JJ Murray, DJ Draper
Luke Della

Keeping Up With The Juniors: Florence

JJ Murray, DJ Draper Discuss Florence

During the Mean Green men's basketball team's nine-day foreign tour through Italy, travel roommates JJ Murray and DJ Draper (Real names: Joseph Murray Jr. and David Draper Jr.) have been keeping a log of some of their favorite things in each city the team visits, Rome, Florence and then Venice.

On Sunday, the team said arrivederci to Florence after spending three days in one of the world's top fashion and artistic cities. Here were some of Murray and Draper's thoughts on the historic Tuscany city.

FAVORITE PART OF FLORENCE
DJ: My favorite part was the Florence Cathedral (Duomo) in the middle of the town. It looked like a giant ginger bred house. It's green and took over 100 years to build back in the 1200s. 

Also really enjoyed the 10-mile bike tour we took through the town. 

JJ: My favorite part was the boat tour we took along the Arno river through town as a team. It took us through downtown and under bridges and a really famous bridge called the Ponte Vecchio. It was nice to sit outside and see the city and the tallest buildings. 

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES THEY'VE NOTICED
DJ: When we went on our bike tour it was really hot and we asked our tour guide Mario if we could take our shirts off and he said no, because it would be disrespectful. Florence, especially downtown, has such a strong religious and historic presence that something we think as normal like riding a bike without a shirt is thought of as disrespectful there. 

JJ: When we were thinking about buying things, the attitude of the store owners was way different than what we're used to in the United States. In the U.S. if you don't want to buy something I feel like most people are respectful about it but in Florence there were a couple times, not all the time, there were store owners who were mad or gave us a mean good-bye if we didn't follow through on buying something. 

FAVORITE MEAL IN FLORENCE
DJ: My favorite meal is still a Margherita pizza. I walked 30 minutes across town and found a pizza place that actually reminded me of Sbarro back in America and it was the best pizza I've had in Florence. 

JJ: Mine was the fettuccine alfredo pasta with chicken. Here in Italy you can't get pasta with chicken, it's not a thing. When we tried to order it they wouldn't do it. They refused and our tour guide was almost offended we asked, so we had to order the pasta and chicken breast on the side and cut it up and mix it together. But it was really good.

ROME vs. FLORENCE
DJ: Florence. No doubt. Florence is cleaner and nicer and the people were a little nicer. I also think some of the stuff we did around town was more relatable to what we do every day in the United State. Like biking around town and going shopping. Yeah, Florence was way better no question.

JJ: I definitely liked Florence way more too. Where we were had a central market and it was easier to get suvenlour. But it was also really clean and it was nice place to walki around.

PLAYING AGAINST THE ITALIAN ALL-STAR TEAM
DJ: That team was pretty talented. They had some bigs that could stretch the floor and they shot the ball pretty well and made us go out and guard them. They were also very physical and the game got pretty heated but they were a pretty good team and a fun team to play against. It was a good test for our team.

JJ: They were a lot older and they played the game smart and physical and we really had to get out there and guard them and play as a team. So we found out really quick they weren't playing around.

FAVORITE ITALIAN WORD/PHRASE
DJ: "Come ti chiami?" (What is your name?) and "chiami" is my favorite word because it sounds cool and is spelled cool.

JJ: I'm going to be really general and pick "buon appetito." It's a phrase they say a lot here and it's similar to other languages and is easy to remember. 
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