Fiesole Italy: What kind of Tourist Are You? By Alycia Oliver

When travellers are looking to come to Italy the first on their mind is Florence, Rome, Venice, Milan and maybe the Amalfi Coast. There are many hidden gems in Italy and Fiesole is most definitely one of them. The biggest benefit about Fiesole is that you can stay in the heart of Florence and take just a short 20 min bus ride up the hill to the magical countryside. If you are interested in taking this bus you must get on the number 7, which stops at the Santa Maria Novella railway station and Piazza San Marco.

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First of all, I would like to ask you what type of traveller are you? You may be surprised to know that in fact there are different types of travelers. Here are your options:

  1. Organized Mass Tourist. This is the least adventurous of the bunch. You like you remain within the tourist bubble, and use the itinerary fixed by the tour operators and attend trips out of the complex and organized tours. This is the easy route that most families take if they have a lot of children they are traveling with.
  2. Individual Mass Tourist. These tourist also use facilities made available by tour operators but exercise greater control over their own itinerary. They will typically serve their hotel as a base and arrange private tours or hire a ca for further trips.
  3. Explorer. An attempt to get off the beaten track and experience new places is the main goal. They make their own travel accommodation arrangements and really enjoy experiencing new things.
  4. Drifter. These travellers scorn the tourist bubble and shun contact with mass tourism. They want to immerse themselves directly into the culture and seek for the local spots in their destination. They Actively seek new destinations and are prepared to take risks in experiencing new cultures and places.

I urge you not to be an organized mass tourist, work your way down the ladder and be comfortable with exploring new places! Typically, explorers and drifter tourists will populate Fiesole, as it is not as well known as other larger cities in Italy. Little do most people know Fiesole was an active community before Florence was, with very unique rules! It was said that the women had just as many rights as the men (at this day in age that was very unusual). They could go to the bank, pay for things, work just as hard, and sometimes the men even took care of the children while the women went out hunting for food.  All Florentine history originates in the hills of Fiesole.

This small town in the Tuscany region overlooks the entire city of Florence and was conquered by the romans in the III century BC. In 405 BC everything turned to chaos when the Stillcone defeated the Goths. The reason why this location was so valuable is because it was far enough way from the Arno River, the main form of transportation at the time. This would allow villagers to have a warning when any danger was near. The Ertuscan’s populated Fiesole and many of the remains are still present. With only an 8 euro ticket you are able to see the roman baths, the remains of the roman Etruscan temple, as well as the magnificent theater. What is really special is, to this day you are able to watch classic shows and operas in the roman theater! The capacity is up to around 3000 people. Some of it has been preserved however there are parts that are still untouched.

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Fiesole is small enough to do in a day trip. Here are the main attractions I would jot down to see!

-The Etruscan wall

-Roman baths

-Roman Temple

-Parco Della Rimembranza (best place to enjoy the view)

-Cathedral of Fiesole

-Antique markets (only happen once a month!)

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This list does not include the several points you can enjoy a glass of wine while taking in the view. There are also a couple very beautiful restaurants on the hill tops with the most amazing pasta you will ever taste!  Hopefully this has inspired you to go to the roots of Florence and experience history first hand! Happy travels!

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Florence at it’s finest By Alycia Oliver

Firenze, Firenze, Firenze! This beautiful, romantic city is the only place I wanted to be this summer. A spontaneous trip from Canada to Italy has begun my summer with great people and great food (to say the least!). I am a student traveling with Global Experiences, a program that organizes Italian classes as well as internships. The Italian classes were challenging but rewarding once I was able to converse with others in the bar and shoo away unwanted strangers (girls, be cautious as men don’t know the meaning of no). After three weeks of classes I feel fortunate to be an intern at When In Florence, an advanced student services company. The friendly staff is able to help all tourists with almost anything that is needed during their stay.226175352_dae1a0d6ff_z Since being in Florence I have explored almost all routes and side streets that are lined with restaurants and shops. A piece of advice for all travellers- don’t stick to the main roads, the most unique places are hidden!

For all the girls out there, if we share a common interest in shopping the San Lorenzo Markets is where you should get your new handbag, wallet, coin purse and other leather goods. Since there are hundreds of stands around the city, there are a few things you must look out for, the Firenze sign engraving and the delicious smell of fresh leather. Additionally, the Santa Croce area and side street around the Duomo have affordable shops for students.  If you are looking for something a little more pricey shopping near Piazza Della Republica is your best bet. Happy shopping travellers! On another note, there is never a dull moment in Florence.1010910_10151638990702141_10201237_n Not feeling a club or bar? Don’t feel like staying in? As I am one of the most indecisive girls on the planet I always face the problem of what I should do. When in doubt, grab a bottle of wine from any store (or even stands on the road) and head to one of the several bridges crossing the Arno River. I can guarantee you a beautiful sunset, a great crowd and many talented musicians.

Last but definitely not least, travellers you must keep traveling! There are several stunning locations around Florence perfect for day trips as well as weekend trips. A few close cities are Lucca, Sienna, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Venice and Rome. Some places worth going for a weekend include: the Amalfi Coast, Croatia, Greece, Naples, and Sicily. There are several companies that will take students on these trips for very affordable prices, including When In Florence. I highly suggest taking some of these trips as you will not waste time getting lost in a foreign city and will be able to see everything you need in a short period of time. While enjoying every minute, take every opportunity that gets thrown your way and be open to the different culture and new people you stumble across. With this in mind we will share a similar experience, simply the best trip of your life!

Top 10 Attractions for Young Adults in Florence By Alycia Oliver

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Florence is a city full of character and personality. As you walk down the narrow streets each one is more interesting then the next. This lively city is a great place for students to visit for a weekend or even to study for a long period of time. The following lists the top ten places to go to, ranging from sights to nightlife to restaurants including links to find tickets. These are listed in random order, so if you do not have time for all pick what interests you the most!

The Duomo

The Duomo

1)Piazza Del Duomo- The Duomo is one of the most popular sights to see in Florence, once you see it you will understand why. It’s large, intricate exterior is breath taking and its beauty continues to the interior. If you are up for it hike the Duomo’s 414 steps to the top to see Florence from a different angle- it is truly spectacular!

2) Piazzale Michaelangelo- A small hike to the top of this hill will get you an incomparable view of Florence. It is easy to purchase wine, champagne and beer once you reach the top as a reward. Enjoy a drink while listening to the street performers and watching the sun set over the city of Florence. If you care to go dancing after, Flo, an outdoor seasonal club, is nearby.

3) The Secret Bakeries- Most of these wholesale bakeries are only open for the night owls and partygoers. Some are difficult to find however asking a few locals they should be able to direct you in the right way. One is located on via Canto Rivolto 2, an alleyway behind busy via De’ Benci. The cheap freshly baked goods should satisfy all cravings.

San Lorenzo Market

San Lorenzo Market

4) San Lorenzo Market- Italy is known for their high quality leather. There are blocks upon blocks of leather goods and jewelry to keep you occupied for hours. Watch out for pick pocketer’s and be sure to bargain!

5) Ponte Vecchio- This is the oldest bridge in Florence which usually covers the face of postcards. It is lined with a variety of jewelry shops that have been there for hundreds of years! At sunset, street musicians play on the middle of the bridge while people gather around sipping on pre-bought bottles of wine. Just below the bridge there is a grassy area along the river where you can relax, away from all the traffic.

6) Piazza Santo Spirito- If you want to find a place farther away from tourists and closer to the local life, this is the place to be. This Piazza has several cafes, restaurants and bars to keep you occupied.

Parco Piscine le Pavoniere

Parco Piscine le Pavoniere

7) Parco Piscine le Pavoniere– In the months of summer Florence can get scorching hot. This is the best place to cool down and relax poolside. It can get very busy as it is the largest pool with a restaurant and café on location. During after hours the pool turns into a bar!

8) Gusta Pizza- For all the pizza- lovers out there, this place is a must! With the best quality and reasonable prices this pizza spot has claimed a title for one of the best pizza places in Florence. If you’re lucky the chef may even make your pizza into a heart for you!

9) Grom Gelato– Italian gelato is something you cannot leave Italy without tasting. This is a competitive industry in Florence and you will have no problem finding a gelato place within a one-block radius. However, if you want the best quality go to Grom. The service is great and there is a very large selection of flavors.

10) Hotel Cavour Rooftop Bar- This roof top bar is the nicest in the city! A great selection of drinks and an even better view! This place is something a bit more laid back then the typical bar or club scene in Florence.

If you want to see Florence in a day, this is also possible although be prepared to do a lot of walking! There are several companies that can guide you through the cities main attractions, such as When In Florence. You have several options, you can go by Foot, Bike, Vespa and even by Boat!

Salvatore Ferragamo: A love story based on Shoes – by Ségolène Guitton

For those of you who have never heard of Salvatore Ferragamo or know little of him, here is a biography of someone who went on to become one of the world’s most famous shoe designer.
Salvatore Ferragamo was born on June 28th 1898 in Bonito, a small commune in the south of Italy. At the young age of 9, Ferragamo made his first pair of shoes for one of his sisters to wear for her confirmation, and as he grew older it became clear to him that he had found his calling. After a couple of years, Ferragamo decided to go to Naples to study shoe-making and after a little while he decided to open a shop based out of his parent’s home. However, soon after Ferragamo decided to emigrate to the United States to pursue his career in the shoe-making business – he moved to California and after opening a shop for shoe repair and made-to-fit shoes he found success among celebrities of the day and designing footwear for the cinema industry. Although, Ferragamo found success among this glamorous industry, he remained unsatisfied to the fact that although his shoes were atheistically pleasing they were painful to the foot itself. Following his instinct, Ferragamo decided to study anatomy and went on to enroll at the University of Southern California. In 1927, Ferragamo returned to Italy but this time he decided to settle in Florence and open a workshop while concentrating on the science of shoe-making. Ferragamo’s success grew bigger everyday and during the 1950s, he ended up expanding to a fully staffed work crew of around 700 expert artisans that produced 350 pairs of handmade shoes a day. Ferragamo died in 1960 at the age of 62, leaving behind his wife Wanda and 6 children who eventually went on to run the Ferragamo company. The company went on to expand its operation by including luxury handbags, eye-wear, watches, perfumes and a ready-to-wear clothing line.
The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum situated Via dei Torbabuoni has opened its door since June 20th to an exhibition paying homage to Marilyn Monroe. You may ask what is the connection between an internationally renowned shoe designer and a famous starlet from the fifties? Well, as Salvatore Ferragamo’s success increased, he started to design shoes for some of the wealthiest and most powerful women of the century and this is how Ferragamo started a great friendship with Marilyn Monroe. As Monroe’s acting and modeling career took off, she needed more and more pairs of shoes to attend various events, and this is how Marilyn Monroe went on to become one of Ferragamo’s most loyal customer as well being credited for the inspiration of Ferragamo’s famous four-inch heel pumps.
If you are hungry for anything fashion related, I would urge you to check out the exhibition before its closing date which is quickly approaching.
The Marilyn Monroe exhibition is set to run until January 28th, 2013 and the entrance fee is 5€.

For more information on current events and upcoming exhibitions please visit www.museoferragamo.it