Tuesday, November 20, 2018
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Renaissance Art History in Florence


Interested in Renaissance art history? Florence is the center of Renaissance art, and there is no shortage of museums or cathedrals in this city. Grab your walking shoes and an espresso, and get ready to explore!

I remember sitting in my first ever art history course that focused on Florence Renaissance Art at my home university in a hot, stuffy classroom, looking at endless slides of images that all looked the same, memorizing names that all sounded the same, and taking down notes just to keep myself awake.

However, the more Italian and Renaissance art history courses I took, the more interested I became in the subject. Now, I’m in the city of Florence, the center of Renaissance art. One of the best things about studying abroad in Italy for a graphic design & art history student is that almost every week, we visit one of the many cathedrals or museums in Florence, enhancing our studies of Florence Renaissance art. So far, three of my favorite visits include the Church of Santa Maria Novella, The Opera del Duomo Museum, and of course, the Uffizi Gallery, where I had the opportunity to see a plethora of famous art in Florence. 

1. Church of Santa Maria Novella

Every time me and my friends walk to and from the train station, we pass this massive building, and every time I wondered what it was. We finally got to go for an afternoon during my Chemistry and the Visual Arts class to enhance our knowledge of Florence Renaissance art. We made our way around the church, with the professor giving us brief explanations of the different painting or sculpting techniques used in each piece.

Two of the most important pieces we saw here that I distinctly remember learning about in classes are: The Trinity by Masaccio and The Crucifix by Giotto.

This painting, The Trinity by Masaccio, is from 1424-1425, and is very significant for Florence art history because it was the first piece that demonstrated mastery of perspective. Interestingly, the whole church was painted over by Giorgio Vasari when he was ordered by Cosimo de’Medici to do so in the 16th century. This painting was only covered by another giant painting, and it was actually uncovered in 1860 when other improvements were being made.

Giotto’s crucifix is hanging in the middle of the church. It was meant to be hanging with open space all around it, to remind viewers of the crucifixion of Christ on the cross. This piece is from 1288-1289, which was early in Giotto’s career. The details of Christ’s hair, blood, and tapestry are especially impressive, making it an important piece in many art history courses. 


We made our way to the front of the church towards the end, which was the most impressive part in my opinion. My favorite part of churches are the stained glass windows, and this church was not lacking in big, beautiful, colorful windows. At the front of the church, there were multiple areas dedicated to different, wealthy, high-priority families during Renaissance Florence who paid for them back in the day. Here, there were floor-to-ceiling paintings of different biblical and everyday scenes, with light flowing in from the colorful windows. The detail that each scene had was most impressive to me.

There was even a courtyard, with more frescos lining all of the walls, as you walked along the building.

2. The Opera del Duomo Museum 

This past week, my art history class took a trip to The Opera del Duomo Museum. It was a little door next to a cafe, across from the massive structure that is The Duomo, the centerpiece of Renaissance art in the city of Florence. I didn’t even know this museum existed, but once we walked through the little door, I was in awe. The space is massive and perfectly lit to illuminate all of the works.

This museum was founded in 1891 to conserve the works of art that have been removed from the Duomo and the Baptistery.

Some of the highlights I saw here include Michelangelo’s Pieta, which was from around 1550 and which used to stand in the Duomo. It is believed that he meant for it to be used in his own tomb.

Sala delle Cantorie was another important part we saw. These were two lofts that were once in the Duomo that people would sit in during mass. One was by Luca Della Robbia, and the other by Donatello.

If you keep walking to the top, you even get an incredible view of the Duomo, in the heart of the city of Florence. 

3. The Uffizi Gallery 

There is no better feeling than recognizing works of art you learned about in art history courses when getting the opportunity to see them in person. Anyone with even the smallest bit of knowledge about art history would (hopefully) recognize some of the most famous works of Florence art found here from Botticelli such as Primavera or The Birth of Venus.

Or maybe Venus of Urbino by Titian?

Medusa by Caravaggio?

How about Laocoön and his Sons by Baccio Bandinelli?

Judith Beheading Holofernes by Artemisa Gentileschi?

These are only some of the famous pieces I was able to see because this gallery is GIANT. Like, spend 6 hours here and probably still not see everything GIANT. It holds some of the most significant pieces of Florence Renaissance art ever, and is the best place to see famous art in the city of Florence. I left feeling humbled and very lucky to have had the opportunity to see these works of art in person, especially after learning about them in a classroom setting.

For some more information about the famous and magnificent Uffizi Gallery, check out this article dedicated to this massive museum:


Check out this map of the city of Florence to see the location of the many famous churches, museums, and galleries in the magnificent city of Florence.

3 Cities, 1 Weekend


When I found out I had been accepted to study abroad in Florence, I immediately made a list of all the places I wanted to visit while I was in Europe. While of course, the “hot spots” such as Paris and Barcelona made the list, I was also really interested in exploring some of the “lesser-known” European destinations. I had heard from friends who had traveled in Eastern Europe, that Budapest was one of the coolest cities they had visited, so naturally, I added it to my list. Having taken a number of European history and politics classes while in college, I knew that Hungary was full of history and unlike anywhere else I had been before which also made it super intriguing. When I started looking into planning my trip to Budapest, I noticed there were so many other neat cities near Budapest, such as Salzburg and Vienna, that I wanted to visit. It seemed like it would be a waste to go all that way and not visit Austria too, so I started looking into how to do all three of them in one weekend and to be honest, I was super overwhelmed about arranging the transit and getting from one city to another. And then, in my lengthy google search planning my study abroad trips when I should have been doing homework, I found a student trip that combined all three cities from Florence.  Realizing it would be both less stressful and less expensive to travel with them, I booked the trip and crossed it off my list, knowing I would be on my way to Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg soon.

A few weeks after arriving in Florence, it was time for my Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg trip! Out of all of the cities on our itinerary, I was most excited about Budapest. Maybe it was because I knew the most about Budapest in comparison to Vienna and Salzburg, but that somehow made Vienna and Salzburg even more intriguing. As an obsessive planner, it was super nice to just show up and be along for the ride without any expectations of what Vienna and Salzburg would be like.

After our long drive, we finally arrived in Budapest on Friday morning and dropped our stuff at the hostel. We had some much needed time to freshen up before we headed out on our walking tour of Budapest. I really loved having the walking tour first thing when we got there because our professional tour guide gave us an overview of the city and we got to see some of the city’s most popular sights. Having the tour first thing also gave us an idea of the things we wanted to come back and explore on our own during our free time. That afternoon, before we headed to the famous Szechenyi baths (optional add-on activity) we saw the breathtaking Hungarian parliament building, the unique Matthias Church and very somber, but moving, “Shoes on the Danube Bank” Memorial. Our professional guide told us about Budapest’s history during World War 2 and explained that the “Shoes on the Danube” memorial was dedicated to the Hungarians who lost their lives during the Holocaust. As we left the Pest side of the city and crossed the bridge to the Buda, we were greeted with exceptional views of the city and the Danube river. One thing I didn’t know before going to Budapest was that the city was divided into two separate “towns” by the Danube River, Buda and Pest. On the Buda side, we explored the Buda Castle and the beautiful Fisherman’s Bastion which looks like it came out of a fairy-tale and became my favorite place we visited in Budapest. After we had explored the city, almost tirelessly, we went back to the hostel to get out stuff before going to the famous bright yellow Szechenyi thermal baths. I had seen pictures of the baths on Instagram but did not really know what to expect. In reality, it was a building with indoor and outdoor pools of different sizes, temperature, and speeds. Some felt like a peaceful hot tub, while others were cold, and even others were like a hot lazy river. The place was packed, with both tourists and Hungarians, and to be honest, while it was such a cool experience, I tried not to think about exactly how many people had been in and out of the pools before I got in. As long as I could keep my germ-o-phobic self from thinking of that, I was able to relax. After our time at the baths, I opted for the group dinner which was an all you can eat and drink buffet for 2 hours. It was perfect as I was so excited to try a lot of different Hungarian foods and this was the best and most affordable way. If you have never had goulash soup, you MUST try it while in Budapest. We then all got ready to go to Budapest’s hipster nightlife scene of Ruin bars and eclectic pubs!

The next day, we made our way to Vienna, which was only a couple hours drive away. To be honest, I did not really know much about Vienna before we arrived, but once we got there it was clear to see why it was called the “City of Music” and why it had been awarded “The Most Livable City” multiple times in a row. We checked into our hostel and then went to the city center to meet our tour guide for a walking tour of this unbelievable city.  With our professional guide we learned why Vienna was known as the “City of Music” and the “City of Dreams.” There was classical music around every corner and the city seemed to be oozing with art. The “City of Dreams” part though was less obvious and is actually because the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud was born in Vienna. We walked around the city seeing the famous Opera House, the Imperial Palace, and of course St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Once the tour was over, we had free time to explore the city on our own and my friends and I decided to go see the Schonbrunn Palace, which was very grande and extravagant. It was easy to imagine Austrian royalty and aristocracy living the life of luxury hundreds of years ago. After exploring the Palace, we found a cozy cafe in the city center where we ate dinner and we all enjoyed true Austrian, wiener schnitzel. Some of our group went out to bars later that night, but my friends and I were too exhausted, so we hung out in a cafe for a little while before going back to the hostel for bed.

The last stop on our 3 city tour was Salzburg! I know I sound like a nerd, but I couldn’t wait to get to Salzburg and do “The Sound of Music” tour Smart Trip offered. Growing up, and even know, my mom loved “The Sound of Music” and for that reason, I have seen it approximately 1 million times. So, naturally, when in Salzburg, I had to do the tour. I have the say, the tour was great and I was geeking out the whole time, but even the people who didn’t really know much about the “The Sound of Music” enjoyed it because it was a great way to see the city in a short amount of time. With the tour, we got to see the exact places where the scenes were filmed and got to pose as if we were Julie Andrews herself. After our tour we had to get back on the bus and head back to Florence. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get more time in the Salzburg because I would have loved to explore the city some more. But, all in all, we had seen so much in one weekend I understood that we couldn’t stay there all day! We headed back to Florence on the super long bus ride, but given that most of us were exhausted, we slept for a good part of it!


Although it was a long and busy weekend, Budapest, Vienna and Salzburg did not disappoint. In the end, I was so glad that I chose to go with a tour group because it was so much less stressful and easier to get between all 3 of the cities! If I had to choose a favorite city of the three, it would definitely be Budapest.


Best time to visit Venice Italy as a tourist or a student


One of the pearls of Italy, the Floating City, the Serenissima, the Queen of the Adriatic, I mean if you don’t know what we’re talking about by now why are you still thinking about coming to Italy to complete your studies? (jk) Venezia!

best time to visit VeniceWe thought to ourselves, why not give a little advice post on when is the best time to visit Venice Italy cause really everyone wants to go, but if you don’t know the weather, the crowds, the temperature, and the events happening, how are you going to organise your trip and know what is the best month to visit Venice, I mean this only has to do with tourists, but if you’re studying you can get a good understanding on what to pack if you’re going to Venice in September or Venice in November.

So enough of the intro let’s look at when is the best time to visit Venice Italy.

Based upon what you’re into seeing and how much you like crowds, Venice has a fair number of different times to visit. So, what would be the best time of the year to visit Venice Italy? Most people say that the best time to visit would be from September to November, this is based upon the idea that you have less tourism, and hotel rates are also quite low, this is because it’s considered to be low season. The only downside of this period would be the fact that you have to pack some pretty high rain boots, cause Acqua Alta is a standard of this period of the year. Acqua Alta means that the water levels rise in the city, making all those nice canals, not so fun anymore, but hey I mean it’s an experience so why not? So what to do in Venice Italy when it rains? Well, enjoy the city with your wellies and think about all the News Reports you might be in, cause it’s a pretty big topic in the country when Venice has Acqua Alta.

Let’s think about what would be the best time to visit Venice Italy 2019 with a list of the main events that take place in the city all year long.

Venice International Film Festival (August to September)

Regata Storica (September)

Venice Marathon (October)

Festa della Madonna della Salute (November)

La Biennale di Venezia (May to November)

Venice Carnival (February to March)

Vogalonga (May)

So, if you feel like visiting Venice in December you won’t see any events, but you’ll have the opportunity to see the city dressed up for Christmas so I’m sure you’ll love it nonetheless, cause it’s a beautiful city all year round. Just remember that it’s gonna be cold in those days, we’re talking about 33F-45F (1C-7C) so pack up warm and layer up. Opposite to that if you decide to go in June or July, you’ll feel that the temperature in Venice in June and the temperature in Venice in July is a bit more forgiving but being a lagoon, you’ll find yourself engulfed in some pretty nasty odors.

The cheese is strong with this one

That’s all you really need to know about when to visit Venice, so all you have to do now is find the apartment in Venice that suits you with us at StudentsVille.

My 5 Favorite Places in Santa Croce


My 5 Favorite Places in Santa Croce

I’ve been in Italy for just about two months now. Over that period of time, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my new neighborhood, Santa Croce Florence, alone and with my roommates. It took a while, but I can now orient myself and get to the places that matter (A.K.A everywhere on this list). There’s a million shops and restaurants on every street; but so far, these are the places I’ve made a part of my weekly routine.

  1. La Fettunta

We had a walking tour guided by FUA on one of our first days here. Tired, hungry, and confused, we asked the guide for some food recommendations. She recommended a sandwich place called La Fettunta, and I wrote it down, thinking nothing of it. One day, I was running between two classes and was absolutely starving. I wanted to try the famous All’Antico Vinaio, but the line was down the block, and I would definitely have been very, very late if I attempted to stop there. I noticed La Fettunta and recognized the name from the recommendation. There was no line, it looked welcoming, so I popped in to try it. A few days later, I finally did get to try All’Antico Vinaio, and I have to say, I think La Fettunta is better. For 5 euros, I built my own sandwich consisting of zucchini, eggplant, prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes, and truffle spread, all on giant, perfectly toasted and oiled bread. It was huge, and I had half left over for later. I’ve been back about 4 times since, and I’m never disappointed. Just a few minutes from Piazza di Santa Croce, taking my sandwich to eat there in the sun has become a weekly routine.

gelateria dei Neri

  1. Gelateria de Neri

I discovered this gelato shop on a free food tour guided by a Florence student travel company ( discover the complete list of Gelaterie in Florence), and it quickly became my favorite gelato place. It’s only about a 5 minute walk from my apartment, which is a perfect distance away to satisfy gelato cravings at any time of the day. I get to walk through the Piazza di Santa Croce on my way here, which is just another reason I love going there. The gelato is creamy, thick, sweet, and there’s a plethora of flavors to choose from. Each time I’ve gone, I’ve tried to experiment with new flavor combos, and my favorite is banana and Nutella together. The rich, thickness of the chocolate flavor mixes well with the banana. Just writing about it now is making me crave it, and I think I’ll be stopping for some on my way home this evening. I cringe a little every time I spend more money on food, but never with gelato.

santa croce florence

  1. Aperitivo at Ganzo — AperiGanzo

My roommates and I quickly learned about the Italian concept of Aperitivo, and we love it. Sitting around chatting with friends, eating appetizers, and drinking wine… What’s there not to love? On Wednesday nights at Ganzo, they offer all-you-can-eat appetizers and one drink for only 5 euros. You can stay as long as you want and eat as much as you want. They even offer dessert, but we didn’t know this the first time we went. My roommates and I went one night when we didn’t have any power and were sick of spending excess amounts of money on food, so we decided to give this a try, and we were not disappointed. The drink line took about 30 minutes, but it was worth it because the drink was fruity, fun, and refreshing in this Florence “autumn.” FUA students and faculty were seen everywhere, in addition to other people unaffiliated with the school. The restaurant was so crowded, with barely any room to move. As soon as a dish was brought out, everyone flocked to it like vultures, devouring the food. The waitstaff was extremely efficient in refilling the dishes almost immediately. Small, assorted sandwiches, pesto pasta, rice balls, salmon, chickpea salad, tomato salad, chicken, prosciutto, cheeses, tomatoes, and cucumbers were offered, just to name a few things. Aperiganzo is the perfect place to socialize, eat, and stay on budget!

il gatto e la volpe

  1. Il Gatto e la Volpe

This was the first place my roommates and I went together for dinner on our first night here. Wandering around Santa Croce, still jet-lagged, disoriented, and confused, we stumbled into the first place we saw that looked authentic and Italian. The first meal I had in Florence was, naturally, pizza. I got the simplest thing on the menu to play it safe— a Margherita pizza, and I was not disappointed. The portion was huge— they gave each of us our own personal pizzas dripping in piping hot and gooey cheese. The crust was perfectly light and crisp. It was the perfect start to our time in Florence. I definitely will be going back here to explore more of the menu.

tre merli caffè

  1.  Tre Merli Caffe

This little cafe is located right near my apartment and is the perfect place to stop on my way to early classes. It offers cheap, basic Italian breakfast foods that are great to take to go (even though apparently that’s frowned upon here). The chocolate croissants are my favorite, with the chocolate melting perfectly when they warm it up. I have yet to expand past the croissants and pastries here, but they also offer basic sandwiches that always look great for a quick and easy lunch during a busy day.

Looking for a place to stay near Florence? Check out a wide range of hotels Santa Croce Firenze and student flats that have all been reviewed by Studentsville staff. You’re sure to find something that suits you perfectly, whatever your budget!



Meeting Elena Farinelli




Sono una social media manager una seo, definire il mio lavoro è molto complicato ho aperto il mio blog ioamofirenze nel 2006, erano anni in cui i blog erano all’inizio- Facebook lo stesso cominciava a muovere i primi passi. IG non era ancora quello che è oggi, era tutto diverso. Io ho scelto di aprire questo blog perchè volevo raccontare la mia città, A firenze siamo sempre un po’ polemici diciamo sempre “a non c’è niente da fare, la città è sempre uguale” allora io l’ho preso come punto di orgoglio e ho detto no io voglio raccontare Firenze e voglio scrivere un post al giorno.
Per 10 anni l’ho fatto. poi chiaramente le cose cambiano, di blog ne ho aperti altri mi sono spostata molto sui social network, su IG etc. e quindi ora ho diminuito, però questo blog mi ha accompagnato come se fosse un bambino, l’ho messo al mondo e l’ho fatto crescere negli anni. Mi ha anche dato molta visibilità, molto lavoro ho raccontato le cose che amo della città. Dall’arte alla cultura al teatro, al cibo perchè no? ho recensito centinaia di ristoranti. Infatti dicono “te sei quella dei ristoranti” non è che faccio solo quello, però è una componente fa parte della mia vita e quindi sono molto contenta di averlo fatto e credo mi abbia anche un po’ cambiato la vita.


My name is Elena Farinelli, I was born and raised in Florence, I’m a blogger but also a web marketing specialist, a social media manager and a SEO specialist, defining what I do is pretty complicated.
I started my blog IoAmoFirenze in 2006, in those years blogs were still a novelty. Even FB was taking it’s first steps and IG still wasn’t what it is today. I decided to start this blog because I wanted to talk about my city. In Florence we’re always complaining ” there is nothing to do, the city never changes” and so on, so I took it as a pet project to write a post a day on Florence. For 10 years I did so. Then as years went by things changed, I opened other blogs e transitioned to social media. So today I write less, but this blog is like a child to me, I brought it to life and nurtured it as years went by. It also gave me a good amount of visibility, lots of work, and I talked about why I love this city. Ranging from art to culture to theatre and food why not? I reviewed hundreds of restaurants. In fact a lot of people say ” you’re the restaurant person!”, I don’t just do that, but it is a part of my life that has also changed it a bit.


SEO è un acronimo che sta per Search Engine Optimization letteralmente si potrebbe dire Ottimizzazione per i motori di ricerca, in altre parole cosa vuol dire? Vuol dire rendere un sito visibile sui motori di ricerca in particolare a google, quindi fondamentalmnete io non faccio siti, non sono programmatrice, non sono un tecnico, so come funziona l’algoritmo di google, so cosa è importante fare e quindi conoscendo queste regole faccio in modo che si possa essere trovati, magari qualcuno cerca qualcosa su google faccio si che il tuo sito venga al primo posto, è un laovor un po’ particolare, difficle definirlo però molto molto richiesto


SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimisation, so what does it imply? I make sure that a website is visible on Search Engines, in particular Google. I don’t make websites, and I’m not a programer, no even a technician, I just know how Googles algorithm works, and knowing Google’s rules I make sure that one can be found online. If someone is looking for a specific thing on Google I make sure that you show up on top of the list, a very peculiar job, hard to define, but very sought out.


A firenze ci sono molti posti belli anche fuori dal centro, un luogo che io amo molto è il tepidario del roste che è una enorme serra di fine ottocento costruita per l’esposizione universale dentro il giardino dell’orticultura, questo giardino fra l’altro ancora oggi due volte l’anno c’è una bellissima mostra-mercato di fiori dove uno può andare e comprare fiori.
Questa serra come dicevo è storica penso che sia anche il tepidario più grande di italia, tutto bianco molto bello molto scenoso soprattutto di notte quando è illuminato. Normalmente è chiuso al pubblico però se ci sono delle mostre, eventi, matrimoni la aprono. è bello da vedere anche da fuori dietro a questo giardino c’è n’è un’altro più piccolo che si chiama orti del parnaso è un po’ in salita è separato dalla ferrovia che passa nel mezzo, e questo giardinetto è un posto panoramico, si vede tutta firenze dall’alto, secondo me non ha niente da invidiare a forte belvedere piazzale michelangelo, san miniato, quei posti che sono famosi per vedere firenze dall’alto.
Una cosa particolare dentro questo giardino, è questa fontana tutta colorata, policromatica. a forma di lucertola, di drago, non so definirla comunque molto molto bella e che a me mi ricorda un po’ le opere di gaudi di barcellona, no quello stile li. poi magari non c’entra niente, è buffo perchè sei a firenze e ti sembra di essere altrove, quindi secondo me è un posto che vale la pena vedere anche perchè è in mezzo al verde è gratuito l’ingresso vale la pena.


Florence has many beautiful locations, not just in the city centre. A location I particularly love is the “Tepidario del Roster” a gigantic greenhouse that was built for an Universal Exhibition within the Orticultura Gardens. Twice a year you can find a beautiful Flower fair where you can buy some beautiful flowers. This greenhouse has historical value and I believe it is the biggest in Italy, it’s all white and scenographic, especially at night when it’s all light up. It is usually closed to the public, but you can find it open for expos, events and weddings. Behind this garden, there is another smaller one called ” Orti del Parnaso”, it’s a bit higher up and separated by the train tracks, but it’s higher location makes it a great panoramic spot, and it’s no less beautiful than Forte Belvedere, Piazzale Michelangelo, San Miniato. A unique thing about this garden is it’s polychromatic fountain. It recalls the shape of a dragon-lizard, if we can call it that way, but it reminds me of the works of Gaudi in Barcelona, maybe it really has no comparison, but it’s funny that you are in Florence and it feels like being elsewhere, plus it’s also just a beautiful location because you’re surrounded by nature and it’s free to visit.


Se dovessi consigliare dove vivere a firenze, probabilemtne direi la zona di san niccolo, è una zona  che a me piace molto perchè è un compromesso. Si è zona turistica però è ancor amolto abitata dai fiorentini, è vicina al centro ci si può muovere a piedi, ma ci si arriva anche in macchina, è fra piazzale michenlangelo e la parte più dei lungarni, a piedi si può arrivare a ponte vecchio, e poi è molto vivace anche la sera, ci sono dei ristornati dei locali, ci sono dei bei negozi, quindi secondo me è un buon modo per assaporare la vita vera di firenze però rimanendo nelle vecchie mura di una volta.


A great place to live in Florence, in my opinion, is the San Niccolo area, I really like this zone of the city because it’s the best compromise. It’s a touristy area, but it still has a lot of Florentine residents, it’s close to the centre, you can walk, and you can get there by car. It’s right in between Piazza Michelangelo and the Lungarni, so you can get to Ponte Vecchio by foot. It’s also great at night, there are many restaurants, some bars, and great stores. So in my opinion it’s a great compromise, you get to feel Florence while living within the old city walls.


Tutti conoscono firenze siena pisa lucca, ma la toscana è bella tutta da visitare, ci sono molte altre località che vale la pena appunto visitare, per esempio a me piace molto pistoia. Pistoia è una città con un centro storico abbastanza raccolto non è grandissimo e ci sono un sacco di cose da vedere: Il duomo, il battistero, diversi palazzi, il vecchio ospedale, però il motivo per cui mi piace è che anche molto vivace. C’è questa piazzetta che si chiama La Sala, dove di giorno c’è il mercato, la sera si anima perchè ci sono diversi localini ristoranti e quindi uno va li fa aperitivo, fa due chiacchere con le persone è abbastanza carino anche da vivere come atmosfera.


Everybody knows Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, but all of Tuscany is beautiful. There are many other places that you have to visit, I believe a great place is Pistoia. Pistoia is a city with a very cozy city centre, it isn’t too big and there are a lot of things to see: The Duomo, the Battistero, many Palazzi, the old hospital, but personally I believe it’s because of the energy it has. There is this Piazzetta, called “La Sala” where, during the day you have the market, and at night it comes to life with restaurants and bars, so you can go there have an aperitif and a chat with the locals, it’s a beautiful atmosphere to breathe in.


Un’altra cittadina carina, graziosa, che è una vera “chicca” è monteriggioni una cittadina vicino a siena, a pochi km da siena, su una collinetta ed ha mantenuto la cinta muraria originaria, quindi ci sono le mura con le torri, un po’ come idea assomiglia a san giminiano, solo che san giminiano è più grande e anche più inflazionata per turisti, questa è un pochino più piccolina, più di nicchia, si vede da lontano è molto bella, e quando si arriva ci passa accanto la via francigena, che se vi piace camminare è anche carina da fare. Però è un bel borgo proprio perchè è rimasto intatto da secoli. Infatti consiglio di andarci a Luglio perchè a Luglio c’è la festa medievale, quindi tutta la cittadina si trasforma per fare come un salto indietro nel tempo. All’ingresso si cambiano i soldi, si prendono le monete di una volta e con queste monete si può andare a comprare da mangiare da bere a fare shopping, e poi ci sono attori vestiti con i costumi, e fanno i tornei con le spade con l’arco, queste cose da film, e addirittura c’è un indovino un mago che ti legge la mano e ti predice il futuro, è veramente divertente per passare una serata diversa dal solito.


Another great little town that’s a true “chicca” is Monteriggioni, a city near Siena, just a couple kilometres from it. It’s on a hill and it kept it’s original city walls, so you have the whole town surrounded by walls and towers. It follows the concept of San Giminiano, only that San Giminiano is a lot bigger and tourist friendly, while Monteriggioni is smaller and a bit more niche. You’ll see it from far away and if you like trekking, it’s right next to the Via Francigena, that is amazing. It’s a beautiful “Borgo” because it kept it’s authenticity. In fact I’ll suggest to go in July, because during this time there is a Medieval Fair, the whole town follows suit so you’ll feel like you went back in time. When you arrive, you exchange your money for old time coins and use them as legal tender. Plus you’ll find actors dressed in historically accurate costumes, that take part in tourneys, sword fights, and archery competitions, just like in the movies. And you’ll also find a fortune-teller that will predict your future and read your hand, it’s a really fun experience, great to pass a different kind of night.

Vintage Shops in Milan: cause you’ve gotta be the best dressed


We went on a mad one telling you where to buy vintage in Florence, so what about the other capital of Italian Fashion, how about some vintage shops in Milan. So Milan is renown everywhere for its fashion sense so you’ve gotta get on board the trendy train and pop some bottle in your best vintage wear from the best vintage shops in Milan, cause you can’t underdress for Aperitivo.

Obviously, we can’t drop all of the vintage shops in Milan cause that’ll be more of a book than a blog post so we’re gonna stay central and divide the city into 2 macro vintage areas. First, we’ll talk about Lanza-Brera (you can get there by taking the green line, or M2, to Lanza or the Yellow to Montenapoleone, we’ll talk about Montenapoleone another time cause that’s where the high fashion is). Second, we’re talking about Via Giangiacomo Mora, it isn’t really an area but a street and it’s between Sant’Ambrogio (always on the M2) and Le Colonne (where you’ve probably had a couple of drinks).

So let’s look at some of the best vintage shops in Milan vintage shopping to make sure you can blend into that Italian style.

Vintage Shops in Milan

vintage shops in Milan

Lanza-Brera “Vintage” Teatro

“Lanza Brera Piccolo Teatro” you’ll never get enough of hearing that if you’re on the Green Line going anywhere, I mean you’re gonna pass by that stop sooner or later while in Milan. Officially the stop is only called Lanza, but the announcement is always going to be Lanza Brera Piccolo Teatro (there’s a pretty big theatre there that’s why, and yes Piccolo means small, aaaah the Milanesi). Anyway, we’re not talking about theatre here, but fashion. Let’s look at some of the best locations to spend your cash like a madman.

Cavalli e Nastri

Via Brera, 2, 20121 Milano MI

Cavalli e Nastri is an institution in Milan, not only cause it’s one of the best kept Vintage shops, but also because you’ll find some of the best looking pieces you’ll ever see in your life. Plus they know the market so well, they have another store in Giangiacomo Mora, that’s how you know that they’ve got the eye for you vintage shoppers and if you were wondering where to find vintage watch shops in Milan.

Urzì Vintage

Via Ciovasso, 6, 20121 Milano MI

In the heart of Brera you’ll find this little gem. It’s so sweet inside that’ll you’ll never want to leave. The selection of bags and leather goods is to die for, so if that’s what you’re looking for I’m gonna have to advise you stop by Urzì while window shopping in Brera.

Vintage Delirium

Via Giuseppe Sacchi, 3, 20121 Milano MI

Opened by Franco Jacassi a hero of Milanese fashion, you’ll find some of the most refined fashion pieces you’ll see in your life. The man has begun collecting fashion as a hobby, bringing in his collection textiles that go back to the 1800s. I mean you know he has the eye and you know you’ll find some beauties in Delirium.

Via Giangiacomo Mora Vintage Mecca

My personal favorite area to scout vintage wear, Via Giangiacomo Mora is a Vintage Mecca, the street is really small but it’s just Vintage shop after vintage shop after vintage shop. I mean come on what do you want more in life? (maybe many other things than fashion, like world peace and so on, but……vintage shops all over!). Here you’ll find some high fashion vintage (Gucci, Fendi, Chanel pieces), and some more extravagant pieces (like Kimonos for 50 euros). Keep in mind that once you start you never want to leave the area cause the selection is amazing. I warned YOU and your Wallet. Be careful.


Via Gian Giacomo Mora, 11, 20123 Milano MI

Snap….oooooooh SNAP, one of the last vintage shops on Giangiacomo Mora. Last but not least, it’s one of the best kept in Milan. I mean it is pretty new, I think it opened at the beginning of this summer, and it already has a special place in my heart. The pieces are amaze-balls and well you have to check it out yourself. When we went last they gave us free candy with our purchase, sooooo yeah.

Cavalli & Nastri

Via Gian Giacomo Mora, 12, 20123 Milano MI

Previously mentioned, Cavalli & Nastri, is one of the most important Vintage stores in Milan, so if you’re not in Brera, you might as well go down Via Mora, and see what they have on offer. Keep in mind that the stuff is reaaaal good.


Via Gian Giacomo Mora, 14, 20123 Milano MI

As the previous store, Bivio is another institution of high fashion vintage wear in the Moda capital of Italy, and as its competition, it has two stores one on Via Mora, and the other towards Porta Venezia. No worries in both locations you’ll find some great deals on some crazy pieces.


Via Gian Giacomo Mora, 7, 20123 Milano MI

Groupies is one of my personal favorites, I mean with Snap obviously. It’s got that NYC vibe to it, that makes you feel like your about to headline at CBGB. Now that I said that it seems like it’s only a vintage rock store, it’s not. Groupies has everything you want from a lit vintage store, and when you go in you’ll know what I mean.

Honorable Mentions

Pourquoi Moi Vintage

Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 27, 20143 Milano MI

If you’re strolling down the Naviglio Grande, you know that little river that is in Milan, you’re bound to have passed by this Vintage Mecca. Its collection is jaw dropping and you can’t NOT buy something once inside. So next time you’re having an early aperitivo, pass by and enjoy the experience.


Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 47, 20143 Milano MI

This isn’t only a Vintage Mecca, it’s a Leather Mecca, in here you’ll be drunk on leather fumes, and that is a compliment. I mean “Winter is coming!” so you have to get yourself a nice warm coat. My advice would be, go to Guendj and buy yourself a one of a kind warm and toasty jacket.

Hangover Vintage

Viale Gabriele D’Annunzio, 9, 20123 Milano MI

Pure Rockabilly. You can find all their prices on the website, so at least you know how many meals you’re gonna skip to buy your new favorite bag. Keep in mind in here you won’t just find OG vintage pieces, but a great selection of vintage reproductions, cause you have to keep in mind that it being vintage sometimes you won’t find the piece you want, but with reproductions the horizons are endless.

Vintage Shops in Milan on Google Maps

Things to do in Parma as a student and a tourist


Heya, so we were thinking if you’ve already started your semester you might be taking some days off and discovering the rest of Italy, so this is where we come in, as you’ve seen in our past articles we’ve been giving you a list of things to do in Parma and places to visit in other cities that aren’t Rome, Milan or Florence, cause I mean the country is pretty big, and it has thousands of things to see and visit.

things to do in Parma

Today let’s take into account one of Italy’s oldest cities, Parma.

Born as a Roman enclave, it took its name from the Etruscan “Parma” meaning round-shield, this is still debated today as if it was because the Romans started using round shields at the time they discovered the city (to keep in mind that once they arrived in this area they encountered the Etruscans more than usual, and the former would use round shields in battle), or because Parma was considered a shield against the northern factions that weren’t subjugated by Rome.

cupola del Coreggio

Anyway history aside, let’s talk about some fun things to do in Parma cause that’s what y’all are here for (sorry Red Dead Redemption 2 is out and I’m in cowboy mood). Really Parma is a University City as well, so as I write this I’m starting to think that the intro I wrote about how you’re going to explore Italy, is pretty dumb cause you’re probably there already, and you probably used StudentsVille to find Parma accommodation just for you (look at that word count and self-advertisement amazing, just amazing). I’m sure you all know about the food, I mean Parma has a Prosciutto named after it for crying out loud, if you don’t eat meat well it’s okay you didn’t know about it. But Parma Ham or Prosciutto di Parma as it is called in Italian is a staple of local cuisine, another pretty famous thing they do in Parma is…….Parmigiano! That actually means “From Parma”. This is pretty good standard into how well you’re gonna eat when you’re there. ?Never?Forget?To?Eat?In?Italy?. So yeah that’s first in the list of things to do in Parma.

parma ham

Parma Italy points of interest

Obviously the city isn’t only about food, I mean food is pretty important in my book, but there are great things to see in Parma, we’re talking about places like Palazzo della Pilottta — a XVI century Palace that holds within the National Gallery and the Teatro Farnese —, the Duomo of Parma, the Battistero of Parma, the Teatro Regio, Piazza Garibaldi, and the Abbazia di San Giovanni Evangelista. These are the main things you have to see in the city center, but Parma isn’t only about going around town. If you get yourself a bit out of hustle and bustle you have amazing nature reserves to visit, like Boschi Carrega, a 2000ha natural park that you have to visit when you get a chance, I’d probably advise spring or autumn cause the colors are amazing! Very close to the Park is Rocca Sanvitale a Palace that was owned by the powerful Sanvitale family that owned this stead for more than 300 years. But hey, I’ve given you a little list of places and things to see, but you never know I might have missed something, for that I’d advise checking out a Parma tourist information point, I’ll add that to the map in the end of the Article.

So, these are the POIs in Parma, but as I was saying before, food is a major component of the Parmesan (OMG Parma-Parmesan) experience. So what are the best things to do in Parma that aren’t just standard issue tourism? We’ve got that covered as well cause hey we’re snazzy and we got all the answers you need.

baptistery of Parma

Three are the main attractions that aren’t your usual church hopping adventure.

First (and the rest as well) is food related, yaaaaaaay! We’re talking about a bike tour that’ll bring you to discover the surrounding areas of Parma and will show you the beauty of Reggiano nature. So if you’re feeling sporty hop on one of the Bike Food Stories tour and burn the calories you’re gonna gain on the tour with Davide!

bike food stories

Second get your meat-eating self to a Parma Ham factory, I mean when will you ever get a chance to see how one of the worlds most famous Hams is produced? I’m totally up for it. So pick a date and let me know I’ll join you. I mean who wouldn’t be up to visit a Prosciutto di Parma factory.

parmigiano reggiano tour

Third, what’s the other pretty famous thing about Parma? yep, you know it by now that I’ve repeated it 40 times: Parmigiano. Parmigiano Reggiano (the OG Parmesan group) offers a unique tour on how Parmesan is made from the dairy factory to how the cheese is afterwards let to rest. You’ve got to see this Parma wonder.

Parma Map

WHY Festival at The Student Hotel in Florence – November 10 & 11


You all know how much we love The Student Hotel in Florence, I mean you’ve seen our interviews their all inside of it, and for once we can write about them as well as showing it in our videos. Why now and not like when it opened? Pretty simple, first we already wrote about the opening so shame on you for not looking back and reading it, and second because they’ll be hosting the 2nd edition of the WHY festival.

why festival

WHY festival: a graphic design festival


WHY festival is a graphic design oriented gathering that promotes Generation Y graphic designers, it came about because of the scarcity in exhibitions and promotion for this art form. We couldn’t be happier that it’s a thing now, I mean finally some recognition in an extremely artsy city such as Florence. Plus keep in mind that if you’re here to study Graphic Design this might be the perfect opportunity to find some inspiration and ideas that you might’ve had some difficulties with.

The Festival will last all weekend long and will have a selection of workshops, talks, masterclasses, presentations, discussions, and exhibitions that’ll have you spending more time figuring out how to fit them all together, but we now you can do it. Plus this way you’ll have a great opportunity for networking, and that is great for your future work. The second goal of the festival is to bring about a community of creatives that’ll “use Design as a tool for effecting change, rethinking strategies and priorities, expressing desires and concerns, and discussing generational issues.” So why not join in  on the fun.

WHY Festival: the program


Anyway here is the program as presented by WHY Festival:

Saturday 10


11:00 – 19:30 Design Market

11:00 – 21:30 Exhibitions – Not Safe for women, Posterheroes 6th and 7th editions

11-13:00 – 14-16:00 Workshop1 – Studio Laura Moretti (Designer and Professor in Visual Communication, Florence) – Papercutting and folding workshop with Laura Moretti

11-13 – 14-16 Workshop2 – Giulia Seri – Fondazione Il Bisonte per lo studio dell’arte grafica (Printing school, Florence) – Linocut workshop for illustrators with Giulia Seri – Il Bisonte

14:00 – 19:00 Screenings – Design film fest

14:00 – 16:00 Free workshop – Ray Oranges: Overlooking the window (in collaboration with Moleskine)

15:00 – 18:00 Free drawing session with teachers from The Sign Academy.

16:00 – 17:00 Talks – Illo (Design studio, Turin) – Tiny Characters & Big Data: Our Work for Airbnb; Studio Laura Moretti (Designer and Professor in Visual Communication) – AIAP Women in Design contest

17:15 – 18:15 Masterclass – Federigo Gabellieri (Art Director, GQ Italia, Condé Nast) – Image makers: art director and creatives

18:30 – 19:30 Lecture – Fabio Guida (Designer, architect and activist, Turin) – Creativity as a system

19:30 – 21:30 Aperitivo with DJ set at Bike Cafe


Sunday 11


11:00 – 19:00 Design Market

11:00 – 11:40 TSH Street Art Tours

11:00 – 21:30 Exhibitions –Not Safe for women, Posterheroes 6th and 7th editions

11-13:00 – 14-16:00 Workshop3 – G Ursenna Dorati (Ergonauth) (Graphic artist & type designer, Florence) – Monogram workshop: Oh My Lettering! with Ergonauth

11:00 – 13:00 Workshop4 – Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini (zetafonts) (Art director & type designer, Florence) – Typography workshop: Go font yourself with Zetafonts

11:00 – 13:00 Portfolio Review & Student Showcase

14:00 – 19:00 Screenings – Design film fest

14:00 – 17:00 Workshop5 – Sofia Buti, Elisa Basilissi (Graphic designers, Florence) – Binding workshop: bind your self production

15:00 – 16:00 Panel discussion – Print & the city with Fabio Guida (Print Club Torino), Simone Guaita (Il Bisonte Foundation) and Concretipo (Print and design studio)

15:00 – 19:00 Calligraphy live painting by Giuseppe Tangaro & Luciano Quaranta

16:00 – 17:00 Lecture – Nazanin Rastan (Illustrator, Tehran, Iran) – VR: The future of illustration

17:00 – 18:00 Talks – Armine Shahbazyan (Illustrator, Yerevan, Armenia) – Illustration series; Sara Gironi Carnevale (Illustrator, Naples) – Editorial illustration; Elisa Basilissi (Graphic Designer, Florence) – Calimaia graphic collective

18:00 Closing of the festival


The festival program is free and open to the public!

Register for our workshops at Eventbrite!

Italian Holidays and traditions and how much gain you’re gonna put on


Halloween just passed and now you’re sitting around with a hangover waiting for the next holiday to hit you with some rest, luckily for you today (yeah I’m writing this on the 1st of November) is one of many Italian Holidays and traditions. You’ll most probably have the day off and have time to recuperate from the trauma of last nights Italian celebrations, but hey it’s part of the whole student experience that you’ll never forget when you get back home.

italian holidays and traditions
italian holidays and traditions

Now I gave you the interpersonal, face-to-face, leveling with your intro and I can go on a rant about how there are so many Italian Holidays and traditions that you’ll have to attend and be a part of, because how can you be in Italy and not have a 5 hour meal to celebrate Labor Day (yeah labor day is BBQ day in Italy) it’s one of many  Italian traditions. So keep in mind that holidays in the country are almost like events in Italy, you eat, you drink and you have a good time with friends and family (or just friends if you’re here without family, and that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable).

What are some traditions and holidays celebrated in Italy

Well, I hope you didn’t think that you were going to read that intro and be done with the article….Oh nononooooo. Now comes the meaty part, that fun, and loving list you all have been waiting for. Let’s give you a rundown on how-when-why the main Italian holiday traditions are celebrated. We’re going to start from now rather than the beginning of the year cause well f’it.

Italians Holidays and traditions: the list

Ognissanti  (All Saints’ Day) – November 1


The day to commemorate all the saints, I mean Italy is a very Catholic country (not as much as it used to be 30 years ago, but still the cultural relevance is very strong). keep in mind it’s the Roman Catholic Church soooo, yeah. Anyway on Ognissanti, you start to realize that winter is around the corner, so usually, it’s a good day to relax.

Immacolata Concezione (Immaculate Conception) – December 8


Another very important celebration for the country is the 8th of December, considered to be the day that Mary became pregnant through the holy spirit. Now if you’re in Milan you’ve got double the luck cause you have an extra holiday the day before for the patron saint Sant’Ambrogio.

Natale (Christmas Day) – December 25


Well, really what to say about Christmas you all know about it, but this out of all the  Italian holidays and celebrations is one of the most important, that’s why we’re gonna give you an h2

Italian Christmas traditions

They vary a lot from north to south, I mean it really depends on where you are. Most regions prefer to celebrate with family and friends on Christmas Eve, I mean if your part of an Italian-American family you probably do the same, while in the northern regions you must have lunch on the 25th altogether. Meaning you get double the dose of the family in the span of 20 hours and triple the waist size as well. In the various regions, being that the culinary tradition is so diverse, you also don’t have a standard Christmas mean, for example in Emilia-Romagna you’ll have a prevalence of meat dishes, while in Modena (still part of Emilia-Romagna) you find a prevalence of fish dishes. So Christmas time is great to visit again if you’re a massive foodie pick different locations each time you come back

Santo Stefano – December 26


The day after Christmas in Italy is the day off par excellence, more shops are closed this day than on Christmas evening. I mean think about it you’ve been eating for 2 days straight and how the hell are you gonna function properly.

Capodanno (New Year’s Day) – January 1


Another great feast day, you usually spend it in front of a barbecue wishing you haven’t drunk that much the night before. It’s the new year, you deserve some rest.

Epifania (Epiphany) – January 6


Epifania is another Catholic festivity that I’ll be honest has been changed a bit in the sense that it’s more like mini-Christmas. You have the Befana, an old lady that is somewhat like a witch but not mean just really ugly, that flies around Italy bringing stockings full of sweets to good kids, and coal to bad ones. “La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte and something something something else” is the little “filastrocca” for the Epifania.

Pasqua (Easter Sunday)


“Natale con i tuoi e Pasqua con chi vuoi” a little piece of Italian knowledge for you, it means “Christmas with family and easter with friends”, cause this being the second most important religious tradition, it means you have a full day of food waiting for you. Now, keep in mind that Easter in Italy is really dangerous when it comes to food, cause even though I just gave you the Italian phrase, you’ll find yourself eating lunch with family and then meeting friends in the evening.

Pasquetta (Easter Monday)


So, after Pasqua you have Pasquetta, this celebration is literally just meet with friends and have another feast, made out of all the leftovers everybody has. As I said do be careful during special celebrations in Italy, but also enjoy every meal cause they are amazing.

Festa della Liberazione (Liberation Day) – April 25


April 25th is one of Italy’s most important days, and for once it’s not a religious festivity, rather it represents the day Italy was liberated by Nazi occupation. You could call this Italy day, but there also another day that represents this in the country.

Festa del lavoro (Labor Day) – May 1


Nothing like a Labor Day BBQ, and don’t worry it’s the same here in Italy, only the days are different, cause in the US we always have to do things differently. Anyway, The Festa del Lavoro is a great day to get together with friends to have a barbecue, but most importantly you tend to have a Barbecue in beach towns, cause it marks the official countdown to summer.

Festa della Repubblica (Republic Day) – June 2


So, as I mentioned beforehand there are two major Italian festivities that celebrate the country and its foundation. The Festa della Repubblica is one of the most important when you think of the history of the country, after 20 years of Fascist government, Italy became the Republic it is today (full of flaws no doubt), but a new country that started its ascent in the modern world.

Assunzione della Vergine/Ferragosto (Assumption of the Virgin) – August 15


The last holiday on our list is also Italians favorite holiday, cause it’s when most people get a chance to take some time off of work and have a proper summer vacation. You see Ferragosto is a countrywide tradition that obvs implies eating like a madman, but also some great warm sunny weather. Originally a religious festivity today it’s mostly considered just Ferragosto.

List of Patron Saint days per city


Rome – San Pietro e Paolo – June 29

Venice – San Marco – April 25

Florence, Genoa, and Turin – San Giovanni Battista – June 24 

Milan – Sant’Ambrogio – December 7

Palermo – Santa Rosalia – July 15

Naples- San Gennaro – September 19 

Bari – San Nicola – December 6

Bologna – San Petronio – October 4

Trieste – San Giusto – November 3

Cagliari – San Saturnio – October 30

Oktoberfest Part 2: The Reality


I just got back from Oktoberfest, and to be honest, I think I’m still on an Oktoberfest high. I don’t know that this article can even attempt to do justice to what is Oktoberfest. In the first part of this Oktoberfest “series” I talked about what imagined Oktoberfest to be like, one huge fraternity party. And, after having returned, I’m afraid my expectation was not completely accurate. Certainly, there were aspects that reminded me of a Saturday afternoon tailgate at Sigma Chi, but there were plenty of things that didn’t. Like I had expected, the drinking and singing and dancing at 9:00 am happened immediately and no one even seemed to notice that it was 9:00 am, like many fraternity tailgates I have been to.

I was told by my tour leaders that if you want to get a table in one of the tents you needed to line up early. The gates officially opened at 9:00 am, but I found myself in line with hundreds of other people by 7:30. It was fun to see that many people lined up and waiting to do something so simple as drink beer. Once they opened the gate, the crowd started rushing toward the entrance and once inside the gate, everyone made a beeline for the beer tents. I, not being in great shape, was definitely the weakest link of the group, and I was really glad that no one was putting their faith in me to get a table for our group. Lucky for me, and the other slowpokes, some of our guy friends had played American Football in college and were both fitter and more skilled at running through crowds of people with one destination in mind, than the rest of us. As soon as we sat down, the beer started flowing and before we knew it we had downed one, two, or three steins. The atmosphere in the tent, we spent our day in Hofbrau Tent, was electric. As people stood on the table to chug a stein, the whole tent erupted in cheers and applause. Like I said, the atmosphere is truly hard to describe, and something you have to see to believe.  

After a few hours in the tent, I ventured outside to get some lunch and explore the rides. In my opinion, the fair rides are the biggest aspect that separates Oktoberfest from a fraternity tailgate (or at last the ones I have been too). Outside the tent, it felt like the North Carolina State Fair on steroids. There were so many different rides and food stalls surrounding the beer tents I was a bit overwhelmed by the options. My friends and I opted for a ride on the Ferris Wheel, thinking that riding a roller coaster after drinking 2 steins was not the best idea. I would 10/10 recommend the Ferris Wheel because it gives you a great view of the whole festival and it moves slowly, preventing any nausea from the obscene amounts of beer you will have drank by that time. We then made our way to one of the many food stalls and enjoyed some traditional German sausages, of which I had no clue there were so many different types. I felt so “German” as I stood there in my traditional German dirndl eating a German sausage and drinking a German beer! The rest of the day was spent wandering around the festival, drinking MORE beer, and chilling on the infamous “hill.” I never learned what the name of this hill was, or even if it had one, but it was located behind the Hofbrau tent and by midday was filled with people laying, falling, and sitting outside taking a break from the beer. Before I knew it, it was already 9:00 pm and I decided I should return back to my hostel as I had been at the festival for over 12 hours at that point.

Aside from the festival itself, Munich is such a cool city and has a lot to offer. I mentioned in the last article that I was excited to explore the city during our bike tour on Friday, and I was shocked by how much I loved the city. The whole culture seemed so relaxed and the buildings themselves were a unique mix of modern and traditional architecture. My favorite part though was the amount of green space and parks that are located right in the city center. I think living in Florence, where trees are pretty much non-existent, has made me realize how nice it is to have grass and trees around. We rode through so many little parks and even stopped at the famous English Garden for lunch and beer during our bike tour! There were so many people relaxing on the banks along the river and I decided that I definitely wanted to come back to Munich in the Spring to experience the city in warmer weather.

All in all, my trip to Munich and Oktoberfest will definitely be the highlight of my fall semester. And don’t worry, if you are studying abroad in the Spring, Munich hosts a smaller scale type festival called “Springfest,” and the company I went with, Smart Trip, student travel tour operator, offers the same trip I took last weekend to Springfest. If you are spending any time in Europe during one of these two festivals, you cannot miss the best combination of a fraternity tailgate and a State Fair that Europe has to offer!