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BLENDING Newsletter Issue 3 Year 2 - Palazzi / FUA - MAY 2012

Photo by Gianni Bandini. Salvatori is the second from the left (second row) and Ariel is the third from the left (first row).


FUA Students Collaborate with Ceramist Andrea Salvatori By Ariel McQuade

Studying abroad has been the dream of a lifetime. There are so many things that I have been able to experience. As an art studio major, one of the most exciting experiences I have had was to work on a special project for the worldrenowned artist Andrea Salvatori with my fellow ceramic students.. It started with a visit to a studio that had as much of an eclectic personality as its owner. I was so nervous about going to Salvatori’s studio. I worried over every little possible detail: would we be expected to show our skills right there under his watchful eye in a pseudo-interview for the project, were we expected to discuss his previous work, were we even allowed to interact with him directly? All of these questions and more were running through my head on the bus ride to Faenza, where this mysterious artist keeps his studio. As soon as we pulled up outside the studio, the door to the studio opened. There stood a man easily over six feet tall sporting an Einsteinian hairdo, a rather pronounced handlebar mustache, and a smile that was big enough to peek out under said mustache. I did not know it yet, but it was Andrea himself out to greet his helpers with a warm welcome. I


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think that one tiny gesture, which totally blew my mind, set the tone for the rest of the studio visit. We were able to see an established artist’s studio, and it I fell in love with my career all over again. Creativity absolutely oozed from the walls. It was the perfect balance between a toy and joke shop, with a colorful collection of seemingly random trinkets and tongue-in-cheek works that matched their quirky creator. After we put our cameras away we were introduced to the project we would be collaborating on. What we were doing was not exactly exciting, per se, but what person starts out their career as top-dog? I was excited that our names would be in the vicinity of the great Andrea Salvatori, even if they appear in extra fine print. Besides that, we were told to keep the project hush-hush because it was top-secret, and that made it all the more exciting. The ceramics art department worked hard to get its part of the project done, so Andrea could complete the work and show it in the Fiera dell’Artigianato, an art event hosted right in Florence in April. The large-scale event featured work from people from all over the world. It was a grand event, especially since Andrea Salvatori exhibited the project we helped create there.

Newborns at Apicius! By Blending Staff

This semester has welcomed several new additions to the families of Apicius faculty members. We’d like to congratulate the following professors and their newborns! - Simone de Castro’s baby son Lorenzo, born on on December 18th, 2011. - Giuseppe Persico’s baby daughter Nina, born on Christmas Day in 2011. - Fabio Ugoletti’s baby daughter Nora, born on February 7th, 2012. - Paolo Fiorini’s baby daughter Allegra, born on April 16th, 2012.

Congratulations to Spring 2012 Certificate Graduates! By Blending Staff

This semester, 47 students are graduating from diverse Career Development Certificate Programs. The areas of study are Photography, Fashion, Baking & Pastry, 3 levels of Culinary Arts, Master in Italian Cuisine, Wine, Hospitality and Publishing. Congratulations to our graduates!

Photography Sebastian Hobbs Anna SaintAnge Jennifer Adams Alessandro Schneider Gudmundur Hilmar Tomasson

Fashion Bianca Piu

Baking & Pastry Fatima Ahli Raul De Almeida Cunha Courtney Hamlin Siti Nadirah Hamzah Ottavia Lezzi Merin Okcu Lindsay Osborne Michaela Ottosson Kelsey Richards Anne Tollefson Burcu Yavuz

Culinary Arts: Intermediate Robin Anyonge Michelle Burkholder Hui-Yan Chen Inhea Cho Merve Colak Chelsea Ferranola

Gianni Ferrara Esra Husrev Katie Jablonsky Gary Kieffer Vanessa Lorig Hannah Rath Nicholas Velto Siho Yu

Culinary Arts: Advanced II Michael Casalou Jinyoung Wang

Culinary Arts: Advanced III Nir Dalins Tomer Hava Melodi Sezener

Wine Jennifer Gross

Hospitality Maria Consuelo Bonilla Lama Natalia Montes Peres

Publishing Laura Aloise Brianna Bond Maria Vasquez

Master in Italian Cuisine Marco Assandria Roiatti Asher Aylon Hsin-Yu Ko Ashley Simon Noy Targownik

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La Tinaia Collaborates with FUA: Rehabilition Through Art By Faith Barton

The Centro di Attività Espressive, La Tinaia was founded in 1964 by psychiatrist Franco Mori, with the purpose of rehabilitating mentally ill patients through art by providing a studio space, materials, and more recently, a website. Run by a small staff and aided by volunteers, such as those from FUA, they have also opened shows for the artists. The most recent opening at Ganzo’s AperiArt on April 4, In attesa di Sconfinare, features the artists Umberto Ammannati, Marco Biffoli, Sara Ciriello, Antonio Melis, Massimo Modisti, and Claudio Ulivieri. These same artists will be featured in an exhibit at Le Murate beginning May 19. The show at Le Murate will be entitled Sconfinare, and will display works from patients of similar centers for rehabilitation in Fribourg and Zurich, where the show has also been held. One of La Tinaia’s main objectives through work with these artists is to connect them to the community. La Tinaia simultaneously provides the community with an opportunity to appreciate the way these artists overcome obstacles and isolation to communicate through their unique artistic expression. The works featured are diverse in terms of medium and vision, from the beautiful paintings of Melis that feel sacred in nature, to the precisely detailed drawings of Ulivieri. Le Murate is located in Piazza della Madonna nelle Neve, Florence.

F_AIR’s Artist in Residence Lukáš Machalický Presents his Upcoming The Fool’s Mate By Amy Berray

Image courtesy of Lukáš Machalický

In January Lukáš Machalický, an artist from the Czech Republic, began his three-month residency at F_AIR, Florence Artist in Residence. Throughout the recent months, Machalický has developed an installation for the upcoming exhibition on May 4, 2012 at F_AIR that, via the aesthetics of game tables, historical furniture, and marquetry, relates to game systems and the geometry defining the rules of a playing field. The works illustrate an absence of definite rules, resulting in a distortion of reality which prevents the continuation of the game. One way Machalický conceptualizes this notion is with a bent chessboard, incapable of being played upon. Themes of manipulation, strategy, power, and politics are abstractly represented in his pieces through his use of false perspective, symbolic colors and materials, light reflections, and


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THE ARTS shades of inlaid surfaces. Inspired by historic game tables, he uses ebony veneer in many pieces to convey a sense of high class and power. Machalický abstractly interprets and expresses issues of class and power through both the representation of games and the emblematic mediums used. Lukáš Machalický has developed his artistic talent in the past few months by reinforcing his introspective ideas through installation art. He expressed that his experience at F_AIR has provided him with effective concentration and constructive isolation in order to focus on his works without distraction. A brief interview with the artists helps clarify his ideas. To what extent has the theme of your residency final project been affected by your stay in Florence and in Italy? And has the project changed from what you had originally proposed when you applied to F_AIR? During my time in Florence, the original theme of my installation has remained the same, but the visual aspects have developed differently. In the end, the conception is not as abstract as I had expected. There are more concrete elements; the aesthetics are on the edge between reality and fiction. Do you think that the manipulative processes of power, a crucial theme in your exhibition, are the same worldwide, or there are some countries where those apply more evidently? Manipulative processes are most evidently perceived in Burma, China, and Russia, but I am more interested in situations where they are not so visible. For example, I worked with a similar theme in an earlier installation, Grey Zone, which was focused on an individual’s influence on the definition of social value. It drew from the roster of communist secret police agents, whose files were made public. In order to comply with the legislation currently enforced, they were copied with their personal data blacked out. The specific shapes of the censored text then served as models for paperweights that I executed in cast concrete. What are the differences between working as an artist in Florence and in Prague? In general, there is a different feeling from the urban layout and structure of the cities. Florence is more spatially concentrated than Prague, which is more open. This fact is rather subconscious in my mind [and his background as a student of Architecture may not be irrelevant. Editor’s note]. Also, every country has a distinct way of working: in Florence, some aspects and procedures of working with veneer were quite different than in Prague. Both countries have their own ways of doing things based on specific practices and traditions. Fool’s Mate Lukas Mackalicky May 4 – May 19, 2012 F_AIR Art Gallery Via San Gallo 45/r 50129 Florence, Italy


Breaking Down The Wall: Pietro Gaglianò’s Intellectual Crusade By Amy Tanzillo

The Wall #6 is a project composed of in equal parts art experimentation and intellectual crusade, a veritable force in contemporary art on the local and international scale. Curator Pietro Gaglianò is expands the sixth edition of this massive archive project at Santa Croce Sull’Arno, collecting images from workshops with local schoolchildren. Santa Croce Sull’Arno is what Gaglianò calls a “mosaic” constructed of over fifty ethnic communities living and working in a small city known for its leather industry. The six and seven year-old students from whom Gaglianò is

collecting contributions, represent the city’s diversity and thus are the perfect participants to respond to cultural dichotomies such as “wall”/”bridge” and “different”/”similar.” Gaglianò’s aim in conducting The Wall #6 is to confront and crush walls between ethnic and social groups in in the area. Gaglianò’s archival work in this location is a unique step in The Wall project in that the contributions are raw; they come directly from the community, unfiltered through worldly perspectives. Now in its second year of existence, the project began with a small, private exhibition in Florence in 2010, where the curator presented his first “geography of emotional and intellectual material.” The forty works that made up this early project responded to Gaglianò’s question “what does ‘wall’ mean to you?” Deliberate in its ambiguity, the concept of “wall” was addressed from all viewpoints by intellectuals and artists alike. The Wall #1 formed the foundation of the current archive project that Gaglianò began as research into human rights and what he calls “geopolitical emergencies,” issues that characterize the contemporary human experience. By December 2010, he was

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asked to present his growing archive at an event in Rome to an audience of 1200 people. Gaglianò realized then the potential his ideas and his archive possessed. The scale of The Wall has since continued to proliferate, including workshops like that at Santa Croce Sull’Arno, and now consists of approximately 170 contributions. The Wall is truly a unique force within the contemporary art scene; it’s a social, intellectual, and artistic endeavor in constant flux. As he hopes to change ideas concerning the nature of walls, exhibitions, and archives, Gaglianò’s own personal understanding of these concepts has been changing with them. The curator remarks, “The Wall is a generative machine of new contents, a point of spreading visions, a space for confrontation… a little step in the struggle against the will of the art system to appear as an enclosed garden.” Gaglianò’s exploration into emotional, intellectual, and artistic “geographies” will continue through workshops conducted as part of The Wall #7 in Cosenza (Calabria) and subsequent workshops abroad. While the location and focus of his project may change, Gaglianò’s inexhaustible interest in the process of archiving responses to The Wall renders his research limitless. The Wall #6 – On the River 31 March – 6 May 2012 Villa Pacchiani - Centro Polivalente piazza Pier Paolo Pasolini, Santa Croce Sull’Arno

The Art of Documentation: Capturing the Essence of Artwork By Arthur Kozlovski In a media-based world, an artist’s work doesn’t begin or end with a single exhibition; it exists eternally through its presence in publications. A discussion about the process of documentation is called into question; the artists’ portrayal of personal works in comparison to published criticism by writers. A critique of this documentation process itself is formed through interviews with three artists from Florence’s Artist In Residence [F_AIR]. The interviews analyze the various approaches artists take to capture the essence of their works, which is in turn shared with the audience and written about by art critics. After a long interview with each artist, it is clear that documentation is a complex process. Christiana Caro, Maria Raponi, and Lukáš Machalický elaborate on the art of documentation, exploring rarely discussed, yet fundamental aspects of presenting works outside of an exhibition. Maria Raponi, an artist with a photography background, strives for neutrality when documenting her works through photography. Creating and recording the works, Raponi attempts to visualize the pieces from an outsider’s perspective. The published images are not colored, allowing the audience to create their own judgments. “Because I’ve made the work, I know its construction and I try to stand back from it, photographing it as someone who doesn’t know it really well versus what I like about the work,” she says. Once the work is in the hands of the public, Raponi explains the important role of writers and critics. Written supplements shed light on the works, adding to a growing discussion about the different perspectives of an art piece. Raponi still feels responsible for the work, even long after an exhibit is finished. The works undergo shifts in perspective as long as publications continue to explore their existence. For Caro, the neutral depiction of her work is just as important as capturing its presence in a gallery. Her publications integrate these two elements, creating an interactive portrayal of the individual works and their environment. With a background in photography, Caro realizes the importance of lighting and space, providing her audience with both environment-specific photographs and neutral scanned images of the pieces. Pairing these two types of images develops a complete entity, one that lives within and outside a particular exhibit. Caro feels strongly about selecting the appropriate medium when documenting her work, which is why she values photography.


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“Photographs definitely show you something, but they do not replicate the experience because you can’t replicate the physical, kinesthetic experience of space,” Caro clarifies. Our discussion examines the media’s impact on today’s world, commenting on replicating an exhibit through a more life-like medium such as videography. For Caro, photographs capture the essence of her work without sacrificing the mystery that draws the audience to the gallery. Video documentation eliminates this sensation in an attempt to provide “through-the-eye” footage that convinces the audience that they’ve already experienced it all without having to set foot in the gallery. Any second-hand visual presentation dilutes the original impact of the artistic experience. Lukáš Machalický, F_AIR’s latest resident artist, discusses his approach for documentation as he prepares for his exhibition in May. His current work analyzes the structure of rules, in which the construction of a manipulated game table beckons the deconstruction of the laws that govern the game. This distortion prevents the continuation of the game, as all rules cease to exist. “It is important to have good documentation. Installations and site-specific projects are unique to a certain extent depending on the concrete dramaturgy,” he says. Machalický believes that the selection of documentation medium depends on the context and nature of the specific work. For this particular exhibit, the artist hired a photographer to focus on a simple yet qualified archive of his installation. Raponi, Caro, and Machalický agree that neutral documentation should illustrate each piece as an entity unto itself, while alluding to the atmosphere of the exhibit as a whole. The goal is to provide an unbiased sense of the artwork via publication, while maintaining the essential mystery that draws an audience to the exhibition. Moreover, documentation allows for the growth of the artwork beyond its short existence in a gallery. As discussion continues to circle around a documented exhibit, the perspectives of the pieces will continue to shift . Fool’s Mate Lukas Mackalicky May 4 – May 19, 2012 F_AIR Art Gallery Via San Gallo 45/r 50129 Florence, Italy


Wine Shopping on Tap By Ashley Reece

Before I came to Italy, I imagined it to be a place where wine flows from fountains. Now that I live here, I have been on the quest to find the best place to make this dream come true. I heard recently through the grapevine of a place that allows you to fill your own wine bottles. I wandered across Florence, and finally found the old building: once was a prison, then a convent, and recently converted into a modern mixed-use space. As I wandered through the old convent, I saw the contemporary restaurant, bar, and lounge. I turned the corner and stumbled across a bookshop, and then saw the store and café called Spesa alla Spina. The Italian phrase “spesa alla spina” directly translates to “spending on tap,” a great name for a place that allows you to purchase Photo by Ashley Reece

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glass bottles, and refill them to your heart’s desire. Here’s how it works: you purchase a recycled glass bottle for one euro, choose your beverage, fill, and the attendant corks it for you right there. The store offers nine red and three white wines, in addition to refillable beer, and water. The price of the wine starts at 1.70 euro to fill a bottle, and water is a mere five cents a liter. The store opened a month ago, with the idea of recycling, reducing, and reusing. At the self-service station, there are also pastries, coffee, and juices if wine and beer isn’t your thing. There are a few places in Florence that have been highly recommended by students’ host families. Divino is another store to purchase in bulk, mainly wine and oil. If you are looking to make your wine-flowing-like-water dreams come true, stop by one of these two locations and let it flow. In the meantime, when you wander around Florence, go outside your comfort zone and walk into a random store. You never know what you will find. Spesa alla Spina, Via Delle Vecchie Carceri (Ex Murate), Florence Divino, Via Taddea 6R, Florence Don’t forget the Wine Club on Mondays at Ganzo, 6pm.


Why can’t I be “wowed?” By Patrick Sutton

Immaculate sculptures. Historical “Meccas.” Landscapes stained orange by the ubiquitous terra cotta tiles. The Duomo, San Lorenzo and Palazzo Vecchio offering the only true height and depth to the valley of Firenze. Our connectivity with the entire world has sullied these images, diminishing their wondrous beauty with every postcard image embedded in our minds. The instantaneous nature of seeing any view in the world has exhausted the images of the qualities that make them so attractive to us. The anticipation that boils deep in me during my travels is too often disappointed. During my travels abroad my favorite moments have been those in situations that I was not conditioned to believe would have a life-changing characteristic. Self-discovery through my trips has been found in the smaller aspects, rather than the tried and true tourist locations. Michealngelo’s “David” is an incredible piece of human creation, but I could not help feeling that if I had never seen a picture of the marble marvel it would have been even more striking. If Being told 100 times what I should see by relatives and family-friends, I feel an obligation holding me back from loving each new place. I’ve tried ditching the checklist, forgetting about the countless “must-sees” piled on by like dump-truck loads. It has been a difficult and often ill-fated venture to go beyond this exhausting list, but then, I did triumph; with truly memorable experiences that do not require a shot glass or t-shirt to bring back the emotions inspired by those moments. From an outside perspective, my excursions in Glendalough, Ireland and the Scottish Highlands might not compare to a trip to Paris. They will not receive a myriad of questions about their world-renowned structures. However, it will be in those circumstances that I will remember how unique my experience abroad was. When I cannot describe the Mona Lisa to a fellow traveler, I will not be disappointed. Rather, I will cherish the places most people will never venture off the beaten path to see. If I can offer advice to any future travelers, it would be to leave the standard checklist behind. Appreciate the uncertainty of your time here. Open the doors to places a “highlights of Europe” tour book won’t expend the energy on disPhoto by Patrick Sutton covering.


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The Mediterranean, Unexpectedly By Jamie Shea Whenever I heard about Greece in the past, I pictured the traditional blue and white buildings, beautiful beaches, donkeys, and people shouting “Opa!” I thought this was what I could expect when I booked a flight to the island of Kos, a small Dodecanese island of Greece. I went to Kos in April, which is still considered their offseason. As a result, the island was beautiful and unmarred by clumps of tourists and the friendly Grecians were even more attentive to the few customers they had. I have always believed that people make a place what it is, and nowhere is this truer than Kos. From Christina, the owner of a little shop who altered the clothing I’d bought there, to Siv and Mikael, two Norwegians we met at the beginning of our trip and kept bumping into all over the island, to the waiter who created a customized beverage that wasn’t on the menu just because we asked if they had it, everyone was welcoming and incredibly friendly. Even if everyone on the island were to swim across the sea to nearby Turkey, leaving you by yourself, there is still so much to do on Kos. Kos was inhabited before the Hel Photo by Jamie Shea

lenistic period in the fourth century BC, and as a result, is full of history. It’s easy to wander through the remnants of the ancient market and create lives for the men and women who once trod those same steps, or to sit under the tree where Hippocrates taught medicine, wondering what he said. As one of the Greek islands, Kos is also home to beautiful beaches with bright sand and water clearer than glass, just as one would expect. One of the highlights of my visit occurred when I sat up on my lounge chair and looked around: to my right was the port of Kos and a medieval castle, to my left were miles of sand, umbrellas, and beach bars, and twenty feet in front of me was the Aegean Sea with Turkey in the distance. While Kos wasn’t quite like the idea of Greece that I had in my head, it was different in the best possible way. Between its history, its tropical resort feel, and its kind people, Greece has certainly become one of my favorite experiences of the semester.

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The Frugal Foreigner: Talk Is Cheap, And Are Riddles Talk So Is Cheap, And So Are Riddles By Arthur Kozlovski

By Arthur Kozlovski

And so spring is here, The best season of the year. But here we are, With no money to spare. But alas, I still write to you, The poor adventurer who enjoys the pleasures of life, but at an affordable rate too! I have compiled a list of riddles For those of you who love to fiddle In the playground we know as Firenze. The treasure is hidden within this tale of twiddle. An extravagant day in the city Awaits the adamant, the witty. But first you must uncover the places Kept secret amongst the Frugal committee. And so I leave you with this final piece, Filled with inexpensive fun and treats. But there is a small price to pay; Dedicate a few minutes and the reward you will seize Begin with lunch, With a very fancy bunch, Who enjoy the bliss of eating. But only food affordable to munch. Leave the historic center, For discounts cost a venture. Travel along Borgo Ognissanti, Into this cheap trattoria you must enter. Lunch and dinner cost 10 and 12 respectively, The prefixed menu based on chef selectivity. The name translates to “Cuisine of the Farmer” Decipher this phrase and you have found it effectively.

Continue on your journey to the other side, Crossing the bridge at the river’s divide. Here is where the locals come to play, The traditions of Italy are your ultimate guide. Follow the sounds to Oltrarno’s busy square, Where the Holy Spirit dances through the air. However, the true gem remains hidden from here The next place is protected by its religious lair The location is priceless and difficult to find, But the reward is beautiful for the soul and mind. This secret garden follows the street before, In a mysterious corridor, whose name’s not assigned. This hall bathes in treasures and gold, But the green space thereafter is the sight to behold, Bring a close friend to accompany thee For the oasis is a memory you will forever hold. After a long day out in the sun, It is time for you to have some afternoon fun. Offering books, drinks, and live tunes, The next cozy venue will surely stun. The final destination is this unique space, Sporting a cheaper menu than any other place. The dwelling is known as “The City” Close to the garden, it has just as much grace. Hopefully you can figure these riddles out For you, the Frugal Foreigner, cheap is what it’s all about. I hand over my most precious places That will have you saving money, without a doubt. Happy Hunting Frugalers!


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World Water Day 2012 by Deshani Senewiratne

Did you know it takes about 1500 liters of water to produce one kilogram of wheat, and 10 times that amount to produce the same amount of beef? International World Water Day is held annually on March 22nd to celebrate the importance of conserving freshwater and sustaining the world’s environments. This year’s the focus is on the message “The World is Thirsty because we are Hungry”, linking the crucial relationship between water and the production of our food. There are over a billion people suffering from chronic hunger, but they are also thirsty. As we use more than 70 percent of fresh water for agriculture, by 2030, we face a 70 percent increase in demand for food. Climate change and water shortages are becoming a real and growing threat, and without good planning and action, hundreds of millions of people are at risk of hunger and poverty. Water scarcity has already affected many people around the world, as over one-fifth of the world’s population live in areas of physical water scarcity. To help mark World Water Day 2012, UNESCO Center of Florence held the Graffiti Festival to

Photo by Deshani Senewiratne

spread awareness of the importance of water conservation. According to Chief of External Relations Francesco Grassellini, “the lack of access to freshwater effects all countries in the world, not just developing nations, so it is important to save water today, because it might be gone tomorrow.” So how can we increase the world’s access to clean water? Close the tap when doing dishes, take shorter showers, and slow the flow of water to consume less. The problem cannot be solved by one individual; it requires collaboration and rethinking the importance of conservation of water to create progress. Everyday is world water day, we just don’t realize it.

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Community Voice: Suzanna Di Gioia for St.James Church & Ganzo By Amy Tanzillo

As we near the end of spring semester at FUA, we can step back and begin to understand a more complete picture of our abroad experience. Suzanne Di Gioia, our peer and volunteer, has plenty to think about and a lot to look forward to: the Stony Brook University junior is a pre-med double major in Biochemistry and Italian, she minors in music and theater, and utilizes her free at home time to do community outreach. It is no surprise then, that Suzanne tackled her experience at FUA with her characteristic vigor, and has plenty to show for it. She tells me a bit about how her community service experience in Florence, and how it will affect what she does next. A: What has your experience volunteering at St. James Church in Florence been like? S: St. James Church is a great place with some amazing people who work there. Here, people of Florence have the opportunity to get clothes and food that they cannot afford… It is such a nice organization especially after a few weeks when you see familiar faces. Not only do you become close with the other people at St. James… but I began talking to the people that come and learning a little about their lives. A: You also recently began volunteering at Ganzo as well, correct? S: I started volunteering at Ganzo the week before spring break... They were short staffed and had a full house so my roommates and I were more than happy to help. Working at Ganzo is awesome because it’s a way to give back to a different kind of community - it’s a little bit closer. It’s awesome to know everyone who’s there and feel like you really belong. A: So how have your community service responsibilities affected your overall study abroad experience? S: I can’t imagine my study abroad experience without volunteering… I am no longer a mere foreigner in the city - I am a part of it… Florence and its people have allowed us to stay here and the least we can do is contribute back volunteering has allowed me to do this and I feel that everyone who studies abroad should try to take advantage of this opportunity. It truly does enrich your experience through the people you meet and the service you can provide. A: How will you take what you’ve learned here and apply it to your future? S: Hopefully, I can fulfill my dream to become a doctor and give back to so many people who have affected my own life in such a positive way… This experience in Italy has solidified my overall plan - to be a part of Doctors Without Borders… I want to affect someone’s life the way the people I have met here have affected mine. Inspired and inspiring, Suzanne epitomizes the complete study abroad experience that balances academics, outreach, and personal development. Her last thought? “Philanthropy and kindness are universal; there is no language barrier.” With an outlook like that, Suzanne will undoubtedly continue to make a positive impact on the world in her bright future.



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Americans in ITALIAN CULTURE Florence: Discoveringinthe Americans Florence: Dream of Italy Discovering the Dream of Italy By By Amy Tanzillo

Americans in Florence is another impeccable exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi curated by Francesca Bardazzi and Carlo Sisi. It is a retrospective collection of paintings that explore the cultural dialogue between Italy and America, first established by the explorer Amerigo Vespucci, whose death Americans in Florence commemorates. It defies the staleness of typical impressionist exhibits while expanding its scope; Americans in Florence precludes the contemporary American vision embodied by CCC Strozzina’s American Dreamers. Americans in Florence opens with a smattering of works that embody the show’s theme: the expository relationship that American impressionists fostered with their European host city, Florence, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Pen and ink landscapes by Joseph Pennel depict a “dream of Italy,” a country untouched by industry and social turmoil. The voluptuous hills of Tuscany and bustling streets of Florence feature heavily throughout the exhibit, illustrating the fleeting impressions of the foreigner in the “unspoiled old country.” While the scenes are immaculate in their beauty, the curators implore the viewer to consider how reliable this depiction of Italy was. While most images are romantic, some hint at the poverty and volatility of the then-recently unified Kingdom of Italy. One such crucial work is Sweet Idleness on the Banks of the Arno, by Italian artist Lorenzo Gelati. With only a touch of romanticism, the painting actually depicts the hardships of Florentine peasant life. Thoughtfully placed in the opening room, this work sets the tone for the entire exhibit, which illustrates how Americans transformed Italy into a fantasy by focusing on its bucolic charm and excluding its flaws.

The American “fantasy of Italy” is also manifest in a massive group portrait by Vittorio Corcos, a native of Livorno, shown in one of the final rooms of the exhibit. Amongst the foamy greens and blues of its fellow seaside landscapes, Reading by the Sea nearly blinds the viewer with its radiant sunlight and the frank gaze of the female sitter. The leisure class subject and setting, as well as the overwhelming luminosity of this painting summarize the beautiful but exclusive vision of the American impressionists. As one exits the exhibit, he or she must reflect upon the implications of this idealization, how it transformed the American perception of Florence then and perhaps, even now. In examining this fanciful vision,one might recognize a relationship between Palazzo Strozzi’s Americans in Florence and American Dreamers at the Strozzina. Both exhibits expose and explore distinctly American perspectives in art. Americans in Florence looks without, showing how American painters projected their idyllic fantasy onto an enchanting but imperfect country. Meanwhile, American Dreamers reflects upon the development and subsequent breakdown of another fantastical projection: the “American dream.” By analyzing the illusions and delusions employed by past and present American artists, the sister exhibits illustrate the imaginative scope of the American artistic vision while acknowledging its pitfalls. Americans in Florence: Sargent and the Impressionists of the New World Palazzo Strozzi 3 March – 15 July 2012 Open every day, 9:00-20:00 (Thursdays, 9:00-23:00)

Family Matters in Florence By Rachel Cala

“Mi dispiace, stavo cucinando! (Sorry, I was cooking!)” I scribbled, with an arrow pointing to the unsightly grease spot that found its way onto my paper. This application was intended to make a good enough impression to ensure my spot in Italian Family Club. To me, family is the most important thing in the world, and I found myself without my own in Florence. What better way to cope with withdrawal from my family than to jump into someone else’s - and an authentic Italian family at that? I was instantly sold. When I learned I was studying abroad, people asked me if I was doing a home stay or living alone. I replied that I intended to stay in an apartment with fellow classmates, contemplating how different it would be if I were to stay with a family. I thought about independence, and the perks of being without supervision, autonomous in a new city. Knowing, though, that I was a “family girl” at heart, it would be a hard transition to be without one.

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“Do you have a problem if they don’t speak English?” Francesca Tassinari asked during my interview. I hesitated momentarily reflecting on my four mere months of experience with the Italian language. “No.” I replied, “I want to learn.” “What if they live outside the city center?” she quickly rebutted. “Not a problem, I can handle public transport,” I said with false confidence. At this point, I could barely see a bus without fretting over all routes that they run. But I had my game face on; I was dead-set on getting assigned a family. I knew that if they had volunteered to take someone like me into their home, I would have a home away from home here in Florence.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Cala

My preconceptions of what this family would be like didn’t hold a candle to how amazing the Manini family, truly are. Thanks to FUA’s Italian Family Club, I am

connected with a family I am blessed to know. They genuinely care about my stay in Italy, my interests, and my own family. This experience has been an opportunity to immerse myself in an alternate culture, all the while enjoying the comforts of family life that I have been graciously welcomed into. I met Andrea and Laura Manini at DIVA, and was comforted at first sight by their kindness. After entertaining a shockingly informative conversation in broken Italian (Francesca wasn’t kidding about their English skills), I knew that we were a good match. We made the first of many dates to meet, converse and exchange stories about our lives as Italians, Americans, and members of our families. Andrea drew me a makeshift map of the United States, which was fantastic other than the peninsula of Florida that seemed to be melting into the ocean. They expressed with great excitement their plans to visit America with their kids, and drew a line that stretched from the west coast to New York City. Geography lessons aside, the effort assured me that this family was ready to learn what it is like for an American girl in Italy. I have the opportunity to spend time with their lovely, animated, funny children; Lorenzo (15) and Elena (14), and also their nurturing genitori that continue to revive the sweet memories of my own grandparents whom I miss dearly. Although different from my Nana’s one-of-a-kind soup, the beautiful food they feed me is paralleled by the fullness in my heart, nurtured by this wonderful family. I am able to sit at the table in a sea of frantic, Florentine Italian, with only my blond hair to give me away as an outsider. They have accompanied me sightseeing. I have met their wonderful friends, who are equally as welcoming. I have gotten to know the area of Scandicci, which provides a slight change of pace from busy Florence. I have watched Lorenzo exude his skills as the captain of his calcio team, and watched Elena have a blast playing volleyball with her close friends on her volleyball team. With so much to do and so many things to see, I feel at home and busy within a loving family. I think the Manini family enjoys seeing how much I can eat, always urging “Ra-shell! Prendi! Prendi!” I never go hungry, and I never feel anything but comfortable and content when I am with this family. The playful banter from my younger “siblings,” the curious and supportive questions from my “mom and dad,” and the comforting warm arms of my new “nonni” assure me that I made the right decision getting involved in the Italian Family Club. Making time for the Manini’s will never be a chore; the time I spend with them is priceless and among the fondest memories I have created here in Florence.


BLENDIN G May 2012


Come Along, Explorers! Traveling with EFT By Rebecca Cokeley

Let’s admit it. We all love to travel, but many of us students aren’t necessarily throwing money on the table and taking fabulous excursions to Munich or the French Riviera. And, if we do find that affordable flight or train ride, rarely do we get the opportunity to experience the city through tours and gorgeous hotels. However, Palazzi gives us the opportunity to explore our fantasy destinations at a very affordable price, everything included. Through their Educational Field Trips, Palazzi encourages us to not only fulfill our inner traveler, but also to learn much more about a place we may have never known otherwise. While incorporating education with the voyage is the primary goal of EFT, an effective and fun trip is also essential. As EFT coordinator Marika Pierguidi promises, “you can have both.” After receiving her masters in International Tourism in Switzerland, Marika Pierguidi returned to Florence to begin work at Palazzi. She currently works at the front desk of DIVA and coordinates Sports Night. Among these responsibilities, she is also deeply involved with the EFT programs, organizing visits to various cities and countries for us. Educational Field Trips is a non-profit organization that allows students to explore Italy and some its neighboring countries. For many of us, this is a rare opportunity to travel to these amazing destinations and learn about their histories and cultures. Students who utilize EFT are guided by professional tour guides and stay in comfortable, four-star hotels. It truly is a fantastic experience. To name a few, some of the places EFT travels to are Rome, Munich, Parma, and Ravenna. Some of Marika’s personal favorites are Cinque Terre and Venice; she organized the Cinque Terre trip last June and loved it. When I spoke with her, she described the vibrant colors of the houses perched in the mountains, and how she felt “very little compared to nature.” her eyes shone, revealing this passion that would inspire any and every student to come on these journeys with her. Like Marika, I have also been to Venice, and I have to agree, it was truly breathtaking. For a moment, I thought I was in heaven as I walked through the sinking city. We were guided through the San Marco area, learning about the history and art of the San Marco Basilica and its surrounding areas. I would never have traveled to Venice had it not been for the efforts of the Palazzi and EFT staff, and for this I am forever in their debt. I also had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel with Marika to Sicily. It was unbelievable. The accommodations were beautiful, the food was delectable, and the scenery was of course, quite the vision. Choosing EFT makes traveling less stressful, more affordable, and allows you to enjoy your time on location. I must admit, I am one of those students who hasn’t gotten to travel outside of Florence since I’ve been here. Due to money and planning and not knowing what to do with either one, I’ve undoubtedly benefitted from EFT. All I have to do is show up, and there’s nothing confusing about that. Future EFTs for the remainder of the semester include the Swiss Alps and Germany, and the French Riviera. For the Swiss Alps and Germany trip, students get the opportunity to tour the concentration camp at Dachau. It should be very interesting and exceptionally gratifying to learn about the camp’s history. In the French Riviera, students visit three charming cities: Nice, Porto, and Finor. It is a very relaxing trip with wonderful panoramas of blue water and its yachts. Take advantage of these opportunities of beautiful travel to learn something new and experience another destination through different eyes. These occasions won’t last forever and we won’t always be on this side of the pond. Let EFT take care of it.

Ma y 2 0 1 2 B L E NDIN G



Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow: The Paradox of a Semester Abroad by Lindsey Pipkin

Our time in Florence is nearing its end. It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed. I remember arriving at the airport, nervous and excited. Soon I’ll be returning to that airport, feeling both happy and sad as I think of my family and friends waiting for me back home while I already feel nostalgic for my experiences abroad. I thought that I would not feel homesick, and I managed to avoid it until the end of February, beginning of March. Despite knowing that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I couldn’t help but wish I could be in two places at once. Why couldn’t I be home and abroad simultaneously? This would be the perfect combination! The impossibility of this longing led me to focus on enjoying my current location while still looking forward to my journey home. However, now that it’s almost time to leave, naturally I feel as if I’m not ready to go yet. There are still things I haven’t done, places I haven’t seen, foods I haven’t tasted, and not enough time to experience it all. This is the paradox of going abroad. While having exploring one place, you still miss another. Just as I began to

miss home, I will miss Italy because it too has a feeling of home to me now. To strangers on the streets, I probably appear to just be another tourist. But I don’t feel like a tourist. I’ve grown accustomed to this place, but more than that, I’ve become rather fond of it too. So what can be done? Let this last month here be incredible! Do as much as you can while not hurting your studies or your bank account too much. It’s easy to say, “it’s okay, I’ll come here again,” but life has no guarantee. Looking back now, every moment has been amazing, even the more difficult moments. It’s all a part of the experience; a stitch in the fabric of this great tapestry our memory is weaving. Go home with amazing stories to share with those who impatiently await your return. That’s the only solution I have found to the paradox. Maybe, in order to really interpret everything that has happened this semester, we must leave. Adventures don’t only happen in abroad – let the experience continue in your hometown. On that note, I will bid Firenze farewell and look forward to seeing how my time here has truly impacted my life. As future leaders of society, college students can start taking action in making a difference in the environment. There are many ways that students can begin to volunteer and help their community: reuse, reduce, and recycle. We must be conscious of how our environment will affect our future. So remember, go green!

Semester’s End Do’s & Don’ts By Blending Staff


1. Visit a smaller museum, such as the Stibbert or Capucci museums. 2. Ask yourself “Have I figured out Tuscan cuisine?” If you haven’t, do so. 3. Visit a local beach town, Tuscany has one of the best beach repuations in Italy! Try Versilia to the north for sandy beaches and tons of entertainment, or Maremma to the south for wilder, nature-friendly beaches. 4. Try a rooftop or terrace aperitivo for final panoramic goodbyes to Florence. Try the Continentale hotel, the Rinascente department store, or Villa Bardini. 5. Depart from Florence with a favorite neighborhood that you’ll want to come back to in the future.


1. Get ready for the trip back by reintroducing to your diet foods from back home. 2. Become fixated with the past rainy weeks and lack of sunny weather. There is a difference between Mediterranean and tropical. 3. Stick to only your favorite restaurants to get your fix before leaving Florence. There is still time to explore new ones. 4. Forget a few, well thought, quality items that you can utilize back home and will remind you of your times here.

Blending Newsletter Supplemento di Blending Magazine reg. Trib. di Firenze n째 5844 del 29 luglio 2011 Anno 2 - Numero 3 - Maggio 2012 Editore Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore Via Alfonso La Mamora 39, 50121 Firenze Redazione Corso Tintori 21, 50121 Firenze Tel. 055-0332745 Stampato in proprio Blending Masthead Editor-in-Chief: Matteo Brogi - Senior Editors: Grace Joh, Rebecca Valpy - Copy Editing: Lindsey Pipkin, Amy Tanzillo Layout Editor: Alberto Simoncioni Blending is a monthly newsletter created with and for Palazzi FAIE students, in collaboration with the Student Services Department of Palazzi. For information contact -

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