Florence: amazing art, even more amazing food

It’s what you would picture as quintessential Italy. Beautiful buildings with terracotta roofs, small cobblestone alleys and endless amounts of pasta are often the vivid pictures painted in my mind. Yes, Rome has all of this but Florence took it to a whole new level.
I took a train to the Florence, Italy this past weekend with my program CEA as part of my experience here. It was awesome. Included was a tour of the Galleria dell’Accademia where we saw the famous statue of David sculpted by Michelangelo. It was unreal to be standing in front of such history.

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After the museum tour, we went on a walking tour, followed by exploring the town with my roommates. We went up to the rooftop of this department store and watched the sunset while enjoying each other’s company. My roommate Emily said, “Even though we might not see each other much after this trip, we’ll always have Europe.”
We are always going to be in one another’s stories that we tell family and friends back home. Like the weekend trips, or the ridiculous things we do together during the week, those memories will never fade. We’ll always keep in contact with each other and be in each other’s lives.
On Saturday we went to a winery, Castello di Verrazzano, in the Tuscany to check out the land, learn how wine is prepared, and enjoy a food and wine tasting at the end. It was cool to see the process of how it’s made. The owner of the vineyard says wine is made with passion, people and hard work. The tasting was absolutely amazing. More than I expected. It started off with a plate of penne pasta, with fresh parmesan and a mix of spices: garlic, red pepper and parsley, followed by a mix of crushed tomatoes, pecorino cheese with balsamic vinegar, and biscotti for dessert. It was so fun, especially as a group.
Sunday was my favorite day of the weekend. My friends were looking into doing a Vespa and wine tasting tour at a different vineyard so of course I couldn’t pass that up! Riding Vespas was on my European bucket list but I never thought that it would actually happen. The vineyard we went to was straight out of a magazine. Green fields with beautiful orange and yellow flowers covered the grounds, and art students set up shop on stairs capturing the picturesque view.
We started the day with a tour of the area, and a small wine sample with bread and olive oil. We then tested the Vespas out to make sure we were comfortable with riding them and took off in the hills of Tuscany. There were six of us and it was unlike anything I ever imagined. We were flying through the hills weaving in and out of cars. It was so exhilarating. I kept thinking to myself: My life is not real. How can I be this lucky to have the opportunity to be riding a Vespa with my friends in Florence, Italy.
This weekend was an eye opener of how lucky I truly am to be here: Whether it’s sitting on a random set of steps in Florence, or riding through the hills on a purple Vespa, all of these moments are ones that I live for.
Ciao for now! Next stop, Paris!

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