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T H E S E M E S T E R LY M A G A Z I N E O F F L O R E N C E U N I V E R S I T Y O F T H E A R T S / S P R I N G S U M M E R 2 0 1 8 / Y E A R 8 I S S U E 1


Health, Wellness, and Non-Hotel Lodging Trends in the Hospitality Industry


Looks of the Season

ARCETRI OBSERVATORY Gateway to the Cosmos

WALKER'S PARADISE Three Itineraries


In Florence and Tuscany















A school with non-traditioinal classrooms where the Apicius students and faculty develop seasonal menus and share them with the general public.

The J School campus press creates books on gastronomy, design, travel, and lifestyle in collaboration with FUA students and faculty.

Via de Macci, 85red tel: +39055241076

Via dell'Oriuolo, 43 tel: +390550332745


Fashion Loves You Supports the FAST Fashion academics and collaborates with emerging Italian designers Borgo Pinti, 20red tel: +390550333174



from the editors

We are very excited to share with you the product of a semester-long collaboration between FUA students, instructors, and staff. Our Spring publication takes inspiration from the annual FUA conference hosted by Apicius International School of Hospitality. This year’s conference title, “Teaching Traditions: Health, Wellness and Non-Hotel Lodging Trends in the Hospitality Industry,” invited conference goers to think about (and most importantly, taste) the many ways in which the culinary and hospitality industries influence bigger ideas of health and wellness within society. Blending Magazine takes its cue from the concept of “Wellness” and explores how changing wellness trends, as well as ideas about what it truly means to be “healthy,” intertwine themselves into many different elements of daily life. The writers of this issue examine both the expanded idea of wellness relating to its place in society, and, on a smaller scale, how individuals weave examples of wellness practices into their daily lives. The simple act of walking is featured, as our student writers explore how the navigating Florence by foot offers an added purpose other than getting from A to B. In the Community section, other writers ask the question of how mass-tourism and globalization influence the daily lives of the Florentine Community, in ways both good and bad. The Fashion section ponders the connection between style and the world of wellness, featuring not only FLY’s “Look of the Season” but also a piece that examines Florence’s Gucci Garden and the revolutionary way in which it connects fashion with memory. Wellness can permeate our lives in different ways both big and small. Amongst the sometimes overwhelming stresses of daily life, taking pleasure in even the short moments of self-care contributes to a healthy and balanced lifestyle. As the spring semester draws to an end, our student writers are confronted with the desire to appreciate every moment, big or small.



Blending is a semesterly magazine created with and for students of Florence University of the Arts. The magazine is published by FUA’s campus press Ingorda, a member of the Fondazione di Partecipazione Palazzi - FAIE. For information contact Semestrale / Semesterly Magazine Reg. Trib. di Firenze n° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011 ISSN 2284-063X Anno 8 – Numero 1 – Primavera-Estate 2018 / Year 8 – Issue 1 – Spring-Summer 2018 Direttore Responsabile / Editor-in-chief Matteo Brogi Caporedattore / Editorial Director Grace Joh Coordinamento editoriale / Managing Editor Shauna Kavanagh ++++++++++++ In redazione / Masthead Team di studenti / Student Magazine Teams led by Andrea Mancini Student Layout Editors: Dylan Friars and Angela Lemp Magazine Editing and Publishing II Class: Yu-Chuan Cheng, Ting-An Lai, Erika Pistor, Margarita Poroshina, Isabella Seroussi, Gina Valentino Fotografi / Photographers Shaye Lynn DiPasquale, Brooke Finkelstein, Bailey Surowiec, Allison Utz, Andrés Villeta Copertina e pagine di apertura sezione / Cover and Section Openers Dylan Friars, Angela Lemp

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Illustratori / Illustrators Dylan Friars, Angela Lemp Redazione / Copy Editors Gregg Casazza, Shaye Lynn DiPasquale, Samara Halperin, Gina Valentino Pubblicità seconda e terza di copertina / Inside Front and Back Cover Advertisement Pages Angela Lemp Ringraziamenti / Special Thanks To Andrea Mancini, Margherita Picchi, Gaia Poli, Nicoletta Salomon, Livia Sturlese-Tosi ++++++++++++

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Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore Via Alfonso La Marmora 39 50121 Firenze Sede editoriale / Editorial Headquarters: Corso Tintori 21 50121 Firenze Tel. 055-0332745 Stampa / Printer: Artigraf-Toccafondi Via Palestro 11 50013 Campi Bisenzio (FI) Il numero è stato chiuso in redazione nel mese di maggio 2018 / This issue was completed in May 2018

Copyright © 2018 by Florence Campus, Firenze All rights reserved. ISSN 2284-063X


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HEALTH + WELLNESS AND NON-HOTEL LODGING TRENDS IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY The 4th Annual Apicius Conference took place March 17th 2018 at the FUA Building Palazzo Bombicci Guicciardini Strozzi in Florence, and focused on Health, Wellness and Non-Hotel Lodging Trends in the Hospitality Industry, which redesigned the hospitality proposal in line with international market demand. The objective of the conference was to analyze current and future trends as well as, above all, to explore how their influence will contribute to a holistic approach to the services offered by hospitality, and how these new developments are provided and perceived, both by the industry and by consumers. The constant growth and innovation of health and wellness services, in particular spas, shows just how this field is reaching the maximum attention by an increasingly segmented tourism, with very optimistic forecasts in terms of growth and increase of new professions linked to the renewed needs for the services offered. Today, the interest in personal well-being during trips, varying in length regarding both time and distance from home, has reached surprising levels. Wellness tourism is the intersection of a new lifestyle within the global industry of hospitality, nutrition and well-being in general, which is closely following its evolution. At the same time, wellness tourism continues to support the preservation of traditional cultures and natural resources, stimulates local entrepreneurship and shares common elements with other niche segments such as adventure tourism, food and wine tourism, and ecotourism. On the subject of non-hotel lodging, the goal of the conference was to analyze how the increase in demand for non-hotel accommodation shows the consumer's demand for new experiences, which leave the classic hotel room, arriving in new unconventional accommodation facilities.



Guests who presented on stage came from Italian institutions and international universities affiliated to FUA, such as the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, Johnson County Community College in Kansas, and professionals in both the B&B sector and the hotel industry, spas and Italian farms, as well as many producers and experts in nutrition and cuisine. The conference was presented by Umberto Gori, FUA Conference Coordinator and opened by Lapo Baroncelli, from Confindustria Toscana, the most important association of industrials in Tuscany Region. He remarked how important it is to study alternative elements of the tourism industry. The Keynote Speaker, Kevin Murphy from the University of Central Florida, opened the conference with a paper on The Future of Hospitality Guest Service, affirming how important the healthcare sectors of adult development are, regarding healthcare management, hospitals, and healthcare facilities. His speech was followed by a presentation on his and Manuel Rivera’s book, The Value of Study Abroad Externships in Hospitality Education: Experiential Learning. When we think about health and wellness, it is impossible to forget the importance of food. In particular, Aaron Prater of Johnson County Community College addressed this topic with An Exploration of the Rise of Local Food and Cuisine in the Modern United States, where he described the current state of American cuisine and “the essence of what America tastes like [...] and the answer isn’t hamburgers and coke.” Food was a fundamental topic at the conference: the Apicius Culinary Arts and the Bakery & Pastry students presented a tasting session with a varied menu, made with the raw products of six featured producers and friends: FRANTOIO PRUNETI, that produces extra virgin olive oil, pasta from PASTA ARTIGIANALE FABBRI, rice from RISO ACQUERELLO, balsamic vinegar from ACETAIA MALPIGHI, cheese from FATTORIA CORZANO E PATERNO, and meat from SAVIGNI. Producers were present with Apicius students during the tasting panel. Riso Acquerello brand was presented by the owner, Piero Rondolino, who attended as speaker, informing the audience of the natural characteristics of rice and its significance for the Italian experience as well as for health. Alessandra Andreani and Gloria Mottini, Luxury Accommodation Professionals, made a speech on New Tourism Moods and Virtuous Synergies in Hospitality Experiences, speaking about how important it is, especially for a Non-Lodging experience, “to take a break from mass tourism, and the necessity of contact with nature and new people, living healthy, feeling at home everywhere, and above all, having unique stories to tell when you head back home.” Andrea Adams, FUA faculty, from The Student Hotel, concluded the second panel, illustrating the New Trends in Alternative Accommodations and the Rise of Shared Experiences. During her speech, she highlighted the new desire of guests “to interact with each other, to participate in events, design an experience, or have a space for working or cooking their own meals, which in turn, might encourage them to increase their length of stay at the hotel.” This talk explored the innovative trends in co-living and non-traditional accommodation. The last panel, “Understanding Quality,” was a blind tasting experience of 12 different high quality Italian wines, conducted by the students of the Viticulture and Enology: An Educational Wine Tour II course. The jury, comprised of students and professors, was asked to analyze the quality of 12 different types of wine according to the standards set forth by A.I.S., the Italian Sommelier Association, in a blind tasting.





WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE ART OF DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY? By Lai Ting An Photography by Simone Ballerini

We, as photographers, have to spend time getting familiar with our equipment, engaging with our subjects, and finally, creating a photograph which will speak for itself.


ore than one trillion photos have been taken in the past year alone. While the vast majority are smartphone snapshots, many photographs are made for artistic purpose. Unlike the former, the latter value is not only for the person who took it. Digital photography is not only a freeze-frame of a

wonderful moment and a tool for communication, but also an art piece to be made. Ansel Adams once said, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” We, as photographers, have to spend time getting familiar with our equipment, engaging with our subjects, and finally, creating a photograph which will speak for itself. Digital photography can be viewed as a method of modern painting. The Greek word from which photography is derived means “drawing lights.” Photography is considered an art that interacts and engages viewers. Similar to music, photography may seem to be composed with complicated details, but it ends up with balance and simple melody. Regardless of whether it is abstract or whether it is clear and obvious, photography’s breadth is wide. There is a style for everyone.



Photography as a tool can inf luence and give the

Florentine photographer, Simone Ballerini is one of

viewer a glimpse into the photographer’s world. The

the photographers who best understands the craft.

meaning of the visual composition of an image can differ from photographer to photographer. Photographs from the same photographer can differ in feeling; however, consistency is key. Good photographers are able to control the frame and tell a story by focusing the subject and composition. Photography allows a connection between photographer’s creativity and viewer’s imagination. We as humans are visual creatives, unconsciously and consciously inf luenced by art.

Simone Ballerini, a professional photographer and instructor at Florence University of the Arts, says his career in photography began as a passion. Before he became a professional photographer, he took pictures exclusively for sharing on social media, like many of us. Soon after, he found great pleasure in taking photographs, mainly with digital cameras. As a selftaught photographer, he enjoys learning the process of the craft, and will often try new techniques. While

With fast-growing technology, cameras are now highly

there are many categories of photography, portraits

accessible for many, allowing anyone to engage

are his favourite. Most of his subjects are his family

with the creative art. The possibility to engage in

and friends. This type of photography, for him, is

photography is endless. Today, anyone can become

about expressing his feelings for his subjects through

a photographer either by using cameras built into

his camera lens. He says the way we arrange a subject

smartphones or with a professional camera and lighting

in a frame can make the image more interesting.

equipment. Digital photography can also be manipulated

Portraiture helps him express his

by converting images into digital information and

relationship with his subjects

photographers can edit the final result of the image.

through the composition

The transition from film photography to digital has

of the photograph and

perhaps, in a way, lost the sense of the craft, with the

through the subjects’

manual work of the filmmaking process eliminated

emotions. He takes

and transferred to the computer screen. Although the

these por-

medium of photography has changed and the quantity

traits simply

of images will dramatically increase in the future, a

because he

good photographer who understands the science and theory behind photography will still be irreplaceable.



enjoys doing so. To earn revenue, he takes lifestyle commercial images, which he also enjoys. As a photographer in Tuscany, Ballerini believes that viewers, tourists and locals alike, can appreciate his photographs, although they may notice different elements in the frame. Tourists may note the picturesque background the city provides, and those who live here might pay more attention to the image’s subject. His images provide context to the historical city of Florence that attracts visitors from all over the world. Ballerini says that good images can inspire people. Ballerini suggests not to wait for inspiration to take photographs, but make it happen. His advice to photographers is to really learn the craft and its many techniques and to not stay in their comfort one. “Shoot a lot! Pixels are free,” he says. Ballerini’s work can be found on






By Cheng Yu Chuan, Interview by Tiana Kay

While walking through the narrow alleys of Florence, you might notice some small blue posters placed silently on the wall. The little figures wear identical diving masks in eye-catching posters dotted around the city. They are the works of Blub, “L'arte sa nuotare”, he or she says, which means “ the art knows how to swim.”

About Blub Blub is a Florentine artist born and raised in Florence. No one can be sure about their identity or sexuality, and Blub also remains underground , preferring to remain anonymous - “I feel more at ease and my instincts tell me to keep my identity anonymous for now.” Blub's Work Upon my first impression of Blub's work, I think it is an artistic breakthrough, especially in Florence. In a city with a worldwide fame for Renaissance artwork, classic art is highly worshipped, and people tend to pay attention to the historical value of these classic works. While people admire the greatness of Michelangelo and Botticelli over and over, they can hardly avoid that sometimes the "classic" becomes "cliche." But arts should never be fixed to rules or doctrine. Blub's work challenges this, removing the frames from these masterpieces, taking them off from the wall, putting them under water, and bringing them to life.



To commission or Not to commission? Street Artist vs. Art System The greatest artists in the early ages such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and Botticelli were mostly commissioned to the Curia Romana or to the imperial family. Their works were usually required to show the power of God and the rightful faith of the monarchy. Therefore, with the purpose of showing off their wealth and power, these artworks needed to be created to amaze people, as these employers needed these artists to create works that would be appreciated by the public. Thinking again about street art, there is a big difference between street art and classical art: street artists create art with their own free-will. From here comes the question: why does a street artist choose to be one? There are many difficulties of being a street artist; first of all, you don’t usually get paid for making art. Your work might have fame but people may not even know your name. And perhaps the biggest disadvantage of being a street artist, is that your work is really likely to be destroyed or totally gone without leaving any pieces. So why to choose to work as a street artist? Is there any room for contemporary art to develop in Florence? Artwork with Rules vs. Freedom to Create If you pay a little more attention to the streets in Florence, maybe you will notice that an old Renaissance city like Florence is home to an unexpected amount of street art, even more so than other more modern cities. Is there any chance that there might be a competition between classic art and contemporary art happening in Florence? Or perhaps we could even say that while classic art takes dominance in museums and galleries, contemporary art has its own way to open up a new battlefield on the streets. “L’arte sa nuotare, meaning art knows how to swim, is about two ways one can live life, like eros and love or life and death. We can choose to be stuck with fear due to the crisis or we can choose to take it as an opportunity to overcome our limitations while being confidence in the future and in our potential. So, even though it seems like we are all underwater, it is time to learn how to swim!” Renaissance art in Florence is still strong and arguably overpowers modern-day art that is alive and contemporary. By using icons of the past with diving masks, Blub’s art acts as a bridge between the past and the contemporary art worlds. “There is no need to deny the past in order to look at the present, but [we should] at least acknowledge it,” Blub says. From Blub’s work you can see there are still talented artists who are trying to build up new creations from past work. By exhibiting their work directly on the streets of Florence, Blub not only affirms the value of classic art, but also brings up the importance of cherishing and facing the need to develop contemporary art.




WHAT MAKES ME HAPPIEST IS WHEN I SEE THANK YOU NOTES FROM SHOP OWNERS AFTER I STICK PRINTS UP IN FRONT OF THEIR SHOPS OR DOORWAYS. I ALSO LOVE WHEN I OVERHEAR PEOPLE SAY “BLUB MAKES PEOPLE SMILE”. SOMETIMES I SEE TAPE ON MY ART FROM PEOPLE TRYING TO PRESERVE IT OR FIX IT IF IT WAS TORN, IT IS NICE TO SEE STRANGERS TRYING TO ENSURE THE WORK REMAINS INTACT. What inspired Blub's work? “I like for people to have their own interpretation of what the scuba masks on these icons mean,” says Blub. After gaining a deeper understanding of Blub and their work, perhaps no matter what the purpose of a piece of art appears to be, there will always be a social function of every artwork that is shown to the public. Even though an artist does not give out an explanation of the work, people will still have different perspectives while looking at it. If this is the case, art is not some meaningless graffiti, rather it is always something that is practical for your daily life. It will never be something just vague and of general theory, but something that evokes emotion, acting as a medium and an object which will carry the message from the artist to the outside world, or even as something that inspires a whole new idea for someone else. Sometimes art can be a call to revolution, or an opportunity to change the world for the better. Think a little more next time when you walk past a piece of street art in Florence. Don’t think of them as graffiti that destroy the beauty of a historical city. There may be something much deeper behind it.



SNAPSHOT OF WELLNESS By Bailey Surowiec Photos by the author

For me, a big part of wellness and overall health in general relies heavily on being mentally healthy. When life gets a little crazy and time for myself is scarce, I try to remember that it is okay to take a minute to slow down and enjoy the little things life has to offer. With classes, homework, and errands piling up, I decided it was time for some me-time. Out I went with my camera in hand to capture my favorite landscapes, stroll down my favorite streets, and peoplewatch as the people of Florence, myself included, all spent the day enjoying this beautiful life.







Photo by Olivia Caine

or this Wellness issue we look at diverse perspectives of art therapy: a Florentine taxi driver’s efforts to assist children afflicted by cancer, FUA faculty member Nicoletta Salomon discusses creative processes and methods, and current art therapy students share personal reflections on learning about the subject.




practitioners, centers, and initiatives are available in

By Marisa Cioffi

various forms for patients. The city of Florence hosts


ometimes, after the harshest and most detrimental events occur, survivors are traumatized and even a little paralyzed— feeling unable to

move forward with their forever changed lives. Their mental state is at risk, as they are still in a state of shock. In these tough times, survivors seek to find some solace in the aftermath leading up to their emotional recovery. The healing process isn’t the easiest thing for survivors of tragedies such as sexual abuse, natural disasters, mass shootings, or terminal illnesses. For many there are daily panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, and more depressive episodes associated

a unique individual initiative: “Milano 25” is a Florentine cab operated by Caterina Bellandi who offers free travel to and from a pediatric hospital for young cancer patients. Bellandi, known in Florence as Zia Caterina (Auntie Caterina), has painted and decorated her taxi cab with stickers, posters, stuffed animals, and toys. She has been driving her taxi around Florence for 16 years, with the aim of bringing joy to the hearts of these children while they go through the recovery process. Bellandi dresses up in outrageous and flashy clothing, flaunting a green cloak topped with a straw hat and bright red lipstick. Bellandi knows her children are sick, but she knows they can and must be happy.

with such trauma. Some of these survivors turn towards medications, and take pills daily to keep their anxiety at bay, and like with any drug usage, there are adverse side effects, as well as the danger of addiction and drug dependency. In Italy, as in various parts of the world, art therapy

Photo by: Maggie Mollaghan

The Pleasures of the Visual Journal


By Nicoletta Salomon, FUA faculty sense of immediate wellbeing runs from our hands to our eyes and our mind when we enjoy art supplies for self-exploration and

self-expression, an art therapy goal that applies to anyone. The word “therapy” has much a wider meaning than perhaps is realized at first glance. Tracing back to the ancient Greeks, the etymology of “therapy” echoes the action of the “servant of the god”, who took care of the temple consecrated to each specific goddess or god of the Pantheon. They honored them by helping with the daily needs and practices required by all religious relationship: Photo by: Julianne Harvey



the verb "therapeuo" originally does not mean “to

Student Reflections

cure” the ones in need, but commit to “taking care,”

By Spring 2018 Art Therapy Students

every single day of one’s life.

“I thoroughly look forward to learning more about

Painting on paper or canvas, collaging, exploring 3D

myself and gaining confidence while acknowledging

material to create an installation or just for the pleasure

a new ability to let myself go and to relax while

of a sensory-motor activity, as well as pairing art and

creating art.”

writing, or music and writing, can be ways to foster a

- Kiona Edwards

dialogue with our feelings, memories, personal issues

“Through […] the Visual Journal I found myself

or conflicts. They are also ways to relax the mind and the body, to release stress, enhancing our health.

taking time to work on my personal growth and self-development, and found these exercises to be a good way to become more aware of how I was

A wonderful and very personal tool in art therapy,

feeling and work through those emotions.”

one that can establish a healthy routine and help taking care of us both individually and collectively, is

- Julia Baer

the Visual Journal. In the Art Therapy course, students

“Throughout this course I have been surprised

are encouraged to enter their private Visual Journals to dialogue with themselves about any subject

at how much I have grown as an individual both inside and outside of the classroom. I have

they might feel like exploring: a mood, a feeling, an

become more aware of my own needs and how I

idea, a recollection, an image that speaks to them, a

should be expressing my creative child in every-

dream, a poem, a free doodling that feels good to do and might bring to surface a series of emotions, an activity that brought them fun, pleasure, and insights. The lettering and outlining of the pen, the joyful colors of the markers, and the soft transparencies of the watercolors meet on the page to create unexpected landscapes that resonate with each student’s inner world. Empty sketchbooks transform into

thing I do, rather than hiding it.” - Maggie Mollaghan “I have become more confident in myself through doodling in whatever way I please. I have prioritized art and journaling, and it is rewarding me. I crave to write and draw the way I feel. I learn more about the desires of my heart each time I open and re-read my journals.”

colorful carousels, showcasing raw emotions as

- Olivia Cain

well as the words to understand them. A class that enters its Visual Journals many times a week is able

“I love that I am able to create without feeling the

to establish an invisible and silent dialogue among

need to be perfect. I created pictures out of my

peers, one that fosters the creation of a small community.

scribbles that I was proud of. It has been a long time since art has made me feel good.”

The art therapy goal is not to produce aesthetically pleasing works of art. Nonetheless, the Visual Journal class experience can offer moments of pure joy in watching our lively sketchbooks open windows onto our vibrant intimate worlds. In doing so, we almost sense that we can enter tomorrow with the confidence and surprise, acceptance and strength, imagination and creativity we developed while crafting our Visual Journals.

- Abby Jeppesen “It’s been a huge struggle, but I’ve been learning to step back and admire the whole work instead of focusing on just the little mistakes. I’ve been applying this to myself too. Painting and drawing has been helping any anxiety, sadness, or pain I’ve been feeling. It’s a good release, it’s super healthy and something I love doing. It’s reminding me of how much I used to love drawing and painting when I was younger, and I’ve forgotten that over the years.” - Klaudia Paone

Photo by Brooke Finkelstein









WALKER'S PARADISE A GUIDE TO WALKING AROUND THE CITY BY GREGG CASAZZA Confetti stars litter the ground making constellations out of cobblestones. Perhaps there was a parade the night before, or maybe a child gave way to his or her own whimsy, releasing the crepe paper into a gust of wind, watching as the multi-coloured flecks flew away. My fingertips smell of fresh clementine, bought at a local corner store from a man with a broom for a moustache. I peel the orange fruit with one hand and the chill from inside the fruit bursts into my palm, perfuming the air as I go for my morning stroll. Simply put, walking is the best way to get around and see Florence. Couples, young and old, walk around at night on dates, drinking in the moonlight and stopping for a few aperitivos along the way. Friends use side streets and the many winding roads of Florence as their meeting places to talk about everything from politics to everyday goings-on. The layout of Florence plays a major role in its walkability. Looking at a map of Florence you can see that most, if not all, of the sprawling city can be accessed in under 30 minutes by foot - from the center of the city you could get to Piazza della Libertà to the north, Arcetri to the south, Bellosguardo to the west, and past the Piazzale Michelangelo to the east. Walking is not only a means transportation and but also a social activity. The roads of Florence act as the city’s museums, town hall, auditorium, cafeteria, and so much more, and in order to truly experience Florence, you must walk a mile in its shoe, or its boot. Walking Tour for Beginners: 30 Minutes, Start at Ponte Vecchio Florence is not a difficult city to traverse by foot, with many of the roads dedicated to foot traffic. This itinerary is not intense, but still packs in as much of Florence’s beauty in a relatively short and easy stroll. Start on the Ponte Vecchio to take in the gorgeous glimmering jewelry, street performances, and the subtle wonders of Florence’s oldest bridge. If you continue on Via Calimala, you will reach the Piazza della Repubblica and its iconic merry-go-round and many elegant cafés. From there, head to the Duomo, in the heart of Florence. Take Via del Giglio until you reach Ponte alla Carraia. This is my favorite Florentine bridge, and the view of the Arno is unmatched. Now make your way over the bridge to get yourself a €1 gelato from Gelateria La Carraia - you have earned it. Walking Tour for Sightseers: 40 Minutes, Start at Palazzo Pitti There is an abundance of breathtaking views in Florence, so making a definitive sightseeing tour is nearly impossible. With that being said, this option offers some of my personal favorite spots. Start your tour during the golden hour, as it is the perfect time for taking photos. Believe me, you will thank me later. Begin at the ancient Medici palace of Palazzo Pitti and continue on to Via de’ Bardi to appreciate the river from the opposite side. Not only are there numerous quaint parks on this side, but it is also less touristy. From here, you will get better views of the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio. Enter the Giardino Bardini and walk to the Porta San Giorgio. Walk along the walls of Florence (Mura di Firenze) on Via di Belvedere and begin your ascent to the Piazzale Michelangelo. If you still have it in you, continue climbing to the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte. This hidden gem of a church boasts an unobstructed view of the city. If all goes well, you will be there right as the sun sets over the city of Florence.



Walking Tour for Experts: 120 Minutes, Start at Duomo You are going to want to put on your most comfortable sneakers and get some water bottles for this tour, as it is not for the faint of heart. This long walk will remind you why Italians have such good heart health and low rates of obesity. Start right at the Duomo this time. You have likely seen this landmark every day in Florence, but without a doubt the best way to see it is from the bell tower (you can climb it). After 463 stairs, you will reach the top of this monument and get to see the city and the Duomo like never before. From here, head north to Fiesole. You could just as easily take a bus to this nearby town, but the walk is definitely worth it. Pass by the Botanical garden, and continue on until you reach Via Giuseppe Mantellini. You will find yourself at a small park with benches and the most heart-stopping view of Florence. The park is very quiet and, on a sunny day, you can see the Duomo, Santa Croce, and so much more. It is the perfect place to relax and rest after this strenuous walk.





One thing you will feel instantly when you arrive in Florence

Walking through Florence, I notice the smells along the city streets.

will be the soles of your feet. They’re probably worn out because

Whether it’s the warm nutella-filled croissants that effervesce into

you’ve been walking around all day and your feet can feel it. While

the streets or the smell of freshly-cut grass in the Boboli Gardens.

walking in Florence is the main mode of transportation, here it is

You can notice people admiring the Duomo or the Tuscan hills that

not so much about the destination but the journey. As the practice

decorate the horizon. If you take the time, you can stop and listen

of mindfulness continues to fascinate society and the study of

to the beautiful musicality of the Italian language.

mind potential continues to be explored, as time goes by our daily activities are seen in a new light. In fact, mindfulness can be

I was walking through Piazza Signoria with a friend one day and she

directly coordinated with the art of Italian walking.

stopped to show me “Michelangelo's Graffiti.” There is a drawing of a man carved on the outside walls of the Palazzo Vecchio. I

If we let it, walking can become solely about the destination, we walk

had never noticed this drawing before because I had never paid

with a purpose. When you’re walking with a purpose you are less

attention to it. My friend told me that there are a couple theories

likely to pay attention to the little details along the way. A practice in

as to how the drawing got there. One story says that Michelangelo

mindfulness is about being in the present. The author Jon Kabat-Zinn

was leaning up against the whilst an execution was about to occur

said, “If you are always going back to the past or running towards

in the square. Legend has it that Michelangelo drew the face of the

the future you are shrinking the present. The present is a gift and

man meeting his fate. This stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly, a

it is not to be rushed through.” According to Kabat-Zinn, there are

square that was filled with Florentines snacking on schiacciate and

seven helpful attitudes that are key in mindfulness practice: non-

tourist groups taking pictures was transported to the renaissance

judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance,

era in my visual mind. I had achieved a beginner’s mind that was

and letting go. In the context of walking, a beginner’s mind is an

observing something once familiar but now renewed, and it was as

invaluable attitude. Usually, our minds alter reality because of

if I was seeing it for the first time.

the perspective we have cultivated as individuals, however ‘the beginner’s mind’ sees everything for the first time.

There is something in the mindfulness practice called ‘grounding’. Grounding is about being in touch with the earth through mind,

Non-judging and patience are also key attitudes in mindful walking.

body and soul. Grounding is about walking with a connection to

“To be patient is simply to be completely in each moment, accepting

the earth, it is a way of achieving peace and balance. Mindfulness

its fullness,” Kabat-Zinn wrote in his book Full Catastrophe in

is a state of awareness. Whilst immersing yourself in Florentine

2004. To be patient while walking is to be completely in the journey

walking culture, you can tap into the joy of the journey. In studying

accepting not only its fullness but all that can be learned along

abroad, you are gifted the rare experience of living in such a

the way. Walking through Florence with a present and mindful

beautiful city, but it is easy to forget the fleetingness of it all. It is a

attitude, I find that I am fully immersed in the passage. I notice the

microcosm of existence that one should be fully aware of, so as to

street art along the walls by artists such as Exit, Enter who I only

make the most of it. Between the hustle and bustle of the day, our

learned about from noticing his work all on my walks. I continually

capacity for joy can get lost amongst the chaos of life. If your ability

noticed little stick figure drawings on the Florentine streets that

to pause and take joy in the small things is a muscle, then walking

were always reaching out for a heart or smelling flowers.

is the mindful exercise of it.


By Advanced Italian Language I Students Photos by Andrés Villeta and Bailey Surowiec This month’s Italian language contributions feature FUA students who share their thoughts on both the benefits as well as the drawbacks of mass-tourism and globalization upon Florence and its merchants.

FIRENZE NELL'ERA DELLA GLOBALIZZAZIONE By Alessandra Montesanto Secondo i proprietari del negozio di pelletteria Adam's nel centro di Firenze, c'erano molte più piccole attività indipendenti anni fa rispetto a oggi. Le piccole imprese avevano più successo, perché c'era meno concorrenza. Al giorno d'oggi le aziende indipendenti devono lottare di più con la crescente presenza di società più grandi che hanno monopolizzato sempre più spazi nel corso del tempo. Mentre la maggioranza delle persone pensa che questo cambiamento sia negativo, una cosa positiva è che migliora l'economia nel suo complesso. Inoltre, il passaggio da imprese di dimensioni minori a più grandi è una delle principali cause dell'aumento della globalizzazione e del turismo di massa a Firenze nel corso degli anni. Il turismo di massa è decisamente aumentato molto rispetto al passato. Ciò è probabilmente dovuto all'aumento delle imprese più grandi e al lento declino del successo dei piccoli imprenditori indipendenti. La principale differenza tra passato e presente secondo i proprietari di piccole imprese come Adam's Leather qui a Firenze, è l'aumento del turismo di massa in combinazione con la globalizzazione e la monopolizzazione delle imprese. Mentre questo aumento e cambiamento nel tempo ha avuto un effetto complessivamente positivo sull'economia di Firenze, questo ha anche portato alla difficoltà per gli imprenditori più piccoli, indipendenti, di avere lo stesso livello di successo oggi di anni fa.




La globalizzazione ha trasformato Firenze in un luogo molto popolare per il turismo. Le statis-

tiche degli ultimi anni mostrano che il numero di turisti è aumentato da sette milioni a nove milioni in circa quattro anni. La cultura di Firenze è stata costretta ad adeguarsi al turismo che è stato portato dalla globalizzazione. I residenti di Firenze hanno notato le strade più affollate, e i negozi hanno sempre più clienti nelle aree turistiche comuni della città. Ho colto l’opportunità per parlare con la gente del posto a Firenze, per capire come pensano che la globalizzazione e il turismo abbiano cambiato la città rispetto a quando erano giovani. Ho camminato davanti a una piccola cartoleria vicino al Duomo, dove ho visto una donna anziana dietro il bancone. L’aspetto dell’esterno del negozio e del suo interno è apparso come se fosse stato lì da un bel pò di tempo, quindi ho pensato che lì ci sarebbe stata un’ottima persona a cui chiedere la sua opinione. Ho immaginato che avesse circa settant’anni, e lei mi ha detto di aver lavorato in quel negozio per quasi quarant’anni. Questa donna ha detto che l’aumento del turismo a Firenze è evidentemente un risultato della globalizzazione, e può essere subito visto dal maggiore affollamento nella città. Ma ha spiegato che il turismo di massa si può vedere anche andando a Londra o nelle Americhe, si trova in tutto il mondo. Lei quindi crede che la globalizzazione non abbia avuto un impatto su Firenze maggiore che nelle altre città. Complessivamente, crede che il turismo sia importante perché porta molti soldi all’economia. Soprattutto per lei, ha detto che il turismo di massa serve per mantenere aperto il suo negozio; ha bisogno dei clienti.

Sono sicura che ci siano commercianti a Firenze che sentono che il turismo sia un male per la

città, perché ha cambiato la città che conoscevano quando erano più giovani. Penso che in ogni caso, la globalizzazione e il turismo di massa siano sia buoni che cattivi, ma è vero che l’impatto della globalizzazione si è sentito in tutto il mondo, non solo Firenze.




Modern cities with bright lights mean that fewer of us have a view of the night sky. Because of this, many people

are not as aware of the cosmos now as they used to be. The monuments that ancient people left behind provide proof of their interest in, and knowledge of, astronomy.

Florence has its very own monuments relating to astronomy, and

Galilei resided for the last nine years of his life. These seminars

some are easily accessible in the historic city centre. Others are

are held both in Italian and English. The seminars aim to bring the

hidden treasures that you must spend a little more time looking

public, especially youth, closer to science and spark an interest in

for. These places are saturated with knowledge and culture, and

the revolutionary discoveries made by partnering research teams

being situated further away from the city centre means they get

in observatories all over the globe.

more attention from the local community, rather than tourists. In the summer months, the Arcetri Observatory hosts multiple One of these spots is the Arcetri Observatory, located on a hill

themed aperitivos where local researchers and staff create a

behind Piazzale Michelangelo. The Observatory is home to some of

performance to interest people in what is happening in the world of

the oldest astronomical instruments in Italy, domes with windows

astronomy. They also inform attendees from the local community

into the universe, researchers with visions of the future, and

about the Observatory’s latest discoveries and progress.

breathtaking views of Florence. Awareness of astronomy and space will benefit society and dayThe Amici telescope emerges as a highlight at the observatory.

to-day life. Astronomical knowledge contributes to the study of

The first documented observations with this telescope date back

the environment and how to prolong the survival of life on earth; in

to 1854, when the telescope was used for observing comets and

the long-run, this has a great effect on our wellbeing as mankind.

asteroids. Back then, the telescope was located on the terrace of the Specola, the previous location of the Observatory; Specola is now a museum of Natural science. The Amici telescope stands tall in one of the domes of Arcetri and can still be used to observe the sun and the moon. Studying space benefits our society by contributing significantly to technology, economy, everyday life, environment and, above all, our curiosity about the universe. Arcetri provides many opportunities to feed curiosity with outreach programs to local schools and colleges, in addition to being very welcoming to the public. They host talks and seminars year round, some at the villa where Galileo





Photos by Margarita Poroshina



By Erika Pistor

The “Giardino dei Semplici” of Florence, is the third most ancient

of plants which gave prestige to the Garden. In 1718, by Cosimo III dei Medici’s will, the Garden was under the Botanic Soci-

botanical garden. Its origins dates back to December 1st 1545,

ety of Florence’s care with Pier Antonio Michell as the

when Cosimo I dei Medici rented from the Monastery of

director and founder of the Society. As years passed,

San Domenico in Cafaggio, inhabited by Dominican nuns, the land where the garden had to rise. Around

the collection of plants enriched, becoming well

two years before, Cosimo found, advised by Luca

known around the world. Severio Manetti, the new

Ghini, the Botanic Garden of Pisa, the first aca-

director until 1782, published the first seed index

demic botanic garden. The “Giardino dei Semplici”

with the purpose of encouraging the exchange

was named because it was born as a medical plant

with other botanic gardens. During the years, there were many other directors that lead the Garden, one

garden known as “Semplici”, “Simple”. One of the

of the most notable being Giovanni Negri (1925-1949)

most ancient witness of the Botanic Garden, in 1684,

who opened the Garden to the public. Starting from the

was by Leopoldo del Migliore, who describes the distribution of the flower beds, the layout of the avenues, the big octago-

post-war period until now, the plant collection has been consider-

nal basin, all destroyed along with the majority of the furniture.

ably increased with scientific expeditions in Italy and abroad, with

Only the stone bust of Esculapio and the historical gate with the

particular attention towards the creation of areas and guides on the

symbol and the original epigraph of the Medici family. All works

collections. In 2004, Tuscany named the “Giardino dei Semplici”

were directed by Luca Ghini who also increased new collections

centre of the conservation of the Flora.





PERSONAL EXPERIENCE I had the pleasure to visit the Garden myself. It was a Sunday morning. I was blessed to have a sunny weather, very important to fully enjoy my experience in the Garden. The first thing that comes to mind while walking, is the difference between the nature and the city, simply separated by a gate. As soon as you enter the Garden, a strong energy can be felt. The first noticeable thing is how colourful the Garden is. From the green leafs to the yellow, pink, red flowers. Everything looks fresh, especially the green grass. It is

Many are the plants that can be found: cactuses, succulent plants,

amazing how everything looked so healthy even after weeks of

palm trees, water plants etc…The two plants that caught my

harsh wind and rain. Nature has for sure a strong power.

attention were the Mimosa plant, full of big yellow cotton-like flowers, very noticible and the orange tree with huge orange fruits.

The sun is a fundamental element of nature. The sun rays reflected on plants, trees and flowers, making them shine full of colours and

At the beginning someone would just want to visit the “Giardino


dei Semplici” as a tourist experience, but as soon as you walk around admiring all the colours and music that the plants emit, it

Flowers were everywhere, in their most gorgeous form.

almost seems impossible to leave, to go back into the urban world.

The first thing that surprised me were the vast flowery meadows left to naturally grow and expand. It was covered of Narcissus,

Nostalgia comes at the sound of the rustling leaves and the warm

that spread their strong, sweet smell. Benches were conveniently

heat of the sun. Everything seems to pause. Every element in the

placed around the Garden to be used to rest and ponder the things

Garden gives you a sense of relax and peace. This also can be

that occurred around. If you closed your eyes, the sound of the

achieved thanks to the lack of human presence, since it is not a

falling water could be heard from a fountain placed approximately

popular place to hang out with friends or family, like a bar.

in the middle of the Garden.

Photos by Erika Pistor







ravel Writing students were inspired by Sofia Coppola’s film Lost in Translation for exploring the relationship between people and space when in a foreign place. The three selections below seek to explore the concept of wellness in unknown territories. In these exercises of creative writing, the imagined characters grapple with

the themes of love, loneliness, and what it means to discover one’s self and others in a different country that could be here, there, anywhere.




first, the craziness of this place described my emo-

By Victoria Skrivanos

tional state in more ways than one. I think she felt the

I do not really know how to describe the past couple of days here. Did I have an affair? I did not really have one physically, and yet mentally and emotionally, it feels like I did. What I found is friendship and simplicity, happiness even. I have not felt this way in such a long time and it feels wrong, in a way. It feels like I need to bottle up this happiness and

same way. When I met her, time slowed down and the chaotic pace of this foreign place came to a standstill. Our worlds became one and the unfamiliarity of the city and its people became a much more settling feeling. We forgot about our lives at home and enjoyed each other in the present moment. We fell in love in a foreign place.

never speak of it again. Never make any reference


to it. Never think of it. Even thinking about it makes

By Paige Schick

me feel guilty. Did I have an affair? Maybe I did.

I stared out at the brightly-lit city and tried to imag-

The loneliness is setting in again; the isolation and the quiet. I want to feel what I felt with John once more, even though I do not think I will ever see him again, and I am not exactly sure what it was that I felt. John made me realize just how unhappy I am in my life. Did I have an affair? I think I did. There was no sweeping romance. There were no Cinderella moments. Maybe I was a damsel in distress, but maybe I wasn’t at the same time. We are not running off into the sunset together. I am not writing John a note telling him I am leaving him to follow my heart. There is no happily ever after. There is none of that. That is not what happened. I felt understood. I felt that words often were not even necessary to communicate. I felt that the silence with us was never empty. So, I am sitting in the taxi and I am really not sure what to think. I think I am going to leave all of these emotions here and let it just be a memory for now.

ine what it would be like to explore it from above, without being confined to the top floor of a hotel room behind thick glass. Maybe in another life I was a bird who could do such things and didn’t have to deal with the feeling of being trapped. My husband’s snoring breaks through my thoughts, and I look over at him sprawled on the bed. It didn’t used to be like this, did it? I turn back to the view of the city, trying to escape by getting lost in the movements and colors of the ant-like things below. I’m not satisfied. I met a man today in the hotel lounge, still dressed absurdly from whatever project he must have been working on. It made me laugh, so I bought him a drink. It was the first time I had felt the need to smile on this journey. My husband left on a job, but I still can’t sleep despite the absence of his snoring. I got a tape to help with “finding your soul,” but I’m determined mine has decided that it’s never coming out of hiding. David, that’s his name, slipped a note underneath my door.


He can’t sleep either. We have a sort of unspoken

By Brooke Finkelstein

similarity and closeness. It’s nice to have someone to

I fell in love in a foreign place. I never knew being so far away in such an unfamiliar place would lead me to finding someone to hold and experience the feeling of home. I had no idea what these people were saying

be lost with. I know we will have to part eventually, but at least for now I can feel somewhat less lost in a foreign city. We say goodbye in normal fashion, but I don’t think either of us really want to him to go. But

or why they were acting the way that they were.

he does. I decide to settle on seeing the city from

They talk so fast and they think that I can understand

the ground view. But as I’m walking, he finds me and

them when they speak to me. It felt lonely and even

stops me to say goodbye again. I want him to say

upsetting at times. I was just going about my day-to-

something. He whispers in my ear that he loves me. I

day life without a clue in the world who to talk to. It

smile, knowing that we’ll always have each other here,

wasn't until I met her that things here made sense. At

in this place.





A tropical escape, an island getaway, or a heatwave in the city; we are dreaming of warm, sunny weather. As the season turns, so will your wardrobe, and refreshing it with some springtime vintage pieces is a great way to renew your look for the warmer weather ahead of us. This month’s look is inspired by a temperate turn in the season, as we think of vacation just beyond the horizon: a pair of tailor-made shorts by the Congolese designer Gisfab, paired with vintage wooden wedges, a simple white shirt, a handmade straw hat by FUA student Gretchen Shephard, and a leather tote bag by FUA student Rutendo Karikoga. Piecing together an easy, wrinkle-resistant wardrobe with lightweight linen dresses will keep you cool, neat, and well put-together. Pair this outfit with bright sunglasses or stone-encrusted sandals for a stylish and on-trend twist to your spring/summer look. Adding a multicolored tote bag brings a unique quality to the look, and is the perfect size to hold a copy of Vogue, a bathing suit, and a pair of train tickets to your first summer weekend destination.








Shopping can be a form of self-care for many,

industry has appropriated psychology’s lessons

and pampering yourself can be a really healthy

and learned that a positive experience at an event

way to de-stress or to reward yourself for

leads to a positive memory. This then creates an

something. However, there is a transformative

association of the positive event to a positive

shift occurring within consumer culture in

feeling toward the designer overall. Customers

which buyers, especially millennials, choose


to invest their money in experiences rather than






afternoon they bought a designer’s sweater at a

material items that lack meaning. Rejection of self-

retail store, but they would recall a beautiful ballet

indulgence unites with a keenness for exploring the

performance for years to come. Alessandro Michele’s

unknown. Essentially, collecting enduring memories trumps the

Gucci Garden is a prime example of a creative experience that

lifespan of Manolo Blahnik heels. What does this transformation

attracts not only Gucci shoppers but also a wider audience of those

mean for the fashion industry? How does an industry that preys

interested in museums and gourmet cuisine. Visitors can peruse

upon society’s latest obsessive “things” and the newest material

the kaleidoscopic museum highlighting Guccio Gucci’s beginning

trends adapt? Designers must conform, collaborate and rethink

in 1921 to present day, eat at Gucci Osteria, led by three-Michelin-

the customer experience in order to survive. Over the past several

starred Chef Massimo Bottura, and visit the retail shop filled

years, the fashion industry has discovered a solution: tap into its

with vintage patterns as well as Gucci Garden-specific pieces.

consumers’ associative memory. While this concept is one of the

Subconsciously, customers associate a beautiful day of museums

first lessons taught in a psychology class, it is a method now also

and food in Florence with the Gucci brand. Additionally, even if

being used effectively in progressing consumer experiences. Think

Gucci’s clothing is unaffordable to many, most can afford the 10

of Alessandro Michele’s Gucci Garden in Florence, Italy; Rodarte’s

euro entrance fee to experience the brand come to life. Doubtless

“Woodshock” film; and “Mantle,” the upcoming Theo Stanley film

this trend will continue as the fashion industry recognizes the

featuring looks by The Row, Prabal Gurung, Rick Owens, Loewe

desires of its customers and the benefits to itself. Creating

and Craig Green. All of these were created in order to further push

associative memories allows designers to meet consumers’

the designer brands to something tangible, something more than

expectations and broaden their brand recognition. At the end of

clothing. Associative memory is why the smell of chocolate chip

the day, things don’t really make you happy. It is the memories and

cookies may make you think of your grandmother’s house or how

events surrounding these things that truly bring joy to people, and

hearing a particular song can transport you to a careless summer;

that is exactly what these new designers are tapping into in places

our brain stores an association of unrelated items. The fashion

like the Gucci Garden.






By Isabella Seroussi


lorence has seen a number of transformations through the centuries. Within the last few years, it has seen one more evident transformation now that technology and art have become fatefully intertwined. Wherever art lives, it beckons to breed more. Many know Florence as the cradle of the Renaissance, however over the last few years it

has given birth to something more than just antiquitous art and artisan shops. The new generation of youth is responsible for bringing world music from a number of platforms into the hands of the community. With the help of information technology, the creation of music collectives is transforming Florence's music scene into something it didn't think it could be before. One just has to look a bit harder to find it under all the marble and bronze doors. There has been a substantial amount of changes this city has seen in regards to music. Collectives and movements have brought global access to music into this place. These collectives and movements have continued to grow as Italy has become more globalized, maximising its potential to withhold an international crowd that is ever growing. Florence's strong community of expats encourages an international array of things to choose from, and thanks to collectives such as Musicus Constenstus, Autentica and Nobody's Perfect, and Tropical Animals, we can see that there is more to Florence than just its history. It is also a place that wants to look ahead while still maintaining its roots. It is true that there hasn't been much on the local music front since the mid 90's, but that doesn't mean that there still isn't anything going on. "We speak always of the 80's, because it was in this moment that music was very important in Florence," says Antonio Aiazzi of Litfiba, an Italian rock-band formed in Florence in the early 1980’s. And while this may be true, it's also possible that the real gold is in the independent movements being born behind closed doors. It is these movements that are trying to grow away from the identity so strongly held onto by the generations before. However, "when we see, culturally, a change of something specifically with young people, you can really see something happening." This is true as a response to the ever growing expat community in Florence. Nowadays we see a different Florence, one that is now known for its multi-ethnic community, a product of the globalized world. Many producers and DJs leave Florence only to return and bring with them what they've acquired abroad regarding sounds, tastes, rhythms. We see it happening everywhere in the world, and it's no different in this place. To any tourist it may seem as though things have and will always remain the same, but it is not true if one just looks a bit harder to find what they've been missing.


Interview with

Gimmy Tranquillo of Controradio By Gina Valentino Photos by author


adio, as a form of communication, helps to create and engage people from all over the world. Through the news, commentary, traffic reports, and music, radio takes us somewhere. Tuning in connects us to others, to certain places, and even

to ourselves. The medium of radio is a way to communicate with listeners anywhere they are, regardless of location or time zone; the connection is just a dial away. Controradio is one of the main radio stations serving Tuscany. A newer staple of Florentine culture in the historical city, the radio station dates back to just the 1970s. A year after the Italian government freed the FM frequencies and private radio was born, Controradio was officially registered as a journalistic entity on March 31, 1976. The station wavered for a time until in 1981, seven individuals banded together to found a SRL (similar to an LLC) to keep Controradio alive. Gimmy Tranquillo was one of those founders. Currently the social media manager at Controradio, Tranquillo wears many hats at the station. The Torino-born journalist and former architect explains that Controradio is the only local radio with its unique variety. It broadcasts all that is happening in Florence, from political news, to social events, to entertainment and music. As a result of its breadth and in-depth coverage, Controradio has a very loyal audience. “Our listeners cannot listen to any other radio because we are different. We talk with normal voices, we don’t talk like DJs, and we tell the story of the city,” says Tranquillo. Through social media contests and outreach, the Tuscan-focused station connects its listeners and followers from all over the globe. Listeners include those from Italy to Brazil to the United States. Controradio connects Florentines who are far away back home to Tuscany and keeps them informed about what is happening in the Florentine community. Listening to the station, which is broadcast solely in Italian, can also help non-native speakers work on their Italian language skills. Tranquillo says if the listeners like music, regardless of their native language, they can tune in. Controradio was popular for playing new wave and punk rock music in the 1980s and is now known for its indie playlists. Every night the station plays different genres, including Italian jazz, blues, and hard rock. “The music that we broadcast, nobody does. We don’t have contracts with labels. We are totally free,” explains Tranquillo. Additionally, he says, “We are probably the best source for local political news in Florence and Tuscany. We don’t get packaged news. We make our own.”




About a decade ago, the station created a club for

“Radio has the power to talk to people,” says Tran-

its most loyal followers. Members pay an annual fee

quillo and Controradio uses that power to connect

and they are provided with discounts at concerts and

people, no matter how far away they are from the

exhibitions at venues such as Palazzo Strozzi. Annu-


ally, a small group of members also travel the United States with the radio. For its wider audience, the station produces series of shows and concerts in Tuscany. One of the main sources of revenue for the radio, these events bring together the entire European community, explains Tranquillo. Sometimes held in Cascine Park or in Piazza Santa Croce, the events held are both intended to be unifying and entertaining. Tranquillo says the station is involved in promoting a hospitable environment for all within Florence’s international community and that Controradio promotes inclusivity.





FLORENCE'S By Andrés Villeta

Florence is a city which comes with its own soundtrack at times, and this is all because of the impressive and talented street performers. In this series photographer, Andrés Villeta, features two accomplished performers: Chris Grosselfinger and his cello, and Roxana Visinescu and her violin. Both performers travelled from other countries to perform in Florence, and have been classically trained in music. Grosselfinger has a degree in music composition, and Visinescu is pursuing her master’s degree in music as well.

Chris Grosselfinger, a traveling musician, holds his cello over one shoulder, an impressive feat for such a cumbersome instrument.

Roxana Visinescu playing the violin, her fingers rest on the strings of the expressive instrument.


Roxana Visinescu pictured with her violin. Originally from Romania, she is completing her master’s degree in music in Florence.

A close up of Visinescu, she looks down as she plays.


Chris Grosselfinger, a musician who has lived in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Sienna, Pisa and Lucca, all while playing his cello.

Looking to the side, Grosselfinger rests an arm on his cello while elegantly dressed in a suit and tie.




STUDY SPACES IN FLORENCE Travel Writing Students, coordinated by Professor Nicoletta Salomon


Photo by Shaye Lynn DiPasquale

his time of year brings warmer weather and with it, exam season. This edition’s travel section keeps things local, as FUA Travel Writing students journey to different libraries throughout Florence to discover the array of study spaces that the city has to offer.



paying homage to the man who started it all.

By Shaye Lynn DiPasquale and Brooke Finkelstein

When you enter the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale,


Photos by Shaye Lynn DiPasquale

you are immediately struck by the juxtaposition of a

he commanding dual-towered façade of the

classical interior with contemporary elements. As you

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale stands tall alongside

stand in the stone gray atrium admiring the detailing

the Arno River, just steps away from Piazza Santa

of the wooden reception desk, you’ll begin to notice

Croce. Its front steps are usually covered with a mixture

the sound of silence in the museum. The woman

of locals and tourists, all in search of a quiet resting spot.

behind the desk will smile and wave you over, politely

Home to over 6.5 million books and counting, the grand

asking how she can help you. When you ask for a

structure serves as the sole repository for every printed

recommendation of where to study for your exams,

work, book, periodical, parish record and phone directory

she will point you towards the reading room.

published in Italy.

The soft gray hues of the stone columns and grand


The library was founded in 1714 when scholar and

archways immediately put you at ease as you enter

librarian Antonio Magliabechi donated his entire

the reading room. The tall windows lining the walls

collection of books to the city of Florence. Originally

allow natural light to f lood into the space, even on

named the Magliabechiana in his honor, the collec-

the cloudiest of days. As you take a seat in one of the

tion of 30,000 volumes later became the first public

rounded seats at the long wooden tables and spread

library in Florence. In 1861, the library’s holdings were

out your study materials, the sound of silence will

combined with those of the Biblioteca Palatina, the

once again strike you. The longer you sit, the more

library of the “palace.” With this merger, the library

you will be able to tune into the quiet chatter of

was renamed the National Library, and by 1885, it was

the many different languages filling the air. You can

known as the National Central Library of Florence. A

look around at the faces of the young and the old, the

marble bust of Magliabechi can still be found inside,

students and the masters, all gathered together in an

tucked away by the library’s staircases, forever

enriching space meant for lifelong learning.



The beauty of the library isn’t just in its aesthetics,


but in its relaxing atmosphere. Biblioteca Nazionale

By Grayson Baird and Lydia Volpe

Centrale provides inhabitants of Florence with a

Next time you feel as though your classes are weighing


you down, stop by the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale

building was originally owned by the Marucelli, and

in Piazza dei Cavalleggeri, open Monday through

built in 1634 by Gherardo Silvani. The Geography

Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. As the esteemed

branch library houses the collections coming from

writer Jorge Luis Borges once said, “I have always

the former Geography Cabinet, set up in 1833 and

imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

from the Society for Geography and Colonial Studies

trusted community space. W hile sitting among people from all walks of life, you will feel humbled by just how globalized the city truly is.

Photos by Lydia Volpe

eografia is located on the ground floor of the historic Palazzo Fenzi on Via San Gallo 10. The library is open on Mon-Thurs from 9-5pm,

[1] “Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Di Firenze.” BNCF - La Biblioteca - Informazioni Generali - Notizie Storiche, [2] “The National Central Library of Florence.” Florence Inferno, 8 Mar. 2015,

Fri 9-1pm and closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The

founded by Giovanni Marinelli. The precious collection of texts and maps, named the Fondo Marinelli, was originally set up by Giovanni and his son Olinto. The collection initially belonged to the National Library in Florence, but was later given a permanent deposit to the geography branch library (Universita Degli Studi Firenze).

Biblioteca di Geografia

Palazzo Fenzi is famous for its beautiful frescos covering the walls of the room painted by Sebastiano Ricci. Ricci was born in Belluno in 1659. He was an italian painter of the late Baroque school of Venice. He represents a late version of the vigerious and luminous Cortonesque style of grand manner fresco painting. Ricci led a peripatetic life, working in numerous Italian cities and also in England, France and Germany. During his stay in Florence, he completed the large fresco series on allegorical and mythological themes in Palazzo Fenzi that students gaze at as they study on a daily basis (Art UK). The library itself is small, with a high ceiling and large windows that make the room feel surprisingly spacious. It is quiet, only the turning of pages, patting Biblioteca di Geografia


of keyboards and the occasional whisper fill the room. Colorful artwork covers every wall depicting what looks like greek gods, angels and ancient architecture. The Frescos allow you to see something new in the artwork every time you look around the room. College students, both Italian and American, are scattered around the long wooden tables. It has a comfortable ambiance, although it seems to be a hidden local spot it does not feel as if we are intruding or distracting. This would not be the place to hold a group study session, everyone seemed to be independently working and appreciating the silence around them. Even in the middle of the afternoon there were many open spaces to spread out your

BRITISH INSTITUTE By Samara Halperin and Tomie Martel


Photos by the authors

s we meet outside the British Institute of Florence Library, the beauty of the location immediately overwhelms us. There is an

impressive view of the Arno River, along with the breathtaking Ponte Vecchio just a few blocks away. We enter the building itself, and it is extremely quiet. Even our footsteps seem to be thunderous in comparison the stillness. The man in the security room speaks to us in Italian when we first enter, but after staring at him with a puzzled look on our faces

books and notes, you are able to create your own

he points us in the direction towards the library.

space within the small dimensions of the room.

It is a beautiful Wednesday afternoon, and once we

Wooden chairs and tables creek as people gently move around. Although you can occasionally hear the sound of the busy traffic right outside the building, the flow in and out of the library is minimal. People tend to come and stay for hours rather than

make our way to the library, we are f loored by the

coming in just for a few moments.

most gorgeous views from the massive windows. It is a sunny day, the first in a while, and the sunlight drifting through the library illuminates the spines of the books. The library is filled with all sorts of colors and fabrics, making it an instantly inviting environment.

No matter where you are from, what school you attend, or what subject you are studying, everyone has a mutual respect for each other’s ability to work in a peaceful environment. As study abroad students sometimes it is easy to feel as if you do not belong in certain places because you are not necessarily a “local,” but the Geografia library is a space that welcomes all and encourages quiet and productive studying.

After an hour of sitting mostly in silence, two British men begin to converse near the front desk. They seem to be professors, and they go into an in depth conversation about the different kinds of tourists in Florence. The two men look almost identical, both bald, both have kind eyes, and both wearing similar clothing and glasses. Their formal conversation is interesting to us. They smile after the ends of most of British Institute


BIBLIOTECA DI SCIENZE DELLA FORMAZIONE By Paige Schick, Victoria Skrivanos, and Olivia van Ravestyn


Photo by Shaye Lynn DiPasquale

here is something about local libraries. A place of refuge and reinvention worldwide, the library offers a sense of quiet solitude

among many. For some, it’s a place to read; others, a sacred place of learning, or maybe even a place of escape. That is my favorite thing about libraries its functionality is so versatile, and the Scienze della Formazione library located at Via Laura, 48 - 50121 Firenze was no different. A partner with the school of education at the Universita degli studi Firenze, the library is home to around 60,000 books, 500 Italian and other foreign journals, and the Fondo Giulio Preti collection open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m. Many students sat at the tables highlighting notes and memorizing textbook paragraphs, while some took to the reading

Biblioteca di Scienze della Formazione

their sentences. After a while they move to a different room, where their soothing British accents could almost lull a baby to sleep. There are hardly any students in the small library, mostly elderly people who seem to be comfortably

room, seemingly getting lost in the words in which they were ever so carefully reading. Lockers lined the hallway to the main study room. I was hesitant at first, so I watched the other students come and go for a minute. They were placing their bags inside a locker, and only taking what they

working, or the younger librarian with bangs sorting

needed to study. This seemed to be a common practice

CD’s at the front desk. After a while, there seems to

that I had never done before. After choosing my locker,

be some laughter coming from separate corridors

I placed my bag inside and fumbled with the lock.

of the hallway that we used to enter the library. It

While my fingers fiddled with the code, I worried that

echoes through the hall, but the sound does not fully enter the room. It is a somewhat louder sound than

the other students would notice my struggle and see that I wasn’t a local. I took a breath and headed down

what we’ve heard since we’ve been there, but no one

the hallway.

seems shocked by it. Our footsteps in the library are

As I moved into the library to join fellow students

more of an attraction than the laughter.

from across the globe, a sense of familiarity washed

What mesmerizes us to the point of being speechless is the view. We cannot get enough of it. We occasionally take a study break to look out into the Arno River, with the sun sparkling off of it. There is a balcony attached to the library that seems like the perfect study location. We ask the librarian if we can sit there and enjoy the fresh air, but she explains that we are not allowed to, without a thorough explanation. There are hoards of people out today, crowding the bridges with selfie sticks and iPhones up against the blue sky. Time seems to move at a comfortable pace in the British Institute of Florence Library. It is wonderfully inviting, it is beautiful, and it is a place where anyone can feel at peace. It is almost easy to forget we are here to study, as it is such a pleasure to even be in this spectacular library.

over me almost as if I had been there before even though I hadn’t. I picked a seat at the end of a table next to a window, spreading out my midterm study guides and notes along with my journal ready to get to work. I could feel the tranquility of being alone with my thoughts, the respect for others doing their work, and the intense focus in the room that motivated me as a student. “È occupato questo posto?” I looked up to see a girl, probably around my age looking at me with inquisitive eyes. I thought hard about the question she had just asked, testing my Italian memory. “No, è tuo,” I replied quietly in my best Italian accent. She smiled and said “Grazie,” taking a seat next to me. She too took out her midterm study guides and journal ready to get work.




Alumni Interview with

Alex Diana

By the FUA Alumni Association Photos courtesy of Alex Diana

In your experience, how important is the cosmetics industry in influencing our ideas of wellness? AD: The cosmetics industry has always been a major proponent of shaping how consumers approach wellness by driving major trends in skincare, hair care, and makeup. What does wellness mean to you? AD: Working amidst the hectic buzz of NYC, it is super important to try to find time to recharge and recenter to keep stress at bay. This isn’t always easy. Being a native New Yorker, I seem to think, speak, and do everything super quickly, and it can be hard to switch off from that “go-go-go,” mindset. My experience living in Florence actually taught me that an important aspect of self care is the fine art of slowing down and living more mindfully. How do you incorporate wellness into your own life? Do you practice self-care? If so, what do you do? AD: At M.A.C, I am in a role that focuses on designing and producing visual assets that enhance the way our stores are merchandised in North America. Our company rolls out multiple product launches a year, and, as a result, my colleagues and I often face tight deadlines and a very fast paced work environment. Sometimes during the work week, I find it super important to step away from my to-do list to clear my head. I try to make a point to do something as simple as stepping away from my desk for a moment and taking a walk around the Soho neighborhood where I work to appreciate the surroundings.


Ironically, even though I work in cosmetics, I would say I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to incorporating cosmetics into my wellness routine, although it definitely is nice to indulge in some new product or a treatment every now and then! Do you think makeup and cosmetics contribute to people's feelings of wellness? AD: I definitely think that it can. M.A.C as a company was built upon the credo of makeup that is inclusive towards “all ages, all races, all genders,” and I love that I work for a brand that is not necessarily fixated on promoting a narrow-minded view of what beauty should mean. It is inspiring to see the cool, editorial looks that our senior artists put on social media because they serve as a reminder that makeup can both make you feel like the best version of yourself, as well as be an extension of your creative individuality! Where do you see the future of the cosmetics industry going, and how is wellness a part of that future? AD: E-commerce technology has had such a profound impact upon the beauty industry in recent years, along with the rise of social media influencers really driving the trends of what is “in.” I don’t see that changing in years to come. Now, it is easier than ever to both get ideas and makeup looks online, with an endless variety of brands and products to choose from. It is really interesting to see how M.A.C, a company that has had a long standing reputation within the industry, is reacting to this change in the way that it approaches E-commerce, social media, and even the way our stores have been laid out to meet the changing demands of consumer preferences.


encourages students to keep a



Simone Ballerini Simone​ ​Ballerini​ ​is​ ​a​ ​commercial​ ​lifestyle​ ​photographer​ ​based​ ​in​ ​Florence,​ ​Italy.​ ​He​ ​is​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​the​ ​work​ ​of​ ​great​ ​contemporary​ ​portrait masters​ ​as​ ​Dan​ ​Winters,​ ​Platon,​ and ​Marco​ ​Grob.​ ​By​ ​looking​ ​at​ ​their​ ​amazing​ ​work​ ​with​ ​big​ ​names​ ​from​ ​politics​ ​and​ ​the​ ​art​ ​world​, he​ ​soon​ ​ discovered​ ​that​ ​the​ ​people​ ​he​ ​loved​ ​to​ ​photograph​ ​were​ ​extremely​ ​far​ ​away​ ​from celebrity​ ​and​ ​glamour.​ ​He​ ​loves​ ​to​ ​shoot​ ​close​ ​friends,​ ​ family, as well as​ ​interesting​ ​people​ ​he​ ​just​ ​met. Ballerini​ ​says,​ ​“the​ ​photograph​ ​is​ ​a​ ​way​ ​to​ ​capture ​something​ ​changing,​ ​a​ ​new encounter,​ ​ an​ ​old​ ​friend,​ ​faces​ ​that​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​to​ ​forget.”


BLENDING Magazine Spring/Summer 2018  

BLENDING Magazine Spring/Summer 2018