Observations of Florence

1) Michelangelo was 5’2 and ugly 

2) Italian guys, and immigrants who pretend they are Italian, hit on American girls. I’ve never seen an American guy talk to an Italian girl. 

3) Florentines are dependent on buses. In the two months I’ve been here I’ve only been checked for a bus pass once. The rest of the people on the bus fled. 

4) Florence is a walking friendly city, but your feet start to hurt from the uneven cobble stone. 

5) The unemployment rate is higher than the US (10-11% I think?) 

6) Younger people are hesitant to work and “unmotivated”. They are more interested in living and having a good time. Sounds like Portland. 

7) Food is given a lot of love and thought- fewer chemical reserves, more fresh. 

8) Olive oil 

9) Tourists!!! 

10) There are reasonable student prices for lunch 

11) All clothing is “50-90% off!” but still incredibly expensive! Nice anchoring strategy. 

12) It is uncommon to take clothes or items off the shelves of stores unless you ask for permission first 

13) It is uncommon to munch or eat on the street unless you are a tourist 

14) There doesn’t seem to be any laws in Florence… 

15) Clay Abraham’s “No Entrance” signs are illegal, but no one cares because they are cool. 

16) All bridges were destroyed in World War II except for Ponte Vecchio which was built in the 1300′s I believe. It used to contain shops with greengrocers, butchers, and fishmongers, but were replaced during the War with goldsmiths, making the road more “elegant and clean”. Shops still sell gold to this day. 

17) There are frequent bus strikes, even though bus drivers have extremely good benefits. 

18) I hear ambulances a lot. My host parents say it’s because people aren’t afraid to call them because they have great health insurance. 

19) The new Mayor of Florence and soon to be Prime Minister made wifi more accessible here. 

20) My host family thinks that the Mayor is “all talk.” 

21) It is impossible to find a bathroom 

22) Snacks = Panini 

23) I prefer speaking Italian over Spanish. The language is beautiful. 

24) Fra Filippo Lippi depicts women as realistic and beautiful in his paintings. He also got it on with nuns. 

25) The Medici family, in the Gothic and Renaissance era, were the most prominent patrons of the art. They were extremely influential, but managed their power intelligently. Cosimo Medici dressed and ate like the peasants. He knew how to blend in with the people and appear humble. At first I was cynical because I’m American and thought he was just a good politician, but after living in Florence for 2 months it seems possible that the government actually takes care of it’s citizens. I am grossly generalizing of course. 

Cartagine 3

Cartagine 3

My soccer team celebrates the winning goal. I unfortunately could only watch from the sidelines because of paperwork complications. I make an appearance at second 35 (click the Cartagine link)

Cartagine 1

Cartagine 1

My team celebrating their semi final victory. My roommate made the video and is the one yelling random words that aren’t actually Italian. I make a short appearance at the 50th second. 

Police Officers

I traveled 45 minutes by bus with my soccer team to a city outside of Florence. The stadium was beautiful with nice grass. Cartagine lost the Terza Categoria Cup Final in penalty kicks. In the locker room I learned a lot of Italian curse words and saw a few tears. The coach was crying the most. I could hear the other team celebrating in the locker room next door. It took about 10 minutes until the guys started joking around again. The president gave me a team hat. 

We didn’t get back to Florence until 1 in the morning. We all went out for dinner. The coach payed for my enormous pizza and beer. This night was the first time I really felt like a part of the team. The guys seemed to really appreciate that I tagged along. 

At the dinner table two of the police officers on my team admitted that they are racist towards immigrants from Senegal, Bangladesh, Romania, Bosnia, Turkey, and Morocco. They were kidding, but seriously frustrated about the laws in Florence. They said that the government helps poor people too much, which in turn allows these immigrants to get by without working, so they don’t even try. They also do a lot of illegal activities like sell drugs on the street. They explained more illegal things that the government allows them to do involving taxes. At that point my Italian wasn’t strong enough to follow what they were saying, but it seemed fascinating. It sounds like the opposite of what I hear people complain about it Portland, where the general consensus is that poor people do not receive enough aid. 

The police officers went on to explain that young American students who come abroad get overly excited to drink legally in bars. They said that the US does not properly teach students how to control themselves. Americans are the only ones who you will see throwing up or getting robbed on the street at night because they are so belligerent. 

After dinner the police officers went out of their way to drive me home.