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!

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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!