PyCon Italia 2024 ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Highlights from presenting at this year's event in Florence.

4 min read

PyCon Italia 2024 banner

Source: PyCon Italia

PyCon Italia holds a special place in my heart. Back in 2022, PyCon Italia was the first international conference to accept one of my proposals. This May marked my third year presenting at the event, which was once again in Florence. However, there was a big difference this time: instead of presenting a workshop, I delivered a talk based on my article 5 Ways to Get Started in Open Source.

Since I had never given that talk before, I had been a little concerned with my timings in the days leading up to the event. I was trying to figure out the right balance of personal stories and guidance for my 30-minute slot, and I had dry runs anywhere from 20 minutes to 40 minutes, which I needed to tighten up.

Thankfully, the extra practice paid off, and the talk was a huge success! One attendee said on LinkedIn, "It was the best talk I've attended in a long time ๐Ÿ˜Ž Practical and insightful." A member of the scikit-learn team was also in the audience and praised the talk on LinkedIn.

Just after lunch (which included food trucks1 this year!) on the day of my talk, there was a book signing event, and it wasn't mine, so I figured I would check it out ๐Ÿ˜‚ Author Luciano Ramalho was giving out copies of his book Fluent Python,2 which to my surprise was at least 100 pages longer than my 788-page pandas book. The book signing event itself was different as well: instead of giving out books to people as they came on the line, there was a small Python application randomly deciding if that person would get the book or not. I thought this was a fantastic idea, since it effectively makes the books last longer, and I plan to implement something like this for my book signings going forward. Luck was on my side, and I did win a copy.

Afterward, I competed in a typing contest using a split keyboard. Scores were based on speed and accuracy, and while I am a touch-typer, I am also a perfectionist, so I found myself trying to fix the issues and then hitting even more wrong keys in the process ๐Ÿ˜‚ โ€“ it was a mess.3

I also made sure to take advantage of the hallway track. I caught up with some friends that I've met at past conferences both in Italy and abroad; met some people in person whom I've previously only interacted with online; and made new friends.

Later that evening, it was time to celebrate another successful speaking engagement. As someone who used to have a massive fear of any kind of public speaking, each event is cause for celebration, but as it turned out this was my 25th conference presentation. I celebrated this milestone by climbing up to my favorite viewpoint of Florence for the sunset.

sunset over Florence by Stefanie Molin

Sunset over Florence as seen from Piazzale Michelangelo. Source: Stefanie Molin.

It wasn't the most spectacular sunset I've seen there, but I did get a consolation prize. At the top, I stumbled upon a pizza festival complete with pizzerias from all over Italy making pizzas in brick ovens on the premises. After enjoying some of the best pizza I've ever had straight from the oven, I checked out the Italian singers performing on the stage at the other end of the venue. I capped off my night with some gelato. I'm not sure how I will top that for my 50th presentation!


Italian singer Aiello performing on the Radio Kiss Kiss stage at the Pitti Pizza & Friends event. Source: Stefanie Molin.

As it was a holiday weekend back home, I decided to visit a new city in Italy after the conference ended. I had chosen Bologna months prior, and, as luck would have it, PyCon Italia will be there next year ๐Ÿ˜‚ The train to Bologna was delayed for an hour, but, other than that, things went smoothly.4 I spent a leisurely day people-watching and savoring Bolognese cuisine before catching the train back to Florence in the evening.

Arrivederci Italia!

  1. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was the popularity of the vegan food truck.
  2. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.
  3. In case it wasn't obvious, I did not win.
  4. I cannot say the same for my air travel back home. I ended up having to spend the night in the Zurich airport on my way back home after my flight was cancelled due to bad weather on both ends. This was followed by an early flight to Brussels before finally making it home.

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