Whether you toured Marist or not, you may already know that there is plenty to do on campus and in the beautiful Hudson Valley. Personally, I’m spending the semester missing my favorite Red Fox hangouts, but things to do with my free time is a list that never ends over here in Florence, especially when it comes to eating. While we may not have Marist Money, Thrifty, Bobo’s or CBR, they have so many other priceless things to do in Florence.
Homesickness hits hard for any abroad student, but in the city of art and Michelangelo, we’re lucky to find pieces of Poughkeepsie on just about every street corner. Here are five Florentine equivalents of Marist student’s favorite hot spots:
- The Cabaret vs. Mercato Centrale
Who doesn’t love the Cab? The Ben and Jerry’s runs, the quesadillas, the spontaneous entertainment. It’s one of Marist’s most convenient dining options.
Now take that, times it by a hundred, and add some ridiculous gourmet food and you have Mercato Centrale, located in the heart of the Florence leather market. Sandwiches, pasta, butchers, fruit vendors, bakeries, and all the olive oil and wine you can imagine. Mercato Centrale is Florence’s hottest spot for food on the go for any tourist or student, and you can always find a fellow Red Fox abroad grabbing a quick lunch.
2. Hancock Starbuck’s vs. News Cafe
Everyone loves Hancock, and Starbucks (plus the lovely barista Suzanne) simply adds to the studious charm of the building. It’s my favorite spot to hit between class for a Passion Tea Lemonade, but here in Florence, News Cafe is the mid-day pick-me-up.
Famous for cappuccino art, News Cafe is perfect for coffee on a college student’s budget. They don’t take Thrifty, but you can get espresso with a side of kisses…from Gordo, the owner’s adorable French bulldog!
3. Nelly Goletti vs. Odeon Theater
Whether it’s for a Campus Ministry meeting, a production or a speech, every Red Fox knows and loves the Nelly Goletti. Located in the Murray Student Center, it’s always hosting special events. Here in Florence, the Odeon Theater in Piazza Strozzi is home to all things orientation, performances, and even movie screenings. The Odeon is the Nelly but with a medieval twist! Marist may date back to 1929, but the Odeon dates back to the 1500’s!
4. Rossi’s Deli vs. All’Antico Vinaio
Rossi’s is the spot that needs no introduction. Located right along Hudson, Rossi’s is everyone’s go to sandwich shop for a taste of Italy (and some out of this world chicken cutlet, balsamic reduction and herb mayo).
While it’s no Hudson, the Arno River’s banks are home to what many locals (and study abroad students) consider the best panini shop in all of Florence: All’Antico Vinaio. At Rossi’s, you often have to wait in a line that reaches out the door, but All’Antico Vinaio is so busy they have three locations all next to each other, each with a line a block long. But don’t worry, the truffle cream and focaccia bread are well worth the usual thirty minute wait.
5. The Vanderbilt Mansion vs. Forte di Belvedere
The Vanderbilt summer home in Hyde Park is a favorite attraction for any history lovers. The views of the Hudson and gorgeous mansion are sure to be jaw dropping, and it’s a favorite Parents Weekend destination.
That being said, Vanderbilt Mansion is no Forte di Belvedere. With panoramic views of all of Florence and some of the Tuscan countryside, the historic hilltop fort is the perfect hike with absolutely breathtaking views. There is absolutely nothing like them in Florence, possibly even the world. You can catch Red Foxes catching sunsets here without a doubt.
They may not be Hudson Valley sunsets, but for the four months that I’m in Italy, they will more than do for me.