My Never Ending Quest for Fresh Pressed Juice and Florentine Culture

Unfortunately, our new hotel in Florence didn’t get the memo that they had to live up to the high expectations of the Milan hotel on the “Emily-friendly” scale. 1: THEY DON’T HAVE FRESH PRESSED JUICE (what is this madness?), 2: their internet is not faster than mine back home, which is the wifi magnitude that I had in Milan, and 3: they didn’t give me a private balcony I can sit out on and people watch. All-in-all I want you people to strive for the finer things in life, but at the same time be positive no matter what the given circumstances.

This morning our first outing included a site visit to the Scuola del Cuoio – a famous leather school that got its start by giving classes to orphan boys during World War I in Florence. We got multiple demonstrations of leather artisans making/preparing leather products like coasters plated in real gold and hand-made purses. They still to this day offer three or six month courses that teach anyone who wants to come (and pay) how to be a leather artisan. Of course as you all know – I love Pitt with all of my heart, but I’d say that this historic craft school could be a good alternative option for anyone who possibly hasn’t made their college decision yet and can’t just apply solely to the best college in the universe.

Then, a small group of us went to lunch – finding a restaurant called Reverse – clearly the most classical Italian cuisine in Europe. Typically Luca’s rule of thumb is that if the menu has English translations a restaurant is more geared towards tourists and you should stay away from it… so going to a restaurant whose NAME is in English… ya we were just too lazy to keep looking. I actually ended up really loving my meal though (one part of it pictured above). I promise you guys, I have been trying to do major research to try and jog my memory about what the type of pasta I had was, and the only characteristics I have to go off of are that it started with a “t,” it was stuffed with a filling inside, and it was not tortellini. So if anyone reading has any guesses or could possibly know what it is – let me know. My entire meal included splitting three glasses of still water, an appetizer of crostini, a tarimisu-like dessert, my whole entrée, and a freshly squeezed juice for only 20 euros – which honestly compared to a lot of other meals I’ve had in Italy thus far is dirt cheap for the amount I actually got.

As a whole group we also visited two museums as well… well kinda. The first we visited was the Gucci Museum which our tour guide revealed to us that they prefer to use the term “gallery.” I have grown up following fashion indirectly through either America’s Next Top Model or a variety of different fashion-designing reality shows that I watched as a kid against my mom’s wishes. While I found it a really interesting topic, the museum  seemed incomplete to me. The entire exhibit was only six small rooms and then a gift shop. I thought we were only getting started with the tour when our tour guide informed us that we were done. On the flip side though, as the business savvy/marketing-lover that I am, I can appreciate the concept of creating a standing, timeless advertisement essentially that allows people to interact with and feel a deeper connection to the Gucci brand.

The second museum we visited was Museo Galileo, a collection that although was dedicated to Galileo and holds some of his inventions, is more so about scientific discovery in general. As my fun fact for the day: when being buried, someone, we think to be a fan, ripped Galileo’s middle finger off, and that real finger can now be found in this museum. Talk about a devoted fanbase.

It was at this point though in the day that I started to just get really tired and found myself continuously looking for seating in each room we walked through. After the tour was over we had the rest of the afternoon and night free to do whatever we wanted, but instead of walking back right away, my friends and I decided to stand by the water for a few moments and then sat down in a small square with local artisans selling their works of art.  I kid you not, while we were sitting down for a few moments I saw, out of the corner of my eye, two sisters that I know from Pitt – Annie and Zoe Klingenberg. Zoe was my pledge mom for my sorority and Annie was just hired into Pathfinders last semester – and I knew they were in Italy, but what are the odds that we just ran into each other on a random street? This really is such a small world, let me tell ya.

Thanks for reading once again – I am exhausted from all of our jam-packed days we’ve been having and am hoping one of these nights I will actually allow myself to finally get a decent amount of sleep, but when your sleep schedule all year has been going to bed the earliest at 2am, its easier said than done. I love you all and I hope you’re all holding down the fort back home! It’s not too long till I’ll be back now!

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