Living In Florence: 10 Things I Learned From The Italians

As most of you have known, I am currently taking up my Master's Degree here in Florence, Italy. I was supposed to make this post a few months ago but I just kept on postponing it. Eventually, I forgot about it. I've been living in Florence for months now! So, here are some of the things that I've noticed during my stay.

1. Not all speak English
When I arrived in Florence, I went to my temporary accommodation via taxi, dropped my bags, and went straight to school. After my classes, I took the bus. I was depending on my saved Google maps to know which bus to ride since I have yet to buy a sim card. For some reason, the app stopped working and I didn't know where to go next. I showed my destination to a person near me but she didn't know any English. However, she and the bus driver talked and tried to help me. We communicated using hand gestures and I eventually understood them. I finally knew what to ride next. Luckily, they were very helpful despite the language barrier.

2. Shopping
Before Florence, I've never traveled to other countries outside Asia. So, when I was doing my groceries and was about to check out, I noticed that the customers have packed their own groceries. When I went to buy some clothes at some shops, I paid for my paper bag. I personally like this one because you get to minimize the use of plastic and you also get to help the cashier.

3. Dining out
When you eat inside the restaurant, you have to pay a "cover fee" of 2 Euros per person. I think this is okay considering that they don't really expect you to give tips. 

4. Italians are very expressive
When I first heard Italians talk to each other, I noticed that when they speak, they are like singing! They connect most of the words together and they use hand gestures when they talk. A lot. PDA(public display of affection) is also very common everywhere, I mean everywhere! I was shocked at first when I saw a couple kissing passionately on the street, but then I got used to it. They are not afraid to show their true feelings. Whether it's getting angry, crying, or showing affection, Italians are very emotional.

5. Walking
There's a lot of walking. Really, a lot. And I love it! Coming from a city where there are almost no sidewalks and people use cars or public transportation to transfer from place to place, living in the heart of Florence is definitely a good place to start walking! I don't mind the cobbled stones everywhere, I like how it looks romantic and old.

6. Pizza
When I ordered my first legit Italian Pizza, I was confused at why it wasn't sliced. At first I thought they have forgotten to slice it. However, on my second time ordering pizza, it was still not sliced! I then knew from a culinary student that most Italians prefer their pizza not sliced. Again, they want to enjoy their food which also means slicing the pizza on their own.

7. Operating hours of shops & restaurants
The only establishment that is surely open for 24/7 in Florence is Mc Donald's near the S.M.N. station! Aside from it, everything closes early. The shops closes around 8 - 9pm, the restaurants around 11 - 12 m.n., the drinking pubs around 2 a.m., and the clubs around 4 a.m.. Also, it's common for some establishments to close on Sundays too! So always check the operating hours of the places that you will go before going there if you are not sure if they're open or not.

8. They are very chic
I don't know why but they have this aura of being so tasteful. Maybe it's the way they dress or the way they move. They just exude so much style.
Looking at them made me rethink my wardrobe too. ;p


9. Parking
Never in my life have I seen someone park their car bumper to bumper. Their parking skills are just crazy! Once, I saw some driver already touch the bumper while parking! I guess it's normal for them to slightly touch their bumper while doing parallel parking.

10. Italians Are Friendly
I have encountered quite a lot of random conversations with different locals. They first talk to me in Italian. When they realize that I was a foreigner, they will try to talk to me in English. My favorite one was Gloria. She was a lovely lady, around 80 years old, who speaks English fluently. I met her at Ponte Vecchio. She saw that I was trying to take a photo of myself and then offered to take my photo. She told me a small history about the bridge. I think our conversation lasted for about 30 minutes. It was the longest one I had with someone that I met randomly.

Another one that I will never forget is when I was walking alone during night time around Ponte Vecchio. Florence is usually full of tourist and people but that night was different. It was very peaceful. Until one man, around 60's, talked to me and said, "Florence is beautiful tonight. There are less people around." I agreed. When he left, I then realized that I already met him before. However, I'm not sure if he remembered. Next time if I'll see him, I'll surely ask for his name.


Compared to where I come from, living in Florence is so different. During the first few weeks, I was having a hard time adapting to everything especially with the language. Now, I've finally adjusted and adapted to their way of living. I know there is so much to learn from them. I'm trying my best enjoy every moment here :)

Buona giornata a tutti! :)



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-Sophia