Under the Tuscan Sun

My roommates Ruby and Lydia and I in Florence (photo taken by Lydia Victor)

I spent the weekend in Tuscany. We were primarily planning a trip to Florence but I ended up finding a gorgeous Airbnb about 45 minutes outside of Florence that is in a 12th century castle. It was beautiful inside and out and was a great atmosphere to spend Halloween in.

Picture outside of our Airbnb

Every direction you looked, there was a beautiful view.

When we first arrived in Florence, we immediately got on a bus to go drop off our bags at the Airbnb. We met the Airbnb host and she showed us everything we needed to know about where we were staying. The kitchen island had these really cool chairs made from bike seats. They even had shock absorbers and were surprisingly comfortable!

We dropped off our bags and immediately headed into Florence. The bus stop was very close to our Airbnb but it only ran every hour which gave us very little leeway for when we could leave. My roommate Lydia had booked us tickets to the Accademia Gallery where the original David by Michelangelo is. The statue was much larger than I expected.

David by Michelangelo

After we left the Accademia Gallery, we went to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore where we had booked tickets to go into the dome. This has to have been one one my favorite churches I’ve seen, architecturally it is very different than the churches in Rome.

It is a total of 463 steps to climb to the top of the dome! I think it helped that I wasn’t able to see where the stairs ended and just kept going up. The stairs start out pretty normal but after awhile they become spiral stairs and later they are so narrow and steep that it feels like you are climbing a ladder. After walking up a few flights of stairs, there was an area to stop and take a break and learn about the history of the Duomo. This is the only way up or down so people had to come down that way as well which caused a few traffic jams since the stairs are so narrow. We not only got to see the interior of the dome which features Giorgio Vasari’s frescoes of the Last Judgment but we also got to go out on the roof which was beautiful at night.

Giorgio Vasari’s frescos of the Last Judgment

The following day we did a pasta making class. I’ve really wanted to do a cooking class here in Italy but I hadn’t committed to anything yet. We ended up booking an Airbnb experience in Florence that was only $37 per person. We got to make (and eat) 3 kinds of pasta. First we made cappelletti which are supposed to look like the hat the pope wears, filled with a ricotta and nutmeg filling. The dough is so yellow because it is made with only flour and eggs, as opposed to flour and water like the pasta most people are used to seeing. Next, we made ravioli filled with a truffle oil filling. And lastly we made tagliatelle, which is like a narrower version of fettuccine. We used a pasta guitar to cut the pasta by putting our dough on the strings and rolling over it repeatedly with the rolling pin. The pasta tasted delicious and I learned a lot from this experience. I’m excited to get back to the states to make some pasta for my family!

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.

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