Wow. I’m in Italy! Scandicci, to be exact. Traveling went smoothly yesterday and I am settling in nicely here at the villa. It was quite the long day of flying, but we made it to the villa around 8:30 last night and had a wonderful pasta dinner awaiting us–pasta, turkey, green beans, carrots, bread…buon appetito indeed! The picture posted here is the view from the terrace of the villa; I think I can get used to this view for the next couple of months!
Breakfast was at 8 this morning before some orientation information. We met the mayor of Scandicci and had a nice lunch (lunch is generally the largest meal) before making our first trek down the infamous hill to the bus stop. From there we hopped a tram into Florence where we visited an artisan market. My stick figure drawings don’t hold a candle to what I saw today. From chiseled metal, to jewelry made from flowers, to slippers made of material and bicycle tires, to woven baskets, to 3D printed bow-ties (you read that correctly, they are hard as a rock plastic, 50 euro, and incredibly cool), the artisan market was a nice preview to Italian culture. I was able to try cheeses, honey, jams, and biscotti and it is safe to say that I am a fan of all three. I have not ventured into a gelateria yet, but have no doubt that I will be frequenting one soon. The artisan market was held in the gardens of the countess, and we were able to talk to her as she was milling about the market. Her English was stellar, and she advised us that to peruse the market as if in a museum, walking by and constantly checking our watches (her words, not mine) was to put the market to shame. Talking to the owners at their booths, learning their skill and asking them how things are made was an experience I value greatly–I’m sure there are many more of such experiences to come! We walked through different squares, all marked with beautiful architecture, and ended our Florence walk outside the Duomo. Despite the rain we walked through for the majority of the day, the Florence walk has me falling in love with this city already!
Opting out of an evening to explore Florence, I came back to the villa early for dinner and some much needed rest. Jet lag is in full swing, but I wanted to write out my thoughts and experiences before they are lost to slumber. I may not know what day it is right now, but as Robbie challenged us at orientation, I have tried to aggressively seek beauty in today, and I was not disappointed. I look forward to the adventures to come and hope to share them with you all, hopefully more fluently than my wording today. Ciao for now!