One of the greatest aspects of Temple Rome is that the courses include plenty of site visits and class trips. Every week I have two site visits for different classes so I get to see a new part of Rome all the time. For my High Renaissance Art class, we recently took a weekend trip to Florence. It was amazing! Florence was so gorgeous. I wish I could have stayed there longer, but I was still able to see a lot in such a short time.
We got there Friday morning and then that afternoon we went to the Uffizi gallery. Being that close to so many masterpieces was incredible, especially since my professor was able to explain some to the paintings, which made me appreciate it even more. Later that night, we got to go out to dinner with my professor. We went to this amazing place called the Yellow Bar, where they make their own pasta. It was probably one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. I already wish I could go back.
The next day, our professor took us on a walking tour of Rome in the morning, and then we went to the Duomo in the afternoon. I never expected it to be so huge! I can’t think of any cathedral that is bigger. We also had a surprising amount of free time while in Florence. We got to explore a lot of the city own our own. For lunch, my friends and I ate at a Chinese restaurant. I know, its practically criminal to eat Chinese food while I have such a short amount of time in Italy, but I couldn’t help myself! Getting Chinese food reminded me of home, plus it was so delicious. That night, we had to complete a class assignment, which I didn’t mind, because we got to see Michelangelo’s David. It was completely magnificent. It was so huge and incredibly awe-inspiring just to even gaze upon it. It was clearly the central piece in the Accademia Gallery. After going there, I can see why the David is such an important sculpture in art history. I could go on for hours, but I digress.
My final day in Florence concluded with free time in the morning, where I was able to walk around Florence some more. I found the leather market, which was pretty cool, and then I found the farmer’s market, where I went completely nuts. They had free samples of cheese, pastries, meats, olive oil and wine. Needless to say, I bought A LOT of food there. In the afternoon before our train back, we explored the Medici Chapel. I was no so surprised at this point to find out that it was also incredibly massive. Everything in Florence was huge, and I just wasn’t expecting that.
I was surprised at how touristy Florence was. I’m pretty sure that I have heard more people speak English in Florence than my entire time being in Rome. I still can’t believe that my class trips are this fabulous, I never thought that I would be able to have such a casual weekend class trip to Florence. Temple Rome definitely has an invigorating learning environment.
Everything in Florence was beautiful, it was just like a more compact version of Rome. Rome definitely has my heart, but I definitely gave a little bit of it away to Florence too.
This past Friday morning, my Italian Design class embarked on a weekend trip to the gorgeous city of Milan. After a high speed train took us on our three hour journey (and for most of us, early morning nap), we headed straight to our first site of the weekend. Our weekend consisted of many visits to museums, design showrooms, and even the offices of designers. We couldn’t keep our eyes off of the amazing furniture, fine art, decorations, fashion, and creative designs that we were seeing first hand, many of which we previously studied in class. These included some of the most iconic designs in Italian history like the Superleggera chair by Gio Ponti.
Our only complaint about visiting these places was that we wanted to buy everything we saw, and realized soon enough that even the smallest pieces would cost more than our entire study abroad experience! We collectively agreed that we all needed to stay in school and the get the best possible jobs so we can someday come back and afford some of these things!
In between visits, we had time to enjoy Milan on our own and see famous sites like The Duomo and La Rinascente. Many of us enjoyed desserts and cappuccinos at a delicious pastry shop in the afternoon and dinners and drinks at the local restaurants and bars at night. And of course, what would Milan be without shopping? Our four-star hotel (yes, four-star) was next to many European shopping favorites, like OVS and H&M, which came in handy when students felt inspired by the weekend to update their wardrobes.
My favorite part of the weekend was seeing the beautiful blown Murano glass vases in Venini. Seeing the time, care, and skill that is involved in making each individual vase had me intrigued and in awe. They were beautiful pieces that you could tell the company takes pride in and values to the highest extent. The price for these items is large, but after hearing a presentation of how much goes into making each one, the prices are fully understood.
Milan is a city I would love to return to. It had a lot to offer in it’s thriving culture of art, fashion and design. I appreciated the compromise of historical traditions and modernity that flowed through the city and gave it a unique vibe. Overall, the class had a fun and interesting weekend that opened our eyes to have a deeper appreciation for Italian design. We were lucky enough to view the famous city in an artistic, behind the scenes view–rather than simply as tourists visiting the major landmarks.
Now, all that is left after making our way back to Rome last night, is our project to follow up with the trip. It asks us to evaluate two of the designs that we saw during any of the visits throughout the weekend. What a bittersweet assignment–writing about two amazing things, but how are you supposed to choose two when you wanted to buy every last thing! Maybe it’ll help if we just pretend we took some of them home with us…
*sigh* maybe someday.