They don’t say “Hola” in Italy by Devin Bartolotta

After nearly 23 hours of traveling, I am in FLORENCE! Our initial plane to Italy sat on the ground in Philadelphia for three solid hours while an instrument was fixed, which led to a missed connection in Frankfurt, which led to my two travel companions and I hanging out in Germany for nearly four hours.

But after an obvious NIGHTMARE while traveling (which, from what I understand, definitely doesn’t happen to everyone).

When we arrived in Firenze, I was ready to kiss some sweet Tuscan soil and thank every God out there that I had finally arrived.

I was picked up by an employee of my soon-to-be Florentine Universita, and in that 45-minute silent, exhausted car ride I think I learned more about Italy than any book could have taught me:

1.) 80% of the people I saw on the street have the same exact nose as my Dad’s half of the family (He’s Italian, if you hadn’t guessed).

2.) I’m assuming the other 20% are tourists.

3.) Everyone car on the road is “fun size” and there are absolutely no rules except that you can’t get mad when other cars cut you off, run red lights, run over bikers in the street, or a vespa practically whizzes into your backseat…because your driving is equally as offensive.

4.) I will never drive in Italy.

5.) College students don’t get jet lag. Or at least I’d like to believe it wasn’t because of the giant bottle of Coke I chugged in Germany right before I got on the plane.

6.) As much as you’d like to believe you’re not as obvious as a freshman during fall quarter in Athens, everyone you pass can tell you are an American.

When I rolled my suitcase into 14 Via Dante Alighieri, an accordionist was playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” below my open window. 

(Uh, excuse me, is this real life???)

It. was. gorgeous. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s so indescribable, in fact, I’ve included photos:

I’m living with three girls and one boy in my apartment, all other students at OU, and I’m extremely excited to get to know all of them. We live just one street over from where the cast of the Jersey Shore works and I’ve seen them twice already, once filming directly outside of my school building (14-year-old girls, this is your cue to squee in excitement and jealousy).

Perhaps the biggest challenge I have yet to face was buying a cell phone. After entering a store and being bombarded with fluent Italian for one of the first times, I FROZE. I froze solid, then squirmed up like I got hit in the stomach, and said “….hola!”


Luckily the little old Italian man behind the counter not only thought it was hilarious, but was very kind and spoke fluent English. We carried on a conversation about where I was from, how he was baptized in the same Baptistery as Dante Alighieri (But, as he said, “maybe a few years later”) and how he has lived in Florence all his life.

This city is just beautiful, inside and out. I obviously have a lot to learn, but I am so lucky to be doing it here! Ciao!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s