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My Best of Florence

March 24, 2017
by Anthony Rotolo
Having lived in Florence for two whole months now, I have started to develop a liking for some specific places. Any travel guide can tell you the most popular places in Florence, but given long enough everyone is bound to find their own favorite places in Florence. I grew up in Los Angeles, a very touristy area, and my favorite places in LA you will not find in any travel guide. My favorite places in Florence you might not find in a travel guide either!
 Il Rubaconte, my favorite coffee bar

Let’s start with coffee, because without coffee in Italy you will not have the energy to do anything else. Every morning I walk down the street to my favorite coffee bar, Il Rubaconte. Il Rubaconte is a small family business run by two brothers, Andrea and Davide. Their father owns the building and previously ran the bar. My first few weeks in Florence I searched all over the city for my favorite cappuccino, not realizing the best one was right under my nose. Now I go here every day for a cappuccino on my way to school and practice my Italian with the brothers. There are several tables to study at in the bar as well, so I often return in the afternoon to study and grab a snack! When my homework is done, I say “ciao” to the brothers and walk outside only to be greeted by a beautiful view the Arno river in the late afternoon! I am excited for the weather to start warming up so I can start to sit at the outdoor tables and enjoy the river with my cappuccino!
 In Casa Buonarroti, one of Michelangelo's River God models under restoration!

Now that we have our fix of caffeine, we can start to move around the city. Being in CEA’s study abroad in Florence class on Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael, I have been given the opportunity to visit nearly every art museum in Florence. Of all of them, one stood out above the rest. Don’t let the small size and of Casa Buonarroti keep you from visiting it. This is the house that Michelangelo built for his family, and within it lie his unfinished “Battle of the Centaurs” and the magnificent “Madonna of the Stairs”. Here I have not only seen some of the greatest pieces of art done by Michelangelo, but I have also stepped into a Renaissance living quarters. While I really enjoyed visiting the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery, Casa Buonarroti is the first museum in Florence I will visit twice!
 La Beppa Fioraia

Whether for a nice workout or an Italian meal with a countryside view, Via dell’Erto Canina is a regular place for me. On this secluded street near the steps up to Piazzale Michelangelo, you can find La Beppa Fioraia, an amazing restaurant, and Parco della Caraia, a beautiful small park with a great workout area. La Beppa Fioraia is one of my favorite restaurants because here I feel like I have escaped the busy city and tourism that accompanies it. Here I can have an authentic Italian meal in a great atmosphere. I run over to Parco della Caraia here about 3 times a week as well, where I find a nice outdoor gym surrounded by hills and trees. Walking through this area I feel like I am in the hills of Chianti, miles outside Florence. When I miss nature, all I need to do is take the 5-minute trek from my apartment over here. This is absolutely one of my favorite places in Florence.
 My favorite park in Florence!

Writing about my favorite places in Florence is difficult because there are so many amazing places here! Some more of my favorites include walking along the Arno river, exploring the Oltrarno, and standing in the ever-popular Piazza Vecchio or in front of the overwhelming Duomo. I could go on for pages about other places I love and as the semester lingers on I know that list will only get longer. If there is anything I have learned here in Florence it is that popular places are great, but spending time wondering around and finding your own favorite places will lead you to discover placed that out do any place on any travel website! That is how I found my best of Florence!

Anthony R. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy.  He is currently a Sophomore studying Business Administration at Santa Monica College.

Anthony Rotolo is the Spring 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy in Florence, Italy, and is currently studying at Santa Monica College.
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