Ask the Expat – tips from people who’ve done it before

Finding the real Florence, and getting to know the city like a local may seem and can be a very daunting task especially if you are here for a short amount of time like a study abroad student or short term traveler or visitor to the city. So what we’ve decided to do is ask local experts, a group of expatriates who have lived here for years on their advice and tips on how to live in Florence like a local.

Live florence like a local (Credit: Flickr / Creative Commons: Eugene Regis)

“I would definitely say to try and get out of the city center as much as possible because it is a very touristy area. Even going on the other side of the river you will find a lot more of the authentic Italian life and you’ll also be able to meet real Florentines.”

Villa di Castello, outside the center of Florence (Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons: Gryffindor)

“When I first came to Florence it was really hard to meet anybody from the city so I would pick a bar to have breakfast at and strike up a conversation with someone. Even with little Italian, a little bit of how are you how’s the weather, learn some of the basic phrases. Pick your favorite lunch spot and do the same thing, that way you get to know some of the locals and feel like your part of the city.”

Florentine coffe bar (Credit: Flickr / Creative Commons: Robbo-Man)

“My advice on how to live like a local is mainly to find Italian friends and spend a lot of time with them as well as live your life like a local. Go shopping in the markets, go to the fresh food markets where you can find amazing produce and the seasonal fruits and vegetables. There is also a great weekly market at the Cascine, just be friendly and try to strike up a conversation with the Italians. You’ll build a relationship with the vendors. Eventually you’ll start to feel like your living in Italy and your one of the locals.”

Fresh products (Credit: Gabriel Reyes)

“I think if you want to lie like a local you should refine your style sense. Dress like an Italian; steer clear of floral patterns, which I’m a big fan of but I’m English. Americans definitely have a different fashion sense than Italians who tend to be very elegant and wear darker colors. So yes, dress like an Italian and people wont stare at you as you want in the center of Florence.”

Live like a local by doing what you would normally do, take a class if your interested in yoga, if your interested in art go to a galleries, I just a street painting group I don’t know if people can do that but that’s a way to meet people and get to know people who speak the language here. Speaking the language here is going to open doors, and that’s what will give you friends. And there might even be other foreigners who have come here as expats who come here as Japanese and Australians who also want to learn the language.”

Do what you would always do! (Credit: Flickr / Creative Commons: iantmcfarland)

There you have it! Listening to the experts will have you blending in with the Italian crowd in no time.

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