SUF Student Blog

Welcome to the SUF Blog

The SUF Blog provides readers with an insider's view to the SU Florence program. Faculty, students, staff, host families, Italian students and local partners are all invited to contribute to the blog to offer as complete a picture as possible of what it means to study at Syracuse University in Florence.

Blog posts aim to present different perspectives on different aspects of life at SUF and in the city of Florence, including academics, extracurricular activities, field trips, internships, Italian home stays, food and culture, and more. Posts focus on opportunities and events that contribute to offering students a global approach to life, education and career.

Every comment is moderated and will not appear on the blog unless approved. For reasons of privacy, comments containing or requesting personal information will be deleted.

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Italians go crazy for Calcio

Have you ever been to a game of calcio in Italy? The favorite Italian pastime, calcio (or soccer) is taken more seriously by Italians than football is by Americans! Here in Florence, the Florentines are strong supporters (tifosi) of their beloved "Viola". To fully experience and appreciate this Italian passion for calcio, you must go at least once to see Florence’s team, ACF Fiorentina, also known simply as La Fiorentina, or La Viola, play at Artemio Franchi stadium.

The six most popular Italian teams are nicknamed according to their team colors: Napoli (gli Azzurri), Roma (i Giallorossi), Juventus (i Bianconeri), Internazionale Milano (i Nerazzurri), Milano (i Rossoneri), and Fiorentina (i Viola). These are the top teams that are almost always in Serie A. At the end of each season, the three teams with the lowest number of points are relegated to Serie B, while their previous positions in the Serie A bracket are taken by the the top three Serie B teams.

All matches are held rain or shine—even snow does not keep the giocatori from playing! Calcio is, above all else, about loyalty to one’s team, so don’t be surprised if you witness a fight or two—verbal or physical—between players and fans alike, that arise from deeply rooted rivalries and team pride. In Italy, calcio is serious business! Regardless of these conflicts, there is still plenty of fun to be had. Cheer, boo the opposing team, wear your team’s jersey, scarf, or colors, and maybe even learn a chant or two.

To watch the Viola play in Florence at Stadio Artemio Franchi, just make the 20 minute walk from the city center to the stadium, located at Viale Manfredo Fanti 14. The #7, 17, and 20 buses also run regularly to the stadium. For tickets, check online or go directly to the stadium (ask for tickets at Bar Marisa, opposite the main entrance). But be warned, tickets go quickly—the Florentine tifosi are dedicated! The Student Life Office here at SUF can also be a great resource to find tickets.

If you are interested in playing a game of calcio against native Florentine players, talk to Jim Kauffman (, who organizes calcetto tournaments between American and Florentine students every semester. Forza Viola!


Discover Firenze: Parks and Gardens

You’ve been in Florence for about two months, and by now are probably eager to escape the ever-present noise and tourists of the city center. As the weather slowly starts to warm up and spring draws nearer, you also probably yearn to be outside. Good news! You can find spacious green areas both inside and outside the city center. And even more good news – you can access them for free!

The Boboli Gardens are located just behind the Pitti Palace, and now is the perfect time of year to visit before the grounds get overly crowded in April and May. Pack a lunch and spend an afternoon wandering through paths lined with wisteria and cypress trees and getting lost among sculptures, fountains, and grottoes. If you climb to the very top you can also walk through the rose garden and visit the Porcelain Museum. From the Boboli Gardens you can also access the Bardini Gardens, a lesser-known outdoor area in the city center. These gardens offer beautiful panoramic views of Florence and showcase beautiful arrays of flowers and fruit trees if you visit in the end of March or early April.

Perhaps one of the city’s best-kept secrets is its public Rose Garden, located about halfway up the hill leading to Piazzale Michelangelo. Hundreds of different rose varieties are on display along with lemon trees and other plants and even a Japanese garden. The Rose Garden is the perfect place to sit and read or study, and offers a breathtaking view of the cathedral cupola.

Cascine Park is a bit further away on the western side of the city. Once a game reserve for the Medici Grand Duke Cosimo I, it is now the largest public park in Florence. It also is home to the city’s largest market: on Tuesdays from 8-2, you can buy anything ranging from fresh produce to jewelry and antique furniture. Because of its size and location right along the Arno River, this park is a wonderful place to go for a run, a bike ride, or even just a leisurely walk. Further still is Anconella Park, located southeast of the city center. Since this park is about a 50 minute walk from the cathedral, it is best reached by bike. However, if you choose to make the rather long walk, the path follows the banks of the Arno so you will be rewarded with unique views of the river and the city that you would not otherwise see. Once you reach the park, you will be glad you made the trip: you won’t find any tourists here! Florentines walk their dogs, children play on the playground, and ducks and fish swim in the ponds and fountains scattered around the park. If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to watch a pick-up game of calcio!


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