Destinations: Museo Galileo, Bargello
I have learned a great deal over the past few months studying about the Renaissance and Italian culture. Wonderful things can happen when you broaden your perspective and observe the world around you, ask questions, and seek to explore new knowledge and new customs. The Renaissance is evidence of this phenomenon, and my experience in Italy has demonstrated this as well. Often, at home, I am rushing to accomplish my daily tasks and attempting to be as productive and efficient as possible. However, in attempting to navigate Florence without a cell phone, reliable WiFi, or command of the Italian language, I have learned that being “lost” can be an adventure and lead you to unexpectedly wonderful experiences (such as the delicious food of Trattoria Bondi or the spectacular view of the rainbow above Palazzo Vecchio).
There can be beauty around every corner, especially in Florence, but one must be attending to the present to experience it. Being in Italy reminded me that in focusing on the present moment instead of reflecting on the past or speculating about the future, I can achieve a sense of tranquility.
The Renaissance texts I have studied also influenced my perspective. Many authors experienced turmoil in their lifetime, but they continued to bravely march forward to fulfill their purpose. In many cases, experiencing adversity did not weaken them but rather strengthened their motivation and inspired them to create great works of literature. Boccaccio endured the the Plague to write the Decameron, Machiavelli survived torture and exile before composing The Prince, and Dante wrote the Divine Comedy in exile from Florence. These authors were driven to express their ideas and make the most of their lives regardless of the obstacles they faced. Being in Florence, the home of these authors, I feel inspired to pursue knowledge regardless of any adverse circumstances.
In Italy, I have also become more aware of the multitude of humans throughout history and the relatively brief time they spent on Earth. Being in Florence reminded me to make the most of my time, and I sought to fully appreciate my experience, whether through learning something new by taking in an additional museum during my lunch break or spending time enjoying the moment by devouring a delicious cup of Biscotti gelato on a bridge over the Arno. When I go home, I plan to spend more time savoring the beauty of the present! Studying abroad in Florence has ignited my sense of adventure and fueled my desire to learn and enjoy my surrounding world.