Guest Post by: Marketing Senior Alizeh Karmali. She is a Foster School Undergraduate who participated on Foster Exchange at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.
The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a group that organizes trips to different cities around Italy, and I decided to go with them on the Tuscany trip. We all went on the bus, and it took about four hours to get to our first stop, Siena. It was such a beautiful little city, exactly what I imagined an Italian city would look like. A few of my friends and I had lunch at a cute Italian restaurant, where we got to sit outside and eat. I ate the well-known pasta with bolognese sauce, and it was one of the best dishes I have ever had. We then got to walk around and explore the city, which we could do pretty quickly as it is such a small city. It was a really hot day, so we were all struggling to walk! Being around so many other exchange students made this experience more exciting because we were all doing something so new, something so out of our comfort zone.
Our next stop was Florence, which was about another hour or so on the bus. We check into our hostel (which will be another experience in itself, because I have never stayed in one before!), and then meet downstairs for dinner. Afterwards, we got to walk around the city at night, which was so beautiful. There were people everywhere, music playing in the streets, and so much peace. Of course, I had to get some gelato. It’s crazy to think back and try to count how many gelatos I ate over the course of four months… Let’s just say that it was a large amount (and i have no regrets). The next morning we had the opportunity to tour around Florence and see many of the main landmarks, including the Ponte Vecchio (famous bridge) and the Santa Croce (neo-gothic church). Then Mish, Alex, and I went to the famous Academia Museum to see David. The museum was packed with tourists from all over the world, which was so cool to see. After that, we started the walk towards probably Florence’s most famous beauty: the lookout point. It took us about thirty minutes to walk from the museum, and it was a steep climb towards the end, but the view made everything worth it. It was absolutely breathtaking! We were literally under the Tuscan sun. I did not want to leave once we were up there. After taking in such amazing views, we made our way back down to have dinner. If you ever go to Italy, I highly recommend eating the gnocchi, which is a famous potato pasta dish.
The Gucci headquarters is located in Florence, so we went to the famous Gucci Garden, which was such a cool experience! Students get free entry, so that’s always a plus. Inside, there were different floors that featured some of Gucci’s products from the past, such as purses, outfits, luggage bags, etc. Gucci is such a unique brand, and I remember everything being so colorful and full of life. Afterwards, we got some more gelato and walked around my new favorite city one last time at night.
The next morning, we were off to San Gimignano, an Italian city that is known to have the world’s best gelato. After walking around the city (which did not take a long time because it was so small), we stood in line at the famous gelato shop for around 15 minutes until it was our turn. It really was the best gelato I have ever put in my mouth. After this short stop, we drove to our last city, Pisa. We only had half an hour in Pisa, just enough time to get all our pictures with the Leaning Tower! There were so many tourists there, it was insane. Everyone goes to Pisa for the same reason, to get their picture with the tower! There is nothing else to see. After taking all the pictures, we started our journey back to Milan, which took about five hours. I was so excited to be back in my own bed in Milan, but these past three days were unforgettable. If I hadn’t gone on this trip with ESN, I would not have gone myself to see all four cities, so I am really glad I decided to go.