Why Florence?

A Community Poem to Celebrate the Kent State University Florence Center



Model Stanzas

We’ve crafted nine different writing prompts. Read the model stanzas and each of the prompts below, then respond using the “Share Your Voice” button.

Because the Palazzo Vettori.
Because the quiet library and Tuscan sun spilling
through the eighteenth-century courtyard
whose new leaves and ancient stones
will rustle again under our feet.

Because of curiosity and wonder.
Because the republic of our imaginations
and the borderless play of our minds.
Because together we are a new map of an ancient city.


Kent State University has been educating students in Florence for more than 40 years. From architecture to fashion to science and the humanities, Kent State Florence is a comprehensive academic and cultural program.

As a direct, creative response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wick Poetry Center and Kent State University Florence Center created this community poem project to help students and faculty share their memories and reflections. Whether your experience in Florence was interrupted this spring semester, or you wish to recall your unique educational and life-changing experiences from years ago, Why Florence? provides an interactive platform for you to share your voice and connect with one another.


Contribute to the
Community Poem

Contribute to the “Why Florence” community poem by following the steps below.


View the Community

Click the link below to see your and others’ contribution to “Why Florence.”


The City

In a few short lines or phrases, tell us something specific about the city of Florence that you miss. Use all of your senses to describe the person, place, or thing you want to see again.

Example: The silence as the sun rises over the Duomo. The buzz of scooters at rush hour. The happy chatter of vendors at Mercato Centrale.

Contribute using “The City...” prompt.


The Art

Think of a specific work of art or architecture that you want to see again in Florence? What draws you to this work? Use concrete and descriptive words and finish this line, “Because of the...”

Example: Because of the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza della Signoria. Because of Donatello’s gaunt Madonna in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

Contribute using “The Art...” prompt.


The Classroom

One of the more difficult consequences of the global pandemic is the dramatic changes to the school year. We miss our students, our teachers, ourclassrooms. We miss our unique work, learning, and shared vision. For this prompt, finish this sentence: “Because I miss...”

Example: Because I miss the gentle sound of the Italian language, the visit to the Academia Museum with my Professor, the stairs of Palazzo Vettori?

Contribute using “The Classroom...” prompt.


The History

What do you miss about the history (living or past) of Florence? What is something you still have left to learn, discover, question? What historical figure has intrigued or inspired you? Start your lines with the words, “Because of...” and then write your historical reference followed by a concrete image or images associated with that reference.

Example: Because of the early Renaissance and astronomical science and the observation of heavenly bodies. Because of Lorenzo de’ Medici and his obsession with time.

Contribute using “The History...” prompt.


The Food

What’s not to love about the food in Florence? For this prompt, simply make a detailed list of the Florentine foods that you miss, or the bites that you want to try again or for the first time. Remember to be as specific as possible. Use your senses. You can even provide context for the food—how was it made, where did you buy it, what was in season and when? Start your lines with the words, “Because of...”

Example: Because of the smoke rising from sidewalk bistecca Fiorentina and towering cones of cioccolato gelato.

Contribute using “The Food...” prompt.


Tuscany and Nature

For those of us who love Florence also love her natural surroundings. Think ofthe Tuscan countryside, the city gardens, the waterways, the seasonal and evergreen flora. Using a concrete image, finish this line: “Because of...”

Example: Because of the Etruscan ruins of Fiesole. Because of the birch, ash, linden, and hornbeam—the pastoral songs of the Italian Cypress.

Contribute using the “Tuscany and Nature...” prompt.


Friends and Family

In our desire to return to Florence, many of us simply want to reconnect with new and old friends, cherished family members, and even neighborhood acquaintances. Who do you miss the most and want to see again? Be as specific as possible, avoiding overly emotional language and relying instead on concrete images. Finish this sentence: “Because I miss...”

Example: Because I miss Ciapetti’s perfect espresso and Nonna Vera waving from the third-floor window decorated with geraniums and surfinia.

Contribute using the “Friends and Family...” prompt.


Because Florence Changed Me

For this prompt you’ll write at least two sentences or phrases. You’ll start with the declaration “Because Florence changed me.” Then you’ll explain why Florence changed you in one specific way. Remember to use a concrete image or detail as well as your five senses.

Example: Because Florence changed me. I dream in Italian. I carry with me Dante’s warnings. I chant each week with the Fiorentina supporters.

Contribute using the “Because Florence Changed Me...” prompt.


To Ask Questions and Find Answers

For this final prompt, you get a chance to ask questions of others about their experiences of Florence. Keep your response simple and concrete by using a specific and declarative sentence or phrase.

Example: Have you dreamed of the Church of Santa Croce, the temple of glory? Have you witnessed the beauty of cobblestones? Have you breathed the city from Giardino delle rose?

Contribute using the “To Ask Questions and Find Answers...” prompt.

Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms.

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