When I sat down to chose the courses I wanted to take while studying in Rome, I wanted a mix of subjects. I also wanted to study areas with which I wasn’t already familiar so I could grow and become a better-rounded individual. I considered Rome my classroom, and contemplated what courses would expose me to the most, and whose material would be amplified by the surrounding city and country. I came to the final conclusion that besides the required Italian language course, Italian Design, Chemical Photography, and Ancient Rome would suite me and the situation best. The material was varying, while still staying consistent with my interests. I have already talked about Ancient Rome, the 3000-level Classics course taught by Jan Gadeyne, which is super-intense! The one I want to talk about now is the Italian Design course that I take with Katherine Krizek. Going into it, I wasn’t sure on which aspect of Italian Design this course would focus; architecture, fashion, or other items. I found out on the first day that it was a general design course which would focus on all of these things. I liked this idea because I would get an all-encompassing education on what design is like in Italy. However, it has wound up being a little confusing and unclear at times because we don’t focus on one area or time period. The class is extremely different from any course I’ve ever taken at Main Campus because more than half of our class time is dedicated to site visits!
We’ve visited many of the museums and architectural masterpieces of Rome on the Thursday afternoons we spend with Katherine. Most notably, last weekend we spent three days in Milan! Milan….the design capital of the world. And we were able to visit with our professor who knows the city and has an extensive design education. I have to say that overall, Milan was somewhat of a disappointment. The city had a very bleak feel to it. The people were not friendly or the opposite, but just were present. However, by far the most intriguing thing about the city to me was the FASHION. I’ve never been to a city where people were so well-dressed. Of course, not all were dressed exquisitely, but a large majority of both men and women looked fabulous. It also came to my attention and really hit home for me in Milan how much more money Italians spend on their clothing and looks than Americans. Milan is a very expensive city in general and a place where many wealthy people live, as shown by the numerous Lamborghinis we spotted, but even those who weren’t screaming of wealth and riches were in the stores spending MOLTI SOLDI. I thought their mall, The Galleria, right by the breath-taking Duomo, would be a cheaper place where I could snag a good buy in the last days of the Italian sales. But, even there, the people seemed to be casually spending upwards of 90 euro on a pair of jeans. Also notable, when Katherine took us into the famous Ferragamo store, there were actually normally-dressed locals inside purchasing shoes and scarves for 500 euro! What tickled me the most was that in these extremely expensive showrooms, studios, and stores, I saw so many dogs running around! This really stood out for me because in America, you can basically only bring your pets into Petsmart. But in Italy, and specifically in this case in Milan, they have a completely different mentality about animals. Overall, I’m certainly glad that I saw the city while here, but I wouldn’t spend the money to go there on my own and doubt I will find myself there again.