Laughs from Florence

It is the day after Independence Day, or 4th of July, in America and the end of my second week in Italy. While I am sad that I missed a holiday with my family, I am in no way disappointed with being in Florence instead (sorry not sorry, mom!).

This past week and a half has been filled with sweat, dirt, pickaxing and traveling and I cannot wait to share everything that has happenedJ.

First off, I haven’t blogged in a long time, longer than I would like, because I caught a cold which spreads like wildfire when you are in close living quarters with 30 some people. However, no need to worry I am feeling ten times better than I was. Although, going to a pharmacy in another country is very nerve racking because they don’t speak English and you have to describe your symptoms to get medicine. Luckily, I talked to a pharmacist who spoke minimal English in Altopascio and was able to get medicine to help with my cold.

As far as field school goes, I am loving it! You can even add in the ba-da-bum-bum-bum from the McDonalds commercial to that statement. I had no idea what to expect going into a field school yet it has somehow surpassed my nonexistent expectations. My area, 4000, has started teaming up with area 5000 so any day of the week I could be in either section so check out both blogs on this ( website to read more in-depth on what we find every day. Usually, we just pickaxe or trowel down another layer or context to try and reach where we will find the cloister and cloister rooms. In area 5000, I was able to learn how to dig pits and follow the soil context as well as how to determine where the bottom of the pit would have been. In area 4000, we are currently in the process of digging a test pit which is something that I really wanted to learn how to do this year. So far with the test pit we have been pickaxing and rough trowel cleaning the area down to the layer we want. Our area supervisor, Alessandro is hoping to find ‘dead monks’ which would have been buried in the cloister hallway for humility.

Last weekend, I traveled to Cinque Terre which is one of the most beautiful places along the Mediterranean. Albeit, it is the only place I have been on the Mediterranean but it was the picturesque beach town that you see on TV of Italy. We stayed the night in a hostel in Riomaggiore, the first city. That night, we mainly walked around and looked in tourist shops as well as climbed 368 stairs to our hostel room (yes we counted and yes there is a picture to prove that we counted). The stairs were totally worth the unexpected balcony looking out over the Mediterranean. I was quite nervous as this was my first stay in a hostel but it was very nice, clean and cheap. Just what a poor college student likes to hear. If I ever go back, I will try my hand at cliff jumping. As we were walking back to our room after dinner, we walked past this group cliff jumping and I don’t know why I didn’t join them. Oh well, next time J. After our wonderful stay in a hostel, we booked it through the other four towns, Monterosso, Vernazza, Cornigila and Manarola. One of the things that you can do as you go to each of the cities is buy a Step by Step bracelet in which you stop at a specific store in each city and purchase a bead to make a bracelet or necklace. Not only is it a great souvenir but it also allowed us to see each city which we otherwise wouldn’t have done.

This weekend, I am in Florence, Italy. At first, I wasn’t so sure about the city but after spending all day here and finally getting a wonderful meal, I am most definitely enjoying it. If you are ever in Florence, you need to experience the night life. Even if clubbing or bar hopping is not your thing (it is not mine) just walk around and take in the sights because there are not nearly as many tourists around. Also, nine times out of ten, you will run into someone who speaks your language. My advice would be to get gelato by the Dumo and just sit and relax on the steps. It was very relaxing compared to the day where you can’t even get to the steps of the Dumo. Also, visit the Medici gardens which are magnificent and a great way to work off that gelato. Another neat site to see is Ponte Vecchio which is a bridge with shops on it. While I didn’t shop, it is still amazing to see a bridge that is lined with jewelry stores on both sides.

All in all, Italy is amazing and I cannot wait to share more about my time in Italy, what I am digging up in Badia and what my midterm break in Paris is like!

Florence and the steps of the Dumo are calling my name, Bueno Sera!

Live well, laugh often, love much, discover you.