Monday, May 27, 2013

Ciao da bella Firenze!

I am just about a week into my study abroad experience and I am loving every second of it. Leaving this beautiful city will be very hard, although I am excited to get back to Dayton and join my fellow stews as a River’s Institute Intern!

Running through Florence is the Arno river, which I am fortunate to be staying only a block away from. Each morning I cross a bridge to get to my classes, and through my classes I have learned a lot of the significance of the Arno River in Florence’s history. Unlike many of the other Tuscan towns which are located on hilltops, Florence is in a valley. Florence was never troubled with water shortages, the sanitation and hygienic practices were historically superior than other cities, fish was a staple product, and mills along the river allowed for manufacturing. Despite all the benefits, the river still is prone to flooding, and there are chronicles dating back to the medieval times of the devastation caused by the floods at least once or twice each century. The most recent massive flood occurred on November 4th, 1966, and was considered to be the worst flood since 1557.  The floodwaters reached over 6.7 meters (22 feet) at some places. This flood had a lasting impact on the city, and restoration work is still being done to this day.

While walking around the city, I found one of the high water markers from the flood. Looks very similar to what we have in downtown Dayton!

Another cool thing about Florence is all the parks and gardens available for the citizens and tourists. I happened to pick up a newspaper in Florence that was written in English, and there was a short article about the green space in the city. Here is quote from the mayor of Florence: “There are 376 gardens and 25 parks in Florence, totaling more than 3.5 million square meters of public green space… we have also approved a ‘zero volume’ structural plan, which means putting a stop to land consumption, and ensuring there is a park or garden no more than 10 minutes away from the house of every Florentine.” Awesome!

 Arno at sunset

The Ponte Vecchio ("Old Bridge") 

The low dam

River Love, 


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