Cultural stereotypes are something that everyone experiences. When students come to Florence, they expect beautiful, artistic people full of knowledge and grace. After speaking to faculty member Simona Cherubini, Professor in Social media, Digital Marketing and Marketing Strategies for the Arts, it became clear that stereotypes are not always true.
Cherubini discussed her experience with stereotypes after she visited California and did not experience what she had originally expected. She left for California with an image of beautiful, fit people who cared about healthy living. But once she got there, she quickly realized that not everyone was eating healthy and the mass fast-food chains had been left out of her original vision.
In a similar way, students come to Florence with preconceived perceptions of what the city is supposed to be and look like. They come to see the famous Duomo or Statue of David, but don’t bother to experience the real, authentic Italian sights and museums that Florentines charish--some won’t even cross the Arno.
According to Cherubini, the Arno is what separates the Italian culture from the tourist culture. On one side of the famous river, there are the classic tourist sites and shops--the Duomo, leather shops, and an American pub on every street corner-- but on the other side one experiences the italian culture in a new light. With monuments like the Piazzale Michelangelo and the Palazzo Pitti, the other side of the river is booming with exciting sites that tourists often miss out on.
However, many students are reluctant to cross the river because of the distance, but that is still not an excuse to experience real Italian culture. Small, hole-in-the-wall stores and eateries are all too common in Florence and should be explored to the fullest. Cherubini has offered up her favorite gelato place by the name of Edoardo. Located right next to the Duomo, Edoardo serves up homemade waffle cones that Cherubini described as cookies and while it can be a little pricey, it is worth the splurge!
*This article was co-written by Mackenzie Gobillot and myself*