Sunday, April 7, 2013

Florentine Favorites: Corinne's Top 3

First off, if you are reading this, thank you.  This past weekend several people told me they read my blog post, and I was so flattered and slightly embarrassed.  I guess I don't realize that people actually read my writing, and it's such a compliment.  I hope my short episodes have gave you some insight into my life/point of view, and if not the insight, then some humor.

After reading over my last post, I felt it sort of had a bitter, cynical tone towards Italy.  That's not at all what I was going for and I truly do love Italian culture.  Sure, I disagree with a lot of style decisions, moral decisions, and overall everyday decisions, but that's life.

Overall, the culture is fascinating.  So different than the United States and I think I just love the United States because it's home.  It's where I was raised; I love it there.  But here is an experience.  I not only had to learn how to deal with no Chipotle, no close friends, no JMU, but the language barrier was a huge obstacle. Along with the language barrier, there's a social barrier. It is hard to get to know anyone Italian.  So I really learned how to be independent here, which is a big step.  And through this process I found so many special surprises that I will miss everyday.  Most of these things are so small and insignificant; but that's what makes up the experience for me.  These little places; moments; foods, this is what Italy is to me. What makes this place special.

So here it is; my top 3 for Florence (not in any specific order):

1. My walk to school.  Honestly, I didn't research Florence too much and I definitely didn't research where I would be living. I knew I was close to Gucci, which gave me some joy, although I knew I would never enter the store.  After being here I realize, those stores are fun to gaze into, but add no real beauty to Florence.  Crossing any of the bridges on the other hand.  It's like a postcard.  And I was lucky enough to have a bridge to cross on my short walk to school.  The view is amazing.  After a while I got used to it, but only recently, when I realized I'm leaving, have I truly began to appreciate the view again. sigh.

2. Osteria Santo Spirito- Spicy Garlic Pasta.  I love food, if you have been following this blog at all you would definitely know this.  Approaching Osteria Santo Spirito, you would never expect it to have the best food in Florence.  The exterior is quaint, with an outdoor seating area (lit with tiny string light bulbs), the interior is small and painted a deep red so it always looks dark but warm.  The first time I went, I ordered the cheapest dish (typical college student), the spicy garlic pasta.  When the food finally arrived, I was overwhelmed with the size of the dish.  The plate itself is a gorgeous multicolored platter, with a pile of pasta: tons on olive oil, red pepper, oregano, and whole cloves of garlic.  The simplicity of the meal makes it perfect.  When the dish comes out you think, there's no way I can finish this, well you're wrong.  Perfection.

3. My little paradise: Aka a bench I found on the way to the Michelangelo.  On one of my warmer runs to the Michelangelo, I decided to take a little detour down a random street before the summit up to the top of the city (aka I needed a breather).  I was pleasantly surprised to find a single bench, sitting in a small grassy courtyard.  The bench lies against the ancient walls of Florence that still surround much of the city.  The first time I saw it, I knew it was special.  I know that sounds silly, but the bench sits perfectly in the sunlight, barely anyone knows where it is, and it's surrounded by grass which is a rarity in Florence.  Sometimes people watching is fun; but sometimes you just want to be away from it all.  This little bench provided that for me: a place to rest, read, tan, and more importantly escape from the busyness of Florence and of my life.  I love that bench.

I hope you enjoyed reading this.  The small things make a big difference.


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