Florence 2022 Florence, Italy MSMU Travels

Exploring the Boboli Gardens

After spending an entire week trapped inside my tower of quarantine, I was finally freed Monday morning after my Covid test came back negative. Stepping out onto the street to take the test felt like passing through a portal and into a new world. After spending seven entire days by myself, my only interaction with the outside world was when the Deliveroo delivery guys brought me food. Seeing people face-to-face instead of through my window two stories up was an odd feeling, but I was beyond grateful to be outside at all.

I spent the next few days recuperating, still struggling with shortness of breath, feeling extremely tired and drained despite not doing much, and reacquainting myself with society. We didn’t have much planned with our class other than a lecture on Tuesday, so we used our free time to walk around Florence and get pizza, lattes, gelato, and see the Boboli Garden! 

The only thing I’d missed about my quarantine room was the bell tower by the Duomo. I was right next to it and could hear the bells perfectly whenever they rang throughout the day. Despite that, it felt amazing to get pizza with my roommate, get our favorite lavender lattes, and sit in the sun beside the Arno River. 

Tuesday we didn’t do much other than attend a lecture, but yesterday I visited the Boboli Gardens with some other girls. Two of them had been given the task of searching for a stick their art professor had painted gold, and the rest of us wanted to see the gardens anyway. We split up and made it a game to see who could find the golden stick first. In the end, my search party (consisting of two other girls and me) found it first! It was incredible to walk the same path a professor at the Mount had walked and to see the mark he’d left behind in Florence! 

The Boboli Gardens is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Florence, founded by the Medici family in the 1500s and originally used for growing medicinal plants. Today it holds a variety of tropical, carnivorous, and exotic plants, and it continues to grow medicinal plants and even foods.  Even though it was a chilly, cloudy day and the flowers weren’t in full bloom just yet, everything we saw was beautiful and breathtaking. We saw incredible views of Florence and the mountains in the distance, lovely fountains in all shapes and sizes, and mysterious trails leading us to more amazing things to discover!

Today, to celebrate making it through a successful first week back in society for me, I went out with my roommates to a nearby gelateria to finally get some gelato. It had been over a week since I’d last had my favorite dessert, and I decided to try a flavor I have never liked much in any sense: coconut. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, even with the coconut shavings, which I ordinarily don’t care for. 

However, it was nice to sit inside, eat coconut gelato, and let myself pretend I was back in Sardinia. It was a cool, fresh flavor that would otherwise be very refreshing on a hot, summer day. It did feel a little out of place though because the weather outside was cold and rainy and dreary.  

Nonetheless, I really enjoyed coconut, and hopefully, the next time I get it will be on a beach with soft, white sand and turquoise waters . . . but either way I’ll be sure to have coconut gelato again someday!

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