Feeling like a Florentine by Marlee Lord

My time in Florence has been a surreal experience so far! I am about halfway through my program now and I can’t believe how fast time has gone. The first week was a difficult adjustment being thrown into a new time zone and culture. After the jet lag wore off and the initial activities set up by my program were over, I feel like I was able to really soak in the fact that I was going to be living here for a month. Not visiting or vacationing but living and learning in this city. That was an important moment for me, and I think it really helped me start feeling like I was truly living here. During the first week of classes, I started exploring the less touristy sections of the city.

Down the street from my apartment is an open-air market full of local produce and vendors surrounding an indoor deli and food market. The area is full of locals and every day new vendors set up in the square, so you never know what you will find. It has become part of my weekly routine not only because of the cheap and quality products but also the unique experience of interacting with people that have lived here their entire lives. Frequenting the market has also helped me learn more conversational Italian since most of the vendors speak some English but are used to speaking to the regulars from the neighborhood. Visiting the market has not only shown me a different side of the city but also introduced me to some INCREDIBLE local cuisine. All the produce is so flavorful and fresh and come in all shapes and sizes… especially the tomatoes. I also bought some fresh mozzarella and prosciutto as well as some focaccia right out of the oven of one of the vendors. Everything has been delicious, but I think one of my favorite things I got from the market was the guancia, which is braised boar cheek. While my friends and I have been traveling around Italy on the weekends, during the week when I am going to class, the market, and exploring the city of Florence I am really starting to feel like a Florentine.

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