“When coming to Italy it might sound exciting to cram in as many cities, sites, and experiences as possible. It’s not as good of an idea as it sounds. You’ll end up making yourself cranky and exhausted which will taint your view. Pick a few major cities and spend a lot of time in each one. Go to see an opera, have a nice relaxing dinner, sit outside and have a long, long coffee. Italy isn’t a place to speed visit, your best bet is to come here to relax, as the locals do.”
Is Italy Dangerous? No. Compared to the United States it is extremely safe. Yes, sometimes people steal bags (as they do in New York) so just keep your hand on it. You’ll be fine.
What To Do In Florence To Be A Local
- Rent a bike and ride it everywhere you go for the duration of your stay. You’ll see more, and you’ll be making your way around like the locals do.
- Go to Piazza Ambrosia, Piazza Santa Spirito around 10-11 p.m. to take a drink outside. On the weekends the piazza will always be full of locals drinking and chatting.
- Have aperitivo around 8 p.m. at Kitch (via san gallo) or most bars in Florence. You’ll get an alcoholic beverage and food for around 7 euros. For an Italian this is not dinner, rather a pre-dinner drink and snack.
- Go to the top floor of the library and drink a coffee while admiring the view of the city.
- If you’re young and/or hip go to Flog on Friday or Saturday night for a live concert or dancing.
- If you’re young and want to dance and be pestered by really aggressive eastern european men, go to Blob around 1 a.m. The place is also full of Americans studying in Florence, and Local Italians.
Tip # 2
Dealing with Men. Are men more aggressive? In Tuscany, no, in fact Tuscan men are pansies in general. They might cat-call but if you ignore them or tell them to knock it off they usually will stop. However, you won’t know how to tell the difference where people are from and people are more aggressive towards women in some countries. Often times, men lie about where they are from if they come from a country with a bad stereotype. For example, Albanian and Morrocan men often claim to be Italian to avoid prejudice. Now, stereotypes are stupid, and not usually true, however, culturally, some places are just more aggressive than American culture and some of the Eastern European countries are like that. Just be smart. Be stern and use a simple, “No.” And don’t nervously giggle when you do that. It comes off as flirty here and nobody will take you seriously. European women are more outwardly bitchy than most American women, so take it as a green light to turn around and give a nasty look and say, “no.” Subtlety will get you nowhere here my friends. Also, don’t be stupid. Don’t go off alone with men in any country EVER. That is how women get raped. Just don’t do it. Yes, Italy is safe, but it isn’t full of saints and stupid behavior is dangerous wherever you are in the world. Just to give you an idea: 90% of the rapes in Florence are eastern European men raping American women. Why? The girls get wasted, are not paying attention, and end up hanging out with guys who are not good people. Just don’t.
Things That Every Student Should Do At Least Once
by Jonathan Fasano
Ride a bicycle through the cobblestone streets and bypass all of the tourists.
Soak up the sun outside of a cafe and watch the people go by.
Walk behind two old men walking arm in arm, arguing in Italian.
Eat mixed seafood appetizers on the great lawn of a piazza.
Get on a train and enjoy the ride. Don’t worry about where you’ll end up. Relish the landscape and let go of all your worries.
Discover a midnight bakery and remember how to get back. (Remember to be silent so they don’t get fined).
Go to a Gay Club (YAG) with your friends and don’t be afraid to show that fancy footwork.