I honestly didn’t think my time in Italy could get any better, but I was wrong. So very wrong. Let me update you on what I’ve been up to this past week.

Day 8

My Saturday in Florence was spent hiking up to the Piazzale Michelangelo lookout, visiting the Boboli gardens, and exploring the museums in the Pitti Palace. The exploring did not stop there as I made the most of the gorgeous Sunday weather and took a train to Pisa with some friends. Seeing the leaning tower was something I wanted to tick off my bucket list. Not only did I see the tower, but I ended up climbing the 296 steps to the top. The climb was tough, but the view was absolutely incredible, with a 360 degree view of the beautiful city of Pisa. All the energy used from climbing the spiral staircase meant that lunch at an Italian restaurant was a must. If there is one thing I will never get sick of, it’s the delicious food in Italy. It’s just an added bonus that most of the meals come with complimentary bread!

Day 9

Monday morning and its back to uni for a day of fashion photography. Today we got to work on a photoshoot with a professional photographer in preparation for a later assignment. We met the models and gave our input on their hair and makeup styles for the shoot. We then began learning the ins and outs of photography, lighting and poses. We all got to give our opinion during the photoshoot, with some of us being brave enough to take hold of the camera and start snapping.

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Later that afternoon, it began to snow, but that didn’t stop myself and some of the other girls from climbing the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral. The sun was beginning to set as we climbed 463 narrow steps to the top of the dome. The artwork inside the cathedral was absolutely stunning, but the view of Florence just on dusk, illuminated by the lights, was 10 times better.

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Day 10

Uni today involved creating our own personal blog sites with the aim of writing a fashion blog for one of our assignments. We worked on creating a blog site, and a brand name and logo that reflected our personality. We began to write our articles, looking forward to the future when we all become world famous fashion bloggers (or at least we hope so).

After class a few of us made our way to the leather markets for some well-deserved retail therapy. The markets are filled with stalls of genuine leather products, with some made right in the heart of Florence. The San Lorenzo markets are one of the most popular shopping spots in Florence with a wide selection of jackets, shoes, bags, wallets and belts. It is probably also one of the easiest places to spend lots of money!

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    Day 11

I must assure you that studying in Italy is not always a magical wonderland with an endless amount of time to explore and climb towers. We actually do uni work sometimes too. Today we submitted our first assignment, presenting our new fashion trends to the class. I’m actually not joking when I say I had fun doing this. My fellow classmates (who are far more creative than myself) came up with some pretty amazing ideas. Don’t be surprised if I start wearing my active wear with high heels now (it’s actually a thing).

The day was not completed without dinner from the San Lorenzo markets. There is no shortage of food on offer ranging from pizza and pasta, to arancini balls, homemade hamburgers, fresh seafood and artisan cheeses.  If you are like me and believe food is the meaning of life, I recommend visiting these markets if you ever travel to Florence!

  Day 12

This morning at uni we learnt about the history of the Italian fashion system. Seeing the gorgeous gowns and the way they’ve changed over time was incredible. The clothing made from such delicate materials like silk and lace was so impressive to see. The most shocking thing to learn is that most dresses couldn’t actually be washed. That’s just a little bit gross if you ask me!

The afternoon class was based around our photoshoot assignment. We chose the final hair and makeup looks for the models, the clothing to be worn in the shoot and the background and props we would need to create our perfect scene. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to work with a professional photographer, professional models and professional hair and makeup artists for a university assignment. I’m honestly still in shock about how amazing this experience has been so far.

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Day 13

Today was our last fashion blogging class for the remainder of the course. It also meant that another one of our assignments was due (told you it’s not always a magical wonderland). Our professor Michelangelo graded our blog sites and said his last goodbyes to his Australian students. I must admit it is quite sad having to say goodbye to our Italian teachers. Our university, IED, has approximately 200 students so the school is somewhat like a close-knit neighbourhood. The friendships we have formed at IED are something that will definitely be missed.

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Day 14

The weekend has finally arrived which means it’s time to explore more of this beautiful country. Today I plan to visit the Galleria dell'Accademia to see the Statue of David, followed by a trip to the Uffizi gallery which happens to be one of the world’s greatest art museums. And of course I’ll find time to fit in some well-deserved shopping!

Next week is my last week of uni, so stay tuned for my next blog as I write about the rest of my adventures in the beautiful country of Italy.

Until next time, Sophie