SACI Student Blogger Jessica Angelini describes a Color Photography field trip to the bustling Cascine Park Market.
SACI Student Bloggers give us a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to study at SACI and live in Florence. Follow along throughout the semester as our Spring 2020 bloggers share their experiences with the Italian culture, art, language, and more.
Cascine Park Market
If you’re anything like me, you love shopping but you like a great deal even more. I’ve spent a good amount of time here in Florence looking for cool places to shop while not spending a fortune. It seemed like a harder task than I had originally thought because there are a lot of designer brands, a.k.a Versace and friends, or more “run of the mill” stores. I was excited to find small vintage shops around the city, but even these were pricey compared to the thrifting I was used to at home due to all of the designer brands in the stores. This was very cool and I loved it, but I thought there had to be a better option.
On a Tuesday morning, my Color Photography class took a field trip to the Cascine Park to have an opportunity to take some photos in a new setting. We hopped on a crowded tram (early morning commuters!) for a short 5-minute ride. We rolled along the outer edges of the city and then suddenly we were in a quiet green park. It was a short walk towards the Arno river where I found the thing I’ve been looking for since I got here; a flea market! Along the river bank was a huge outdoor market, much like the farm markets and thrifting I am used to at home. However, this one was bigger than I could have ever imagined! There was everything from food stands, to clothing, to animals, to produce. Apparently, the plan was to attend this little fair the whole time, but it must have slipped my mind...Oops!
I walked around with two friends of mine, swerving through the crowds, and we found and saw so many interesting things like tropical birds, buckets of olives, and homemade honey! We ended up buying a ton of stuff for really cheap; I purchased two jackets (in great condition) and a pair of new shoes for 11 euros! My friend also ended up with a handful of cute items for about 7 euros. Another thing that always brightens my day was all of the adorable dogs out for a walk - even a few hanging out with their owners at the stands.
Also a quick tip: ALWAYS hold onto your things! I once set down my jacket on the table I was at to try on another jacket that I liked. Much to my excitement a little dog walked up to us looking for some rubs, so of course I could not deny him. However, when I stood up, a lady was trying to take my actual jacket that I brought from home! I tried to reach out and tell her that it was mine, and she would not let go. This prompted a small game of tug-of-war, but luckily I was able to get it back with some help from the stand owner!
In addition, I was able to get some great shots for my class and I was so excited that there was so much to see. One of my possible project focuses is street photography or people who work in Florence and this was perfect for what I was hoping to see. There was definitely no shortage of things to look at and we didn’t even make it to the end!
This market is a great place to explore and I am so happy my professor was able to show it to us. If you are interested in thrifting, inexpensive shopping, farmers markets, or just a cool experience, look no further! Unfortunately, it is only open on Tuesday mornings and most vendors only accept cash (now I know for next time!). It was also a great way to see and interact with locals. We had a great time and I am sure it's even better on a warm, sunny day! I can’t wait to go back!
- Jessica Angelini
Jessica Angelini is a SACI student from Rowan University, studying abroad in Florence during the Spring 2020 Term.
Learn more about undergraduate and graduate programs at SACI.