Tips from Alumni | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

Student Life Tips from Alumni

At the end of each term, departing students leave written tips for future SACI students. From where to eat, what to see, and what to wear while in Florence and Venice, to tips on music, travel, money, and Italian language and culture, our undergraduate and graduate alumni have got you covered!

Still have questions about life in Florence or at SACI? Read our FAQs page or email us.

Suggestions from SACI Alumni

  • Fall Term

    “Pack light! Shop for vintage clothes” n.n. (Fall 2019)

    “I recommend looking for good deals on cashmere sweaters at the Sant’Ambrogio market.” n.n. (Fall 2019)

    “Look at The Florentine. There are copies outside the library and the magazine always features great events in and around Florence.” n.n. (Fall 2019)

    “Osteria Santo Spirito! Yum. It’s across the river and has great food.” D.T. (Fall 2019)

    “Don’t bring paints but do bring paintbrushes if you have ones you prefer. Bringing a small travel sized watercolor set is also recommended.” J.S. (Fall 2019)

    “See Jazz Club Firenze. Also, never underestimate the 99-cent store.” n.n. (Fall 2019)

    “Dress in layers, because heating/AC is inconsistent, and bring rain gear.” n.n. (Fall 2019)

    “Veggies are better from the Central Market, but there are plenty of regular grocery stores around.” S.L. (Fall 2019)

    “Really take the time to explore Florence before planning trips to other countries.” T.C. (Fall 2019)

    “Go to Open Drawing.” P.M. (Fall 2019)

    “Enjoy every moment.” A.G. (Fall 2019)

    “The food at the Central Market is great and a fun environment.” S.M. (Fall 2019)

    “Best restaurants in Santo Spirito: Osteria Santo Spirito, Gustapizza, I’Brindellone. Gelato: Sbrino, Gelateria La Carraia.” n.n. (Fall 2019)

    “Take advantage of volunteer opportunities.” J.V. (Fall 2019)

    “Stay in the lower part of the San Lorenzo Central Market if you want a cheaper meal.” n.n. (Fall 2019)

    “Go make friends with Italians. It will make things much easier and you will get the most out of this experience.” n.n. (Fall 2019)

    “Ditta Artigianale and La Cité -Libreria Café are great places to study if you like studying at cafés.” G.K. (Fall 2019)

    “For produce, go to Sant’Ambrogio market. Never use Euronet ATMs because they always charge extra. Don’t count your money in the street. Be aware of pickpockets. Always stamp your bus/train ticket or you will be checked and fined over $100.” L.D. (Fall 2019)

    “La Ménengère is a great restaurant and there’s a bar downstairs where they have live music.” J.Y. (Fall 2019)

    “Book travel tickets early.” D.F. (Fall 2018)

    “Understand the conversion rate.” C.U. (Fall 2018)

    “Don’t hesitate to try the line of restaurants by the Mercato Centrale—they’re super cheap, extremely delicious, and have the friendliest staff.” S.U. (Fall 2018)

    “Go on all the field trips, they are worth it, and go to the markets.” M.J. (Fall 2018)

    “Wear sneakers to all the art history field trips.” n.n. (Fall 2018)

    “Get euros beforehand. Be social—it’s easy to just hangout with a small group but leave your comfort zone.” n.n (Fall 2018)

    “Yes, travel, but also enjoy Florence. Osteria Santo Spirito is a wonderful restaurant. Go to Naples! Go to Siena!” E.B. (Fall 2018)

    “Rivareno Gelato is the best there is—try the cremino flavor.” n.n. (Fall 2018)

    “Make a list of the materials you use or must have and then check Florence art store websites before you leave. If you can’t find your materials, mail them to SACI ahead of time.” n.n. (Fall 2018)

    “Buy bread and pasta from local bakeries rather than the grocery store. It is more affordable and better quality, and often provides a better opportunity to practice your language skills.” D.G. (Fall 2018)

    “Try Gusta Pizza, Pizzaman, and Baldovino! Also make sure to bring some thermal wear because it gets quite chilly.” n.n. (Fall 2018)

    “Tamarindo Juicery is a really good place to get healthy food (juices, salads, etc.).” W.K. (Fall 2018)

    “Document your time here.” E.L. (Fall 2018)

    “You do not need many summer clothes. It is hot and sweaty the first few weeks, but after that very bundled up! Bring things to layer with!” n.n. (Fall 2018)

    “Don’t get roped into tourist traps and touristy restaurants, stores, etc. Venture a little further out from the city center to find the good stuff.” n.n. (Fall 2018)

    “Try to learn Italian. There is nothing like communicating in the native language.” D.H. (Fall 2018)

    “The application process is long, tedious, and stressful, but push through because it is worth it!” J.C. (Fall 2018)

    “Leggings go well under pants for the colder months.” n.n. (Fall 2018)

    “Bring an unlocked phone to Italy and get an Italian SIM card. It’s easy and cheap.” V.H. (Fall 2018)

    “Go to the Odeon.” n.n. (Fall 2018)

    “Being vegan is not difficult in Italy! Recommendation: Learn how to specify in Italian what you are and are not willing to eat.” n.n. (Fall 2018)

    “Bring an art travel bag/portfolio. They are expensive here and I use it daily.” W.S. (Fall 2018)

    “Bring rain boots.” n.n. (Fall 2018)

    “Pack for the cold!” E.H. (Fall 2017)

    “Pack essentials in your carry-on bag. A lot of us did not receive our checked bags for several days after arrival.” n.n. (Fall 2017)

    “Restaurant: La Giostra for fancy dining.” n.n. (Fall 2017)

    “Don’t eat or shop near the Duomo (too expensive and touristy).” n.n. (Fall 2017)

    “I bought most of my school supplies at the 99 cent store. You must eat at Osteria Santo Spirito.” B.C. (Fall 2017)

    “Leave space for purchasing items in Italy. The products here are fine (vs. bringing may items from home.” M.W. (Fall 2017)

    “Try to prepare a budget before you come and pay attention to tourist-trap restaurants.” A.J. (Fall 2017)

    “Gelateria dei Neri is amazing (and cheap!)”n.n. (Fall 2017)

    “Bring your medicines, towels (they are super expensive), and extra copies of all your documents.” A.A. (Fall 2017)

    “Join language exchange groups to meet Italians and other international students.” C.B. (Fall 2017)

    “Antico Vinaio for sandwiches, Gelateria Santa Trinita for ice cream, Odeon for movies.”  A.K. (Fall 2017)

    “Look for flea markets or holiday markets that are open for certain times of the week or year. There are many wonderful things. n.n. (Fall 2017)

    “Bring a good backpack and comfortable walking shoes.” n.n. (Fall 2017)

    “Grocery stores are pretty much the same so just find the one closest to you.” S.K. (Fall 2017)

    “Go to La Ménagère near SACI for good coffee and cheesecake. It’s a good study spot with free WIFI. La Carraia just across the river is the best gelato I’ve had.” n.n. (Fall 2017)

    “The free Sunday Museum Day was helpful.” n.n. (Fall 2017)

    “Pack warm clothes for the winter and make sure you have slippers.” E.M. (Fall 2017)

    “Sig. Riso across from the main building has amazing Chinese food. I eat there at least one a week.” n.n. (Fall 2017)

    “Travel often early on because finals and lack of money make it harder later.” M.L. (Fall 2017)

    “Go to the Uffizi. Also make sure you are at the right apartment before your taxi leaves when you first arrive.” M.L. (Fall 2017)

    “Gelateria Edoardo by the Duomo—best gelato with homemade cones.” L.H. (Fall 2016)

    “Look at the Courses section of the SACI website to find academic information specific to your classes.” R.R. (Fall 2016)

    “Pack school supplies if you are particular about what you use.” n.n. (Fall 2016)

    “Bring warm clothing. Go across the Ponte Vecchio because that’s where most of the non-touristy, local, good restaurants and bakeries are.”  n.n. (Fall 2016)

    “Go out and explore. Don’t be afraid to get lost because those end up being some of the best memories.” C.V.S (Fall 2016)

    “Do not procrastinate on getting your pre-travel paper work or you will be very stressed out.” K.L.  (Fall 2016)

    “Do not over pack. Bring a good weekend travel bag (backpacks are best). I got an Italian Sim card, but I think an international plan from home would have been better.” A.M. (Fall 2016)

    “Go to OVS or the Sant’Ambrogio market for clothing. Sant’Ambrogio is also very good for produce, tending to be a bit cheaper than the Central Market.” J.C. (Fall 2016)

    “Go somewhere every weekend.” R.K. (Fall 2016)

    “Conad has cheap towels.” J.E. (Fall 2016)

    “Yellow Bar was one of our favorite pasta places.” n.n. (Fall 2016)

    “Look at exhibition information in the student lounge.” M.H. (Fall 2016)

    “There is also an art store called Salvini, if you find Zecchi to be too expensive.” V.P. (Fall 2016)

    “Bring sneakers and walking shores for all of Helen’s field trips!” K.Z. (Fall 2016)

    “Go to Fuoco Matto for the best pizza.” H.F. (Fall 2016)

    “Bring lots of layers! It was really sunny and hot at the beginning, though super cold and wet later.” K.E. (Fall 2016)

    “Pack light so you can fill your suitcase with art and Florence goodies on the way home!” E.D. (Fall 2016)

    “Bring thick socks, slippers, sleep pants, a water bottle, a reusable bag for groceries, and a mophie for traveling.” n.n. (Fall 2016)

    “Go at least once to see a movie at the Odeon. It’s a taste of home in a very European environment.” A.R. (Fall 2016)

    “Gilda’s Bistrot in Sant’Ambrogio – they speak little English but are very nice and welcoming.” n.n. (Fall 2016)

    “Bring waterproof jackets and sneakers.” J.L. (Fall 2016)

    “It’s difficult to be Vegan in Italy. I would suggest Vegelicious – Greenfood & Delight, Firenze.” n.n. (Fall 2016)

    “Check and make sure you get the right change back, even if you feel rushed. M.S. (Fall 2016)

    “Go to Dante Leather Factory for the best leather jackets.” n.n. (Fall 2016)

    “Buy fresh pasta at the Mercato Centrale to cook at home—cheap and delicious.” F.M. (Fall 2016)

    “There are no clothes dryers!” n.n. (Fall 2015)

    “Freddy’s Café sandwiches! Jazz Club—great live music! Photo class—bring your own binder and negative sleeves, it’s cheaper. Stay on a budget—your money can go fast.” S.S. (Fall 2015)

    “Don’t be afraid to speak Italian. It’s worth the try and it’s respectful. Wander around Florence! Make Italian friends! Go out and socialize!” K.W. (Fall 2015)

    “I love Trattoria Zà Zà. Also, I really enjoyed the night lift on the other side of the river (Santo Spirito). I only went to Zecchi for supplies—they were extremely helpful.” L.O. (Fall 2015)

    “Gusta Pizza is delicious.” A.L. (Fall 2015)

    “Watch your belongings like a hawk.” Z.Z. (Fall 2015)

    “Get lost and step outside your comfort zone.” E.S. (Fall 2015)

    “Search what Florence is known for and don’t pack those things. Don’t forget to bring clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty. Get an international plan for your phone. It’s worth the money, because trying to figure out a new phone with a new plan is very stressful.” n.n. (Fall 2015)

    “Pack hats and scarves for Fall.” n.n. (Fall 2015)

    “Get the touristy stuff done early or you’ll never make time for it!” S.P. (Fall 2015)

    “Learn basic Italian before arriving! Super helpful.” J.L. (Fall 2015)

    “Dante’s Pizzeria!” M.H. (Fall 2015)

    “Trattoria Mario’s in the Central Market Square. Italian boys are trouble—don’t talk to strangers if you’re a female. Have fun, relax, ad eat everything!” n.n. (Fall 2015)

    “Don’t forget to take lots of pictures.” C.L. (Fall 2015)

    “My only advice would be to pack light! I overpacked thinking that Italy would not have certain things, but that was not necessary, and it only made my life more difficult.” n.n. (Fall 2015)

    “Tiger is a great store to find in your first days here. For people interested in alternative/foreign groceries (perhaps for dietary needs) ViVi Market was very helpful.” A.N. (Fall 2015)

    “Check out places with student discounts!” F.M. (Fall 2015)

  • Spring Term

    “Don’t try to bring clothes that you think will help you fit in with Italians! Bring clothes that will make you cozy and happy.” R.S. (Spring 2019)

    “Take advantage of the buses that take you to nearby cities.” n.n. (Spring 2019)

    “Utilize the open studios at SACI.” R.M. (Spring 2019)

    “Once you get moved in, walk around your neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to get lost. Just walk.” M.H. (Spring 2019)

    “Try to go to as many end-of-term exhibitions as possible to support and your friends and future artists!” H.C. (Spring 2019)

    “If you skate, go to the small skate park in back of the stadium. Great dudes. Very accepting.” K.P. (Spring 2019)

    “For pastries: Finisterrae (Santa Croce area) and Pasticceria Patrizio Cosi (near Palazzo Maidoff)” n.n. (Spring 2019)

    “Palle d’Oro sandwiches. So very good for €3.50 and close to the main building.” n.n. (Spring 2019)

    “The Odeon Theater is good and fun.” n.n. (Spring 2019)

    “Bring warm clothes.” n.n. (Spring 2019)

    “Take a deep breath, and enjoy every second” C.B. (Spring 2018)

    “Zecchi is a great place for art supplies.” S.B. (Spring 2018)

    “Go to Conad for cheap towels.” n.n. (Spring 2018)

    “Be smart with budgeting your money the first couple of months” M.K. (Spring 2018)

    “I found food on the other side of the river to be less expensive.” G.P. (Spring 2018)

    “Go to I’Tosto for good, fairly cheap, big panini (sandwiches). A.K. (Spring 2018)

    “Don’t bring heels. It’s impossible to walk in them here” K.B. (Spring 2018)

    “Photo supplies: Bongi.” n.n. (Spring 2018)

    “Not all Italians wear black. Wear your own style, but just be sure to look nice.” J.F. (Spring 2018)

    “Genuinely take the time to meet the natives and don’t spend all your time hanging out with American students.” C.K. (Spring 2018)

    “It seems to be better to order photo supplies online.” n.n. (Spring 2018)

    “Be sure to bring some of your favorite clothes. You’ll need them for the art shows.” V.H. (Spring 2018)

    “Get a debit/credit card that doesn’t incur foreign transaction fees.” R.V. (Spring 2018)

    “Make sure not to eat out too much because money goes quick.” A. M. (Spring 2018)

    “Be respectful of the locals.” n.n. (Spring 2018)

    “Don’t put your phone in your backpack.” O.K. (Spring 2018)

    “The Mercato Centrale is great for grabbing a quick bite between SACI classes. La Cocotte is another one of my favorites—good for soup/salad or just coffee.” C.H. (Spring 2017)

    “Zecchi art store! Edoardo Gelateria! Jazz Club” V.H. ((Spring 2017)

    “Buy lots of vintage (which is better here than in the U.S.)” n.n. (Spring 2017)

    “Procacci is really good.” n.n. (Spring 2017)

    “Bring bug spray and after bite.” n.n. (Spring 2017)

    “Bring paints (small tubes from home) to use up, then buy new ones here if necessary.” S.O. (Spring 2017)

    “Best pastry: I Dolci di Patrizio Cosi (get a cremino). S.A. (Spring 2017)

    “Gelateria Neri has the best cheap gelato (twice I got it three times in one day!) A.B. (Spring 2017)

    “If you come in Spring, bring a thick jacket.” A.B. (Spring 2017)

    “Sieni is a very nice and inexpensive café near the Palazzo dei Cartelloni building.” A.S. (Spring 2017)

    “Anticipate buying a lot of supplies. I wasn’t expecting to buy everything, but make sure you have enough money for that.” B.T. (Spring 2017)

    “Consider researching non-SACI housing options before arriving in Florence. I would have preferred living further away from school, despite a long commute.” M.K. (Spring 2017)

    “When an opportunity reveals itself, say yes.” n.n. (Spring 2017)

    “For students who wish to print their works, I used Lory. The prints came out nice and prices are not expensive.” K.L. (Spring 2017)

    “Go south of the river a lot.” n.n. (Spring 2017)

    “Expect to spend a lot of euros. Go out and enjoy yourselves. Travel Italy, because you’ll regret not spending time in the country you’re living in.” K.L. (Spring 2017)

    “My favorite restaurant is La Maremma, near Santa Croce. My favorite sandwich shop is Pane & Toscana, which is good for vegetarians, as there are more options than just caprese.” J.P. (Spring 2017)

    “Stibbert garden.” n.n. (Spring 2017)

    “I used cash more than my credit card—I thought I would do the opposite.” J.C (Spring 2017)

    “Volunteer! Also, take advantage of language programs like Duolingo (an app) for some Italian skills. I was super glad to have studied on the app prior to coming.” M.P. (Spring 2017)

    “Shake Café has really good vegan options. Le Botteghe di Leonardo on Via de’ Ginori has really good chocolate vegan gelato.” H.H. (Spring 2017)

    “Don’t bring shorts for Spring semester.” N.K. (Spring 2017)

    “There is a free app for both iphone and android called ‘City Maps 2 Go,’ which helped tons!” L.B. (Spring 2017)

    “Don’t over pack. Bring good walking shoes and a small suitcase for weekend trips.” P.E. (Spring 2017)

    “I loved the International Christian Fellowship on Via dei Biffi.” S.H. (Spring 2017)

    “Bring plenty of pullover/layering sweaters for those days that start at 40° and end at 75°.” L.S. (Spring 2017)

    ​“Get a bike.” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    “The dollar store has more than you expect. Use the shuttle bus to and from the airport.” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    “Florence is a safe city, venture out during the day. Start writing a journal while you’re here—seriously, reflection gives you a greater appreciation and memory of everything.” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    “Allow yourself time to adjust and be smart about your decisions abroad. Be aware of currency exchange rates.” K.K. (Spring 2016)

    “Do take the Italian language course.” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    “Bring zip-lock bags! Seriously!” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    “Don’t just hang out with Americans.” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    “Bondi sandwiches are cheap and delicious on a student budget.” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    “Gustoleo has great take-away pizza for 5 euros.” H.M. (Spring 2016)

    “I would suggest bringing comfortable walking shoes and a good camera. Also, the pizza at the Mercato Centrale is my favorite.” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    “Half of the clothes you bring should be clothes you are willing to donate/throw away at the end of the semester. That way you have more suitcase space on the way home for new clothes/souvenirs.” A.P. (Spring 2016)

    “La Ménagére is a great restaurant and the sandwiches at College are a good and cheap alternative to the Oil Shoppe, if that’s too crowded at lunch.” S.W. (Spring 2016)

    “La Gratella Trattoria in Via Guelfa near Fuji Studio is amazing.” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    “Italians wear a lot of black and ankle boots.” n.n.n (Spring 2016)

    “Make a photocopy of your passport to carry around with you.” C.H. (Spring 2016)

    “Validate your train ticket before getting on the train.” M.G (Spring 2016)

    “Find the Conad and Ikea. Talk to the MFAs who have already been here a year. They will help you.” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    “Most things you think you cannot get in Florence and need to pack, you can buy.” A.K. (Spring 2016)

    “Go to the cannoli stand at the Central Market.” n.n. (Spring 2016)

    ​“Get lost. The first week I just walked around for long periods of time with no idea where I was. After that week, I found that I recognized many areas, and it helped me navigate the city better.” M.I. (Spring 2015)

    “Bug spray and an open mind. You will have a wonderful experience if you don’t let the small cultural differences bother you.” n.n. (Spring 2015)

    “You don’t have to tip. If they ask you to, it’s probably a scam.” n.n. (Spring 2015)

    “Make sure you get to the other side of the river! It’s beautiful and quiet over there.” C.L. (Spring 2015)

    “Experience as much as you can. Bring fall attire – it doesn’t get warm until April. Try all art supplies here. Be prepared to not have a clothes dryer, oven, or dishwasher.” K.Y. (Spring 2015)

    “Osteria Santo Spirito!” M.H. (Spring 2015)

    “Give yourself a good budget for food. There is so much to eat here and it is worth the investment to eat out and try everything.” A.M. (Spring 2015)

    “Trattoria Pallottino near Santa Croce! It is amazing. Definitely check it out.” A.V. (Spring 2015)

    “Do research before arriving in Florence, like reading guide books and blogs. That way, you know better what you want to see, and can immediately start exploring.” S.N. (Spring 2015)

    “Always have a map when walking around.” C.S. (Spring 2015)

    “Pack lightly: tons of beautiful vintage stores!” A.B. (Spring 2015)

    “Learn the train and bus systems early on so that you can make the most of long weekends throughout the semester.” I.J. (Spring 2015)

    “Don’t forget to spend a considerable amount of time working in the studio. Let the foreign experience have an outlet in your work.” A.S (Spring 2015)

    “Day trips: Viareggio is very nice.” n.n. (Spring 2015)

    “Gusta Pizza has the best pizza ever!” K.C. (Spring 2015)

    “La Carraia, a gelato place on the other side of the Arno is great.” M.S. (Spring 2015)

    “Get out of Florence and explore the smaller towns around it. Then you will really experience the Italian culture. Florence can become too touristy depending on the season.” J.D. (Spring 2015)

    “For Christian student groups, look up GBU Firenze. Being a part of this group helped me find a community to be a part of and gave me the opportunity to meet Italian students.” n.n. (Spring 2015)

    “Go to Nobile Bistro. It’s just a couple blocks away from Palazzo dei Cartelloni. It’s a cute little place owned by a couple who make amazing sandwiches.” J.H. (Spring 2015)

  • Summer I Term

    “Try new foods, try speaking Italian, learn simple phrases to be polite/respectful.” E.B. (Summer I 2019)

    “Boboli Gardens, SACI food trips (I learned the most about Italian culture and met people).” W.J. (Summer I 2019)

    “Go to Caffé  dei Pucci.” H.S. (Summer I 2019)

    “Don’t forget that some restaurants charge to sit. Get your food to go and eat it in SACI’s garden.” B.S. (Summer I 2019)

    “If you visit other cities, make sure to plan in advance! Double check times because Italy uses the 24-hour system.” P.Z.  (Summer I 2019)

    “The 99-cent store is useful for apartment supplies and whatnot (and I figured this out the last week of classes).” C.C. (Summer I 2018)

    “Buy your towels at COIN.” O.I. (Summer I 2018)

    “Take day trips to other cities. There is so much to experience in Italy. Pack mosquito repellant or buy a VAPE plug when you get here. Bring a hard cover sketch book—you’ll be sketching while standing a lot. Lots of people smoke in Italy so take precaution if you’re sensitive to smoking.” C.S. (Summer I 2018)

    “Go to Ciro & Sons if you’re gluten-free.” n.n. (Summer I 2018)

    “Bring more cash than you think you’ll need—most places prefer cash, plus it’s a lot easier than in the U.S. because everything is in even euros.” K.T. (Summer I 2018)

    “Try not to stress too much about money and just enjoy your stay in Italy.” E.C. (Summer I 2018)

    “Pizza Capri in the Mercato Centrale is great!” L.H. (Summer I 2018)

    “Go to Cinque Terre. Use Smart Trip. Trattoria Zaza has good food. Gelateria dei Neri has the best gelato.” R.D. (Summer I 2018)

    “If you want to travel outside of Florence, purchase tickets—especially at museums—in advance.” R.S. (Summer I 2018)

    “Definitely do Venice one day because it’s beautiful, but Florence is supreme to anywhere.” L.W. (Summer I 2018)

    “Bring your own materials when possible (oil paints, brushes, etc.). They are expensive here.” C.M. (Summer I 2018)

    “Pane & Toscana— big 5-euro sandwiches!” S.H. (Summer I 2018)

    “Look for facts on real leather—what’s real and what’s fake.” n.n. (Summer I 2018)

    “If you want to eat really good food, don’t eat next to tourist destinations.” n.n. (Summer I 2018)

    “Dress modestly and ignore men.” M.M. (Summer I 2018)

    “Pack light. I have more clothes than I arrived with, so it might be difficult to get everything home.” D.J. (Summer I 2018)

    “Learn at least some Italian before you come and invest in the language while you are here. Also, make use of the markets to save money on food and to practice your Italian—Sant’Ambrogio is my favorite.” S.W. (Summer I 2018)

    “Make sure you have all medications/prescriptions filled fully before arriving.” B.H. (Summer I 2018)

    “Work hard but set aside time for travel too.” S.D. (Summer I 2018)

    “Edoardo’s has vegan gelato.” C.F. (Summer I 2018)”

    “Bring enough euros with you beforehand and bring suitable clothing to wear in public.” C.F. (Summer I 2018)

    “There is an app called TheFork that gives discounts to users for restaurants and saves you a lot of money.” D.C. (Summer I 2018)

    “If you are worried about bringing art home, buy storage tubes while you are here to roll up art.” I.H. (Summer I 2018)

    “The pastry shop across from the craft studio (Fuji) is a great spot for inexpensive coffee and sweets.” D.K. (Summer I 2018)

    “Prepare for churches—clothes to cover shoulders and knees. They wear a lot of pants here.” n.n. (Summer I 2017)

    “Bring clothes for hot, hot weather. Don’t bring too many nice things—you won’t wear them. Bring comfortable walking shoes.” n.n. (Summer I 2017)

    “Check out the Cascine for concerts and great deals at the Tuesday morning market. Explore!” E.D. (Summer I 2017)

    “If you need a haircut, there is a great place on Via Ghibellina called Hairforce.  The Odeon Theater is beautiful.” T.K. (Summer I 2017)

    “If you are in SACI housing, you don’t need to bring sheets but you do need to bring towels.” C.C. (Summer I 2017)

    “The Rose Garden was really great for studying and naps.” K.C (Summer I 2017)

    “Go to the Conad for groceries.” n.n. (Summer I 2017)

    “Zecchi is awesome!” n.n. (Summer I 2017)

    “Go to Osteria Pepò!” C.S. (Summer I 2017)

    “Make a list of things you want to do or try fore you leave. The trip will be over before you know it.” A.S. (Summer I 2017)

    “Make sure to bring reusable bags to the grocery stores.” O.V. (Summer I 2017)

    “Fuoco Matto for the best oven cooked pizza.” n.n. (Summer I 2017)

    “Bring a towel from home and sunscreen, both are cheaper in the U.S. Bring a water bottle that you can refill to stay hydrated.” T.H. (Summer I 2016)

    “Stay on top of school work and do something fun every weekend.” J.B. (Summer I 2016)

    “The less you bring, the better (you can buy things here). You can find everything at the 99 cent store!” M.B. (Summer I 2016)

    “The first week or so make sure you carry a map because you will get lost. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions—many people are very nice.” B.B. (Summer I 2016)

    “Walk down Via dei Ginori—great food and gelato. Climb to San Miniato and listen to the Gregorian chants. Walk around Santa Croce—very local and great shopping. Cross the Ponte Vecchio—even better shopping and less tourists.” L.N. (Summer I 2016)

    “Learn Italian!” E.C. (Summer I 2016)

    “Don’t stay too close to the center of Firenze—the best stores are on the outskirts. Go over the bridge to find good, inexpensive food.” M.D. (Summer I 2016)

    “Try to take advantage of traveling when here, but don’t forget to stay and enjoy Florence. Look at the flyers SACI gives you for entertainment and participate in watching seasonal sports games.” C.M. (Summer I 2016)

    “Bring comfy shoes and light, easy-to-pack clothes. Beware of mosquitos! You will twist your ankle on the cobblestones. Beware of Italian drivers. Go on the field trips.” C.S. (Summer I 2016)

    “Cascine market (Tuesday mornings).” C.C. (Summer I 2016)

    “Learn to cook—it’s so much cheaper! Small gelato places are almost always cheaper and better tasting.” K.J. (Summer I 2016)

    “The two religious stores next to the Duomo.” L.R. (Summer I 2016)

    “Bring clothes you can throw away.” H.M. (Summer I 2016)

    “Bring an umbrella. Florence isn’t always as sunny as you may think.” K.K. (Summer I 2016)

    “Don’t be scared to try different things. Get a lot of gelato. Try Gusta Pizza—cheap, fresh, and amazing! Have fun and be safe. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.” H.B. (Summer I 2016)

    “Bring a rain jacket!” E.S. (Summer I 2016)

    “Shop around before buying anything and look around to find the best grocery store.” n.n. (Summer I 2016)

    “Keep track of your spending because it is very easy to spend a lot!” L.S. (Summer I 2016)

    “La Ménagère—great atmosphere, staff, and jazz club downstairs.” M.H. (Summer I 2016)

    ​“Don’t bring an American Express card—not a whole lot of places take them.” L.W. (Summer I 2016)

    ​​“Try new places to eat and you will find some hidden restaurants that are awesome! Do not overpack. You will not wear heels and other random things. Bring a rain jacket and light sweater.” D.A. (Summer I 2015)

    “Bring clothing for both warm and cool weather, umbrella, and bug spray” K.A. (Summer I 2015)

    “Bring cash and a debit card—not much else. Go to museums.” S.C. (Summer I 2015)

    “Bring long pants and/or skirts for churches.” A.F (Summer I 2015)

    “Have money exchanged into small bills.” A.G. (Summer I 2015)

    “Get a fan if you are on the 4th floor. It is hot at night sometimes.” D.H. (Summer I 2015)

    “Panbriaco is a really good lunch place near SACI.” R.K. (Late Spring 2015)

    “Be open about food and learn what is typical at specific times of the day.” R.K. (Summer I 2015)

    “If you want to travel on the weekends, it’s cost effective and easier to plan before your arrive.” H.K. (Summer I 2015)

    “Hemingway is a fantastic coffee shop/bar.” G.L. (Summer I 2015)

    “Don’t wait until the last minute to go to museums—go to the Uffizi five times or more.” K.L. (Summer I 2015)

    “Salvini is a great store for art supplies.” n.n. (Summer I 2015)

    “Be respectful, and even if you don’t know Italian, trying with a few words helps.” n.n. (Summer I 2015)

    “There are many awesome restaurants around the city that you will come across by just walking around. Eating vegan or vegetarian isn’t as hard as it would seem.” T.S. (Summer I 2015)

    “The Orientation packet is very complete.” M.S. (Summer I 2015)

    “Have a backup plan if something happens to your credit card.” E.S. (Summer I 2015)

    “Don’t use currency exchange. Go to ATMs.” X.W. (Summer I 2015)" 

    "Read information about life in Florence. It is important to know the lifestyle and how to survive on a budget. Buy food from the Central Market and cook at home to save money!" E.M. (Summer I 2014)

    "Spending a weekend at the Cinque Terre was wonderful, especially as the weather warmed up." A.L. (Summer I 2014)

    "Try to speak as much Italian as possible, even if all you know is "Ciao," people will mostly be really kind!" C.K. (Summer I 2014)

    "Don't spend every weekend drinking at discos, experience the culture! Buy your supplies here." C.C. (Summer I 2014)

    "Be a part of the SACI Facebook Group: lots of good event ideas!" (Summer I 2014)

    "It's pronounced "Gratzee-eh", not "Gratzeee"!!!" D.C. (Summer I 2014)

    "Bring more money than you assume you will need, if you plan on traveling a lot. Also, you don't really need to buy a phone if you WiFi on a smartphone." n.n. (Summer I 2014)

    "Exchange contact information with fellow Group Flight travellers and download Viber before leaving the States. Communication will be a lot easier!" K.F. (Summer I 2014)
    "Chill out - the Italians have a slower (and probably healthier) pace of life; go to Sicily, Bologna, Naples or Salerno at least once: you can interact with the locals and breathe in a more genuine Italian experience than in the more tourist-packed destinations (Venice and Rome)" T.C. (Summer I 2013)

    “Pack bug spray and your favourite snacks! Definitely go to Piazzale Michelangelo." n.n. (Summer I 2013)

    “Go to Salvini (Via degli Alfani, 111) for supplies: they have a 10% discount for students and are open during lunch time." M.H. (Summer I 2013)

    “Expect to spend more than you think, and pack an outfit for several types of seasonal weather." R.R. (Summer I 2013)

    “Don't be afraid of getting lost and trying new things: Florence is a friendly city." n.n. (Summer I 2013)

    “Be polite and respectful: respect the local culture." J.K. (Summer I 2013)

    “Try to shop at places off the main tourist routes. When the summer season hits, the prices go up." J.L. (Summer I 2013)

    “Women - dress lady-like; do not bring short cut-off shorts, and always carry a cardigan or a scarf for entering churches." n.n. (Summer I 2013)

    “Visit the SACI library: it is great!" n.n. (Summer I 2013)

    “Always have a map of where you are and where you're going. Try to get behind the scenes and away from the tourist routes by talking to locals." C.E. (Summer I 2013)

    “Be careful when making impulsive purchases. The small amounts of euros add up quickly!" n.n. (Summer I 2013)

  • Summer II Term

    “Pack lightly and sign up for the events SACI organizes for you and your friends to enjoy.” M.W. (Summer II 2019)

    “Smalzi – il gelato (close to the Basilica of San Lorenzo). The people are really sweet and you can also get a sandwich with the fresh ingredients you like.” P.P (Summer II 2019)

    “Avoid markets/stands near super touristy areas. Explore the area on the other side of the Arno. Take cash out of ATM machines instead of exchange store fronts (they charge large service fees).” M.M. (Summer II 2019)

    “Cooking at home will save you money. Conad is one of the cheapest grocery stores in the area.” n.n. (Summer II 2019)

    “Don’t buy things for your apartment before going there because in our case there were a lot of leftover things (soap, cleaning supplies, extension cords, and adapters).” E.B. (Summer II 2019)

    “Bring a reusable water bottle. It will save you so much money.” n.n. (Summer II 2019)

    “Travel light. Bring essentials for a week or so. You can basically buy everything here. I bought a lot of clothes!” L.Y. (Summer II 2019)

    “Don’t bring any sweatshirts or hoodies—it will never be cold!” M.L. (Summer II 2018)

    “Ciro & Sons has the best gluten-free pasta.” L.C. (Summer II 2018)

    “Osteria de’ Peccatori near the Bargello is great.” n.n. (Summer II 2018)

    “I recommend students bring a mosquito net for their bed since most of the apartments do not have screens in the windows.” n.n. (Summer II 2017)

    “Do as much as you can with the time you have and make lots of friends because it goes by fast.” E.B. (Summer II 2017)

    “Explore the first day.” n.n. (Summer II 2017)

    “Use the Duolingo app to prepare yourself to speak the language.” T.P. (Summer II 2017)

    “The Central Market is a great place to get food during the lunch breaks.” n.n. (Summer II 2017)

    “Learn to cook pasta at home—it is cost-effective and will be a lasting memory of Italia.” R.R. (Summer II 2017)

    “Most of the museums usually do not have long lines, even in the summer, if you arrive early in the morning.” H.R. (Summer II 2017)

    “The OVS store on Via Nazionale 39 has a lot of inexpensive home goods, if you need any small appliances such as irons, espresso makers, hairdryers, and fans. My hair dryer was 12 euros.” A.S. (Summer II 2017)

    “Don’t go out alone at night, especially women should be in a large group.” J.S. (Summer II 2017)

    “Buy a shawl.” K.C. (Summer II 2017)

    “Bring a reusable water bottle and a bag for grocery shopping.” n.n. (Summer II 2017)

    “My housemates and I loved a restaurant called Osteria Santo Spirito—amazing pasta for great prices!” J.D. (Summer II 2017)

    “Learn basic Italian.” n.n. (Summer II 2017)

    “Make the most of each day.” n.n. (Summer II 2017)

    “Shipping is ridiculously expensive and difficult. I packed thinking I’d ship things home. Mistake!” S.T. (Summer II 2017)

    “The Oil Shoppe next to Palazzo Maidoff has some of the best food I’ve ever had. The man who runs it is so sweet and he makes the most amazing iced coffee.” n.n. (Summer II 2016)

    “Go to Trattoria Nella and try Crema Caffè.” S.M. (Summer II 2016)

    “Purchasing an Italian SIM card to put in your smart phone is very economical—€15 for 400 minutes with 4G.” A.I. (Florence Program Summer II 2016)

    “Just explore. There is a lot to see, but don’t feel bad for taking a lazy day.” B.D. (Summer II 2016)

    “Best food place: EATALY” L.S. (Summer II 2016)

    “There’s a yogurt ice cream shop called Yogurt & Co near the Duomo and it’s really good.” L.M. (Summer II 2016)

    “Take advantage of SACI field trips and keep your eyes peeled for free events. n.n. (Summer II 2016)

    “Stare at the Duomo at least once a day!” A.L. (Summer II 2016)

    “You do not need to purchase your class materials in advance on your own.” M.D. (Summer II 2016)

    “My roommates and I took a day trip to the beach every weekend. Trains are easy to figure out and pretty cheap. Just try to avoid strikes.” E.I. (Summer II 2016)

    “Do not pack jeans for the Summer Term.” A.S. (Summer II 2016)

    “Bring cash to restaurants because they won’t split your check.” B.W. (Summer II 2015)

    “Before you come, orient yourself with Florence by looking at a map to get an idea of where things are. It makes the move-in process go so much smoother.” T.H. (Summer II 2015)

    ​“Don’t shop until the summer sales start on July 4th.” K.H. (Summer II 2015)

    “I find that you meet more people, have better times, and have more stories to tell when you go out and discover things on your own. Have your own unique experience in Italy.” S.H. (Summer II 2015)

    “Take your time to adjust.” G.C. (Summer II 2015)

    “Bring a good pair of shoes you can walk in—sandals and flip-flops will eventually hurt.” E.M. (Summer II 2015)

    “The best pizza is Gusta Pizza just over the Ponte Vecchio.” n.n. (Summer II 2015)

    “Zecchi is great for supplies—so helpful.” A.S. (Summer II 2015)

    “Close windows and shutters during the day to keep out the heat.” n.n. (Summer II 2015)

    “Stay in your apartment as little as possible—Florence is amazing! Travel when you can, train tickets are cheap and can get you almost anywhere.” M.M. (Summer II 2015)

    “If you are particular about toiletries, bring your own from home. Look for the lesser-known events like concerts, plays, etc. “ n.n. (Summer II 2015)

    “There is always outdoor, free music in the summer at night. Grab a gelato and go!” n.n. (Summer II 2015)

    “Don’t bring too many clothes. They’re not needed as washing in warm weather is easy.” C.C. (Summer II 2014)

    “Buy a hair dryer in Italy as American hair dryers will blow out the power.” n.n. (Summer II 2014)

    “A good lunch place is Passaguai. The people are friendly and the food is inexpensive and good. Pack light! You don’t want to pay for overweight luggage. Go on as many weekend trips as possible.” C.L. (Summer II 2014)

    “Treat the locals with kindness, try your best to speak the language, and venture out into the city as much as you can.” A.B. (Summer II 2014)

    “Go to Gusta Pizza, the Mercato Centrale, and the .99 cent store.” J.M. (Summer II 2014)

    “Bring a small poncho/umbrella, your own laundry detergent in a small bottle, and lots of bug spray.” G.G. (Summer II 2014) 

    “Buy a fan for your room, especially if you can split the cost with your roommate.” n.n. (Summer II 2014)

    “Try Osteria Santo Spirito.” A.C. (Summer II 2014)

    “Keep an eye on your cell phone (keep it in a zipper pocket) and don’t carry your passport in your purse.” n.n. (Summer II 2014)

    “Bring good shoes and a raincoat.” n.n. (Summer II 2014)

    “At this time of year, you don’t need to bring more than one pair of jeans.” S.J. (Summer II 2014)

    “Use the 72 Museums of Florence website.” n.n. (Summer II 2014)

    “If your roommates have a different schedule, try to switch off each night for who cooks dinner. Eating in and buying food at the market may seem like a daunting task but it’s totally worth it!” A.P. (Summer II 2014)

    “Use the ATM upstairs in the Mercato Centrale. It felt very safe for withdrawing money. n.n. (Summer II 2014)

    “Wear comfortable shoes with good supportive soles to walk on Florence pavements. Bring insect repellant, sunscreen, and a sun hat.” R.K. (Summer II 2014)

    “Pack clothes that you can also wear to class, such as Painting and Drawing classes.”S.S. (Summer II 2014)

  • Summer Venice Term

    “Pack light and do laundry often instead of bringing a big suitcase. It’s difficult to haul big luggage in Venice and especially on the crowded vaporetto!” C.P. (Summer Venice 2019)

    “Be aware that there are no stoves for cooking in the housing accommodations.” S.S. (Summer Venice 2019)

    “Bug spray, sunscreen, light clothes, and stay for the Festa del Redentore! It was so much fun!” A.L. (Summer Venice 2019)

    “Prepare to bring money for food since the room has no real kitchen with a stove. Pack light clothes. It’s very humid. Be prepared to have patience. Travel in Venice is slow with the vaporetto.” K.W. (Summer Venice 2019)

    “Stay away from touristy restaurants. Go shopping and find the deals that are out there.” A.C. (Summer Venice 2019)

    “I would bring one sweatshirt and one going-out jacket, as well as a raincoat. Bring a folder and a journal.” S.S. (Summer Venice 2018)

    “Bring lots of tanks and shorts. The weather is usually hot.” n.n. (Summer Venice 2018)

    “Bring a jacket or sweater and cardigan (sometimes it gets chilly by the water).” n.n. (Summer Venice 2018)

    “Try to get lost as often as you can.” n.n. (Summer Venice 2017)

    “Bring mosquito repellant.” M.G. (Summer Venice 2017)

    “I wish I had thought to pack a tripod.” S.S. (Summer Venice 2016)

    “Venice is very hot. Be prepared to use sunscreen.” Z.G. (Summer Venice 2016)

    “Explore everything!” J.B. (Summer Venice 2016)

    “Bottled water is expensive, unless you buy it at the supermarket. If you plan to go to other cities by train, buy the tickets ahead of time for cheaper prices. San Marco’s restaurants are expensive.” C.S. (Summer Venice 2016)

    “You should go to La Fenice Theater to watch an opera. It’s remarkable.” H.S. (Summer Venice 2016)

    “Bring motion sickness pills just in case. Shopping and cooking your own food is considerably cheaper than eating out.” J.B. (Summer Venice 2016)

    “Linen clothes! Osterias are fun.” B.B. (Summer Venice 2015)

    Don’t pack any sweaters or jackets!” n.n. (Summer Venice 2015)

    “Everything around San Marco is expensive, therefore, eat/shop anywhere else to save money.” E.J. (Summer Venice 2015)

    “Go out and explore, even if you’re tired.” n.n. (Summer Venice 2015)

    “Bring a backup hard disk for your computer and extra flash drives.” K.A. (Summer Venice 2015)

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