My first month in Florence has been an exciting, fun, and unforgettable learning experience. Adjusting to the new culture has of course been a challenge, but I feel more acclimated to this lifestyle each and every day. My favorite study abroad experience thus far has definitely been having the chance to taste all of the different cuisine. I love that I have tried so many new things, such as tripe and lampredotto. My roommates and I have learned to make delicious meals in our apartment during the week so we can save money and venture out to restaurants on weekends. Some dishes that I have loved so far are spaghetti alla bolognese from Trattoria Anita, pear ravioli from Ristorante Quattro Leoni, pizza margherita from Gusta Pizza, any type of panino from Antico Vinaio, and spaghetti alla carbonara from Trattoria Dante. I have also successfully made spaghetti with clams, and farfalle with tomatoes, pine nuts, and meatballs in my apartment. Along with the amazing food here in Florence, I really enjoy the dining experience as well. This culture allows for a relaxing slow-paced meal. This leaves me the time to really enjoy the food and make great memories with all of the amazing people I have met from ISI Florence!
Samantha Faragalli, University of Connecticut
Before coming to Italy I dreamt of the delicious pizzas, pasta, and wines I would consume while studying abroad. But I did not realize there would be so many aspects of Italian dining that would come to me as a shock. For example, I heard about wonderful paninis that students enjoyed in between classes. But what I did not realize, were the types of meats generally offered at these Panini shops: prosciutto, ham, salami, and anything else salty deriving from a pig. Wait a minute… where is “chicken cutlet” on that list? I always got chicken cutlet sandwiches at the Italian deli near my house in New Jersey. Little did I know, chicken cutlets are not very common here in Italy. Growing up in a Jewish home, I was not brought up eating these traditional Italian meats. My family certainly did not keep kosher (chicken parmesan and cheese burgers were a staple in my household); however my mom never bought things like prosciutto and salami. When I find a panini shop in Florence offering turkey I know two things: that I am going to find a sandwich I like here, and that this is probably not an authentic Italian place. It is my hope that I will learn to love and embrace Italian meats so I can fully submerse myself in the Italian culture. Until then, I’ll take a turkey Panini with mozzarella, tomatoes, and pesto.
Rachel Dobin, University of Connecticut