By Andrea Arredondo

If there is one thing that makes Florence unique, it is that the city is beautiful to walk though. Whether you are on one side of the Arno or the other, there is so much to see that you could easily spend a few hours taking in Florence. With little shops along the streets, one-of-a-kind museums, and restaurants that smell divine from outside—it is easy to find things to do even after you think you have seen it all. Trust me, when I say that there is always something new to do or see in Florence, there always is…

It was a Friday afternoon and I had just left my school bag in the apartment. I went outside only to embark upon the perfect afternoon walk! Image the most unreal, only happens in a movie type summer weather. Not too hot, a slight breeze, and low humidity. Aware that I had to be back in a few hours for dinner with a friend, I decided to wander Florence for around two hours.

Before going much farther, the first place I stopped at was a gelato shop near my apartment. Unlike most gelato shops, this one was special because it made freshly squeezed lemon-flavored treats every day. A lemon and gelato lover, this particular shop was my favorite in Florence.

Cone in hand, I then headed toward the Pitti Palace, where I finished my gelato and took part in some people watching. After, I headed down some smaller, ordinary streets. Intending to avoid the crowds along the river, I didn’t expect to find the art.

I have noticed a stigma against art painted on streets. Whether it’s street painting in America, or remaking signs as I saw in Florence, people love to judge street artists. Clet Abraham is a French artist who over the last few years have caught art-lover’s attention with his politically charged images. Painting over street signs, Abraham plays with lines, colors, and cultural references to make statements.

The further I walked down the tiny street (sorry guys, I didn’t take note of the street’s name), the more of the artist’s signs started to show up. Eventually, I realized why—there was a store which sold his work on that street. Impressed and amused, I went inside only to find stickers, bags, and posters of Abraham’s sign art.

Hoping to see a bit more of Florence, I eventually left and started to climb up a mountain. While it looked easy at first, the path quickly became very steep and I started to wonder, what if I just turn back now…? What at the top of this mountain can possibly be worth seeing? Half-determined to turn around, I then realized where I was heading: Piazzale Michelangelo.

Impressed that I had made it so far, I decided to finish the climb and see the view so many claimed to be the best in Florence. When I got to the top, I could see why others had fallen in love with the view—it was incredible. Arriving at sunset, the sun struck the Tuscan city with a soft glow that felt straight out of a movie (I know I keep saying that, but Florence really is so beautiful that it is the film site for many movies). Moments later, the sun sank further away and I realized it was time for me to head back.

Having an itinerary is great, but sometimes not having one can be super rewarding—especially in Florence! 

Andrea Arredondo studied abroad in Florence in Summer 2019.