If you asked me to describe my trip this past summer, I would have to say that it was an absolute adventure. My sister, my cousin and I were ready to take this first trip on our own, and indulge in a fascinating culture halfway around the world in Florence, Italy.

Walking down the ancient streets of the city gives you such a joyful feeling; I would recommend Italy just for the sake of walking down those pathways! My family lives in Florence, so they kindly took my sister and me in. Having an Italian family has its advantages, as it comes in handy when bargaining. If you speak English while shopping on Italian streets, be prepared to pay three times the regular price.

The cultural aspect of a city like Florence jumps at you from every corner. Being on the inside, I was able to enter the two most famous museums in the world without waiting in treacherous lines. The Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery hold priceless art. My sister, my cousin, our new friends and I saw pieces such as Michelangelo’s David, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, and countless more. Be sure to always get a souvenir of every place you visit, as there will be many!

It is true what they say about Italians and pizza. I do not think I have had more pizza in my entire life than I did in Italy. Also, make sure you know how to order your gelato. Both of my aunts in Italy own a gelato store, so I cannot even count how much ice cream I devoured during those ten days.

There is always something new to do in the city throughout the day. We spent little of our time shopping and most of it exploring. Though completely shameful and tourist-like, I recommend renting a six-person bike and riding around the city. People were even taking pictures of us embarrassing ourselves, but it was a blast!

After sundown, the city seemed even more awake. There were always shows in plazas, Italian music being played on the streets, and pubs filled with laughter. The most exciting part of my trip was meeting new people. I built amazing friendships in a new country, and they are people I still keep in touch with.

One night, my entire family and I visited Piazzale Michelangelo, where we were able to view the entire city of Florence from a large square on a hilltop. The city sparkled with life. Florence is truly a gem, and also an unforgettable part of my summer.