by Keira, L6 Loreto student
To put my trip to Florence in words would be difficult unless I had time to write an actual novel. While I was only there for only three days, it felt like a lifetime and I already wish to go back. In that short space of time, I felt like our group of thirty became a tight-knit family and now I am back home, it is easy to see why Lucy Honeychurch from ‘A Room with a View’ struggled to let go of the time she spent in Florence and why those sights continued to haunt her when back in England. While I didn’t happen to witness a murder or see the phallic symbolism of the tower when I visited the Piazza della Signoria, I did get to see some wonderful sights and beautiful sculptures. This made me understand how it might have felt to Lucy coming from such a repressed and prudish society. Magnificent artwork was all around me – art that wasn’t afraid to show people in their most natural form. These pieces gave you something to think about even now and women like Lucy weren’t at all encouraged to think for themselves or to defy society’s wishes.
Every building in Florence looks like it has a story to tell and down every street was another Instagrammable view – so much so, that I left with almost 1,000 photos on my camera roll. As a Photography student as well as a Literature student, I was mesmerised by all the amazing architecture and seeing these buildings for real really has helped hugely with the coursework I’m now writing. While the trip wasn’t without flaws (with many leaving with more bug bites than they came with and one student almost getting arrested at the airport due to their bullet-shaped keyring which was actually a souvenir from Cambridge!) I wish to remember the highlights like being introduced to the delicious tastes of authentic Italian gelato and being able to see the Statue of David up close. I feel that in an ideal world, all A-Level students should be given a chance to visit Florence – to be able to truly understand the text like Forster intended after his own Grand Tour, to be able to write their coursework with the deepest understanding of what it means to open your eyes to ‘the view’.