I always dreamed to study abroad before. My parents never allowed me to do that. When I entered university I was lucky to start to learn a new language – Italian. English I knew since going to school. So Italian was a new experience for me. Starting learning this language I dreamed to go to Italy. So I decided to take a summer school there and told about my idea to parents. They agreed, and I was very happy. I also talked to my groupmates and two girls about the idea and they decided to go with me. So we started to search for a good summer school. Now I’ll tell you my story!🤩🤪
It was my second year at the university.
We found a summer school in Florence. We paid for it and bought tickets to go to Italy. We also booked an apartment, that was very close to the main square of the city. When I first came to Florence, I was very happy and amazed by this city. Since that it has become my favorite Italian city. We stayed there for 2 weeks. We were happy that we took an apartment because living in an apartment you feel the real Italian life. Our summer school was perfect. We took only three-hour lessons a day, in order to be available to see interesting places and travel on the weekends.
We had real fun at summer school and I started to speak better after it. All students were friendly and kind. We played many games and after lessons were going for a walk in the city.
What did I learn about life in Florence?
1. Keep your wallets with you. I lost mine on the main square. It is a very popular thing there, so they even don’t be surprised when it happens. But I was very sad because I lost my wallet and money.
2. You can find more fashionable things in the local Italian shops in the narrow streets rather than in luxury brands. They are small and cool and the prices there are really good.
3. If you are a Russian speaker there are a lot of good Russian-speaking guides that will help you with information about the city. We found a very nice and pretty woman that walked with us and told us a lot of information about the history of the city.
4. The most delicious ice cream in Florence is near Ponte Vecchio. There you will find a lot of flavors and they have the best taste ever! Prices are equal everywhere.
5. Get out of the historic center of Florence. Besides historic places, you will find amazing small squares, shops, art galleries, and other interesting things in the narrow streets.
6. Florence has plenty of open Wi-Fi networks, as the Italians are quite tech-savvy. Get access to one hour of free internet (only if you’re using an Italian phone) in the city center! Many restaurants and cafes also encourage the use of Wi-Fi.
7. If you come to Florence then visit the opera! There are a lot of shows every day, so you can book online for any you wish!
8. The birthplace of the Renaissance is best explored on foot because you can get from one end of the city to the other in thirty minutes while having plenty of time to amble about and discover the little things which make Florence special – the quaint narrow inner roads, the festive marketplace, stunning medieval architecture, and churches with beautiful frescoes by the roadside.
9. In Florence, it’s routine to call the Taxi operators and request cabs instead of hailing them off the street. As always, taxi prices are steep, so be prudent and use them as a last resort.
10. Avoid those restaurants in the city center, which are teeming with tourists. To sample the most traditional Italian cuisine enjoyed by the locals, you’ll have to move to areas away from the historical center. Why it’s a great idea to befriend some locals and get their suggestions too! A good glass of wine with a sumptuous meal is absolute solace to the stomach!
11. In Florence, don’t be surprised to see bars thronging with huge crowds early on in the day because here, even the coffee shops are called ‘bar’ here. If you plan on drinking coffee, head to the nearest bar!
12. There are several walled, picturesque gardens in Florence with intriguing art installments. If you have some time to spare, embark on a leisurely stroll around these gardens and make a picnic out of it.
13. Most museums are closed on Mondays, making the weekends super crowded! So be ready!
14. And the last thing I learned in Florence is about the time for cappuccio. I had a little bar under my apartment and when I came at 12 and asked for a cappuccio the woman laughed and told me that Italians drink cappuccio until 12, after that they drink only espresso🤪
Now let’s turn to Milan city.
My university sent me to practice for one month there. I was again happy. They booked an apartment near the river Navigli. It was a lovely district with a lot of bars and pubs around. Our school was very close to the apartment, so it was very easy to reach it.
Now let’s see tips for Milan🤪
1. If you are coming to Milan in July and staying near Navigli be ready for mosquitos!! They are called tigers. If you are allergic then keep your body! I had an allergy and my all leg became very big. One woman helped me, she gave me salve, and then I came back to my normal life🥳
2. If you want a coffee with milk, make sure you order a cappuccino (more foam) or caffé latte (less foam), a caffé macchiato (espresso with a little milk), or a latte macchiato (hot milk with little coffee) instead of just a “latte” – or you’ll only get a glass of milk. If you just want an espresso, order “un caffé” to avoid strange looks.
3. Though several of the major sights you’ll want to see will be around the Duomo area, for a cooler nightlife experience, venture out to some of the more local haunts in such neighborhoods as Isola, Porta Venezia, or Navigli. You’ll get away from some of the tourists, save money and likely have more fun.
4. On the first Sunday of each month, all of Milan’s civic museums – including Museo del Novecento, Sforza Castle museums, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Casa Museo Boschi di Stefano, and MUDEC, among others – offer free admission.
5. Even if you’re not a huge opera-lover, catching a performance at Teatro Alla Scala is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The problem is, not only are tickets super-pricey, but they sell out months and months in advance. However, if you visit the box office an hour before a show starts, any leftover or returned tickets are sold at a 25% discount – perhaps not cheap, but definitely worth the splurge.
6. Enjoy aperitivo in one of the bars. As we lived near Navigli there were numerous bars around. There is a happy hour in the bar where there are a buffet and one drink for only 10 or 11 euro. So don’t miss the chance!🤩
7. Most of the restaurants and cafés in Milan will have an umbrella stand available for you upon entry, which says a lot about the weather here. It can quickly turn from a blue-sky day to a rainy, drizzly afternoon with little warning. So it’s a good idea to keep a small, foldable umbrella handy with you when you’re out and about.
My practice was the best there! All students were friendly and we became friends. We always went to bars together and spent a beautiful time!
So that’s why I love Italy and its language and its culture!❤️
Thanks for reading me!