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Photo by Paride Moretti - Fresco Painting class, Al fresco exhibition work in progress, untitled.



Starting from April 2nd, FUA courses Fresco Painting I and Gallery Assistantship Experiential Learning will be featured at the fine arts exhibition located at Ganzo. Florence has historically been the city of frescos, and Al fresco is a fresh take on a concept centered around an ancient technique yet seen from a new perspective. When considering the central importance of the wall in fresco painting, contemporary approaches to expression immediately come to mind when thinking of how the wall is a perennial


for artists as well as ordinary citizens to let out emotions such as rage, protest, and hope. The exhibition title provides a mind-provoking aspect – the term al fresco in Italian also means “in jail,” this along with the diverse artistic interpretations of FUA fresco painting students will provide fresh points of analysis and reflection when viewing the exhibition. Professor Moretti shares:

Coordinating Professor: Paride Moretti

“Al fresco in Italian means going to jail because in the past, prisons were located in cellars that are dark places. Fresco in fact means “moist and cool.” The project was born through a survey of the cramped and stifling space where the wall becomes an insurmountable barrier object and projection. The inscription engraved in the plaster becomes the indelible trace of passage and presence, because the wall is also an imaginary surface that extends time in a dimension exceeding the length of human life. The wall preserves action, and testifies the intimate story of man.”

Featured Students: Rashed Al-Alban, Kennedy Bailey, Mirko Erspamer, Michael Iannelli, Mary Kelly, Casey McCoy, McKenna Murray, Madlyn Thone, Madeline Warner. Student Curators: Ivana Malvoni, Liza Torquato, Tatyana Valova. Al fresco Open April 2 – May 6 Ganzo School Restaurant – The Creative Learning Lab of Apicius International School of Hospitality Open Monday to Friday 12:00am – 12:00pm; Saturday brunch hours (until May 10) tel/fax: 055-241076 /



Le statue calde, entrance of the exhibition, Marini Marini Museum, Florence

Photos by Lama Kaddura

Gianni Colombo, Baresthesias of the stairs, 1975

Le Statue Calde (The Warm Statues), a brilliant exhibition featured at Florence’s Museo Marino Marini, ended on March 8th. It offered the viewer an experience beyond contemplation as the works guided the viewer to think about sculpture, not only as it is, but also in conjunction with the human body. “On the one hand, sculpture as an extension of the body; and on the other, the body as sculpture,” said Simone Menegoi, one of the curators along with Alberto Salvatori, director of the museum. This way of considering art allowed the audience of Le Statue Calde to push themselves further into the realm of the artwork and the considerations of the artist in creating each piece. 2


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left: Piero Manzoni, Magic Base, 1959 right: Gianni Pettena, Shadow Armchairs, 1986

The works of art focused on the relationship between the sculpture and the human body. This enabled the audience to not only look at, but physically experience the art as well. Usually art found in museums is off limits and forbidden to be touched, so this conjunction with the art also lent the viewers a feeling of fun and excitement being able to do what is usually not allowed. When first entering the exhibit, viewers are immediately confronted with Bariestesia delle scale (Baresthesias of the stairs, 1975) by Gianni Colombo (1937-1993). Three sets of stairs, placed one after the other, are somewhat haphazard and uneven in their construction, effecting “states if equilibrium, and postural reflexes” (Scotini). As the viewers walk through the course of stairs they are confronted with discomfort and destabilization “hampered by real discomfort due to the broken itineraries, sharply sloping planes, labyrinths, and pillars leaning in different directions” (Scotini). This piece is intended to help the viewer recognize the disorientation of Colombo’s piece as a search for selfawareness, to recognize routine, as well as change. Magic Base (1961) by Piero Manzoni is another example of bodily relationship with the sculpture. In this case the people become the art themselves. In the exhibit stands a pedestal with footprints on it. The viewers are invited to take off their shoes and stand on it. “Any person, any object standing on it was, for as long as it stayed there, a work of art” (Manzoni, 1962). Scultura da prendere a calci (Sculpture to be kicked,1959)

by Gabriele Devecchi is composed of a series of foam boxes linked together by an elastic string and on a weighted base. The sculpture only comes into itself when kicked by its audience, and then kicked again, with the shape and configuration of the artwork constantly changing as the foam bricks are kicked. This work, yet again, sets an example of how the physical effect of the human body creates the sculpture. Shadow Armchairs (1986) by Gianni Pettena are sculptures for his audience to interact with and also to wear. With the construction of the overcoat’s lining and it being large enough, Pettena was able to install flexible elements between the lining and fabric. This formed a collapsible structure inside the coat that is able to be worn as well as collapse into a seat. This ‘wearable chair’, if not worn or used as a seat, assumes one role only of either a seat or a coat. In order for it to continue to be the work of art that it is, the structure must be activated in both of its roles. These works, among many others featured in Le Statue Calde, fully exemplify the idea of sculptures in conjunction with the human body. As we have been trained to look and not touch, especially when it comes to art, these ideas of interacting with the works are ironic. These pieces require their viewers to touch, feel, play, and participate. This exhibit is eye opening and innovative in ways that few other shows have been. It fully captures and involves the viewer. You are no longer just observing the art, but you are part of the art. 3




Photo by the author

Wow, spring is finally here and everything in Florence is looking amazing including the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables at the market. Personally I am currently completely addicted to the blood oranges. These are the simple joys of living in a country where the weather is good enough to grow a large variety of delicious products. I feel spoilt. Another exciting event is the return of Chef Francesco Mansani. Francesco taught here five years ago and since then he has been the Executive Chef at Badia a Coltibuono in Chianti and more recently helped set up the Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse in Singapore. He has now returned to Florence and is back teaching some great classes at Apicius. Francesco has chosen a simple “Eastern Salad” for the recipe this month which is light and refreshing, so perfect as an antipasto or a healthy lunch. For more information on his previous restaurant locations, please see and Serves 4 Time to make 10 minutes (prepare the pecorino ahead if possible)

Ingredients: 1 bunch of asparagus 4 large handfuls of rocket or mixed salad 12 sun-dried tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes if you prefer 40 pods of fava beans, de-seeded and pods discarded 200g percorino cheese, cubed 3 sprigs of fresh thyme 1 clove of garlic, crushed 200ml extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 squeezed lemon


Method • Crush the garlic and put the thyme in a pot of oil with the cubed pecorino. • Do this at least 1 hour before you want to use the pecorino. The thyme and garlic will slowly infuse the pecorino giving it a nice fresh flavor. If you have no time for this then don’t worry and just cut pecorino into cubes and use as it is. • Boil a pot of salted water. Peel the fava beans and set aside. • Cut the white ends off the asparagus stalks and put the asparagus tips in the boiling water for approximately 2-3

minutes until they are tender. Add the beans to cook for approximately 2 minutes until they too are nice and al dente. • Remove from the heat and immediately shock in cold water to stop them from cooking. • Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and cut the asparagus into approximately 3 pieces. • Add all of the ingredients into a bowl and add a little extra virgin olive oil, the freshly squeezed lemon and salt and pepper. • Chop the walnuts. Toss and serve the salad with the walnuts on top. Enjoy.


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PIZZERIA TORCICODA by Cecily de la Peña

Photo by the author

RATING: LOCATION: Via Torta, 5r 50122 Firenze - Italy; +39 055 2654329; ATMOSPHERE: The most casual of the Cucina Torcicoda concepts; still more upscale than an average pizzeria. SERVICE: Accommodating and knowledgeable. SOUND LEVEL: Moderate RECOMMENDED: Torcicoda pizza; Fior di Latte con Pere e Gorgonzola pizza; Margherita D.O.P. pizza; Calzone con Rucola, Mozzarella, Salsiccia Tritata e Gorgonzola DRINKS AND WINE: Wines are hand-selected by the restaurant’s sommelier directly from local wineries. The restaurant offers two house-wines: a Chianti Classico and a Primitivo. Bottles of wine range from 18 - 70€ with several very expensive wines priced between 250390€. Half bottles are available ranging from 12-28€. Daily wine by the glass: 5€. PRICES: 6-10 € OPEN: Every day. 12:00-15:00, 19:30-23:00. RESERVATIONS: Accepted

Pizzeria Torcicoda is only a small part of Cucina Torcicoda: a massive food concept space opened this past October in the Santa Croce district. The establishment offers a ristorante, osteria, pizzeria, gelateria, and bottega all in one. Cucina Torcicoda, which occupies a thousand square meters of space and is so large it boasts entrances on two separate streets, aims to demonstrate excellence and quality in multiple areas of Italian food service.

The pizzeria offers true Napoletano-style pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven. The pizzaiolo himself, Salvatore Vaino, hails from Napoli, and his pizzas are D.O.C. certified and use only the highest quality ingredients. The establishment’s décor is warm and inviting; slightly more upscale than an average pizzeria. The Torcicoda pizza, topped with burrata cheese, ‘nduja sausage, peppers and piennolo tomatoes, is worthy of being named the pizzeria’s signature pizza. The interplay of spiciness from the sausage, sweetness from the vegetables, and luxurious creaminess of the burrata was perfectly balanced. The Fior di Latte con Pere e Gorgonzola pizza was also quite good with the sweetness of the pear serving to counter the Gorgonzola’s intensity. The only improvement could have been the addition of a little more pear. The Calzone con rucola, mozzarella, salsiccia tritata e Gorgonzola came to the table with an appetizingly blistered crust and perfectly cooked filling with the strong flavors of the rucola, salsiccia, and Gorgonzola complementing one another harmoniously. Finally, the Margherita D.O.P. was kept simple, allowing the subtle taste of Mozzarella di Bufala D.O.P. to shine. The wines on the wine list are hand-selected by the restaurant’s sommelier, who arranges tastings with local wineries himself in order to choose wines best suited to the menu. A 2011 Dievole Vendemmia D.O.C.G. Chianti Classico paired well with the pizza on the menu. However, the Cucina Torcicoda Chianti Classico house wine left something to be desired. It was a bit too rustic to fit well with the overall concept of the establishment. The second house wine, a Primitivo produced by Antinori, might be the better choice of the two. For those more inclined to pair a beer with their pizza, Pizzeria Torcicoda also offers several varieties both on tap and bottled. The Dolomiti Speciale was a particularly good match. While Pizzeria Torcicoda is certainly the most casual of the three main Cucina Torcicoda concepts, it is far from the typical pizzeria. Characterized by the same meticulous attention to detail visible throughout the entire establishment, the pizzeria presents a very high quality product in an upscale environment. Using the rich tradition of Napoletano pizza making as a starting point, Pizzeria Torcicoda gives an updated, and delicious, face to the Italian pizza experience. 5


TOUCH By Pam Bullock

Photos by the author

Touch advertises itself as the “First iPad Restaurant in Florence” but it is much more than that. The decor is warm and understated with clean modern lines; simple tables with comfortable black chairs. The tablescapes are uncluttered; ours was enhanced by a small pot wrapped in gold felt with string holding a single hyacinth bloom. A mirror image of gold letters on black glass is affixed to the wall above and behind the short bar, spelling out MACELLERIA backwards. The manager, Max Amini, explained to us that the adjacent dining room was formerly a butcher shop and the sign was salvaged for display. Food is the focus but despite the advertising, there is no question that technology provides the supporting role. Upon being seated, glasses of prosecco were offered to our party and accepted. Ipads followed, one for every two guests. The menu is in both Italian and English and choices for meat and fish Chef’s Tables were available and beautifully photographed. All other items, including desserts, were also easily viewed. There were a few additional specialties that evening which I decided to sample. Before we ordered, the waiter graciously inquired if any of us had food preferences or allergies they should know about. We found this reassuring and kind - as if we dining in a private home! My friends each ordered the four course Chef’s Table meat menu which featured: pate on polenta, boiled meat ravioli with salsa verde, pork 6

loin with pastry, alla “Touchington,” and cannolino with chantilly cream and pistachio for dessert. I ordered the “artichokes - two ways” followed by the king crab ravioli. My friends tasted the wines provided with the Chef’s Table while I stayed with white wine, my preference. A nice feature was the right-angled serving dishes so that we could easily access every last bite with sauce. Nothing was disappointing, including taste and presentation. My friends and I were delighted with our dinner, the wine, the atmosphere and the solicitousness and conviviality of our host, Max Amini. I would highly recommend Touch to anyone seeking fresh contemporary Italian cooking for a more than reasonable price. Our impression was that there were more Florentines there than tourists, and for this reason, reservations are strongly recommended.

Touch Via Fiesolana, 18/R 39 331 904444


APRIL 2014



Photo by the author

The GIT: Grand Italian Trail (Sentiero Italia) is a 4,016 mile long (6166 km) hiking trail that crosses the entire country of Italy. The trail, divided into 368 legs, begins in Trieste and and ends in Sardinia, incorporating the Grand Alpine Trail (GTA: Grande Traversata delle Alpi), the Ligurian Mountain Trail (AVML: Alta Via dei Monti Liguri), and the Tuscan Grand Apennine Trail (GEA: Grande Escursione Appenninica). The trail was organized in 1995 in the first ever "Walk Italy" (CamminaItalia), when a group of hikers departed from a Sardinian coastal village and covered the entire trail in eight months. A trail blaze was chosen for the trail - a marking of red-white-red with "SI" written underneath in black, however, many legs of the trail remain unmarked and are only designated as a part of the GIT on the map.

Spring is a wonderful time to explore Italy on foot. In addition to the GIT, a particularly interesting hike destination is Lake Trasimeno, near Tuoro, which lies at the northeastern end of Umbria, between Cortona and Perugia. Lake Trasimeno (Lago Trasimeno) is the largest lake in the Italian peninsula. For Roman history buffs, Lake Trasimeno is the site of one of the most successful ambushes in military history. Here, on June 21, 217 BC, Hannibal outwitted and slaughtered almost half of the Roman army under the leadership of Consul Gaius Flaminius. The night before the battle Hannibal had fires lit on the hills of Tuoro so that the Romans would think they were farther away. That morning when Flaminius’s army marched into the flat plains north of

the lake, Hannibal surrounded and annihilated them. According to legend, because blood filled a stream flowing into the lake for three days, it was renamed “Blood River” (Sanguineto). You can take an hour and 20 minute train ride from SMN Firenze station to Tuoro. For more information on Tuoro and the Trasimeno Lake park system, as well as the Grand Italian Trail, please see these websites: sentieroitaliagranditaliantrail/ 7




Photo by the author

While Florence is filled with many great shopping venues for all style types, a less expensive option for vintage enthusiasts is antique markets. One such place is located at Giardino della Fortezza da Basso one weekend each month. This antique market is packed with great vintage finds such as books, jewelry, records, postcards, cameras, furniture, clothes, and much more. Sellers line up around the lake next to the walls of the fortress and fill tables with all kinds of treasures from the past. The market is not too crowded and makes for a nice place not only for shopping but also for a weekend stroll. Shoppers of all ages and nationalities can be seen milling through the vendors to snoop through their stock. The quality of goods varies quite a bit. Some tables are filled with items and gadgets that need adjusting while others have classic Rollings Stones and The Beatles albums. The vintage market at Fortezza da Basso has more selection at a better price than many other markets in Florence. It is also a great place to practice some Italian bargaining! Cash is recommended since most of the vendors don't accept credit cards. The vintage market is held at Giardino della Fortezza da Basso the third weekend of every month from 8 am - 7 pm.



On a usual weekend in Florence, I had an opportunity to go to a new part of town for the evening. Friends had looked up some concerts in the area and found an interesting band that was performing at this place called Glue, an alternative concept space that seeks to blend (or glue) a variety of arts: music, cinema, theater, literature, etc. It sounded a bit different than your typical night in Florence, so we decided to check it out. We walked for what seemed like an eternity away from the center of town. The streets seemed darker because of all the 8

closed stores and businesses, while on the other hand traffic and street sizes increased. We crossed a bridge over the train tracks. We were a bit lost and asked for directions but communication was challenging with the individuals we encountered. We finally found the right place in the urban park near the Campo di Marte train station. When we walked into the building, we were welcomed with noticeable curiosity. The Glue staff members were all so interested in how we had found the place. Their excitement was contagious. Instead

of treating us like a nuisance and just another tourist(s), the Glue folks genuinely welcomed us. To attend the events at Glue, we needed to purchase year-long memberships for 10 euros, which would allow us to attend every event (movies, concerts, literature readings). Why wouldn’t we? So we grabbed a beverage and sat on one of the colorful couches. It was 10:30 but there was no music yet. We were confused about why nobody else was there to watch. Maybe this place wasn't as cool and Italian as we had thought?


APRIL 2014

A few early stragglers trickled in. We thought it must be the wrong night because there was still no live music! Finally, at the stroke of midnight, the band took the stage and suddenly we were surrounded by what seemed to be the hip crowd of Florence. I had not seen so many young people together like this since being in Italy! Even though

the language was entirely Italian and we were in a neighborhood on the city’s outskirts, I still felt so at home here. We were all there for the same reason – to just relax and listen to good music. The language barrier and culture difference didn’t matter because we were all listening to the same thing. We were each allowed to interpret what

we were hearing in whatever way we wanted. This was the first time I had a sense of belonging in Italy.

Glue Viale Manfredo Fanti, 20 50137 Firenze 055 600845


Luxurious lawns stretch out before me, and we pick a path at random, ducking underneath branches and heading down the sloping hill until we reach level ground again. I peer around the trees, statues lining the courtyards and my eyes catch sight of a garden within the garden. The big fountain sparkles and shimmers as the sunlight caresses its surface, but I can’t take my eyes off the green lawn. I try to imagine what little toes danced their way through the grass, what

Photo courtesy of

skirts showed green evidence of their play time, whether the grass tickled their ears as they gazed up, forming creatures in the clouds. I sigh and shut my eyes, hands drifting up to feel the air circling around me and at once, I hear them. Their giggling winds its ways throughout the trees, twinkling up branch by branch until it floats delicately into the air and drifts away. They have come out to play, each one attempting to convince the other that they should be the

first to hide. Their feet pitter-patter across the dewy leaves covering the path, until the crunch of gravel announces that they have reached the end of their trail. They look around, happiness reflected on their tiny faces at the garden Mum has built for them, and then with a look at one another, they take off - wind rushing through their hair, making their curls bounce behind them, skirts twirling around their skinny legs. They both fall, out of breath, onto 9


Photos by Jessica King

the fresh grass and spend the morning making daisy chains for each other, bare feet skipping through the lawn as they attempt to find more and more daisies. They take a break for lunch, stomachs growling like ferocious lions in the middle of their jungle play park, and walk back to the palace. Inside, things are different, there are rules and rooms, restrictions and requirements. After the banging and clanging of lunch is over, they slip away again, the garden whispering to them through the windows, and playtime returns. They scamper to the fountain, under the brush of the secret passageway they have discovered. The splash in the shallow water, sending leaves like boats to the

other side, only for them to diverge off course as the girls giggle in delight. “Are you ready to go yet?” I open my eyes suddenly and look at my friends surrounding me, waiting as I explored my daydream. “I’m never ready to go,” I want to say to them. Instead I uncross my legs, brush off my pants and promise myself I’ll return. About the author: Travel writing student Danya Migdali explores the monumental Boboli gardens for what they are – gardens, where relaxation, daydreaming, and sunplaying pleasurably intermingle. The Boboli gardens are a part of the Pitti Palace museum complex and can be visited year-round.



Photo courtesy of Alexa Mellardo

While studying abroad at FUA during the Fall 2013 semester, Alexa Mellardo was able to fully indulge her many interests. Having taken creative and travel writing courses with us in Florence, it would be easy to guess that one of Alexa's biggest passions might just be writing. Add a course on the History of Fashion Design and another at Apicius on Food Culture and Society and you have a well-rounded introduction to Italian elegance for any blogger! In fact, while studying at FUA Alexa published a series of posts as a guru on international style, sharing her brand new insight on Florentine fashion. Today she maintains her own blog, updated daily, containing all of her published articles from her many undertakings. 10


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So what is Alexa up to these days and what did she say about her time at FUA? “I am currently the Boston Editor of NYC based In addition, another one of my passions is fashion. I am a Style Guru for, where I spot out, photograph and feature trendy fashionistas and their outfits on the street and write weekly style advice posts.”

“Florence has been such an amazing, unreal experience for me; I have enjoyed absolutely every second of it – from the awesome Italian culture, to delectable food, amazing shopping and living in the most spectacular cities in the world. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to study abroad. Writing for Santa Cristina Winery this semester was an added bonus! I loved writing weekly introductions for the

featured Apicius International School of Hospitality recipes and getting to know the history behind each dish…it is truly fascinating.” You can find all of Alexa's posts, including her Fashion From Abroad articles posted during her time in Florence at: and / alexamellardo



“You can’t run from all your problems, but it will help you run towards staying fit!” boasts La Palestra, the on-campus gym here at FUA. La Palestra offers a fully functional gym with equipment and machines, as well as an amazing array of fitness classes. Personally, I am very focused on fitness and my well-being, so I was excited to hear that vFUA had free fitness classes that struck my interest. This began my initiation into the sweat inducing, blood pumping, and redin-the-face Barre and Yoga classes that were introduced this semester. The wonderful volunteer instructor, Ali Bologna, (a Spring 2014 student here at FUA) comes well equipped with the knowledge and skills that make the classes challenging but fulfilling. “At age 3 I started dancing in my mother’s studio in Buffalo, NY. I started with tap and jazz and as I grew older I became a competitive dancer for our national competition team. I've studied over 15 years tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and contemporary dance. I continued to study dance in college, which lead me to yoga and barre.” explains Ali. “As a dancer, I enjoy Power Yoga because it's a quicker moving vinyasa flow that combines

flexibility and strength in an 8590 degree room. My inspirational teachers at home have encouraged me to become a certified instructor. I always tell my yoga classes at FUA that I don't claim to be an expert, the experience is for practice and for fun.” Ali’s experience and enthusiasm is widely appreciated by students here, with overflowing classes of willing participants who want to get a good workout in. “The opportunity to lead classes has helped me on a personal level because it's given me confidence to teach, and it has allowed me to meet so many different people and make new friends. I now know that I definitely want to teach barre and yoga classes alongside whatever job I have in the future.” explains Ali. “As women, we judge our bodies so harshly and this experience of being in Italy is about dieting. I feel like my classes bring all us girls together to workout, but in a non-pressure environment.” I have been attending Ali’s barre and yoga classes separately since the beginning, and I was instantly hooked. Ali offers a positive and constructive exercise environment, encouraging participants to try their hardest to get the most out of

their workouts. “I try to make my classes fun and light-hearted; I feel the best when girls walk out of class smiling. I truly feel blessed to have this opportunity to lead at FUA, and it has definitely made a positive impact on my journey abroad.” Ms. Bologna concludes. Ali’s hour-long barre class is offered on Mondays at 6:30 pm, and an additional class on Wednesday at 5:45 pm Power yoga is on Tuesdays from 3-4 pm. A suggestion for willing newcomers: arrive to the dance studio at 21 Corso Tintori 10-15 minutes prior to class if you would like a spot, as Ali has a very dedicated following (myself included) and limited space. 11



Supplemento di / Supplement to Blending Magazine

Direttore Responsabile /

Reg. Trib. di Firenze n째 5844 del 29 luglio 2011

Editor in chief

Anno 4 - Numero 2 - Aprile 2014 /

Matteo Brogi

Year 4 - Issue 2 - April 2014 Caporedattore / Editore / Publisher

Editorial Director

Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore

Grace Joh

Via Alfonso La Mamora, 39 50121 Firenze

Coordinamento Editoriale / Managing Editor

Sede editoriale /

Federico Cagnucci

Blending is a newsletter created

Editorial Headquarters

with and for students of Florence

Corso Tintori, 21

Redazione testi / Copy Editor

University of the Arts, the academic

50121 Firenze

Pam Bullock, Paige Zylstra

member of Palazzi FAIE.

Tel. 055-0332745 Redazione fotografica / Photo Editors

The newsletter collaborates with the Student Life Department and

Stampato in proprio /

Development Office.

Printed in house

Federico Cagnucci

For information contact:

Progetto grafico / Graphic Design

Federico Cagnucci Impaginazione / Layout Sanjana Chimnani

Blending Newsletter April 2014  
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