Conversations in Firenze

I spent this past weekend in Florence (known as Firenze in Italian) on personal travel. I was initially expecting to hang out with some of my friends in the city; however, as I quickly learned in this program, things do not always go as planned. I soon realized that I was going to have to face this unfamiliar city alone for the day.

As I sat on a bench in front of the breathtaking Duomo and watched the pigeons flock around, I pondered what I should do. The next thing I know I am in a full conversation with a Peruvian woman. We talked for about 30 minutes about where we were from and why we were in Florence. In addition, we watched the pigeons as she fed them and ended up asking a stranger to take our picture. If I had not been on that bench, I would not have met this woman and had this amazing cultural experience and cool story to tell.

Afterward, I walked around and got lost around the beautiful city. I discovered some interesting pieces of artwork down some random streets. My favorite piece of artwork that I stumbled upon is called ‘Albero della Pace’ (Tree of Peace) by Andrea Roggi. It was built in memory of the victims of the 1993 Mafia massacre. I had never heard of this piece and think that it was definitely worth discovering.

To escape the cold, I decided to look in H&M where I had another unforgettable experience. In the dressing room, I heard two Korean girls talking. For context, I took Korean last semester and felt confident enough to try to speak to them. They were shocked that I knew how to speak some Korean, and one of them told me that my pronunciation was really good which made me so happy. Who knew that I would need my Korean skills in Italy!?

Enjoying the view of the Arno River in Florence

    Overall, I am so happy that I took a leap of faith and got to adventure out and see Florence on my own. If I had not done this, I would not have met such a diversity of people and grown to be more courageous in my explorations; I truly feel like I got to know the city. I look forward to my adventures to come and cannot wait to see who I will meet next!


    Brooke Welch


    Andrea Roggi at the XIII florence biennale. Florence Biennale. (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2023, from