This site contains an archive of posts from Macaulay Honors College students’ studies away and abroad from December 2008 through September 2012. Please read and enjoy!
So my host family took me to their grandparent’s farm in Red Hill. It was so much fun! Even though it was raining, you can tell that Judah (my Australian little brother) and Hila (my good friend) and I enjoyed hanging out together and making a fun vlog together. Making this video really meant a lot to me since everyone around me is so supportive of the whole “vlogging” thing and this time agreed to participate and come on farm adventures with me.
My family is the best. They went to a Kangaroo Park in Israel and sent me the video! I think they’ve seen more kangaroos than I have.
Hope you enjoy,
The study abroad site Go study in Australia! are running a video contest for north American students studying in Australia. The theme is “Future Unlimited: How might studying in Australia will benefit your future.
This is the video I’ve been working on for so long and I really hope to win! (first prize is a trip back to Australia!!!!)
So here it is: Please leave comments. I’d love to hear what you think!
It’s really fitting that this “closure/summary”-type video’s deadline is the same day as my last final. I finished all my exams today and as I was finishing the last question on my last exam (drawing my last syntactic tree-for my linguistics readers!) I was thinking how wonderful it is to be finished, but at the same time quite wistful about the study abroad semester being over. Overall, I’m really proud and happy to have accomplished my goals of “gaining new skills!” abroad and hopefully the video sums that up.
All the very best,
So I learned something new about Florence: their airport actually closes. When we (me, Michelle, and Joe) finally got there, it was closed… would’ve been nice to know. After a long exhausting flight spent watching three movies (Limitless, Hall Pass, The Lincoln Lawyer) and not sleeping, I was finally home!
It was amazing seeing my parents and my brother; but almost rivaling this was seeing my house, my room, and especially my bed! Oh bed, how I’ve missed you and your Toy Story blanket. <3 My bed is comfortable and my room is so welcoming.
Yeah, I definitely missed New York. Though I must say, this has been one of the best months of my life… thank you Macaulay for making this possible.
Last visit to Boboli. Last panini (tomato, mozzarella, eggplant). Last roommate lunch (smoked salmon on toasted bread over arugula). Walking around, looking at things. Never got to give a letter to Beatrice at the church near Dante’s house, but I know where it is, which is enough for me.
Best gelato: Vivoli (or cuor de pardula on Via Faenza)
Best pastry: chocolate flan (souffle)
Best pizza: that place near the Duomo (really good sausage)
Favorite moment: run to Piazzale di Michelangelo
Least favorite moment: Pisa (very underwhelming) (this just shows how awesome everything was)
Favorite excursion: Roma at night (but Venezia and Siena are very close)
Favorite Museum: Galleria degli Uffizi
Favorite Place to Draw: Loggia dei Lanzi
Favorite Church: San Paulo, Roma
Eva is sitting here distracting me, but it’s okay. I’ll miss having a roommate that isn’t my dog, Rocket. We talk about food, so I’m very happy with my living situation.
We had dinner on the Ponte Vecchio. Really good bruschetta and carbonara. Then Vivoli for dessert. I had cookies with some fruit jam in them, half a parfait, and gelato (chocolate mousse, fruit mousse that tasted more like honey, and strawberry). We sat on the steps of the Florence Cathedral and reminisced about our month here, trying to figure out how we would make a movie out of it.
Firenze was exactly what I needed. Aside from everything I learned, the people I met, the food I ate, and the places I saw, I was able to relax. I’ll miss Firenze not just for everything it can offer, but for the place it is to me. Everyone has a unique image of any given place. For me, Firenze was an escape from reality, the stress of my daily life, and the buildup of 20 years in NYC. I’m sure I learned something about myself and I’m sure I changed, but it’s too late at night to think about right now. Plus, I just want to enjoy this time. I’ll over analyze everything on the super long plane ride home (when I’m not reading my to-be-bought Italian fashion magazine).
Today was like a typical last day of anything: bittersweet.
One last trip to the market, one last walk through the stands, one more pizza for lunch. It was a good pizza, and I ended up napping (because I obviously am not sleeping tonight since I have to go to the airport around 4am).
It was a lovely nap. Afterwards, it was time for dinner. We tried to go to a more local place recommended by my Italian professor, but it was super crowded and they were much more partial to locals. It’s okay though, because we went to a restaurant on the Ponte Vecchio. I had an amazing spaghetti alla carbonara (yumyum!).
Dessert followed at my favorite place: Vivoli. One last chocolate mousse and strawberry gelato and one more parfait. Oh Vivoli, what will I do without you in New York? New York: step your game up please.
Finally, it was time to head back to the apartment. But before that, we sat on the steps of the duomo reminiscing on our past month. We were thinking about how it would end if our lives had been a movie. For me, it would’ve been right there: sitting on the steps, laughing, and enjoying the memories. It was perfect and incredibly cheesy. When we finally got up to leave, I was a little sad. I took one last look at the beautiful structure that had awed me so much on my first day there and it still had the same effect. I don’t think I could ever get tired of staring a the duomo.
It’s been an amazing, life changing month. Being on my own for the first time in a completely new environment. I think I’m ready to go home though.
Ciao Firenze! I’ll miss you. <3
Things I Won’t Miss
Lack of sidewalks (I value my life)
Lack of a grid system (I got lost easily on my own)
Awkward broken Italian/English conversations (I’m awkward enough speaking to other New Yorkers)
The euro (I just want to buy everything and not have to convert it)
Lack of street signs/rules (I have bad eyesight)
Saying something in Italian and getting a response in English (I appreciate the courtesy, but I’m trying)
Lack of microwaves
Subjective pricing (I just don’t get it)
Things I Will Miss
Lack of sidewalks (Less cars/noise)
Lack of grid system (I love getting lost and seeing non-touristy parts of town)
Awkward broken Italian/English conversations (people are so nice here and I love Italian)
1 and 2 euro coins (so much easier to use than dollar bills)
Heart shaped food (made by Italian men. Pizza, cappuccino, you name it)
Art everywhere and the ability to cut the line and see it all (thank you Amici degli Uffizi)
The food (fresh and delicious)
The fashion/window shopping
Walking to class (hello 4 minute commute)
Stairs (I mutter and sigh, but I feel less guilty about my 3 desserts)
The internationalism (I’ve met people from the most random places and the most interesting life stories)
Things I Have Learned
There is a mix of people everywhere you go (and you don’t have to like all of them)
I love art history and art (even more)
I can cook
It is possible to be assigned the perfect roommates
I’ve had a fantastic month in Firenze. I’ve met amazing people, had great food, and done so many things/gone to so many places. There’s not much too discuss. It’s been awesome. I miss it already.
Lesson #8: Don’t go 2 weeks in a foreign country without writing in your blog.
I’m so overwhelmed…so much to write about! I still haven’t included ziplining yet, and that was 2 weekends ago. Oops. But first things first – I’m leaving in 2 days. How insanely loco is that?! Today was my last day of class. I’m actually going to miss it. I honestly cant believe that a month, a whole month, has gone by without me even realizing it. Amazing. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit…if this is true, I’m more used to living in Costa Rica now than at home. A little scary.
I’ll try my best to catch up! Two weekends ago, we had a few excursions with CEA. First, we went to…are you ready for this…a coffee plantation! Umm…not much to write about that, sorry folks. We headed out from there to the real, live, (unfortunately not active at the moment) Poas volcano, which was pretty awesome to see once the fog lifted. I would have liked the threat of molten lava though, it might have made things a bit more exciting.
These leaves that we saw on the way up to the volcano are called “Poor Man’s Umbrella”…
We went from there straight to zip-lining, which I was really looking forward to! (The last time I was ziplining, I was 9 years old at a birthday party over padded floors at Discovery Zone. Somehow not the same.) Once we got there, and got our harnesses on, we headed out to the zipline and saw that it was a short distance over a man-made pond. What?? I wanted to sail over the forest canopies! Like they did in the Magic School Bus!
Little did I know that this was only the first of 12 ziplines, all over incredibly beautiful portions of rainforest. I enjoyed every second of it! It was amazing. The people on the platforms kept motioning for me not to brake as I got closer, even though I felt I was going at highly dangerous speeds…and once, I actually flew right into the person working the platform. Not my fault!
Crazy experience. I wish I could’ve gotten a video of myself flying over the trees, yelling like Tarzan, but alas, I didn’t trust myself to hold a video camera. Next time!
The next day was more of a sightseeing day. We visited La Basilica, a beautiful church in Cartago. Since it was a Sunday, we were able to witness part of the mass. We also saw a few other churches, including the oldest one in Costa Rica, and visited some ancient ruins. It was a beautiful day, perfect for walking around, and the place we all ate lunch at had steak. What more could I ask for?
Final this morning. I was a little worried since I did not prepare too much. And then I started to panic when I blanked on one of the first questions. The rest of the exam was fine, but I was beating myself over that one question. I figured one point wouldn’t kill me, so I guessed and turned it in. Best moment ever: I guessed correctly. Not to be too presumptuous, but I got 100…..at least, I think so. (One Italian man told us that Americans are too unsure and culturally say ‘I think” and things like that and that we should find our definite answers in Italy) (that was random).
So I celebrated with a cappuccino and a rice pastry (not sure of the real name). I went to the place near my class that I usually go to with my roommate, but this time the waiter gave me a heart shaped cappuccino (Italian men make heart shaped food, apparently).
I walked around and went to the Accademia. I had to see David one last time, especially since I now know all about him and his cousins, the Prigioni. The Bartolini exhibit was still amazing. I tried to sketch a little, but it was too crowded and people were too close. I will really miss drawing sculptures whenever I want to. Sure, nothing is like actual life drawing, but these sculptures are so beautiful and they don’t move. Loggia dei Lanzi is a gift and I will miss it.
I got lost and walked around until I wasn’t lost anymore. I had walked a ways out of the city central and started browsing through stores. I love the fashion and the store owners/workers are all really nice, even if I can’t understand everything they say to me.
I met with my suitemate and walked with her to get her pendant, which she had cast in bronze for her jewelry class. Walking around and interacting with people is what a city is for. Yet, I don’t always feel the same hospitality in NYC. It’s not just from the people, but also from the streets. Though the curb prevents many deaths, it distances people and separates everyone. The same with the grid system. Firenze seems a lot less stiff and structured.
Went to the Uffizi for the fourth time and said goodbye to all the beautiful paintings. And then said goodbye to “Rape of the Sabines”. Shopping, but no purchases. It was mostly to get lost and see the last bits of the city. Of course, we got stuck in the rain.
Finally got to have dinner downstairs. Taglionini al ragu bianco di vitello (pasta with veal). Reached 50 flavors of gelato. Sure, having yogurt gelato taking one for the team, but I can now reward myself with Vivoli’s chocolate mousse.
It’s really nice sharing this experience with everyone. They’re all new people to me and many are international (Lebanon, Venezuela, etc). A great part of study abroad is the fact that so many people from all over are brought together.
Study, study, study, nap, study, nap, study! That’s how my morning was up until my final. But I took it, my hand hurt from writing 7 pages, and now it’s done! Sadly, the class being done means the soon to be end of my Florence journey. It was amazing. I saw so much art and culture, ate a ton of food (maybe I’ll be a gastronomer instead), and made some really amazing friends (who will all be in New York come fall semester).
Tonight was all about eating good food and hanging out with my friends. It’s bittersweet. I am excited to go back home to a land with processed food, microwaves, big pipes, air conditioning (not that I needed it here anymore, but I will need it home apparently), and of course, my friends and family.
I’m definitely going to miss Italy, but I did throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, so hopefully I’ll find my way back!
To my lovely readers (if anyone still actually reads this), thank you for joining me on my journey. Hope you enjoyed reading my blog! I’ll try and blog tomorrow, but I don’t know if I’ll have time. I’ll definitely let everyone know here when I get home, if I don’t start hibernating when I get there.
This is a running (and alphabetized) list of every gelato (and some sorbet) flavor I tried
Ambrosia (yogurt, honey, cinnamon)
Arranciato del cioccolato (orange chocolate)
Caramello al sale (caramel and salt)
Cassata (candied fruit)
Cioccolato al rum (rum chocolate)
mousse cioccolato (chocolate mousse)
Crema d’arrancia (orange cream)
Crema di Grom
Cuor di pardula (the best so far, besides chocolate mousse at vivoli)
Formaggio Pera (cheese and pear)
Mousse di fruitta
Matcha (green tea)
Mela Verde (green apple)
Napolitano something or other
Pinguine (penguin….chocolate and vanilla)
Stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate shavings, similar to vanilla chocolate chip)
Last class today. Caravaggio and Gentileschi were a great way to end the course, even if it’s not on the exam. I actually learned a lot in this class. The pace was slow enough for me to grasp everything and the explanations were detailed and engaging. Maybe I had an advantage with having taken art history before and learning how to memorize quickly through my science classes, but this course wasn’t too bad. Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx myself for my final tomorrow.
Bought some vacuum packed cheese to take home and a strawberry muffin for myself. Must steal recipe (I think it’s a light yellow cake with cut strawberries on top, glazed with heaven). If customs takes my cheese, I will be so mad; it wasn’t cheap and it looks really good.
There are so many things that I want to do/see/eat, but I have such little time (especially with my final exam and term paper). I have prioritized to: chocolate flan, Uffizi, Boboli, shopping/walking, Accademia, restaurant downstairs, with sketching and sitting in Piazzas whenever possible.
On a side note, I just told a high school senior all about Macaulay. I demand compensation for my time in the form of Italian Leather. No, but really, I am really grateful for what Macaulay has given me. Although I did end up spending a chunk of my own money, I wouldn’t have been able to afford this study abroad otherwise.
I finished my term paper and studied a little for my final tomorrow. I shouldn’t risk messing up my grade, but I’m not that worried and I would rather enjoy my time than spend it studying.
Went with my suitemate and got chocolate flan (souffle), visited Piazza della Signoria/sketched “Rape of the Sabines”, and went shopping. I could easily spend thousands of dollars here, though, I could probably blow my money in NYC too. It was raining. It’s July in Firenze and I’m cold. Something is wrong.
Group dinner with my main peeps. We tried to get rid of all our food, but there’s too much. It was like an episode of Chopped.
We went to one of their cousin’s art opening, which was conveniently around the corner from our apartment. It’s so interesting to see contemporary art in Firenze. I almost forgot what it looked like, I’ve been around so much Renaissance art.
Still procrastinating studying. I wish I could go to the Uffizi. I could see most of the paintings in person and study that way.
Two days left: breakfast (I need to try that rice pastry and have one last cappuccino), last 4 gelato flavors (plus one last Vivoli visit), Uffizi, Boboli, Accademia, walking (possibly Piazzale di Michelangelo/San Miniato or piazzas I haven’t seen yet), shopping (lacey scarf? dress? bag? I just want something very Italian that I can’t find elsewhere), dinners out (cucina casalinga below our apartment, the place on the ponte vecchio, and that other place to try), and crying as I pack.
The days are just flying by now. The morning was spent rewriting my notes and chatting with roommates. We watched “La Siciliana Ribelle,” which was about Rita Adria. She was a remarkable woman who put herself in so much danger just to help defeat the mafia. She ended up committing suicide at the end, which was really depressing. It was a beautiful movie nonetheless.
Then I came home and we finally had one more group dinner! We basically used all of the left over food that we had (pasta, tomatoes, chicken, lemons, carrots, mushrooms) and made one giant meal. It was really good, but I’m so full. It was so lovely having dinner with my Italian family (Sara, Rosita, Christina, Joe, and Michelle).
After dinner, Joe’s cousin had her first international art exhibit, so we went. It was really classy and had some super good cookies. Joe’s cousin is really sweet, and really talented as well. I had a good time there.
Now it’s time to study for my final, so here I go! Fun…
To be honest, I didn’t do anything exciting all day. I bought some souvenirs and hung out with my friends. Got my study guide for class, so that’s what I’ll be focusing on tomorrow. We went to the LDM dinner, which was much nicer than the last one because we actually had a three course meal this time. Aside from that… it was mainly just enjoying Florence and hanging out with my friends, which is always fun and enjoyable. :]
We finished the Renaissance in class today with Michelangelo. I really liked the interpretation of his first Pieta: it’s a Madonna and Child, but she foresees his death and is, therefore, holding his dead body. I learned a lot in this class and it really sticks in my brain.
Second visit to the Bargello. It’s smaller and quieter than Uffizi, so I’m able to sketch and take my time. There is one sculpture that sticks out to me: Giambologna’s “Architettura”, which I didn’t know until I had to do research on another one of his works. I’m presenting on his “Rape of the Sabines” tomorrow. It’ s in Piazza della Signoria and I feel like I should draw it (they just unveiled it from restoration) since I apparently like his work.
Worked on my paper for most of the day. I’m taking my sweet time and trying to really look at these paintings, but I have been spoiled by seeing such great art in person.
LdM Farewell dinner. This time, it was at a real place with seats and tables. Free food is free food, but it is nice to have actual courses. Thank you for redeeming yourself, LdM.
We are now digesting and will probably go out for gelato in a few. Nothing super exciting, just us trying to absorb everything and anything these last few days.
Today was a really good day (minus the question test). For lunch, Sara and I went back to the Japanese restaurant and had a four course meal that was amazingggg. I love that place. I love eating. Yumyumyum! Anyway, the fish here is soooo good. I don’t think I can rave enough about it to do it justice. Following, we went to a meeting with LDM advisors, which was a little strange… but they had yummy cookies, so it was okay.
The question test was super long. I wrote a lot more than before. I realize my professor really likes details, so I tried to be as detailed as possible. Though after the test I remembered something that I meant to add in, but there was really nothing I could do so I tried to not worry to much about it.
I took a nap when I got home and then it was time for dinner. Rosita’s been craving Spanish food so we finally went to Salamanca. It was really nice (and surprisingly nicely priced). I finally got the burrito that I’ve been wanting for about a week. It was the classiest burrito I ever ate (I ate it with a knife and fork). The international food in Florence is absolutely amazing. It was a very relaxing night with good conversation and good company. I absolutely enjoyed it.
Oh and Eva made some more chocolate cake! I got amazingly lucky with my roommates. <3
Now I’m sitting here not sleeping for no apparent reason. Fail. Good night world!
I finally ran to Piazzale di Michelangelo this morning. It was a lot closer than I thought, but so amazingly beautiful (and very worth the death hills). I got to the top just before 7am. The sun had already risen, but was behind a grey cloud, creating a golden sort of glow that illuminated only strips of the city. Near the mountains was a hazy fog. It was so picturesque, but one of those moments that couldn’t be justified by a camera. It was so quiet and peaceful (only a small group of backpackers nearby) and it truly felt like a spiritual getaway for me. My morning was made extra special by being greeted by another runner – I love it when strangers connect for brief moments over the sport. I don’t know if this will be my last run here (I’m getting really busy with packing and hanging out). If it is, it was a perfect way to end my running time in Firenze. If not, I found my new route.
Class was spent going over Leonardo and Raffaello. I’m really glad I got to see Raffaello’s rooms at the Vatican Museums, but I really want to go back to Galleria degli Uffizi and see all of these paintings for one last time, especially after learning about them. I’m trying to fit in some last minute museum visits this week. I’m thinking Bargello tomorrow, Uffizi Thursday, Accademia whenever Rosita goes, and I want to visit the Opera del Duomo, but we need to see how much living I can pack into the next four days….I do need to reach 50 flavors of gelato (I’m up to 45 now). Trying to fit eating, walking, museums,and hanging out is tough when you have a final and a term paper, but I’ve always done well under time restraints – they force me to be extra productive.
Four course lunch at the Japanese restaurant. The fish is different, but really good, especially the salmon. Of course, the noodles were amazing. I’ll miss Italian pasta in any and every shape and form.
Coffee and refreshments with LdM administration because we’re CUNY people on scholarships. It was a small group of about a dozen students. We didn’t meet for long, but I got more food, which is always a plus. We did need to reflect on our experiences here. Some people had a really positive one, while other did not. Maybe I’m disillusioned and romanticizing Firenze, but I really love it here. Each city is different for each person. My NYC is not the same NYC as someone who studies there for a month and visa versa. So, I don’t mind having an ideal and somewhat unrealistic view of Firenze because it is what I experienced, no matter how biased my opinion.
The rest of the day was spent writing my paper and napping. We went to dinner at Salamanca, a Spanish restaurant. I’m very lucky to share my time here with such great people.
…see all the touristy sites, then do what the Romans do.
Yesterday was a full day. We jumped off the bus and walked right into the Colosseum in the rain. Followed by the Arch of Constantine and Trajan’s Forum. All very nice and important monuments, but not as impressive as the later half of the day, which we spent in the Vatican Museums (Sistine Chapel, San Peter’s, etc). It was an overwhelming amount of art and beauty and as much as I won’t forget it, I cannot describe it.
After a well deserved nap, we went out with one of our friend’s cousins, who spends her summers in Rome. She took us on a mini walking tour, hitting all the landmarks such as the Spanish steps, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain. We took the subway, which is different from any subway I have taken, including the children trying to hustle tourists. We had dinner in front of the Four Seasons fountain. Roman loaf is amazing, as is the carbonara (Roman style: all eggs, no cream). Trevi fountain is absolutely beautiful at night. I got to throw my coin in, guaranteeing my return to Roma. We also crossed the river to the area where all the locals hang out. It was a really nice experience that I wouldn’t have without her. I really love it when someone who truly knows the area shares their knowledge. Plus, the gelato was amazing.
Today, we did almost the same tour, but in daylight and with the rest of the students. Navona Square, Pantheon, Spanish steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Venezia, Vittoriale, Trajan Column, and San Paolo Church. At the church, I finally witnessed my first (Italian) mass. Sure, I stuck around for only 5 minutes, but it was beautiful. If I lived near a church like that, I would be very religious. It was a simple basilica and not as ornate as the Romanesque and Gothic churches I’m used to seeing. But the mosaic in the apse was gorgeous.
We has a four course lunch. Amazing, but almost too filling. Then the Catacombs. It was kind of creepy walking through an underground cemetery, but it was also really cool, especially seeing the fresco.
A four hour bus ride later and we were back in Florence. If Florence is Boston, Rome is New York City. I really liked it and could spend months there. Florence is a perfect city to study abroad in – it’s walkable, small, and fairly quiet, but still exciting and rich. Rome is a place where you build a life.
This is my last week here. I’m trying to fit as much as possible in, but it’s a little hard with finals and papers. Still, I’m happy with just walking very slowly to class.
Rome is beautiful. So beautiful… but also so tiring and exhausting. Here’s what happened this weekend:
After waking up at 4 am, I was really tired, so just know that for most of the time in Rome I was exhausted. First stop: the Colosseum. Incredibly impressive, though it was raining so we had to run around. I ended up using my hat to protect Rosita’s camera instead of my head (which led to a bad hair day). but it was really funny. Straight from there we went through the Roman Forum, which is again beautiful.
Then it was on the the Vatican. Easiest way to describe it: OMG. There’s so much art inside of the Vatican Museums that it was hard to focus on anything. I was overwhelmed by everything. Everywhere you look, be it floors, ceilings, or walls, there was art just staring you in the face screaming look at me, but you can’t possibly look at all of it. It was intense. After walking for hours, I was about to drop. My legs refused to function anymore and it took all my energy to keep walking. When we got to the Sistine Chapel, I think my brain just stopped trying to interpret anything. All I could do was stare in awe and not fall over from exhaustion.
After the really long adventure there, we went to the hotel, which was really nice. We accidentally took a longer nap than planned, and then headed out once more! But this time, we were led by Joe’s cousin Marissa, who has been living in Rome for a month. She showed us around at night time. We had a beautiful dinner, saw the Pantheon, Spanish steps, saw the Fountain of Four Rivers, saw the Trevi Fountain, the golden streets of Rome. It was breathtaking, especially the Trevi Fountain at night. I also got gelato! Two flavors for me and an extra one that I tried. To be honest, I don’t remember what they were, but they were soo good.
Then we headed back to the hotel and I slept until 6 am when it was time to wake up all over again. After breakfast, we did a walking tour of Rome. It was essentially the same thing we had done the night before, however, it was nice to see everything in more detail. Though I must say, seeing everything at night was so much better. I was happy we went out the night before.
After hours, it was time for lunch: grilled veggies and bruschetta (which was okay), some kind of pasta (that was really good), veal with prosciutto (which I didn’t eat but apparently wasn’t amazing), and the best tiramisu that I’ve had since I got here! Yumyum.
The Catacombs were our last stop in Rome. They were interesting, but it was more fun to see Rosita freak out when we told her there were ghosts. The bus ride back wasn’t too bad: slept for two hours, read my book for one.
When I got home, Rosita, Sara, and I went out for dinner (spaghetti al pomodoro) and now it’s time to study!
Today was a jam packed day! Went to San Marco (which was a monastery and is now a museum). It’s known for its frescoes (or so Sara tells me). There was one painting there that looked 3-D when I walked in one of the rooms and I couldn’t stop staring it. It honestly looked like it was popping off of the wall, but it was just a 2-D painting. I think that’s the extent of me explaining.
Following this, it was time for lunch! I accidentally got octopus from the school cafe because he said fish… it did taste good, but I couldn’t fully stomach it once I knew what I was eating (thanks Sara). After I tried shrimp tempura from the Japanese restaurant because Rosita ordered too much food (it was also really good).
Then it was time for the Uffizi… personally I’m not the biggest fan of Renaissance art though. I thought it was beautiful, but I think I like wandering the Met more than the Uffizi (I know, it’s shocking). Though seeing The Birth of Venus and Spring by Botticelli was definitely worth it. Breathtaking. Plus, Sara explained them to me, which made it even better. Lots of wandering. I was exhausted by the end.
Then it was time to go to the leather market! I ended up getting two bags. One purple one for me, and one for my mommy. I got a few souvenirs and then came to the market by us. After wandering some more, I was exhausted.
I accidentally fell asleep on the couch (and Sara fell asleep too), so we went to dinner later than expected. Sara and I were craving Chinese food, so we separated from Rosita and Christina. It’s definitely different over here, but it was really good. I was happy ( shrimp rolls and fried sesame chicken). I like trying different cuisine in Italy… it’s definitely a new experience.
Then of course we all met up for dessert at Vivoli. Me and Sara each got something and split them in half. Some kind of chocolate cake and a crostini. Both were really good, but gelato was needed. I got a chocolate with nuts and strawberry. Putting them together it was like the most amazing chocolate strawberry in my mouth. Sooooo rich and nummy and beautiful and nummy and amazing and I love this place. Oh New York City, when I get back you’re going to need to step your game up.
Anyway, I have to go to Rome in the morning, so time to pack!
So, I didn’t run to Piazzale di Michelangelo. But that may have been a good thing. Rest is highly overrated, especially when you walk a good deal.
San Marco Museum in the morning. I got to see one of the paintings I’m writing about: Annunciation by Fra Angelico. I’ll repeat: it’s always so nice to see the work in context. Not only did I get to see it in the monastery it was made for, but I also got to see the other frescoes in the series. I was never really into religious art, but I’m starting to really appreciate it. So much that I’m considering actually attending a mass. Not that I’m religious or anything, but I feel like I visit so many churches that I should know what they’re really intended for.
Lunch (shrimp couscous and octopus with peas and shrimp tempura….don’t ask) then Uffizi Gallery (my third time). This time, I got to see all the painting rooms….I think… and all the important pieces we learned/will learn about: Botticelli, Lippi, Titian, etc. It’s also really nice to know a little background about the art before you see it. A few paintings really stood out for me: “Madonna and Child” by Lippi, Botticelli “Spring”, a bunch of Titian portraits, and “Adam and Eve in front of God” by Tintoretto. Textbook nor Google images do artwork any justice.
Before I left, I predicted that I would be so overwhelmed about all the art that I would give up my biology related dreams and become a starving artist. I want to be in art restoration now. LdM does have a program for that…. Okay, I’m bluffing, but if my suitemate can mini-dream about being a gondolier, I want to be an art restorator (is that even the proper word?).
Shopping through the leather markets. Finally got myself a bracelet with the evil eye and some gifts for people! Be very excited, people.
Dinner at a Chinese restaurant- shrimp spring rolls and beef with bamboo and woods ear. With Vivoli for dessert. Being awesome, I got three: raspberry/chocolate sponge cake, chocolate crostini, and gelato (fragole and meringue). At least I walked it off by visting the carousel in Piazza della Repubblica.
Rome for the weekend! I’m excited to see all the major landmarks/things I learned in class.
A very late night did not stop me from waking up this morning. Surprising.
Class trips to two churches today. This month has made up for the lack of trips in high school. It’s really nice to see the art in context, where it was intended to be viewed.
I also chose a topic for my final paper: the use of light in religious scenes. I’m comparing paintings by Fra Angelico, Titian, and Caravaggio. My professor really likes my topic, but I really only thought of it because I wanted to work with Caravaggio, so it was kind of tailored around the paintings we’re covering. Either way, Titian is also pretty awesome. I’m actually looking forward to this. Oh my.
Walked to San Miniato Church with Rosita today. A bit of sketching, but I mostly wanted to check out the running trail. I’ll be doing that 5 mile run tomorrow morning. Saw the cemetery behind the church. Creepy, but oddly beautiful.
Opera at Boboli Gardens tonight. La Traviata. Beautiful music, but we left for food. Shameful, yes, but oh so worth it. Chocolate mille foglie. Though, I’ve had some good profiteroles and souffle here too. It’s all delicious.
It’s almost my last week here. I’m actually doing less than normal. Instead of running around trying to fit everything in at once, I’ve been trying to relax. That will change tomorrow, when I visit 3 museums, and next week, when I start to panic and try to see everything twice more. Oh, and the ultimate tourist weekend in Rome starts Saturday at 6am. We’re seeing everything and I can’t wait. I’m such an art history nerd now.
So today, I pretty much just read until class again (I know… super exciting, right?). Then I went to class (again, loads of excitement). However, it was soon time for the opera (La Traviata). I got all dressed up to go because how often do you get to go to an opera in the Boboli Gardens in Firenze, Italia. It was beautiful. The singing (I’ve determined I do like opera), the setting, everything.
However, it was very chilly, so I was shivering for a while. Furthermore, you have to pay 8 euros if you want a playbill (which obviously, no one got). Considering the whole opera is in Italian and they’re singing in high pitched voices (for the girls) it was really hard to figure out what was going on. None of us could fully follow and we were all very confused for a while. During intermission we decided that we were cold and had gotten enough of the opera experience. It was beautiful, but we were all very exhausted by then and still had no idea what was going on.
I did figure out that that there was something important about a piece of paper (questo foglio) and the father was talking to his son (mi figlio), but those were among the few of the words I could even understand them saying. It was overall a good experience.
Afterwards we went to meet Rosita at a restaurant. I got a salmon sandwich, which was amazingggg. I love the fish here. Too bad it’s all super expensive, but the sandwich was sooo nummy. Then we just wandered for a bit and came home. Now I’m just sitting down typing.