Friday, February 3, 2012

Art, Gelato, and Weekend Outings in Italy

Deryn Cro, Class of 2012, has returned from Florence, Italy!
I had such an amazing time in Italy and cannot speak more highly of my experience in Florence. I am really happy with my decision to take art history over the winter intersession, despite the fact that three weeks just didn’t feel like enough time! Studying art in the birthplace of the Renaissance really gave me a new perspective on the subject. I enjoyed being able to visit and actually see what was being discussed in class; it also came in handy when out walking around with friends! I am looking forward to applying what I learned about the art world to my work as an archivist in the future. I am sure having this information and experience will prove to be quite valuable.

Top of the Duomo
When reflecting on a trip to Italy it is also crucial to mention the food! I don’t think I will able to look at pasta or pizza for a while. I started every morning with a hot chocolate and croissant. Having never had Italian hot chocolate before, I was immediately hooked! It is a lot thicker than what we have here and is something I will have to try and replicate at home. Lunch and dinner consisted of a rotation between pasta and pizza, which was eaten not by the slice but by the pie. While in Italy I learned that despite the mild weather, gelato is something that can and should consumed at all times of the day. Italians have a very different relationship with their food than we do here in the US. Everything is prepared fresh which makes quite a difference in taste. Even the prepackaged foods don’t taste overly processed. Portions were smaller most of the time but this was often offset by the richness of the food. I do wish that the idea of the doggie bag was more accepted. Many times I was so stuffed I had to leave food on my plate; this also would have significantly cut down on the cost of food. Italian food certainly deserves its highly regarded reputation. I am already having gelato withdrawals, thankfully I have found a few places on Staten Island that sell it. 

Locks on a bridge in Rome. 
Padlocks are attached to fences, gates or bridges by lovers
to symbolize their everlasting love.
View of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo.
During my study abroad experience I also got the opportunity to do a little traveling around Italy. For the first weekend I went to Rome and the Vatican City. Over the next weekend I went on a vineyard tour and wine tasting in the Chianti Valley and the next day took a trip to Milan to see Da Vinci’s Last Supper. Out the trips I took, Milan was my favorite.  I really wish I had been able to go for longer than a day. I liked that Milan felt like a real city, Rome was beautiful but it was clearly a major tourist destination -  after all, all roads do lead there. Milan had a great atmosphere and I wish I could have explored it more.
Chianti Valley
Chianti Valley Landscape

Being able to visit Florence during the winter intersession was such a valuable experience to me. I met amazing people and got to see things I had only read about. I am already looking forward to going back!   

Milan Cathedral

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