GIF In Piazza Brings Florence Life, Food and Culture to You

The River Arne in Florence Italy
January 15, 2021
Dale Goodwin ('86)

While people around the world struggle to connect with each other in physical ways during the pandemic, Gonzaga in Florence created a virtual program to connect alumni, prospective GIF participants, other students, faculty, staff and friends with the Florentine culture. Presented live from Italy.


Beginning Jan. 27 and running every Wednesday through spring semester, 10-11 a.m. Pacific time, GIF In Piazza shares guest speakers on a variety of topics pertinent to Florence. Each program includes a vlog segment Food for Florentine featuring Italian culture through street food, such as trippa alla Fiorentina, schiacciata, and other tasty specialties. And an Italian Identity Interrogation offers Florence trivia questions and prizes for weekly winners.


Special guests include GIF all-stars, the likes of Mercedes Carrara, Henry Batterman, former Dean Pat Burke and Manola Gelli from Manola’s House/Nazionale Pensione. GIF staff are on every show and happy to answer questions and partake in conversation with their audience. They’ll even have a conversation in Italian with anyone who wants to practice their foreign language skills.

“We want to reconnect with our community, and offer a chance for our community to reconnect with us,” says Dean Jason Houston. “Join the staff anytime during the Zoom session and listen to or share stories. 

“There is a pent-up desire to re-engage among students who haven’t been able to come here, and friends who have been here and want to experience Florence again. So, we’ve created a space where people can come and virtually enjoy Florence, take part in the life of the city, and see what happens in the Piazza,” Houston says.

“We hope to attract alumni, friends, and Gonzaga University staff and faculty from the main campus who may have taught here or those who want to study or teach here in the future. Everyone is welcome here.” 

Join GIF In Piazza via this Zoom link each week.  

Stay in touch on social media to preview what's in store for the following week:


The GIF study abroad program has been unable to host students in person for almost a year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but GIF faculty have continued to teach Gonzaga University students via remote instruction. Houston says Italy is doing well to mitigate the spread of the virus, and is hopeful to restart the program with the summer session, beginning in May. Progress on welcoming students back to Florence is another feature you’ll find on GIF In Piazza.

Read from Gonzaga Magazine about Florence




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