Select Study Abroad & ADPi: Week one in Florence!

It has officially been one week since these amazing ADPi sisters arrived and we have done…well…a lot. We took one week and packed in two weeks worth of activities. It makes us infinitely happy to say that all our students went to their first day of class having already wandered vineyards in Tuscany, posed with leaning tower in Pisa, ridden bikes in Lucca, made some new friends, hiked to Piazzale Michelangelo and the church of San Minato al Monte, climbed the dome of Florence’s cathedral AND the campanile (bell tower), photo bombed an engagement, eaten gelato at least twice (in most cases three or four times), tasted real Italian pasta, enjoyed some authentic Italian hospitality and even (we think) got some sleep. A better first week there has never (ever) been. Proof featured below:
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Tips & Tricks for a day in Cinque Terre

Italy_coastlineSummer is around the corner and some of you are beginning to plan your trips to Italy. Many of my friends and family that come to visit during the summer months usually have one thing in mind: the beach. Excellent plan. While there is lots of “coastline” to choose from in Italy, Cinque Terre (chink-way ter-re), or the five earths (aka towns), has risen to the top of the popular spots for tourists. This is an especially great escape from Florence (which can be very hot during the summer) and can easily be done in a day!

Recently, while writing to a friend who is planning just such a day trip, I was trying to remember all the ins and outs and I realized that there were maybe a few more than the average person can just “pick up,” especially if the Italian is limited. So I thought, why not make it easy (for me and for others) and put it all in one place. Below you will find all the need-to-know info from how to get there for less to what you can skip to save time and from where to hike to where not to. Of course we’ll tackle the food, I mean, the cuisine is worth the trip in itself, but we’ll also be sure you know how to make it home without getting stranded there (unless that is part of the plan). Enjoy and see you there this summer!
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Ten Things to Look Forward to When Studying Abroad in Italy!

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flew back to Florence just a few days ago after the Holidays and saw gaggles of study abroad students meeting in the airport, catching flights and talking about their upcoming semester abroad. It made me feel super nostalgic. If I could go back and relive the first time I walked through the streets of Florence I would do it in a heartbeat. You just have SO MUCH to look forward to. It took me back and I spent my flight remembering my first few days, and weeks, and months in this amazing country. There were of course some difficult things to adjust to, but all I could remember were the amazing, life changing, beautiful things. That feeling of being in the most enchanted place on earth and doing my best to live every moment to the fullest while simultaneously pinching myself to ensure it was all real. Nothing quite captures that magical feeling.

While each of your experiences will be different, I hope each one is life changing, heart wrenching and beautiful too. So here are just 10 (it was quite hard to limit myself) of the amazing things that made me fall in love with my life in Italy. Hopefully they are some of yours too.
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Tips for Taking the Train in Italy

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t happened again. For the hundredth time.
On a train ride to Livorno a gaggle of Americans jumped on and I overheard some of them say they hadn’t had time to stamp their tickets before boarding. They didn’t seem too worried, I hoped against hope they would get off safe and sound. Sadly, the conductor arrived within 5 minutes and 40-euro-a-head-later, these kids had learned a hard lesson. I felt so bad and was once again surprised at how few people know the ins and outs of train travel in Italy. I have written about it before in our Top Ten Tips for Studying Abroad Part I blog (some of which I will repost below where pertinent), but today I wanted to really get down to the nitty-gritty. Every detail. For those of you who get nervous about traveling, don’t be. Just read below and then enjoy the luxury of train travel in Italy! It doesn’t have to be painful or stressful! It can actually be fun!
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Italian Cities in Review: Torino (Turin)

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n an attempt to spread our travel net ever further afield, we grabbed our camera and boarded a three-hour train to Torino, the first capital of unified Italy and home to its once Royal family, the House of Savoy. This city has been given two strikingly dissimilar mottos: “the Detroit of Italy” and “little Paris.” While car manufacture is one of its most important industries, I think you’ll agree from the photos below that the French influence dominates in this mini Paris on the Po.
 
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