I have lived here for a good two months now, so I thought I would write a little bit about what I wished I knew before i moved here. Enjoy!
1. The mosquitoes are vicious.
The mosquitoes here are quite vicious indeed. This is something I never expected as every night the mosquitoes feasted on every inch of my skin. You will be a delicacy, a pure delight to these mosquitoes who sneak into your room every night and prepare to do some damage.
The results are itchy skin, giant swollen bites where the mosquitoes have been, and in some cases, drawn blood.
So in addition to your Vape which you will purchase, buy some mosquito repellent and some soothing cream for those bites!
2. It gets very very hot.
Italian weather does not play around. The weather in the summer and early autumn can get extremely hot, drying, and somewhat unbearable. Don’t think that just because you are a student and you will live here that you don’t need a straw hat. Do yourself a favour and get one, together with high factor sunscreen and some sleeved shirts!
3. Don’t wear patterns. You will stand out, a lot.
Italian fashion is very understated. Its what I would call laid back, casual chic. Like what a professional would wear at the weekend. It consists of many blacks, cool crisp whites, and solid pale colours. I arrived in brightly coloured, patterned tops and definitely stood out. Later on I got a white T-shirt, some shirts, and some darker coloured scarves and began to blend in better and felt happier! So think, plain, relaxed casual. Its not as boring as it appears promise!
4. Try to learn the language before hand.
I confess I was given this tip. I read on another blog (survivinginitaly.com) to LEARN THE LANGUAGE as soon as you know you will be coming. I did not listen. I wanted the fresh, raw experience. I wanted to learn from scratch, see how much I could assimilate, pick things up, ya know?
But no. You just end up lost, not knowing how to say “where are the blueberries” or, “which bus goes to my home address”. I would advise to listen to some italian language podcasts. And try to practice practice practice!
5. Transport system is confusing in Florence.
As alluded to above, the transport system is a little confusing. The buses are so small (to fit those cute italian streets), the paying system is strange (buy a paper ticket and validate), there is basically no sitting room in the buses (they are made for tightly packing lots of people in the morning rush hour.
Further, its not a simple cross the street to go in the opposite direction. The same bus will run in completely different routes, and you must pray to find the right bus to go somewhere! Finally, buses stop running at around 10pm. Too early for this big city girl!
6. You will walk everywhere. Including the 2/3/4 flights to your apartment door.
You will walk everywhere, and those cobble stones will destroy your shoes. If you do not get a bus pass, you will likely walk 45 minutes to the train station. 20 minutes to your school. 15 minutes to the supermarket. And you will walk up a lot of stairs. And you will walk up hills.
Prepare to walk.
7. There will possibly be no microwave
Food culture is very different here. It is purer, it is cleaner, it is much healthier. Prepare for no radiation from microwaves (which I quite like actually), as my apartment did not come with one.
This will mean your food will be freshly cooked, but it will also mean you cannot reheat something ‘real quick’. You have to start from scratch or use the oven.
8. Food shopping will be an interesting experience
Going food shopping will be disorientating. You will have to figure out the names of your favourite foods. You will have to find oats (quite rare). You will have to find onions. You will thank God for your sight because it will help you in figuring out what is what.
9. The sunshine is amazing
Not all negative of course! We must come to a close on a positive note. The views in florence are amazing. The beautiful yellow sunlight is shocking to the eyes. Certainly a shock to mine which are used to the bleak, bluey grey London smog. The light will stream into your eyes and clear out the cobwebs. Its truly breathtaking seeing how it dances and reflects off the buildings.
10. The Italian language is more beautiful than you ever thought.
The Italian language is beautiful and romantic. Its like a melody every day. I love words such as ‘Ragazzi’- or its shortened form ‘Raga’, ‘liberta’, ‘Va bene’.
Its a beautiful language and you will enjoy the process as you start to pick up some words and understand.
Good luck! If you have lived here, any tips to give??
Bye for now!