One of the locations we went to visit while we were in Florence, Italy was the Villa Donatello Private Clinic. We compared how care was delivered and paid for in Italy’s public and private hospitals. Massimo Fibbi was our guide for the day. He took us on a tour of the private hospital, however we were only able to see a few areas due to patient confidentiality. Following our tour, we spoke with an inspirational gynecologist at the private clinic who encouraged us to find jobs we love. He shared that he used to work at John Hopkins University in the U.S. before coming to work at the Villa Donatello! Although we only talked with him for a short time, it was very apparent he loved his job at Villa Donatello, regardless of the difference in pay between the U.S. and Italy. We found his first-hand experience with healthcare systems in the U.S. and Italy to be extremely valuable, along with the informational he shared about private health clinics and hospitals in Italy.
Earlier that same week, we had the honor of visiting the University of Florence Canteen Mensa (cafeteria) to study food safety. Not only does this cafeteria provide meals for university students, it also has two other locations in Florence that produce more than 2,000 meals a day for people living in the city! We saw first-hand the kitchens where the food is prepared and packaged. The tour was extremely informative. We learned that Italian food culture consists of a two course meal, a side dish and bread and that is exactly what the students are given. The Mensa manager was so generous he gave all sixteen of us a free lunch so we could taste a meal the students would eat, such as pizza, pastas, fresh fruit and sandwiches. The food was fresh, had no preservatives, and it was DELICIOUS! Meals are distributed to students based on individual income. This means that some students may only be able to pay 2 euro for a meal, while other students might be able to afford to pay 5 euro for the same amount of food. The Mensa and the university want the best for their students and believe no one should ever go hungry because they can’t afford to pay. Everything about our visit to the Mensa was amazing, and we appreciated the staff taking time out of their day so we could visit. Thank you, Mensa!