We have arrived in Firenze! Jenny Hirsch here with a new fantastic group di Abbey Roaders. After three group flights and some unforgettable travel adventures, all 72 students arrived safely. Gli studenti were resilient in handling the stress of international travel and arrived with smiles on their faces, ready to begin a new adventure. All were eager to settle into their palazzo appartiments, unpack, freshen up, and meet each other.  Our first night consisted of a delicious group dinner just outside of the majestic Piazza della Signoria, and of course, a first taste of gelato! We strolled back to our apartments and had our first view of the Duomo, which literally stopped some of the students in their tracks. How lucky we are that this incredible piece of history and artistic masterpiece is a central piece of the backdrop of our home for the next month!

Thursday began our Abbey Road deluxe orientation. Our grande famiglia italiana of 83 (11 staff) met for the first time and went over everything from staff introductions to cultural customs to safety and cardinal rules.  We then split up into cooking groups (a highlight of our month together) and continued our walking tour of Firenze, stopping for lunch and a lesson in Italian grocery shopping. Students had a chance to test out their Italian cooking skills during our first two cooking group nights- we made insalata verde with gnocchi alla sorrentina, and rigatoni ai funghi. Che buono!

After dinner, students explored Florence by night during a “Foto Hunt”.  We divided into cooking groups to search for the most “Euro” outfit, a Florentine crest, something related to Dante, English graffiti, a bike missing a seat, and a group member posing in front of a statue.  They were very creative in their endeavors and bonded as a team- a great time was had by all. Other evening activities in the first few days included night sketching and a walk to a beautiful view at Piazzale Michelangelo.  We are keeping busy in Firenze! Coming soon….classes begin.

Group meeting in the lobby

Orientation in the courtyard

Great listeners!

Emma and Ilana sign up for evening activities

A stroll through the city