UF in Florence
I participated in the program UF in Florence (a University of Florida program). It’s partnered with Florence University of the Arts
As part of the program, we were required to take Italian language. I took beginning at FUA and the teacher was super cool. :) FUA is actually a university with “buildings” and classes dispersed all over the city. If you happen to go to an art school ie SVA, it’s similar to that. Not sure if I’m making sense..but check out the FUA website if anything :) Along with Italian we chose a class out of a selection that depended on which professor was going. I took a photo class.
Non UF students can attend our programs too. The application process is just a little longer….UF was also partnered with USF (University of South FL)
or was it UCF.. so both UF and USF kids participated.
Ok, so the thing is about vintage shopping is that the stores are usually hidden, away from the main touristy roads filled with Big Name brands that have huge windows, and wide huge spaces inside. Old Italian stores have one little display window, and are small and narrow inside. Some will surprise you. Actually, a lot will becomes what Italy lacks in wideness, makes up with how deep you can walk into a store. The friggin’ rooms and halls just keep going on forever!
The shops I liked most were small; they were not the fanciest, most organized shops lol. But that in itself was one of these stores’ selling points. The disorganized piles of clothes or the little trinkets or rusted buttons stacked in pails and pans are what really entertained me.
Onto a list :P I will try to remember cheap/affordable shops.
Shops on the Duomo side of the Arno river:
UB So on Via dei Conti (a street near the Duomo) there is a store graphic designers would probably love…because they sell letterpress type sets. Back in the day, before we had factories to make page after page of stories..designers used to customize the letter blocks themselves. UB has several of these if you have a design friend to buy souveneirs for ;) They also have vintage signs..clocks..letters..lamps..etc. It’s fun to look in.
Another clothing store lies down the street..it’s very tiny inside. It’s like a walkIn closet. One of us bought a really nice leather jacket there. They sell patterned dresses and coats and hats..and bags etc.
Melrose is a cool place too. It’s a little farther north from the Duomo. A little pricier..but they have a great assortment as well. Their displays are the best. They have sunglasses hanging on these old planks of wood o___o; And boots and shoes all over the walls…and a motorcycle. In the middle of the hall. And lotsa jeans. A ton.
Shops on across the Arno:
Verabis Down “Via di Maggio” there are some little hidden vintage stores here and there.There’s a store that doesn’t even have a real sign plastered on the top of its front door-area-place-w/e. This place has everything. Bags, jackets, sunglasses, really random figurines, hats, boots, shoes…EVERYTHING. Whether you find you’re right size in any pair of shoes are dress, etc. is another story. It looks like an indoor garage sale. You go in, you enter a mountain range of clothes. I am srs. It looks sketchy (not gonna lie) but this place is secretly THE place for finding random goods. Favorite items: leather student bookbags from centuries ago. They got hidden pockets, flaps, places for pencils, etc and are still in wonderful condition. I SHOULD’VE BOUGHT ONE!!
There was a couple more down there that’s like UB. Small design shops with cute letters etc and neon signs for sale in the back.
I wish I had taken more pictures of where and what these stores looked like; they had so much character! So an additional tip is take lotsa photos on your journey ;) And yes, you can bargain. And everyone has learned to speak English :)
There was a message in my inbox and then it disappeared O___O; Wasn’t quite sure if I missed something..so I’ve decided to shout out. Special asker, please ask here?
Cinque Terre is a rugged coast of five villages living on the cliffs by the Mediterranean. Village houses are extremely colorful and these colors were for the fishermen. Afar in the sea, they can just turn around and see their bright house, knowing that their family is safe.
Foccacia is known to be awesome here.
When I went, there was a lot of tourists (as usual) and I really wondered what it was like to actually be a fisherman, now aware of the modern tourist boats. Do you think they’d try to sell fish to you? I don’t think they’re allowed to..I don’t think they’d want to go to the trouble of bargaining with foreigners anyway..LOL. Well, maybe some do and sell to fisheries who sell to tourists?
There was also a lot of broken doors on certain villages that suffered mudslides in 2011. The wood all cracked and splintered. But even the door colors are vibrant though less now. Kinda weary’d out.
You can easily get to Cinque via Italia tren..but I think it’s a little expensive. I went with a group, a travel agency geared toward college kids. Ours was 40 euro.
Their trains run by the sea. It was so amazing when you finally leave the mountains’ tunnels..and then suddenly you see the ocean in your window!!!! I think that quick surprise was my favorite.
Oh, yeah, the first time I saw an Italian beach… no sand, hard foot-massaging rocks.