Saturday, February 23, 2019
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Uniqlo Milano Flagship is gonna happen

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The Uniqlo store in Shanghai

This year Milan has been in the spotlight when it comes to new openings, I mean we’re looking at the first Italian Starbucks, the first Italian Five Guys, the first Italian Urban Outfitters. It almost looks like Milan is the place to be, trust me it is, especially with the first Uniqlo Italy store opening soon.

Now after all this International feel, I’ve got to say that something was missing on the plate, something that isn’t from the good old west, something a bit more casual and comfortable, something Japanese, and guess what? Milan isn’t only going to be showcasing Muji (in case you didn’t know you can find it on Via Torino), but it’ll open it’s doors to it’s first Uniqlo Milano!

the first ever Uniqlo

Uniqlo is “Fast Retailing”s biggest player, making about 20 billion dollars a year, and I mean it’s all well deserved, cause if you’ve never been in one of their stores you’ll want to give them all of your money, and you’ll no doubt want to to rush into this one when it opens its doors next Fall. Yeah, unfortunately, the Uniqlo shop in Milan it’s still a year away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hype it up, plus come on this branch of the Uniqlo stores opening soon isn’t that far away.

Uniqlo in Ginza, Tokyo

So while we impatiently wait for the next Uniqlo Milano store to open let’s talk about the achievements and clothing lines of this Brand.

Uniqlo is one of the star players in the fast fashion industry, with its mother brand “Fast Retailing” placing itself 4th in the apparel world. Their classic pieces such as the 100g light coat and it’s monochrome jumpers, are what bring everyone around the fire, and will make you want to buy some amazing Japanese apparel. The company has been going so well, that at the last Wimbledon they snatched Roger Federer from Nike, getting him to sign a 10 year contract for his endorsement. So yeah you know they’re pretty big when they’re going on such a mad one.

Uniqlo store in Shinsaibashi, Osaka

One thing I just cannot take enough of is the quality of their clothes, I mean usually a fast fashion retailer can have it’s downsides to production, but with Uniqlo, this is rarely the case. I still have a hoodie I got as a present years ago and it’s still one of my favourites (unfortunately I can only wear it around the house cause my dog decided to nibble on it so much that it doesn’t have a zipper anymore— hey it’s that good your pet is gonna love it as well, Uniqlo should be paying me for that slogan).

The Uniqlo store in Shanghai

Regarding their sustainability the company has within itself a purely Japanese essence, putting simplicity and craftsmanship at the forefront of its ideals, something that everyone in the fast fashion industry is striving to achieve, with this branch of industry become the second producer of pollution in every part of the world. Let’s just hope that this approach is truthful and not just PR jargon, but hey what more are you going to want than to buy some great minimalist clothes while from Uniqlo Milan while in the Italian capital of fashion?

While you wait don’t forget that you can find everything you need on Uniqlo Online and if you’re not in Italy, cause just in case you didn’t read carefully enough (jk) there isn’t a Uniqlo Italia yet (nowhere not even a Uniqlo Rome) you can always find the closest store to you using the Uniqlo store locator.

uniqlo milano
Rendering for the Cordusio Flagship

Uniqlo Milano Piazza Cordusio

So if you’ve never seen a Uniqlo and are wondering what all the fuss is about, get yourself an apartment in Milan near Cordusio and find it off of our website. Just don’t forget to keep some money aside for all the shopping that is gonna be taking place once the store opens.

Car Rental Italy: The Complete List

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You’ve finally made it, you’re on your way to visit Italy and you can’t wait to see all the amazing scenery, all the nature, the panoramas, the vistas and all the postcard scenes you have plastered in your mind. Now some of them are scenes you won’t be able to see in a classic tour, even though the tour vistas are no less amazing, but you’ll need to get yourself in a car and zoom across the country to find them. So you can go down two ways the first you can look for a car hire Italy and have someone take you around, or second you can look for some car rental Italy and fully enjoy Italy by car.

car rental italy

Renting a car in Italy as an American

One of the most frequent questions as an American would be what do I need to know when I rent in Italy, so here is some car rental Italy advice, first of all, I’m pretty sure you know that you can rent from all the major car rentals in the business. Two things are pretty important when renting your car: 1 always get driving insurance, because you’re covered and you won’t risk any excessive costs if something happens. 2 Apply for an IDP, it’s 15 bucks and this way you won’t risk any police finding an excuse to fine you.

What do you need to rent a car in Italy?

As I stated in the last paragraph to rent from hertz Italy you’ll need insurance, and that’s the most important thing, after a driving license. Keep in mind that to use a car rental Italy service you need to be at least 18, and if you are under 25 you’ll have to pay an extra insurance fee. A good thing to do prior to going is to find out how much you’ll pay and the prices in Italy. You can do that by simply going on any car rental service website, and once on them make sure to be on your local server, because if you aren’t you might find yourself with a different price. Another great place to check would be the Kayak car rental page cause there you’ll find a great amount of cheap car rental Italy so you’ll find the machine (car in Italian) you need.

Driving in Italy Tips

So let’s say you want to find yourself a fiat 500 rental Italy and you get a chance to drive one, what are you going to do when you realize that it’s a stick shift. Cause all vintage cars in Italy are stick shift, don’t worry though cause Italy is also the cheapest country to rent an automatic car, so don’t freak.

Keep in mind that streets in Italy are a lot smaller than those back home, so when renting a car don’t go for the biggest one you find, cause it’ll only be a hassle for you.

There is another pretty important thing that has to do more with the actual driving in Italy, keep in mind that turning on red is a NONO, I’m gonna say that again TURNING ON RED IS A NONO.

Now after all of this let’s give you a list of where you can find car rentals in Italy

Car rental Florence Italy

You’ll find:Hertz Florence Italy locations, hertz car rental Italy.

Car rental Siena Italy

Car rental Rome Italy


Car rental Venice Italy

Car rental Milan Italy

Car rental Naples Italy

Car rental Sorrento Italy

10 Types of Italian Coffee Decoded and Pronounced

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Italian Coffee
Signature Cappucino with Chocolate Spoon at Hemingway in Florence, Italy. (Really more of a Mocacchino.)

Sure, you’ve had an espresso and a cappuccino, but that’s just the tip of the Italian coffee iceberg, my friends. Coffee in Italy is a thing of it’s own. Even if you’re familiar with copycats in your home country, you’ll be surprised by how many names you don’t recognize on an Italian menu, and how those you do are not at all what you expected.

If you’re hesitant to order in Italian, here’s a formula on how to order coffee in Italian that’s easy enough for even the most language-challenged: “Un ____(name of coffee)____, per favore!” (oon ____ pehr fah-VOH-reh!) “A ____(name of coffee)____, please!”

Coffee In Italy
A Typical Italian Espresso

*A note on pronunciation: Double consonants in Italian are literally pronounced twice, in sort of stressed, staccato way that gives the language its rhythm. Don’t feel silly if they feel forced or exaggerated when you try to say them. Although it might seem like a bad imitation of an Italian accent to you, you’re going to sound great to the Italians.

Italian Coffee Types

So, let’s go down the list of the variety of “cafe” you’ll find Italy. and don’t worry we’ll add in some side notes on how to say coffee in Italian.

1. Espresso (eh-SPRES-soh) or Caffè Normale (cahf-FEH nohr-MAH-leh): A shot of espresso in a small porcelain cup. The classic coffee of Italy. It’s usually drunk after every meal, and can be modified to suit practically any taste:

  • Caffè Lungo (cahf-FEH LUHN-goh): A bigger shot of espresso made with more water for a weaker flavor.
  • Caffè Corto (cahf-FEH COHR-toh) or Caffè Ristretto( cahf-FEH rih-STRET-toh): A smaller shot of espresso made with less water for a super-concentrated, strong taste.
  • Caffè Doppio (cahf-FEH DOHP-peeoh): A double shot of espresso to really wake you up.
  • Caffè Decaffeinato (cahf-FEH deh-cahf-fehyee-NAH-toh): A decaffeinated shot of espresso.
  • Caffè Freddo (cahf-FEH FREHD-doh): Cold espresso, usually served in what resembles a shot glass. Sometimes it’s made when you order (often for a lukewarm result) and sometimes it’s premade and chilled in the refrigerator (so it actually is cold).
    • *Tip: If you’ve been searching for an American-style “iced coffee” in Italy, ask for a Caffè Freddo “con un pò di ghiacco,” (cohn oon poh dee GEEACH-cho), “with a little ice,” and “un pò di latte” (oon poh di LAHT-teh), “a little milk,” and that’s probably as close as you’ll get.
  • Caffè con Panna (cahf-FEH cohn PAHN-nah): A shot of espresso with whipped cream on top.
  • Caffè in Vetro (cahf-FEH in VEHT-roh): A shot of espresso served in a tiny glass cup instead of a tiny porcelain one. This apparently “changes the flavor” for coffee aficionados, but it’s really more of a way to look cool.

*Tip: Don’t try to order a coffee “to go.” Italian coffees are small and finish quickly. It’s extremely unlikely to find take-away cups in most coffee bars, for this reason.

Order this kind of Italian coffee if you…usually drink your coffee black or want to be like a real Italian.

Italian Coffee
Signature Cappuccino with Chocolate Spoon at Hemingway in Florence, Italy. (Really more of a Mocacchino.)

 2. Cappuccino (cahp-pooch-CHEE-noh): 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, 1/3 foam, layered in a bigger cup. A typical breakfast drink, be prepared for the “well, you must be a foreigner” look if you order one at any other time of the day.

*Tip: To tell a good cappuccino from a bad one, pour some sugar over the foam. If it sinks through, you’re at the wrong café. If it rests on top, you’re golden.

Order this kind of Italian coffee if you…’re someone who likes to dip pastries or cookies inside.

3. Caffè Macchiato (cahf-FEH mahk-kee-AHT-oh) or Macchiato Caldo (mahk-kee-AHT-oh CAL-doh): A shot of espresso “stained” with a quick pour of steamed milk

  • Macchiato Freddo (mahk-kee-AHT-oh FREHD-doh): The same drink, “stained” with cold milk, or sometimes served with a carafe of cold milk on the side.

Order this kind of Italian coffee if you…think a regular espresso is a bit too strong, or you normally can’t drink coffee without a little cream.

4. Latte Macchiato (LAHT-teh mahk-kee-AHT-oh): A big glass of frothed milk “stained” with a shot of espresso poured on top. Basically, the opposite of a Caffè Macchiato.

  • Caffè Latte (cahf-FEH LAHT-teh): Equal portions of steamed milk and coffee, typically served in a larger porcelain cup. Pretty much a Latte Macchiato, but with more coffee flavor (or a cappuccino without the foam).

*Tip 1: “Latte” means milk in Italian. Make sure you order one of the above options if you want the milk and coffee drink commonly called a “latte” in America. If you just want a cup of milk, by all means, ask for a “latte.”

*Tip 2: Don’t ask for “skinny,” “soy,” “lowfat,” “nonfat,” or “skim” versions of milky drinks in Italy. In 99% of Italian coffee bars, your only option is whole milk. Embrace its rich, creaminess and know that the extra calories are all but cancelled out thanks to small serving sizes.

Order these kinds of Italian coffee if you…normally put more cream in your coffee than the coffee itself.

5. Caffè Americano (caf-FEH am-ehr-ee-CAH-noh): Espresso made with a lot more water, served in a bigger ceramic cup. Its large portion and very weak flavor resemble a typical cup of American coffee. Definitely not a favorite of most Italians, it’s often described as “coffee-flavored water.” 🙂

Order this kind of Italian coffee if you…think espresso is way too strong and way too small.

6. Caffè Shakerato (cah-FEH Shah-kehr-AHT-oh): Espresso shaken with ice, milk and sugar until frothy, usually strained into a martini glass or other elegant drinkware.

Order this kind of Italian coffee if you…’re feeling fancy on a hot summer day.

7. Orzo (ORT-zoh): A shot of what looks like and almost tastes like espresso, but is actually an alternative brewed from roasted barley. It’s organic, naturally caffeine free, and has a delicate, earthy flavor that falls somewhere between coffee and tea.

*Tip 1: Orzo can be substituted for espresso in almost all Italian coffee drinks. Simply add “d’Orzo” (DORT-zoh) to the end of your order: Cappuccino d’Orzo, Macchiato d’Orzo, Latte Macchiato d’Orzo…

*Tip 2: Ask for your Orzo “con scorza di limone/d’arancia” (cohn SCORT-sah dee lee-MOH-neh/dah-RAHN-cha) for a zesty twist of lemon or orange rind inside.

Order this type of coffee if you…’re health conscious, not a coffee drinker, or have kids who want to drink “coffee” with the adults.

Italian Coffee
Caffè Al Ginseng

8. Caffè al Ginseng (cahf-FEH ahl gin-SEHNG): A machine-made blend of instant coffee, creamer (usually non-dairy), sugar and ginseng extract. The latter supposedly makes you alert and energetic. Its flavor is reminiscent of a nutty, Chai Tea Latte (seeing as Chai nearly impossible to find in Italy, this is a wonderful alternative and exciting discovery).

Order this kind of coffee if you…appreciate exotic flavors or are in need of an extra boost.

9. Caffè Corretto (cahf-FEH cohr-REHT-toh): A shot of espresso “corrected” with a shot of alcohol. A bit of cognac, Sambuca, or Grappa (a type of strong Italian brandy), are the most common additions, but you can also ask for the liquor of your choice.

Order this kind of coffee if you…would rather be drinking a cocktail.

10. Marocchino (Mahr-ohk-KEE-noh): Subject to many variations, it’s generally espresso topped with frothed milk and a sprinkling of cocoa powder, served in a larger glass. It’s widely blogged about as the favorite of vacationers and expats in Italy.

  • Mocaccino (Moh-cahch-CHEE-noh): Arguably just another name for the Marocchino, it sometimes shows up on menus as its own, sweeter drink: a combination of espresso, chocolate syrup and frothed milk. Kind of like a chocolate version of the cappuccino. Typically topped with cocoa powder and sometimes with whipped cream.

Order these kinds of coffee if you…’re not sure if you want coffee or dessert, or are addicted to chocolate.

What’s your favorite Italian coffee and why? Mine is a caffè in vetro.

Studying Abroad in Florence & Traveling

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My first week of studying abroad in Florence back in September was a complete blur between meeting new people, going on tours of the city, school orientations, trying to recover from jet lag, finding decent places to eat and things to do in Florence in September and October and some studying abroad Florence Italy tips.

Everyone I met was already talking about all of the exciting trips they had booked, and it sounded like they were visiting a different country every single weekend. I came to study abroad in Florence completely alone. I didn’t have 17 of my closest friends from school here with me like everyone else in the program seemed to. So, to say the first few weeks here were difficult is an understatement. Luckily, my 3 roommates were in the same boat, so we quickly became friends and began planning travels together, a Florence Travel group. When you’re looking for a study abroad Florence Italy travel tip I’ve got you covered.

After about two months, countless day trips, and some big weekend trips to other countries, I think I’m finally getting a hang of the whole ~college student explores Europe on a very tight budget while still technically enrolled in school~ thing. Here’s my advice on travel if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Or, if you don’t want to travel out of Italy much, there are plenty of non-touristy, inexpensive, and free things to do in Florence!

  1. Go With a Travel Company at First

There are a number of travel companies for students that study abroad in Florence that constantly advertise their trips. If you haven’t done much traveling alone or with friends before, my recommendation is to go on one or two trips with them at the beginning to get a feel for traveling. I had little solo travel experience at the beginning, so being on trips where there were people to help was reassuring. I did two trips: One was to Croatia, and the other to Prague & a day of Oktoberfest. The trips are also great if you want to see a lot in a short amount of time, because they often pack a lot into the itinerary.

This was a great way to meet new people, see new places, and have a generally stress-free experience since everything is taken care of by them. They are ultimately more expensive than it would be to plan on your own (if you’re smart about planning), which is annoying. But, a lot of things often come included with the trips, such as transportation, accommodation, ticket admissions, a few meals, guided tours, and some activities.

  1. Flights

If you’re studying abroad in Florence, look into flights from other nearby cities. The Florence airport is tiny, so most flights are usually really expensive from there. I’ve found super cheap flights from Rome and Milan, so far. Like, I’m talking a 36 euro flight to Greece for fall break. Granted, it was at 9 am from Rome and with a budget airline… But, it was ultimately worth it for a student on a tight budget with no current income. The total travel expenses for that trip came out to almost half of what it would have been for Florence Travel.

The only thing is that taking a train to the other city may be time-consuming and the trains can get expensive at certain times. So, make sure you factor in travel time and extra travel expenses and use your best judgment on what will be the most cost-effective and least stressful way to travel from Rome to Florence!

One last tip here– If you are flying out of a different city, try to plan the timing of flights and trains so that you have time to explore the city you fly into. If you have the time, stay an extra night there. This way, you get to see another city without having to pay extra for a round-trip train there on another day before you travel to Florence Italy on the way back.

  1.  Buses & Trains

Flights are often the quickest and easiest way to get around. But, there is always the chance there will be long delays or even cancellations. I experienced this recently on a flight from London to Florence– the flight ended up being cancelled an hour before take off, and they stuck me on a flight to Rome for the next morning. Sometimes, you can’t avoid flying somewhere, such as to London. But, for closer destinations like neighboring countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland, or Austria, an overnight bus or train could be a great option.

Also, look into buses instead of trains for closer destinations. For example, I needed to get to Florence from Rome. Trains at the time I needed were 50 euros. Although the train is usually quicker, I found a bus for only 9 euros that was only three hours instead of one and a half hours on the train. If you don’t mind a little longer travel time, this was a great way to save 40 euros and still get home relatively quickly.

  1.  Look into Hostels

At first, I was against the idea of hostels– My mind was full of sketchy stories and ideas that ultimately ended with bed bugs, stolen items, and abduction. Some can actually be pretty nice and surprisingly clean. Even if it doesn’t turn out how you’re hoping, you’ll probably only be in the room to sleep if you’re out exploring all day. Also, many have rooms that are strictly for women, which is always a plus if you’re feeling nervous about sleeping in a room full of strangers like I was.

On the trip to Split, Croatia, we stayed in a hostel called En Route Hostel. This is the nicest one I’ve been to– they had lockers to lock your things in when you leave, and the beds had curtains you could close. It was all super clean and they offered free city tours and breakfast. All of the hostels I’ve stayed in have been less than 30 euros per night which is a really great way to save some money instead of playing a lot more for a hotel.

  1. Explore Other Parts of Italy (and Florence!!)

Although it’s tempting to jet off to a new country every weekend, take the time to explore Florence more, in addition to nearby cities in Italy. I wish I had done more weekend trips around southern Italy instead of going to some other countries. Everyone gets so wrapped up in checking countries off of their bucket list while studying abroad in Florence, and they forget about the country they’re living in.

Day trips are super easy to do, especially from Florence and the Florence Travel Guide is always great to look into. Pisa, Verona, Bologna, and Siena are all smaller, but still beautiful towns with amazing history, views, food, and art to take a quick day trip to. If you leave early, pack a ton into the day, and return in the evening, it will be well worth it. The trains are super convenient for getting around, and if you go at the right times, the tickets can be reasonably priced. You could probably do an overnight trip to the bigger cities, such as Rome, Milan, and Venice. But, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can make a very long day trip out of them too.

Instead of taking a weekend trip to another country, maybe think about doing a longer weekend trip to somewhere in Italy– maybe the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Pompeii, or Naples? I’m going to Sicily on a school trip this coming weekend, and I have to say, it’s one of the places I was most excited to see!

Lastly, take time to explore the city you’re studying in. Studying abroad in Florence offers instant access to the heart of Renaissance Art. Take time to learn about the place you’re living in for a whole semester. There are plenty of non-touristy, inexpensive, and free things to do in Florence for a Florence Italy study abroad student. One of my favorite (and free!) things to do in Florence is to go to the Giardino delle Rose right across the Arno River. There’s beautiful view of the city, and it’s a great place to sit, read study, or talk with friends. Explore Florence and find your own hidden gems. There are so many things to do in Florence as a student that you might not even want to leave every weekend!

Art School in Italy: The Complete List of The Best Design Schools in Italy

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art school in Italy

“I’m going to an art school in Italy” you no doubt heard that a few times from your artsy friends, but now it’s your time to pick your uni and maybe that art school in Italy wasn’t that much of a bad idea. Lucky for you in Italy, we have a huge selection of art schools, ranging from architecture schools in all the major cities, some of the best product design school in all of the world, and a great number of interior design schools in Italy.

So, now you’re all ready to hop on the fancy Italian art school train, but you’re still undecided on where to go. The major cities like Florence, Bologna, Venice, Milan and Naples, all have some of the best creative schools in Europe, so you should be looking there, and should be looking on StudentsVille to find your apartment for rent in Italy.

Also, you know about our love for Florence, so just in case go give a look at our Florence Design School list and our more generic university list the Schools in Florence Italy page.

After we looked through a vast number of architecture schools in Italy, interior design universities in Italy, design colleges in Italy, we came to select 6 different schools where you should check out.

Best Art school in Italy

ied

IED

If you’re looking to study design in Italy, IED (Istituto Europeo di Design) is right up your alley. You can find IED in 6 Italian cities: Milan, Florence, Rome, Venice, Turin, and Cagliari. offering a selection of courses such as Design, Fashion, Visual Communication and Management. No doubt considered of the best design schools in Italy.

art school in italy polimoda

Polimoda

Polimoda is one the most internationally renowned Italian fashion schools, you can find Polimoda in Florence, and you’d be amazed by the things you can learn in this fashion hub. So if you’re planning on going to Florence keep Polimoda in mind.

Marangoni

Marangoni is another really important fashion school, the main difference with Polimoda is the international success it has, having its HQ in Milan, but a great number of other locations around the world, such as in Paris, London, Shangai, Shenzhen, Mumbai, Miami, and Florence. One of the best jewellery design schools in Italy, and one of the best fashion schools in the world, Istituto Marangoni is no doubt what you need to look into.

Accademia delle Belle Arti Florence

Founded in1563 by Cosimo I de’ Medici, the Accademia delle Belle Arti di Firenze, has been home and mentor to a lot of artists, from the likes of Michelangelo to Vasari, from Bronzino to Kauffmann. It’s location today is in the square of San Marco, but this isn’t where you’ll find the David, that is the Accademia Gallery, in Via Ricasoli. Great to study interior design in Florence Italy.

Accademia Italiana

Definitely one of the best interior design schools in Italy, the Accademia Italiana has some of the best programs on offer:  Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Interior and Product Design, Jewellery Design, Photography, and New Media. So whatever you need to study in the Arts they’ve got you covered. Keep in mind you’ll find locations in Florence and in Rome, so the possibilities are endless.

The Florence Institute of Design International

One of the newest addition to the academic world, the Florence Institute of Design International was founded in 2008 and is now 10 years old. In here you can find yourself studying programs such as Interior Design, Graphic Design, Art History, and Architecture. Here would be a great place to study architecture in Italy as an International Student.

Italian Phrases for travel: The StudentsVille Dictionary

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italian phrases for travel

Last month we gave you a little easy-to-remember guide with common italian phrases on how to say some basic Italian phrases for travel and words, today we’re gonna do the same, but rather than it being standard essentials we’re gonna talk about how to get on public italian transport and all the things you need to know to ask, basically Italian phrases for travel. Cause not many of you are gonna want to drive while in Italy I’m gonna imagine, but if you want to visit the country you’re gonna need to know how to ask “When is the next train to Milan?” or “Can I have a ticket for the next train to Naples?” and that’s where we come in to help you out with an Italian phrases for travel printable PDF.

 


Italian Phrase for travel

Now we have all the basic travel phrases for tourists, requests, and questions you’ll need to ask a teller, so no worries once you’ve gone through the lot of it you can rock up to any station and ask all these Italian phrases for travel.

Vorrei un biglietto per…

I would like a ticket to

Let’s start with the basics. You’re in the train station and you need to buy a ticket to the beach, let’s say you’re in Florence so you’ll probably be going to Viareggio (the Versilia, Forte dei Marmi), it’s the closet and you know want to get to the shore as quickly as you can ( I know it’s November, but hey it’s good to dream). So get yourself to the Teller and give them a good old “Vorrei un biglietto per Viareggio, grazie” never forget GRAZIE.

Vorrei un posto lato corridoio/lato finestrino

I would like a window/aisle seat

So now you told them about the train you want to get on, but alas the Viareggio train is first come first serve, so let’s change example. You’re in Rome and want to visit beautiful Naples, cause you’ve always dreamt of walking down the streets of such a renown city. Once you ask the previous phrase (changing Viareggio to Napoli) the teller will start typing in all the stuff he needs to, but before it’s too late tell them you want a window (finestrino) or aisle (corridoio) seat, this way you’ll fully enjoy your ride.

Da quale binario parte….?

Where does my train leave from?

Once you have your ticket in hand, with your preferred allocation, you need to find out where your train is, luckily there are screens everywhere telling you on which tracks you’ll find the train you need, but in case you’re getting frustrated, just ask someone where you could find it. Italians are pretty nice people at the end of the day. Now how can you go about doing that, just look for the most expert traveler, usually men and women in business attire are on trains every day (sometimes they aren’t that nice, but it’s not your fault, they probably have a delayed train. It happens a lot) and approach them with a “Mi scusi, da quake binary parte il treno per (put city of your liking)?” pretty easy really.

Quale….va a ….?

Which…goes to…?

Enough about trains (jk you’ll always be on trains if you’re traveling around Italy), this next phrase can be used for any mode of transport except planes really, cause you usually know at what time your flight is. But let’s say you’re in town and need to get on a bus, let’s say you need to get to Duomo. Now as you approach the bus stop or tram stop, you might be a bit overwhelmed by all the people there and might lose track of which bus you’re supposed to take, in this case just ask. Ask “Scusi, quale autobus va a Duomo?”. Yeah, “Scusi” is really important when talking to strangers, it’s a nice formality.

A che ora è il prossimo?

When is the next…?

This is the perfect finisher to that last phrase we just saw. You’ve just asked a kind old lady which bus would take you to Duomo, and she gives you the info you need, but now you’re asking yourself “How am I gonna find out when it gets here?”, you can simply ask her “A che ora è il prossimo?” and bam she’ll probably say “5 minuti” (5 minutes) or “Guardi è in ritardo non glielo so dire, in questo paese tutto è in ritardo che figura ci fanno fare con il resto del mondo” at this just go “eh che ci possiamo fare signora” (that last phrase means “it’s late, everything is late here, we’re making a fool out of ourselves in front of everyone” and your answer means “what are we gonna do about it, ma’am”).

Potrebbe dirmi quando arriviamo a

Could you let me know when we get to…

Now you’ve waited all the time you needed to get on the bus you were looking for, and your mind is still spinning because of the history of late trains and buses the lady has been on and you need a moment to compose yourself, but you realise “wait a minute when do I get off?”. There are two ways to ask this one would be “Quale è la fermata per Duomo?” meaning “Which one is the stop for Duomo” or you can ask the driver “Potrebbe dirmi quando arriviamo a Duomo?” meaning “Could you please let me know when we get to Duomo?” and if you’re lucky enough the driver will be really nice and tell you to wait next to the seat and tell you when to get off.

Devo andare in

I need to go to 

Enough of Public Transport, it’s time to treat yourself to a TAXI (I TAXI SONO QUIIIIII I TAXI SONO QUIIII, that’s a Jersey Shore reference, cause they were in Florence while I lived there and wanted to die a bit inside cause I’m from NJ myself). Anyway you hop on your cab and let’s say you need to go to “Via de Benci 30” (I have no idea what’s there, but Via de’ Benci is where all the pubs are in Santa Croce) so you get on the Taxi and ask the driver “Devo andare in Via de’ Benci 30, Grazie” and you know what I’m gonna add a bonus, cause maybe you don’t have cash and want to pay by card, always ask before, cause it’s a pretty new thing in some cities, in that case before you get in, remember BEFORE YOU GET IN, ask the driver, “Scusi is può pagare con la carta?” and depending on his answer get on or ask another one.

Vorrei noleggiare un auto

I’d like to rent a car

Well I did assume that you didn’t want to drive around Italy, but hey you never know, just in case it’s good to know how to ask about renting a car, to your hotel, an info point and so on. Even though in many cases these places do have English Speakers, it’s nice to know how to speak the local language, so to ask drop a “Vorrei noleggiare un auto” and whoever is on the other side will give you all the info you need.

Renaissance Art History in Florence

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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 (discover more about cultural life in Florence) . Grab your walking shoes and an espresso, and get ready to explore!

I remember sitting in my first ever art history course ( read more about the complete list of art schools in Florence) 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. 

What Museum to visit in Florence?

 

church of santa maria novella

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.

the trinity by Masaccio

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.

the crucifix by Giotto

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.

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.

michelangelos

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. 

The Uffizi Gallery 

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 Uffizi Gallery in Florence dedicated to this massive museum:

Map of the city of Florence

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

3 Cities, 1 Weekend

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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

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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

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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!