northwestern coast of Italy // A delicious Italian gelato // A cute little red car along the hilly streets of Montalcino // An aerial view of Il Campo in the center of Siena // Walking down the skinny tower I climbed to take the previous picture // A morning stroll in Siena // A panorama of Florence

Side Note: I'm still trying to figure out how to best post my photography from the trip, but so far I've been adding it to my photography website, check it out because I'll keep updating it as often as possible with photos of my travels: Emily Byrski Photography -- Travel -- Italy Study Abroad 2015