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History Society Fashion Color Food

FUA CONFERENCE De Re Mediterranea

TRAVEL Is the Mediterranean Blue?

FLUENTIA Florence's Heritage

ENRICO COVERI A Tuscan Fashion Story

THE ABCs Mediterranean Food

SOCIAL MOSAICS Mediterranean Voices

F U A A N N U A L C O N F E R E N C E | H E R I T A G E / E N V I R O N M E N T | C O M M U N I T Y | T R AV E L | F O O D | FA S H I O N | A R T S | L I T E R A T U R E

Florence University of the Arts Where studies transform CULINARY ARTS



into real-world GANZO* is a school but with non-traditional classrooms where the Apicius students and faculty develop seasonal menus and share them with the general public.

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

Via dei Macci, 85red tel +39 055 241076

Via dell'Oriuolo, 43 tel +39 055 0332745

FLY* Fashion Loves You supports the FAST fashion academics and collaborates with emerging Italian designers. Borgo Pinti, 21red tel +39 055 0333174 


* Ganzo, FLY and Ingorda are respectively the CEMI of the Apicius, FAST, J School academic divisions at FUA. CEMI stands for Community Engagement Member Institution, and represents integration projects that are a part of FUA’s academic campuses and open to the greater community. It is where students and faculty can put into practice and experiment with their academic coursework.

To the present writer a careful study of the facts now available seems to leave no doubt that civilization was born at the southeast corner of the Mediterranean. JAMES HENRY BREASTED The intercourse between the Mediterranean and the North or between the Atlantic and Central Europe was never purely economic or political; it also meant the exchange of knowledge and ideas and the influence of social institutions and artistic and literary forms. CHRISTOPHER DAWSON In Morocco, it's possible to see the Atlantic and the Mediterranean at the same time. TAHAR BEN JELLOUN The Mediterranean is always just white, white, white. CY TWOMBLY The Mediterranean is in my DNA. I'm fine inland for about a week, but then I yearn for a limitless view of the sea, for the colours and smells of the Italian and French Riviera. ALAIN DUCASSE I had better cellular coverage on a ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea than I have in many parts of Silicon Valley. ROGER MCNAMEE To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean. ELIZABETH DAVID, An Omelette and a Glass of Wine I don’t open my eyes until the sounds of beating rain disappear and I can feel the warmth of the Mediterranean sun on my face. BETH REVIS, The Body Electric Logic is a mere iceberg in the Mediterranean of wisdom. RAHEEL FAROOQ One cannot analyse the character of European gardens without looking beyond the Mediterranean. This is because horticulture, palace life and city-building developed in the Fertile Crescent before spreading, via Crete, Greece, Egypt and Italy to the forests of Europe. TOM TURNER

Blending Magazine is a semesterly publication produced by the students and faculty members of Florence University of the Arts, the academic member of Palazzi Florence Association for International Education.

Foto di copertina / Cover Photo By © Oliviero Toscani

Semestrale / Semesterly Magazine Reg. Trib. di Firenze n° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011 Anno 6 – Numero 1 – Autunno-Inverno 2016 Year 6 – Issue 1 – Fall-Winter 2016

Pubblicità seconda e terza di copertina / Inside Front and Back Cover Advertisement Pages Concept and Design by Paola Carretero Photographs by Thakorn Jantrachot

Direttore Responsabile / Editor-in-chief Matteo Brogi

Ringraziamenti / Special Thanks To Simone Ballerini, Isabella Martini, Nicoletta Salomon

Caporedattore / Editorial Director Grace Joh


++++++++++++ In redazione / Masthead Redazione / Copy Editors Lauren Fromin Progetto grafico e impaginazione Graphic design and layout Federico Cagnucci Team di studenti / Student Magazine Team led by Federico Cagnucci: Daniela Anselmo, Lauren Berry, Cailin Boegel, Garrett Day, Christina M. Garcia, Chau Thai Thi Minh

Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore Via Alfonso La Marmora, 39 - 50121 Firenze Sede editoriale / Editorial Headquarters Via dell'Oriuolo, 43 - 50122 Firenze Tel. 055-0332745 Stampa / Printer Grafiche Gelli s.r.l., via G. Leopardi, 11 - Calenzano (FI) Il numero è stato chiuso in redazione nel mese di gennaio 2016 This issue was completed in January 2016 Copyright © 2016 by Florence Campus, Firenze All rights reserved. ISSN 2284-063X

Fotografi / Photographers Daniela Anselmo, Josh Berendes, Aydin Berna, Lauren Berry, Brel/Genovese, Federico Cagnucci, Calogero Cipolla, Christina M. Garcia, Samantha Hensel, Margherita Innocenti, Bill King, Michaela Kotob, François Lamy, Ramzi Malouf, Isabella Martini, Emily McColl, Rebecca Menezes, Malu Palma, Meagan Mary Pariseau, Alessia Pesaresi, Spencer Sisselman, Oliviero Toscani, David Andre Weiss, Frank Yarbrough, Alice Ye-Ji Kim


Coordinamento editoriale / Managing Editor Federico Cagnucci

Foto retro copertina / Back Cover Photo By Berna Aydın

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fall-winter 2015-16 Letter from the Editor 5

TRAVEL Is the Mediterranean Blue? 22

fua annual conference

Palazzo dei Normanni: Palermo's Prism 26

De Re Mediterranea: Conference Recap 6

For the Travel Dreamer: Greece 27

Student Art exhibition 9

Mediterranean Photo Diary 28 Italian Landscapes 30

HERITAGE/ENVIRONMENT From Fluentia to Florence: Tracing Florence's Mediterranean Heritage 12 Ancient Rome in Florence 14 Gothic Florence 14 Medieval Florence 15 Dark Times in Medieval Florence 16 The Positive Impact of the Great 14th Century Crises 16 Etruscans: The Forgotten Civilization of the Mediterranean 17 Mediterranean Water: The Mother of Culture 18

FOOD #middleeast on the Table 31 What Do You Know about Olio? 32 ABCs of Mediterranean Food 33 The Roots of Pizza 34 A Mediterranean in New York 35

FASHION Enrico Coveri: The Sea and What She Wears 36 Mediterranean Moods 42 Emilio Pucci: A Mediterranean Recipe 46



Social Mosaics 19 Ayan in Via Palazzuolo 19 Mediterranean Dreams: Truth and Fiction 20 Thousands of Stories 21

Fragments of Me 52

literature The Divine Afterlife of the Mediterranean 54 Sticky September 56

o c f o e l b a t

s t n nte


Letter from the Editor


he Mediterranean is the cradle of life where the Western and Eastern worlds meet. Thanks to the recent conference "De Re Mediterranea"

hosted by FUA and Stony Brook University (SUNY), our academic community had the chance to explore the depths of a geographical area that has forever been a point of convergence and conict. The Fall / Winter 2015-16 issue of Blending Magazine is an ode to Mediterranean concepts, happenings, and landscapes. Our editorial team continuously found itself marveling at the different ways the issue's contributors interpreted sections and topics through the kaleidoscope that is the Mediterranean. An important focus is the migrant issue that places Italy at the center of the international stage, examined by FUA students through photojournalism and the documentation of interaction with migrants in Florence. The Mediterranean cannot be glossed over in food, fashion, and art explorations through which authors wrestle with the question of what the Mediterranean is exactly. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we did preparing it. Happy reading,




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. Annual Conference F.UA.

FUA ANNUAL CONFERENCE Umberto Gori Conference Coordinator

FUA's yearly academic conference cohosted by Stony Brook University (SUNY) was held on December 4-5, 2015, and featured the “De Re Mediterranea� theme. Panel topics addressed a wide range of disciplines and issues related to the past and present, while maintaining a common factor of relevance to the Mediterranean area. Issues of migration, politics, history, literature,



Mario Mignone - Stony Brook University Conference Coordinator

The entrance of Gabinetto Vieusseux at Palazzo Strozzi where the conference opening was held.

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Robert A. Saunders - Farmingdale State College


Lisa Sasson New York University

Maria Federica Giuliani President, 5th Commission of the Florence City Council

James Lynch FUA Provost

cuisine, and music discussed by conference speakers demonstrated how the Mediterranean has been forever linked to the idea of cultural clashes and intermingling. Keynote speaker Lisa Sasson (NYU) and representatives of the Florentine and Tuscan local governments inaugurated the 2-day conference with speeches at the Gabinetto Vieusseux (Palazzo Strozzi).


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Conference coordinator Umberto Gori and press director Susanna Bausi led the press conference on December 2 at Palazzo Vecchio. Maria Federica Giuliani, President of the 5th Commission of the Florence City Council, shared her support on behalf of the municipality.

bottom/left: Umberto Gori, FUA Conference Coordinator - Maria Federica Giuliani, President, 5th Commission of the Florence City Council - Susanna Bausi, FUA Press Director


Photographs by BERNA AYDIN

A special pre-conference event presented the work of recent FUA researchers. A new publication of the FUA Research Series by Prof. Simonetta Ferrini offered a glimpse of her recently concluded project based on Italo Calvino.

clockwise from top/left: Umberto Gori, FUA Conference Coordinator - Matteo Pretelli, 2015 FUA researcher - Simonetta Ferrini, FUA faculty - Bill SamenďŹ nk, Endicott College

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Photographs by SILVIA MANCINI

The De Re Mediterranea student art exhibition concluded the ďŹ rst day of the conference. Participating courses were from FUA's School of Digital Imaging and Visual Arts and Fine Arts courses from the School of Arts and Sciences. The resulting work expressed the inspirations behind a semester-long journey into Mediterranean topics explored via video, computer design, painting, mixed media, and intercultural communication studies.

bottom/right: Gallery and Exhibition Curating Experiential Learning class (show curators)


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PHOTOGRAPHY Instructor: Simone Pierotti

Shannon Cavarocchi

Spencer Sisselman

Angolan Students Dancing their Traditional Kizomba Dance at the Biblioteca delle Oblate, Florence digital print, 60 x 42 cm

Migrants digital print, 60 x 42 cm Louisville, Colorado, USA

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania Independent

Rebecca Menezes Ayan (Community of Somalia) in her bar in via Palazzuolo, Florence digital print, 60 x 42 cm Santos, Brasil Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie

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FINE ARTS Instructor: Gaetano Cunsolo

FINE ARTS Instructor: Nicoletta Salomon

Natalie Heddens

Carolyn Alessi, Hannah Boyd, Vincent DelaCruz, Tiana Ferrante, Courtney Keating, Stephanie Leone, Susan Meyer, Alexis Petersen, Nicholas Redeker, KasMone Vasha Williams, Brooke Wise

Overabundance or Necessity? oil on canvas, 100 x 150 cm Edina, Minnesota, USA University of Northern Iowa

GRAPHIC DESIGN Instructor: Ivka Markovic

Harley Bode

Fragments of Blue paper/canvas, 12 x 12 cm each

Josh Berendes Purge media digital print, 60 x 42 cm

Le Mars, Iowa, USA University of Northern Iowa

Lost Women digital print, 60 x 42 cm


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From Fluentia to Florence ISABELLA MARTINI



n 1343, Donatello and Brunelleschi were in Rome, trying to collect and save precious fragments of the Roman age, mainly sculptures, and to gather views of its architectural ruins. Rome, the former center of an Empire expanding all over the Mediterranean Sea, was in shambles at that time, and it had been so for centuries. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Italy suffered from disgregation, famine, plagues, invasions and pillage from the tribes of Northern Europe. Humanism brought the focus back to classical heritage, to the Mediterranean roots, to ancient Greece, and, inevitably, to Rome. Florence, indeed, is roughly 2000 years old, at least based on its Roman foundation. Excavations have found Villanovan and Etruscan traces, although before the onset of the Romans in the area, Fiesole (Etruscan “Vipsul”) was the main Etruscan center, while what is now Florence presumably was just a wooden bridge where the Arno banks narrow – i.e. approximately where Ponte Vecchio stands right now. The Roman town Fluentia, traditionally established in 1st century BCE by the legions of Caesar, seemingly was born as a Roman military camp site, and later evolved in a town where the former officers could spend the rest of their lives. There were baths, a forum, a theater, an amphitheater, a market square, city walls, temples: all the landmarks that characterized a city as established by Romans. Nowadays, Roman Florence apparently has disappeared, in favor of much newer looks dating back to Middle Ages and the Renaissance. However, its traces are everywhere in city center: the motto of this search could be “Cerca Trova,” just like Vasari wrote in his frescoes in the Salone dei Cinquecento inside Palazzo Vecchio, with possible reference to the lost parts of frescoes of the Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo and the Battle of Cascina by Michelangelo. This search for the Roman heritage, however, should start neither from the various stat-

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The museum displays the best of archaeological finds around Tuscany, highlighting its strong Etruscan heritage, and its connection to the Mediterranean.

ues under the Loggia dei Lanzi, nor from the statues lined up in the corridors of the Uffizi Gallery, simply because they came after the renewed passion of the Humanist intellectuals and the Medici family for classical art. The actual traces of the connection of ancient Florence with Rome and with the Mediterranean needs to be explored starting from the National Archaeological Museum of Florence. Located just next to the Spedale degli Innocenti and overlooking Piazza Santissima Annunziata, it is one of the most relevant archaeological museums in Italy. It was established in the second half of the 19th century, following the nationalistic trend, and at the same time to gather the collections of

HOW TO VISIT THE NATIONAL ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM Piazza Santissima Annunziata 9, Firenze Monday: 8:30am - 2pm Tues-Fri: 8:30am - 7pm Sat-Sun: 8:30am - 2pm Closed Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25 Regular Ticket: e 4.00 Reduced Ticket: e 2.00 For further information call: Firenze Musei at 055-294883

Etruscan and Roman antiquities of the Medici and the Habsburg-Lorraine families, which were gradually moved from the Uffizi where nowadays only the statues remain. The museum displays the best of archaeological finds around Tuscany, highlighting its strong Etruscan heritage, and its connection to the Mediterranean. According to recent research, the Etruscans, though mysterious because very little has been left about them, originated out of both local populations established more or less in what is nowadays Tuscany, and of people coming from the eastern Mediterranean, i.e. Greek, Egyptians, Phoenicians, and even further east. This is why the museum originated as Etruscan museum in 1870, opening up to incorporate a Roman and a Greek collection, as well as the pre-existing Egyptian Museum. This one boasts a collection second only to Turin, thanks also to the expedition promoted by the Grand Duke Peter Leopold Habsburg-Lorraine, in which Ippolito Rosellini and François Champollion took part; the two are among the worldwide founders of Egyptology. In the many halls of the museum, visitors can admire the delicateness of Etruscan and Egyptian jewelry, the powerful assertiveness of Roman bronze sculpture, the intricate figurative harmony of Greek ceramics, the colorful hieroglyphs of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and have a glimpse into remote ordinary lives of people through the items that

once belonged to them and have survived them by thousands of years. Among the most representative items on display not to be missed – while around one hundred thousand are waiting to find their place and temporarily stored – is the Chimera of Arezzo, the iconic Etruscan bronze sculpture of the monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature, slain by Bellerophon according to the Greek mythology. Found by chance in mid-1550s, it was immediately claimed by the Duke of Florence Cosimo I for his collection. Another item which is worth the visit is the colorful sarcophagus of Larthia Seianti, a wealthy woman from Chiusi (a town on the borders between Tuscany and Umbria), who is caught in the everyday act of disclosing the veil of her rich dress before opening up her mirror. Further items can be the Arringatore and the Idolino di Pesaro, bronze statues that, together with many others on display at the museum, like the Greek Kouros, or the Minerva of Arezzo, have been the source of inspiration for artists for centuries. The National Archaeological Museum, particularly for students who have come to experience Florence, should be planned as the first landmark to explore. Both to establish a true connection to the city of Florence, and to fully understand why, at a time when Rome was in shambles, Florentines felt the urge to reconnect to their past.

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Throughout the History of Italian Renaissance class in Fall 2015, students were asked to create a multimedia journal to report their Photographs by ALICE YE-JI KIM

Roman ruins at the A Piedi Nudi nel Parco clothing store.

Via Torta, site of the Roman amphitheater.




othic architecture can be found all throughout Florence, but how did it get here? We decided to do a little research. It turns out that Gothic architecture was fairly slow to arrive ini Italy. Although Gothic architecture became popular in France around the middle of the 12th century, it took nearly a hundred years before it fully emerged in Italy. We uncovered a key factor behind its eventual emergence: the birth of new religious orders. In the 13th century, two new monastic orders revolutionized the use of churches and monasteries: the Dominicans and the Franciscans. Both orders renewed a focus on humanity within religion. Rather than stay shut away in their monasteries and simply pray all day like much of medieval monastic life, both the Dominicans and Franciscans shared their faith through preaching to fellow Christians. As a result, Italy experienced a sudden influx of churchgoers. Larger congregations called for larger churches; and, finally the influence of pre-existing Gothic architecture in the North began to shape new churches all over Italy. The interior of Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, with its towering pointed arches, stands today as a prime example of 13th century Italian Gothic.

hen settling into a semester studying abroad in Florence, we can slowly learn the lay of the land. We recognize street names, know how to get from class to our apartments, and begin to feel less like tourists and more like residents. We work up the courage to speak with the local Florentine or order a cornetto and cappuccino at the nearest coffee bar. However, we were startled to learn that there is another Florence lying just beyond the one we were getting to know. This Florence is the Roman version of the city, a grid that the modern day city was built upon. Occasionally, the vestiges of this city peek out from beneath the current one, allowing us a glimpse into Roman Florence. There are so many little signs everywhere, small things that one could easily overlook. It’s easy to imagine that many people tour Florence with simply no idea of the influence of the Roman empire. We all walk by the A Piedi Nudi Nel Parco clothing store many times on Via Proconsolo, never noticing that beyond the glass floor are Roman ruins just waiting to be noticed. Turning the corner down Via Torta, the street seems to bend in an odd way. This could be easily attributed to meaningless irregularity, nothing out of the ordinary. However, this is actually the site of the old Roman amphitheatre, where thousands of citizens were entertained for years. It has since been filled in with apartments, but still retains half of its original shape. The residents of this street are literally living alongside history. Another remnant of the Roman Florence is the pillar erected in the Piazza della Repubblica. This marks the direct center (forum) of the original Roman city and the two roads that intersected there, the cardo (north-south) and decumanus (east-west). This is the center of the orderly grid that the city is based on. It is easy to miss because the original city walls represent only a small part of the current city. When examining Florence beyond its current exterior, a whole different world emerges for us to explore.

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findings on the historical traces of pre-Renaissance Florence while exploring the city. Below is a selection of their contributions. — Isabella Martini

Roman pillar in Piazza della Repubblica.

Gothic interior of the Santa Maria Novella Basilica.



uring a class field activity around the city center of Florence, the sky was overcast and the weather was unusually rainy. We each pulled out our umbrellas, and all 38 of us shuffled down the narrow cobblestone streets, eager to learn something new. Peering up into cloudy sky, I noticed two moderate-sized towers looming above us. Each tower was a little taller than the buildings around them, made of sturdy stone, and had a ragged rocky edge on the top. Little did I know that these towers hold a fascinating piece of Florentine architectural history.

It was this significant shift in social structurE during these terrible times that ended up paving the way for the Renaissance.

During the 11th century, Florentine nobles would build towers to symbolize their power and wealth. These towers were also used for military defense and control over a section of the city. Nobles, referred to as magnates, were constantly fighting with one another. Blood feuds were very common (think Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet). A group of merchant citizens, called the popolo, stood up to the unruly behavior of the nobles. The popolo were able to rise up against the nobles and form their own government, lead by the Primo Popolo, by the year 1250. One of the first commandments under this new leadership was that noble towers could not be taller than 96 feet: any of the noble’s towers that were taller than that had the tops cut clean off. Nobles were no longer able to display their military power through the height of their buildings. Through this decree, the popolo showed that their new tower, the Palazzo dei Priori (later to be known as Palazzo Vecchio), was the tallest, most impressive, and most powerful one in the city.

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Palazzo Vecchio tower.

Basilica of Santa Croce.





he Middle Ages in Florence were riddled with political conflict. The Florentine Guelphs and Sienese Ghibellines were in constant battle because Siena did not want Florence to prosper. In the 11th century, the seaside was necessary for commerce to prosper so Florence was at a disadvantage, but through adaptability Florence was able to succeed. Wool cloth became high in demand in the Mediterranean area, and although wool could not be found in Florence, the Arno River was the perfect place to wash the wool into the product that was sold. People started traveling to Flanders and England to bring back the raw wool, which they fashioned into the product sold all around the Mediterranean. A credit system was arranged to pay for the raw materials and all main roads started to run through Florence. Between 1200-1300 Florence tripled in size to 120,000 inhabitants. Then the fighting started in the 13th century because of the prosperity of Florence. In 1250, the primo popolo drew out the podestà and banned nobles from government. This lasted for 10 years. In the 1280s, the secondo popolo was enforced by six elected priors, which then became eight. The priors wanted to enforce the dominance of the republic. They made all nobles cut down their towers, except for Palazzo Vecchio where they exercised political power, the Badia, and the Bargello. While the 1200s showed great wealth in Florence, the 1300s brought in a darker period. In 1304 there was a great fire that destroyed a large part of the city and in 1333 a massive flood put Florence almost entirely underwater. Then Bardi and Peruzzi, the wealthy banker families in Florence went bankrupt which hurt the economy and in 1348 the Black Death overtook Florence. The Middle Ages for Florence were a bit of a roller coaster, but this lead to the Renaissance and an age of enlightenment (See next article).

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he crises of the 14th century impacted almost every aspect of society in Italy, as seen through the 1333 Flood of Florence, the Little Ice Age, The Hundred Years War, and the Black Death. As a result of these ongoing disasters, the population dropped significantly, production of goods slowed, unemployment rose, and investments were lost. During these difficult times, social behavior considerably changed as a result. People began to care more about themselves, even abandoning their own family members for survival. Those who were dying flooded their inheritances into the Church for some last hopes of salvation, while those who survived focused less on God and more on themselves and began to place mankind as the new center of the universe. It was this significant shift in social structure during these terrible times that ended up paving the way for the Renaissance. The reshuffling of society allowed new people to step up and present new ideas and contribute better to different occupations. People also began to think empirically, contributing better to science and medicine than ever before. There was also an infusion of wealth that led to the funding of the arts, specifically by churches such as the great Santa Croce. It must have seemed hopeless at the time, but with hindsight, it is fascinating to see just how much these terrible crises were able to contribute to one of the greatest periods of Western Civilization.



Etruscans: the forgotten civilization of the Mediterranean


Visit Rome and marvel at the wonders of the Roman civilization – the forum, the Pantheon, the Colosseum. The ancient ability to create such structures came at a cost. While Rome conquered most of the Mediterranean, it often destroyed and absorbed the conquered. The neighboring civilization to the North had a culture and language all their own. The Etruscan civilization laid roots in the region now named after them – Tuscany.


he Etruscan civilization existed from the 8th century BC to around the 3rd or 2nd century BC. Due to the lack of information about this mighty civilization, there’s debate about the true origins of the Etruscan people. Some believe the Etruscans came from Turkey and settled in Italy. DNA tests hint toward another possibility. The Etruscans may have been native Italians. Either way, the Etruscans’ culture was advanced. This forgotten civilization highly influenced the birth of Rome. Much of the Etruscan culture is lost to the wind when Rome, their own former city, absorbed Tuscany. Most of what we know is from the amazingly detailed burials mounds. The Etruscans often painted vases, similar to the Greeks, and had movement in their art unprecedented for the era. The jewelry found tells us the Etruscans were the finest goldsmiths of the time. As Florence reigns in gold and silver workers, so did its predecessor. The literature of the Etruscans is only found now on the funeral inscriptions and referenced by the Romans. The Etruscan domination of Italy eventually began to decline, and Rome came to power as the dominating city-state. The Romans conquered Tuscany and destroyed many pieces of Etruscan history. Thankfully, the Romans absorbed much of the Etruscan culture. It is believed the Etruscans passed the knowledge of the arch to the Romans. Also, the Etruscans, unlike the Greeks, allowed women outside of the house. In fact, the

wealthy woman wore the same attire as the wealthy men. The pieces and themes of Etruscan art can be seen in Roman art later in the decades. Sadly, the Romans also absorbed the extreme violence of the Etruscans. The extremely religious Etruscans believed in human sacrifice. After the death of a slave owner, the slaves were forced to sacrifice each other in a spectacle of one-to-one combat. This is the foundation for the atrocities committed at the coliseum as gladiatorial battles. On a brighter note, although the Etruscan civilization is difficult to still see, you can hear it in Florence. Some believe the Florentine pronunciation of the “c” constant when between vowels derives from the Etruscans. While walking the street, you hear the sound of “h” more often than that of “c”. Florentines pronounce C’s and H’s between vowels. For example, “la casa” is pronounced “la hasa.” Is this an Etruscan influence? It’s immensely possible. The Etruscan civilization cannot be recorded without some questioning. We know only what the dead can tell us and what the Romans wished for us to know. The mystery of the Etruscans will never completely be solved. Thankfully, they will not be forgotten. We can see the civilization in the Florentine dialect and in the Roman civilization. The Etruscan culture did affect the entire Mediterranean when the Romans absorbed it. The Etruscans might feel forgotten, but their impact is undeniable.

Etruscan tombs - Archeological Park of Populonia (Livorno), Tuscany.

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Photograph by JOSH BERENDES

The Mediterranean Sea faces extreme environmental pollution influencing the lives and future of many nations. The Mediterraneans must stand as one to defend their beloved sea.


ater is life; water is culture and influence. Water is the fundamental base of society. The transparent liquid known for cradling world civilizations provides beauty through its complex diversity. The turquoise currents carry mixtures of cultures creating a physical and metaphorical crossroad between many people. Water is a symbol of creativity, a source of life and wisdom bringing people and nature together. For those who live in proximity, they understand and appreciate the importance of the Mediterranean. “The Mediterranean has played and keeps on playing a fundamental role in the lives of most southern Europeans,” says Alessandro Bruno, a Roman native. The sea continuously influences exceptional people who make astounding contributions to history in art, technology, literature, and science. The lifestyle of the Mediterranean is constructed and centered on the sea. For many Italians, including Alessandro’s family, visiting Mediterranean beaches was part of growing up, offering an easy escape from the hot summer heat. Nevertheless, the Mediterranean Sea is very fragile and constantly threatened by human activities. For many Mediterranean people, leaving the beach with hands and feet covered in tar is and was a common occurrence. “Most of the Romans go to the coastal cities of Anzio and Nettuno since they are so close, and the fact that there was the possibility of occasionally stepping in tar seeping through the sand didn’t really phase anyone,” says Alessandro. The sea faces numerous environmental concerns, specifically pollution. Mirella Sarti, FUA Professor and Environmental Engineer, says the biggest pollution problems for the Mediterranean stem from oil, gas, and plastic. Found throughout the water, maritime tar results from the transportation and usage of oil products. The spilled or discharged oil left in the sea turns into tar. Unfortunately, the sea has a history of horrible oil spills. Nonetheless, this problem is only getting worse. The Mediterranean

Sea accounts for a good portion of the global oil tanker traffic, and environmental scientists estimate vessels spill 635,000 tons of crude oil in the sea every year. “Since my parents always knew about the tar issue, they always carried some cotton balls and nail polish remover to get the tar off our feet and hands,” says Alessandro. Pollution has not only seeped into the hands and feet of the Mediterranean people but into their everyday lives, and sadly the Mediterranean Sea still remains one of the least protected regions in the world. Due to the significance of the Mediterranean Sea, it is important for people to come together to fight future pollution. “We are losing biodiversity, and this means that the whole system is becoming weaker environmentally but also economically and socially,” says Mirella. Combating further damage will take a collective effort from many nations. With the collaboration of environmental associations and Institutions, together with governments and researchers, people are working together to force the switch to renewable energies. However, it is hard for the European Union and other agencies to crack down on companies and individuals discarding dangerous waste into the sea. Therefore, people are starting a new approach through education. “There should be more initiatives in coastal areas and in schools to teach people the precious value that we, as Mediterranean people, hold in our hands,” says Alessandro. Many locals believe teaching younger generations awareness and proper care of the environment is the only way to completely eliminate pollution. Mirella has even taken the first few steps into her own hands by teaching environmental education in local primary and high schools. Those who understand and respect the importance of the Mediterranean Sea actively spread awareness with a positive outlook. For many people like Mirella and Alessandro, they are hopeful for a sustainable future and the improvement of the Mediterranean Sea.

Unfortunately, the sea has a history of horrible oil spills.

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SO C IA L M O SAI C S REBECCA MENEZES, JAMIE PETRAGNANI, ANNEMARIE MALADY The following stories compose a Mediterranean social mosaic of immigrant hardship, fleeting personal ideas of what the area represents, and how the Mediterranean can begin to permeate our lives, even the ones back home on the other side of the world. FUA students capture the voices of diverse individuals who live in, dream about, or are passing through the Mediterranean.

Somalians, Nigerians, Japanese, Indians, Chileans, all of their smiles fill up Via Palazzuolo.



his week I met Ayan. One day, in January from 1991, Ayan was back in her hometown, in Somalia, waiting for her final grades to graduate from medical school. That way she could live her dream of helping people. However, those results never came. What came, instead, was the beginning of a civil war throughout the country. There was no more study, no more freedom, no more care, and no more dreams. Luckily, she managed to escape to Kenya. Even though it was not a mundane paradise, at least there the war was not so powerful. Alone in a new place, with no prospects of study or job, she thought the only way to survive would be by getting married. Therefore, she did. She had a son and a daughter. As time went by and the wars spread across the continent and didn’t seem to have any chance of ending soon, they actually seemed to get more and more intense. Ayan, now a mother of two, worried about the future of

Photograph by the author

her family all the time. She searched for a solution so that at least they could survive and have the opportunities she never had. In 1999 she managed to come to Italy with her two kids. “For the first time in a very long time I felt happy,” she says while insisting I have another cup of tea. When she got to the land of pasta and pizza she sensed welcome, even though she didn’t speak the language. She then started to learn Italian and in six months found a job as a caretaker of an elderly couple from 2000 until 2007. After leaving that contract, she really wanted to work by herself and at the same time help people in some way. She founded a little establishment on the street where she lives, Via Palazzuolo, known for a concentrated migrant community. She opened a little bar there that serves traditional African dishes. Furthermore, at the back of the shop, she created a prayer place for Muslims and those of any

religion who don’t have their own spaces in the city. She created a peace zone. A little piece of home. Everybody knows her on the street and she knows everybody. Their days only start after they exchange morning greetings. Somalians, Nigerians, Japanese, Indians, Chileans, all of their smiles fi ll up Via Palazzuolo. “This is what makes me happy. All of these cultures living peacefully and in harmony. If that’s possible here why not everywhere else?” She also tells me how great she thinks it is that my friends and I are able to come here to study and experience a new culture, that she loves seeing all these different and young faces, and that someday this will happen in African cities as well.

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Observing families talking in their own tongue, all somehow similar and yet beautifully unique, brings me a small amount of comfort.

MEDITERRANEAN DREAMS: TRUTH AND FICTION JAMIE PETRAGNANI When you hear Mediterranean, what do you think? “Olives. Nothing but olives for miles and miles. Maybe a villa in the middle of it all, with no doors, obviously. All the doors have been replaced with gossamer curtains. Very romantic.” The 21-year-old woman, never having been outside the USA, has her idea of the Mediterranean: romantic, fields full of olives stretch out until the ends of the Earth. The air is warm, a light breeze drifts by, and not a cloud can be found in the sky. Perhaps new lovers meet by chance and fall in love at first sight. Very storybook. When you hear Mediterranean, what do you think? “Well Greece of course! If I think of the Mediterranean, I’m going back home. I want to be out on the boat, the smell of salt in the air and the wind on my face, maybe taking a dip into the water. Every shade of blue surrounding me. Its beautiful.” The 57-year-old Greek man, raised outside of Athens, returns home with his idea of the Mediterranean. He disappears into the ocean, sinking beneath the clear water to become one with the sea. The smell of the salt sinks deep into his skin as all the blue washes across his face. Very comforting.

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When you hear Mediterranean, what do you think? “My baby; I took her when she was just 14. Brilliant, watching your child experience everything for the first time. She loved Italy: the grand nature of the buildings, the people always moving about, walking through history everywhere you go. We have that in London, but not like they do in Italy.” The 45-year-old mother, British in both nature and nationality, lives through her child to experience the Mediterranean. She watches ancient ruins, cracked cathedrals, and worn out streets come to life through the power of a young mind. The conflicts of the Crusades or the politics of the Catholic Church unfold before her, but with the innocent touch of a child. New and thriving with life. Very exciting. Each of them holds a different view. Each is filled with personal experience, emotion, and a wide idea of what “Mediterranean” means. They are all convinced they’re correct, that they have cracked the code. Each scene is true but not fact. A wide world of Mediterranean waits to be discovered, craving attention. Like an iceberg, where what has been discovered is only the tip compared to what floats beneath the surface. Very enticing.

Video stillframes from Florence, A Multiethnic Mosaic created by Videomaking course students RAMZI MALOUF, MARGHERITA INNOCENTI SPENCER SISSELMAN

THOUSANDS OF STORIES ANNEMARIE MALADY “You have no control / who lives / who dies / who tells your story?” — Lin-Manuel Miranda


he warmth of the Italian sun penetrates our windows and streams over our beds, casting them in a dull yellowish glow; it is quiet. In Pittsburgh, the wind whips around my house and pulses against our screen doors as it pulls the trees in every direction. One of the little boys in the class I assist at the local school in Florence this semester leans forward, his eyes wide. “Is America beautiful?” he asks in rushed Italian. In that moment I only remember the heavy rain and looming dark clouds that nearly touch the rivers of my home; I smile. Yes, I think, my home is very beautiful. Walking from Santa Maria Novella, the endless blue of a Florentine sky stretching far beyond the mountainous hills beyond the city, I find myself packed in between what seems like hundreds of people. It takes all of my might to push past and find an open space on the dingy sidewalks. One of the girls at service draws a picture of a small village, but there are no people to fill the houses. When asked, she shrugs and says there were a lot of people that left when she did. The heaviness of Florence’s dense streets increase and envelop me whole. The countryside of Italy spans and spans and spans—there is nothing but green as the train rocks us. In my father’s car, packed with food and gifts and clothing, we maneuver between Pennsylvania and Ohio’s rolling hills and mountains; around us, the road narrows and squeezes the truck, suffocating us as we wait to emerge from the darkened mountain tunnels. Above us, the Mediterranean sky and sun and what little clouds exist in a space filled by sea sit lazily while we rush by.

Il Duomo looms ahead; reds and greens and blues and whites color the yellowish-brown neighboring flats and cause me to stop and stare for a moment. A hand, brown, worn, holding cheaply made goods, interrupts the vision. I look into green eyes and shake my head before quickly walking away. In Baltimore, in a wide classroom illuminated by flickering fluorescent lights, I sit in a too-small seat with my new friend. There is silence and her hand, brown and small and soft, sits in mine; she is crying. Today, she has decided to never return to Afghanistan. I look back, not to the splendor of Santa Maria del Fiore, but to the dozens of men lining the cobblestones, offering hands out to those passing idly by. There is a definite charm to the Italian language: the emotiveness of the speaker, the glint in their eyes and the enthused use of their hands. There is a joy there. I hear pieces of Greek, Spanish, Arabic, and languages I cannot detect in every Italian city I’ve visited. It is in these moments that I feel most out of place; while I speak Italian, I miss the familiarity and comfort my native tongue brings. Observing families talking in their own tongue, all somehow similar and yet beautifully unique, brings me a small amount of comfort. Small children laughing and chasing each other, their words lost in a garble I can’t understand; couples murmuring quietly as they hold each other close; visitors buying postcards and memories; a man perched on a crumbling wall, talking casually to what looks like an old friend. I decide to call my mother. Italian evenings bring hardly any chill, but the dimness of a usually vibrant sky helps the Arno River, with its silk waves and silent brushes against ancient bridges, shimmer pleasantly. The moon is high above my flat, illuminating its yellow face with pale, sallow white. The sounds of a city filled with voices stretching across centuries and nations echo outside my window. A small bit of artificial light from a flat across the street seeps past the shutters. It holds my attention for a moment. It tells another story.

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Is the Mediterranean



The Mediterranean has been forever associated with the color blue. The following articles reflect on the shades, tonalities, feelings, and meanings of the Mediterranean as experienced by FUA student writers during recent travels.

Photographs by SAMANTHA HENSEL



he blue stretched before me, unending blue. Pricks of light sparkled on its surface. In the distance, patches of sunlight broke through the clouds and fell on the waves like a spotlight from heaven. I felt like I could reach out and touch those sunny glades. I wanted to be out on that water, out in the blue. So this was the Mediterranean. It was the color everyone promised. She was a woman. She lay before me, her arms open not in welcome but in solitude, with the impression that she had been floating here for a long time. She minded her own business. I was an observer to her home. I had come to hike Cinque Terre’s trails and visit the five tiny, panoramic towns in Liguria. But I was captivated by her, with the sea, with the being that we name in order to refer to whole countries and cultures. The Mediterranean. I stood on the cliffside, at the point where our domains met, and gazed at her. I don’t know what I expected from her, but all I got was silence and an ache in my chest. There were no flashing colors, no smell of food, no music, no houses, no people. It was only the Mediterranean, a sea that brushed against a cliff, alone and blue. I couldn’t move from the trail. I had to watch her. And the longer I looked out at the blue loneliness, at those empty spotlights of sun,

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the longer I listened to the waves that sighed from below with no one to talk to, the more I just saw a sea. And her loneliness infected me. I forced myself to continue to hike, but I couldn’t free myself from that feeling. My soul seemed to have extended out of me and fused with hers. What bothered me was that I knew something was missing. The Mediterranean is a sea, an ancient woman, but she is only water. It is us that help make her come alive, the people who live around her. The ones who create art, families, life — they are also the Mediterranean. We ask her to join us, she takes our hands, and we fall in love. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. But regardless, I know it’s true. For when we approach her in a solitary place, like I did, we can catch her in her silent, blue loneliness, and we in turn search for life along her shores. Neither of us are complete without the other. We, humanity, are in love with a sea. Perhaps the reason why I was drawn to her, why we are all drawn to her, is because we are not so different from her. Deep down, we are all seas that catch the light and drift along and wait for something. We want to join with others and create life. Otherwise we are just a lonely blue.


Blue forms a bond between the familiar and the foreign, but also between the foreign and the foreign.



If I had a boat, and could sail to the center of this endless ocean, I would get lost in the blues, and become the vast cerulean skies, each morning born new, glowing seamlessly, no fear of depth.


I’d be the gentle caress of the cyan seas, tickled turquoise with light, reaching from shore to shore, unifying everything as one. A slumbering giant, a mirror to reflect upon, or a lapping reminder, that everything may be unpredictable. I’d become the gradient of changing color, each shade of blue growing deeper, creating a dance on the rolling waves, a waltz into an ultramarine night, and sprinkle diamonds like sequins, shimmering against a blue that’s almost black, yet illuminated by millions, illuminated by hope. Blue is the grandeur that surrounds us, not heartbreak on a lonely night, nor the dark places our minds wander to in hopelessness. It is the arms of the world holding us together, the largest open spaces we see, and if you’re feeling small, vulnerable, sail yourself to the Mediterranean sea, and discover what feeling blue really means.

he color blue has been the strongest association that I have formed with my study abroad experience. Blue’s varying shades have been my constant companion over the semester. I have found that throughout both my best and worst travel experiences, blue follows me like a comforting friend. At home I have always been fond of the vast and constant nature of the blue sky and the blue ocean, but I have never found such refuge in the color as I have since venturing into a foreign land. The color blue haunts me in a calming and reassuring manner. The bright blue sky looks over me in each new country I enter while simultaneously keeping watch over my loved ones at home. The turquoise and teal tides rise and fall in front of me and serve as a connector, rather than barrier, to the shores of my home on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Blue forms a bond between the familiar and the foreign, but also between the foreign and the foreign. In each new city or town I visit on the Mediterranean, blue is there, waiting and welcoming. In Florence, grey blue rolls down from the sky in the early morning as a dense fog that settles over the mountains. In small towns on the Italian and French Riviera, the sea and the sky are only discernable by varying tints and sporadic subtle shades of green. To an onlooker with squinted eyes or imperfect vision, the sky and the sea may even appear as one expansive canvas of splotchy blue hues. In a seemingly impossible condition, the Mediterranean Sea can simultaneously maintain its crystal clear demeanor while possessing a rainbow of pure blues. The daytime sky, though untouchable and uncontainable, somehow contains in itself every color of light blue imaginable. The Mediterranean sky in the night is the darker and deeper reflection of its daytime self, challenging the sea as to which is deeper.

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Photograph from


or thousands of years, Sicily has been a hotbed for cultural syncretism. On a recent trip to Palermo with three friends, I was able to visit Palazzo dei Normanni, the Royal Palace, which is a Mediterranean microcosm of blended cultures. The architecture of the palace borrows from Byzantine, Arab, and Romanesque influences to form a uniquely Mediterranean structure. Within the palace, I witnessed a magnificent and eye-opening room – the Palatine Chapel. When I first stepped foot into the chapel, I was instantly taken back by the beautiful Byzantine gold, which dominates the walls and Arabic arches of the room. But then a realization hit me – it was all mosaic! From the floor to the ceiling, intricate mosaic decorations covered the chapel, forming images of stories from the Old Testament and the lives of saints. Above the altar loomed an overpowering image of Christ Pantokrator with the one hand forming the sign of peace and the word of God in the other. Underneath him sat the Virgin Mary flanked by Saint Catherine and Saint John. What I found most incredible was how even the every inch of the running arches was covered in ornate tiles to form medallions of various saints. How many hands did it take to decorate this sparking chapel? How many tiles were individually placed across its walls? I imagined two dozen workers throughout the chapel patiently selecting the right color and shape of the tiles to form the pious faces and figures of the encrusted saints. Where had these workers come from? Did they resent their tedious work or find joy in the anticipation of the final design? These questions raced through my head as I traveled back through time to when the walls of the chapel were bare and some brilliant artist planned out what images would go where. I have been to the Sistine Chapel and have marveled at the genius of Michelangelo, but being in the Palatine Chapel was even more magnificent in my opinion. Being able to reach out and touch the individual tiles connected to the rich history and genius of the room was truly remarkable.

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Photographs by the author

With one eye open and a heart ready to explode I click on the glowing words coming from my computer screen saying, “book flight.” I have to repeatedly tell myself not to start daydreaming just yet, but I can’t help it.


he destination on the screen says ”Athens” and it's not what matter to me. It’s the country that I’m going to that is driving my emotions. Greece. I’ve spent half of my life wishing to go there. It’s been the same dream fi lled with little boats, pita bread, fish, and cliff jumping. So when I think of Greece, I’m actually dreaming of the islands. I’m especially dreaming of a particular little island that I’ve loved from afar, Santorini. The blue-roofed, adobe-style houses enter my brain. I force myself to go back to sleep, of course unable to do so, recalling the tales of Greek mythology to see how much I can remember. A month later I’m there. Floating high above the Mediterranean, my head literally in the clouds, I land in Santorini. I’ve just spent my first few days experiencing

the Greek city life in Athens and now I’ll stay seaside for the rest of my journey. The words “I’ve made it” sound weird now, to the dreamer that had once envisioned this place for so long. A man stands with a sign saying “Villa Manos” and ushers me into the car. Suddenly we’re riding on roads with little twists and turns and views of the ocean that seem so unreal. Those blue roofed houses appear, forcing that dream of mine to stare at me right in the face. I sit down for breakfast and it’s the best orange juice that I’ve ever had in my life. Maybe it’s the ocean view at my hotel or maybe it’s that I believe that the juice is freshly squeezed, but it really is the best orange juice. Since I’m on an island every emotion is intensified, every taste, every smell, everything you’ve ever felt comes to you all at once. Those passions, stories, and dreams

that you’ve been hiding come out from the dark and resurface once again. I ride a donkey down to the water, wearing white flowy pants and an armful of bracelets I try my hardest to look like a local. I take one look at the Mediterranean and it brings me to tears. All those years of wishing, and hoping, and wondering about this place and now I’m finally here. No other days could top this feeling. Sitting at a café in Oia, the main town of Santorini, I wait for the sunset. It’s a mix of pink, orange, and yellow and everyone’s excited about its presence. I journal the moment, knowing it’s about to leave me and my words are all I really have. It takes one last bow before it dives behind cliffs to return tomorrow. It is then that I realize how lucky I am to have seen it. For dreams do come true, and tomorrow is a new day to make those dreams happen.

Those blue-roofed houses appear, forcing that dream of mine to stare at me right in the face.

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mediterranean photo diary

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JOSH BERENDES Photographs by the author

The bay of Capri with the "Faraglioni" viewed from Anacapri.

I enjoy taking the time to look through my photos as I take them, making subtle changes as I go. I try to get as much information in each shot as I can, so that the viewer can be drawn into my images, as if they were seeing it through their own eyes. Exploring new regions with my camera allows me to take the time to notice things I normally wouldn’t.In making the effort to get different angles, I get different perspectives on my surroundings. The Mediterranean was unlike any landscape I had seen. Traveling through Italian locations such as Cinque Terre and Capri, I was challenged to capture its beauty in a way that would make viewers feel like they were there. From the rugged terrain of the coast to the calm waves of the sea, the Mediterranean is a place that combines two worlds into one. Seeing places like these reminds me of the beautiful world that we live in and inspires me to keep traveling. I will never forget how the smell of the salty Mediterranean air mixed with the aromas of fresh seafood as I watched the bluish-gold gradient of the sky fall onto the horizon.

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#middleeast on the table A photographic mini-guide to Middle Eastern cuisine, created by Florence-based visual communication designer Berna Aydın from Istanbul. (@bernaaaydin on Instagram)


Turkish way of starting the day

Coffee break at the bazaar

Künefe, one of the most delicious Turkish desserts, served with ice cream and pistachio

Middle Eastern dinner: Pilav, rice cooked in butter Köfte, meatballs Tas Kebabı, bowl kebab Kuzu Kaburga, stuffed lamb ribs Ezme, hot pepper paste Cacık, yogurt with cucumber and herbs

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he olive tree originally comes from the lands of the Eastern Mediterranean, where it was probably one of the earliest plants to be cultivated. Records show that olives were being grown on the island of Crete by 3500 B.C. In ancient times the olive was considered sacred by all the Mediterranean peoples, and its oil was used in religious ceremonies and rituals. The Egyptians considered it a gift from the gods. The Phoenicians called it “liquid gold,” and the Hebrews used it to anoint their kings. The Greeks brought the olive tree to Italy, where the Etruscans were the first to use it for cooking. Before then it was used for medicinal purposes, as a cosmetic, in perfume making, or as a fuel to be burned in lamps. Thanks to its high oleic acid content, extra-virgin olive oil protects the heart and arteries, slowing down the aging process. It is rich in vitamins A, D, and E, the perfect aid for the body’s natural defenses against digestive sicknesses, and aging of the bones. Extra-virgin olive oil is also a mild laxative. A tablespoon a day in the morning on an empty stomach acts against constipation. Externally, it can be used for massaging joints stiff with arthritis. In ancient times, it was massaged on the temples against headaches and migraines. Properly produced, extra-virgin olive oil is one of the purest and healthiest fats available. In some parts of Italy, extra-virgin olive oil replaces butter in some cakes and cookies. The best olive oils come into their own flavor when served raw, over bruschetta. Italy ranks second in olive oil production

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after Spain, although in terms of quality, Italian extra-virgin oils are still the most highly prized. Dozens of olive varieties are grown throughout the world, each with its own size, shape, flavor and use in the kitchen. Tuscan olives are strictly about oil. There are five primary varieties: Moraiolo, Correggio, Frantoio, Leccino, and Pendolino. Only fresh olives still attached to the tree can be made into high quality oil or processed for the table, so they must be detached from the plant and not picked from the ground. The making of olive oil is not an extensive process; it includes just four steps but is a process that is carefully conducted. Harvesting the olives for the new season’s oil is a delicate operation. To ensure quality, both timing and method are of the fundamental importance. Olives mature in late fall. The best time to harvest them is just as they are turning from green to black, when they contain the most oil of the best quality. Olives are harvested using large, long-handled wooden rakes. The freshly picked olives are then taken to the mill in crates to be pressed within 36 hours. Traditionally, oil was extracted by pressing the olives between granite millstones, now many non-industrial mills use a modern continuous-cycle system. The olives are conveyed up a belt, washed, and cut into pulp. The resulting paste is kneaded and separated into solids, water, and oil. Sansa is the brown residue of oil production consisting primarily of ground pits and skin. It is often piled outside the mill to be picked up by refineries that use chemical solvents to extract additional but inferior

oil. At the tail end of the machinery used to extract oil is a sprout from which pure oil flows in a thin stream. The oil is filtered and usually sent to an adjoining orciaia, or olive oil storeroom, to rest in terra cotta urns for several days before bottling. The quality of olive oil is measured not only in terms of taste, but also according to levels of acidity. The lower the level of acidity, the better the quality of the oil. Levels of acidity and the label that oils are allowed to carry are controlled in Italy by strict European Union regulations. To qualify for the extra-virgin olive oil label, the oil must be produced in a cold press, meaning that no heat may be applied during the process of oil extraction. It must also have an acidity level lower than one percent and must also have excellent color, aroma, and flavor. Oils with higher levels of acidity or with defects in color, aroma, and flavor are known in Italy as olio lampante, which means “shining oil.” This might be due to the fact that this type of olive oil was used in oil lamps. Most Tuscans buy their oil for the whole year at harvest-time, if they have storage room. It is kept in heavy glass tubs or stainless-steel containers to use as needed, which is very often. Salads are tossed with little more than olive oil and salt and everyone drenches toasted bread in it. The olive tree is cultivated throughout Italy, with the exception of a few cool northwestern regions. There are over 395 different varieties of olives registered in the Italian index of olives, giving Italy plenty of olive oil connoisseurs.


ABCs of Mediterranean Food

Photographs by BERNA AYDIN

G FOR GARLIC ELIZABETH NORTMAN I toy with the white bulbs, rolling it from hand to hand. The skin crunches between rolls, my hands pressing against the papier-mâché coating. I begin by pulling the translucent layers from the shredded, tissue-paper top, discovering small-trapped pods, hissing to get out. I pluck one, snapping it off of the group. An indistinguishable scent. I pick at the pointed top of the clove, cracking the coating. My hands begin to slowly separate the two, eventually skinning the wax paper coating in six clean tears. The baby powdered clove has the nostalgic feel of an aged stained wood railing, covered with the oils of many hands. I take my metallic scythe to dig through the flesh. Bringing the newly cut cells to my nostril, my olfactory center is blasted with a soft-peppery explosion. I place it back down trying to decrypt this scent. The smell soon drowns out my apartment. The others notice the scent as well. There’s no hiding this one. Crushing the tissue only exaggerates this odor. A tacky residue on my fingers. Unconsciously, I lick this adhesive juice. Mistake. Without hesitation and upon contact, the extract singes all the cells in my tongue, like a match lit on paper. I put the sliced fragments down and need to walk away. I am done with this aglio, for now.

H FOR HONEY ANDREW CORONATO The crystallized residue around the open mouth of the jar radiated a golden warmth, daring to be touched. I refused to fall victim to the alluring substance; to come in contact with it would transform me for the worst. Instead, I grabbed my silver demitasse and entered the glass mouth. With a dip and a twirl, I harvested the nectar of gold, avoiding any sticky thread from joining the crusty crystals on the glass. I brought the glowing sweetness up to my mouth, and the essences of its origin flowers ascended up my nostrils. I slowly slid the spoon out of my mouth, then wiggled my tongue to test the viscously of the substance. The sugary syrup tickled my taste buds as my tongue danced in delight. Overcome by an energizing warmth, I set down the spoon and smiled.

L FOR LEMON JAMIE PETRAGNANI An oval shape, with raised circles on each end. Small pores are visible across the entire body of the fruit. It carries a muted, sun yellow over most of its surface. One raised end carries a grass green, while the other carries a bark brown. Small, dirt brown spots fall at various points across the fruit. Once opened, there lies an opaque sunshine yellow fruit and a snow white skin splits the fruit into ten separate sections. Visible ridges are present across the fruit, and juice can be seen collecting in the crevices. When initially pierced with the razor sharp metal from a knife, cold juice begins to flow from the fruit. Smooth, slippery oval shaped seeds fall from the plush fruit as it is handled. A faint, sweet, yet acidic smell comes off the skin of the fruit. Once punctured, the smell becomes far more potent. Upon inhaling, there is a bitter tone that fills the nostrils. Once opened, the teeth easily sink into the fruit and the mouth is filled with a potent juice. When vigorously squeezed, a squishing noise, like stepping on a small bug, can be heard.

T FOR TOMATO KATHERINE MEIS I feel the thin, smooth skin between my fingers and I guide the small spherical fruit towards my mouth. The instant I apply pressure with my teeth the fruit explodes, sending juices and seeds flying onto my tongue, across my lips, down my fingers, and on my shirt. The taste is watery and earthy.

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THE ROOTS OF PIZZA Whenever I think of Italy, I think of pizza. The first thing I wanted to try was a big pizza pie. What I soon learned was that the traditional Neapolitan pizza has a fascinating background. Photograph by BERNA AYDIN


he history of the Neapolitan pizza starts in Napoli, of course. But how did it arrive in Napoli? The Ancient Greeks had a flatbread called plakous. This was commonly served with herbs, onion, and garlic as the toppings. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that the people of Napoli decided to put tomato on these flatbreads. Thus the traditional pizza was born, a link to the rest of the Mediterranean countries. This is proof of the relationship between the Greeks and Italians and how they influenced each other’s way of life especially when it comes to cuisine. Neapolitans are very passionate about their pizza. They wood-fire them with care and make every pie with perfection. To them, the two traditional pizzas are the Marinara and Margherita. Today, you can find many things on pizza including olives, meat, artichokes, and many other foods. Because the Neapolitans take great pride in their pizza, there are guidelines that must be followed in order to make a true Neapolitan pizza. The ingredients that must be used are a highly refined ‘00’ flour, San Marzano tomatoes grown in the


volcanic ash surrounding Mount Vesuvius and Mozzarella di Bufala or Fior di Latte (mozzarella cheese made with either buffalo or cow milk). The dough must also only be prepared by hand and rolled with a pin using no mechanical machine. The pizza must also not exceed 35 centimeters in diameter or be more than three centimeters thick in the middle. All of these guidelines might seem extremely particular, but they keep the tradition alive. In countries abroad, the pizza tradition lives on! The Italian immigrants brought it to the United States in the late 1800s. They commonly settled in places such as New York City and Chicago. Here, the traditional thin-crust New York Style pizza and Thick-crust or Deep-dish Chicago Pizza were born. In other countries, immigrants such as those who established the vibrant Italian-American community in São Paulo, Brazil, paved the way for the popularity of pizza throughout the world. Where would we be if the Ancient Greeks hadn’t inspired Napoli to create the pizza we know and love? The tradition lives on and is still influenced everyday with new recipes and ideas.

This is proof of the relationship between the Greeks and Italians and how they influenced each other’s way of life especially when it comes to cuisine.

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a Mediterranean in New York


Luca Del Fante was a part of the TuttoToscana program of FUA hospitality students and chefs who produced Tuscan-themed events at NYC locations such as the James Beard Foundation. The goal of the team was to bring Florentine and Tuscan flavors to diverse audiences in the US. Luca reflects on the experience of a native Mediterranean in the Big Apple.


lorence and New York, where white marble and coloured hills meet geometrical skyscrapers. Straight, wide, and precise streets named after numbers encounter crooked, undefined narrow streets named for historic figures and events. The Boboli gardens at Palazzo Pitti seem like a small yet beautiful jewel in comparison to the immense jungle of Central Park. In Italy it’s hard to define what’s “central,” I’ve often heard discussions amongst Florentines about what’s the central Italian city or whether Florence is considered northern, central, or even southern. From city differences arise similarities, considering how Florence and New York are home to some of the world’s iconic statutes - the David and the Statue of Liberty, which happens to be inspired by a statue at the Santa Croce basilica in Florence. Both cities host many art museums and Italian restaurants and McDonalds alike. You can find pizza readily in the same measure in both places. In New York there’s Little Italy, though by now it’s really little. There’s a big Chinatown in both. I’ve lived in Prato, a town next to Florence that hosts one of Europe’s biggest Chinese communities, and in New York my hotel was in Chinatown. What happens when a Mediterranean goes New York, after crossing from his/her sea and landing on the shores of the Atlantic? This was one of the first questions I asked myself while departing for the TuttoToscana program in NYC. Our time in the city

was brief, just over a week, and extremely intense. As a first timer, the experience was that of a tightrope walker seeking balance. The next question was why the Mediterranean food and wine culture is so important and how we were going to effectively communicate it at the events we managed from Manhattan to Queens and New Jersey, which also happened to take place in between some of the biggest happenings in NYC - the Marathon and Halloween. The answer lay within where we had started off, in Tuscany, where the culinary culture is healthy, tasty, and unfindable anywhere else in the world. And yet NYC is a place where you cannot not find something, whether it’s Tuscan food or other things, and furthermore you’ll find it close by and of high quality. If it’s out there in the world, you can find it in NYC. As a part of the program, we visited fresh markets that sell beautiful raw ingredients and browsed through some incredible wine stores with selections from all over the world. I discovered local New York state wines for example, a novelty for me. Ultimately though, it’s not only about raw material but the way things are handled and prepared. Our goal as a professional team of international students trained in Italy was to bring from Florence that unfindable element to NYC, the element of the Tuscan territory and land translated through food in a way that went beyond the cliché of “Italians do it better.” During my time in NYC, I had a chance to glimpse into the food habits of some university students to pleasantly discover that they

weren’t so different from the ones I’ve grown up with in Italy, i.e. eating at home or being raised on mothers’ and grandmothers’ recipes. On another day, a staff meal with our team during event prep gave us the option of Italian items prepped by our culinary team or dishes from the hosting university’s cafeteria. I opted for the cafeteria as an opportunity to try something new. Aside from the healthy and unhealthy divide in how foods are cooked, I realized that food is truly universal. In the dish that I ate, I found the exact same ingredients, starting from the simple onion. It was served by a kind, smiling woman. This led me to make a further realization, that I perhaps was experiencing something similar to what our team aimed to express to the guests at our events. Something different, something from afar, served with hospitality. In ten intensive days in NYC, I saw how the blend of an “Atlantic” mentality and the “Mediterranean” approach was not an easy one to create. They seem like opposites, yet when placed side by side, a thin, almost imperceptible line appears. When we cross it with the balance of the tightrope walker, eyes and ears fully open, we can start to see things that go beyond surfaces and stereotypes. Instead of bringing Tuscan or Mediterranean “food” to NYC, we brought taste and hospitality. Our guests in NYC desired Mediterranean food and received a Mediterranean experience. As an Italian, what I found was an Atlantic experience that shook up and had an important impact on my Mediterranean life.

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EVA HERZIGOVA, 1994 Ph. Frank Yarbrough

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A woman is like the sea and its waves: they curve and twist, seduce and play. They’re passionate, and beautiful. They are joyous, full of energy, and are vibrant in colors. The sea not only holds a variety of messages within its endless depths, but its personification as a woman ties together many of the elements that it is comprised of. This is exactly what describes the Mediterranean Sea, and this is exactly what describes the perfect woman to the fashion empire of Enrico Coveri.


quick glimpse at the fashion legacy created by Enrico Coveri immediately draws you to an understanding of the core values the brand has at heart. Its encompassing values consist of the ideas fi lled with joy, fun, vibrant color, strong energy, and positivity. These elements are what make Coveri a brand distinct, and they are the same elements that can be seen within the Mediterranean sea, its atmosphere, and its people. This Tuscan-born fashion designer is one that can be seen matching the influences that typically come out of the Mediterranean. Coveri extends his designs to encompass a lifestyle that extends from every detail and aspect of daily living. This goal of effortless, beautiful, and sensual comfort transforms and fits to every aspect of life. This is the same to that of the style that fits to those whose habitat are amongst the Mediterranean backdrop. Many of his designs, primarily spring-summer, portray whimsical elements that are linked to the sea. In 1986, the campaign featured models shown smiling, frolicking, and having fun. They dressed in Coveri’s brightly colored daisies and painted-looking floral designs. The structure was flowing and draped, and the colors were that of tones that can be seen in the bright sky.

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IMAN, 1985 - Ph. François Lamy

ROBERTA CHIRKO, 1990 - Ph. © Oliviero Toscani

MARIEL HEMINGWAY, 1984 Ph. François Lamy


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IMAN, 1985 - Ph. François Lamy

CLAUDIA SCHIFFER, 1990 - Ph. Brel/Genovese

Style like Coveri’s is as deep as the ocean and as active as the waves.

Another important design element that has lasted throughout the years of the brand are the graphic, abstract-printed patterns. Here one can see the influence of Mediterranean culture, especially that of African origins. The patterns are graphic and, again, surround the bright color value that Coveri holds to the highest of standards. These prints can be found amongst the inhabitants of African tribes, which have found their way in influencing many. In 1990 there was a campaign that featured naval-dressed men gazing at a beautifully alluring woman. Her brightly colored dress and her bright smile celebrated life. It was structured in a way that emphasized her figure while the giant ribbon-like bows cascaded down her back creating a tail, much like that of a mermaid. Another aspect of design, which Coveri has come to be known for, are his “paillettes” dresses. Sequences are overlapped very close together all over the dress creating a fish-scale visual effect. These fitted dresses go on to show the curves of a woman, sticking to the sensuality that Coveri likes to portray, as well as creating a dress that can be seen as fun and positive, filled with bright colors or patterns. Like the waves, they curve, and like the sea, they hold this prime positive energy that connects “paillettes” with them. Style like Coveri’s is as deep as the ocean and as active as the waves. Every single design is able to speak for itself, creating whimsicality, sensuality, and beauty for those who choose and seek to wear them. The Mediterranean, being comprised of many different countries along its borders, hold key elements that many look to for inspiration. The ideas, values, and its natural colors and patterns have created a strong influence for its people and fashion trends and designs around the world. Enrico Coveri, although not necessarily looking directly towards the Mediterranean and its surroundings, can be seen as a designer who represents the direct elements of the Mediterranean.

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Andy Warhol Enrico Coveri logo (1985-86) Acrylic and silkscreen print 101.6 x 101.6 cm

Andy Warhol Enrico Coveri (1983) Silkscreen print 103 x 103 cm

Andy Warhol photographs Enrico Coveri, New York, 1982

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ROBIN MACKINTOSH and ENRICO COVERI, 1988 Ph. Frank Yarbrough


Enrico Coveri, 1994 - Ph. Bill King

ENRICO COVERI STORY Enrico Coveri was born in Prato in 1952. He attended the Art Institute in Pistoia where he soon became recognized for his talent for fashion. When he was 21 years old he created his first line, Touche, which gained immediate success. In 1977 Coveri debuted in France with his womenswear line during Paris Fashion Week. He went on to create a men’s collection, a more youthful ready-to-wear collection, jean collections, children's clothing, and several fragrances for men and women. Throughout his career, he received the Grand Médaille de Vermeille de la Ville de Paris from the mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, and was also nominated for “Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana.” Enrico Coveri passed away in December of 1990, but his legacy still lives on through his close family members: Silvana Coveri, CEO of the company since 1977, and her son, Francesco Martini Coveri, who was named art director of the fashion house in 1996. They continue to uphold the same values that Enrico Coveri had created and instilled within the brand.

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Mediterranean Moods


Mediterranean fashion encompasses a wide span of countries, including Albania, Algeria, BosniaHerzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Monaco, Montenegro, Northern Cyprus, Palestine, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Turkey, and Tunisia. Trends from the Mediterranean area have inspired global fashion greatly in the modern world. Here, I take a close up look at four favorite collections inspired by different Mediterranean regions and trends.


SICILIAN FOLK The collection of the same name by DOLCE & GABBANA, circa spring/ summer 2013, celebrates the beauty of Sicilian women and the Sicilian culture with a subtext of the sun, the sea, and of love. The collection is primarily fabricated in silk organza and cotton damask, as well as organza and wicker, and raffia featuring traditional Sicilian prints with images including Caltagirone moors, pupi (puppets), wheels, Majolica plates, and silhouetted trumpets. Caltagirone moors date back more than 1000 years ago and hail from the town of Caltagirone, which is in the province of Catania, in central Sicily. Famous for its ceramics, Moorish heads have been produced in Caltagirone for centuries and have been a predominant feature of Sicilian folklore. The moors merge together both a female and male head and are handcrafted. They tell the legend of unforgivable love between a woman named Kalsa and a young Saracen. Another famous Sicilian ceramic featured in the collection is the Majolica plate. Majolica ceramics are marked by featuring vibrant colors and a bright sheen. They are a tin-glazed earthenware form of pottery, dating back to the late 14th century. The collection also features pupi (puppets) prints from the Sicilian puppet theater (Op-

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era dei Pupi) dating to the 15th century. The wheel print featured in the collection plays homage to Sicilian carts, dating, in their present form, to the 19th century when the Bourbon kings built their first carriage roads of modern times. The trumpets also play homage to Sicilian history and the royal court. Other prints featured include beach inspired stripes. Silhouettes include a full skirt silhouette and Sicilian embroidery. The collection also features folk accessories including the bucket bag, wedges, and the Dolce bag.

ANCIENT RUINS For the Spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection, Dolce & Gabbana merged together inspiration from ancient ruins of both Greece and Sicily. The collection features screen-printed images of old photographs of ruined amphitheaters. Other ancient elements incorporated into the collection include chunky corseted belts featuring ancient gold coins for the belt buckle and column-heeled shoes. The collection also featured Sicily’s almond blossom on feminine dresses. Stefano Gabbana describes the collection as “…an unconscious dream.”


WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN Egyptian elements have been incorporated into many designers’ collections for years. However, a personal favorite of mine has to be ELIE TAHARI’s Spring 2012 collection. In this collection, ancient Egyptian inspiration pulls through in a subtle and muted-down manner. Gold, a material the ancient Egyptian’s were known for having plenty of, was featured in every single look, at least in small doses. Gold was presented in a variety of ways including gold cuff bracelets, metallic gold necklaces, gold belts, glimmering gold fold-over clutches, and gold sandals. Gold was also used as an embellishment on the clothing itself and in lining on the inside of coats, jackets, dresses, pants, and covered buttons. Less subtle items featuring gold include a metallic gold dress, gold trimmed trench coats, and a pair of shredded white jeans revealing gold covered threads. Other design elements from ancient Egypt that were incorporated into this collection include snakeskin prints and dusty shades of blue, orange, and yellow. The collection’s final looks feature a series of black dresses accented with gold hardware and zippers. Photos © YANNIS VLAMOS and GIANNI PUCCI courtesy of VALENTINO

AFRICAN ART AND FUSION VALENTINO’s Spring 2016 collection fuses together both Mediterranean African and Italian traditions. It was created as a political response to the dire circumstances African refugees are suffering on their journey across the Mediterranean to Southern Italy. Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli aim to counteract the political uproar with a positive message. “We probably feel that the greatest privilege in doing our work is that fashion can give a message,” said Chiuri. “We think every person coming here is an individual, and we can show that we can improve ourselves by understanding other cultures.” “The message,” added Piccioli, “is tolerance. And the beauty that comes out of cross-cultural expression.” The collection borrows elements from history and is inspired in particular by the history of Western assimilation in relation to Picasso and Braque’s embrace of African art in the 1920s. This fusion is executed in the collection through a smart use of combining textiles. For example, strips of leather referring to gladiators became studded, Roman sandals were paired with carved ebony heels and Pagan necklaces from a prior Valentino collection and are now being shown in white ceramic. The collection also features tiny beaded Masai-derived patterns and bold feathers.

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Pucci FA S H I O N


Ph. Meagan Mary Pariseau

Styling: Malu Palma Hair and Make up: Consuelo Cardella Models: Desaree Fraser, Cheree Fraser, Helene Johnsen Student photo credit: Michaela Kotob, Emily McColl, Malu Palma, Meagan Mary Pariseau Introduction to Fashion Photography Fall 2015 students: Shannon Cavarocchi, Malu Palma, Sarah Gordon, Michaela Kotob, Rachael Levesque, William Martorano, Emily McColl, Tiffany McGuire, Meagan Mary Pariseau, Carolina Prado Lima Figueiredo, Kerry Smith, Molly West, KasMone Vasha Williams

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Inspired by De Re Mediterranea and influenced by North African culture and western fashion: designs by Emilio Pucci

The opportunity of a photo shoot inspired by the theme De Re Mediterranea came to light when the ladies at FLY, FUA’s creative fashion space, called for help in realizing a shoot based on a vintage selection by Emilio Pucci. What better chance for the students of Introduction to Fashion Photography to test their newly acquired skills than to take the lead and act as the main photographers for the occasion? Completely managed by the students and under the supervision of Professor Simone Ballerini, the photoshoot came to life. Thanks to the coordination of Miranda Porterfield and Kayla Jacoobs from FLY Introduction to Fashion Photography students were allowed to shoot at the Apicius International School of Hospitality using one of their kitchens as the set. The students then took turns shooting their photos and trying out different ideas and compositions. They conducted the shoot very well, always directing the models in a professional way and having a clear idea of what they were trying to capture with every shot. The vintage selection by Emilio Pucci is currently available for sale at FLY.

Ph. Emily McColl

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Ph. Michaela Kotob

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Ph. Michaela Kotob

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Ph. Malu Palma

Ph. Malu Palma

Ph. Malu Palma

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My first 2D artwork depicts how I felt before coming into class on the day it rained. For the Gestaltic approach, I wrote down “I am an emotional mess. I am sad, anxious, confused. I am all bad emotions, I am not happy. “ When creating my 2D image, I chose sheets that were the colors of my pebbles and I cut odd shapes out of them. I chose odd shapes to show the anxiety I felt inside. Simple shapes would make it seem like I had my life together. I used a swirl to show that my head was spinning out of control. I put a big dark square in the middle to show the sadness I was feeling in my heart. When creating this artwork I was sad, and it brought back the emotions I felt during that day. My second 2D image depicts how I felt while doing the rain exercise. The rain exercise helped me to relax and forget about my problems. I wrote down “I am relaxed, at ease.” I chose sheets that were the colors of my pebbles and cut them into waves. I used waves to show the rhythm of the music that had been playing. I cut out circles because they reminded me of raindrops. I enjoyed creating this artwork more because it took me back to being at a state of ease.

FRAGMENTS The following collages were created by the Art Therapy course students using the Gestaltic method, led by faculty member Nicoletta Salomon.

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Painting, writing, and the act of loving are sister arts feeding off each other through obsessive-compulsive outbursts of creativity. Art therapy by definition is the self-service and maintenance of one’s emotions through artistic creativity. It has become clearer and clearer to me that an artist cannot have one without the other, the madness without the antidote. While my natural cynicism originally prevented me from having a non-judgmental, beginner’s mind about the practice of art therapy, I can no longer argue its value. Now, I may even say it has the potential to cure. One year ago, I fell in love with a man. Falling in love, much like making great art, has its complications, insecurities, and definitely blocks. So, without any means of alleviating the current block I was in, I found myself studying abroad in Italy where creativity is known to flow like rain in a thunderstorm. Ironically, it was on a rainy Tuesday in October that a memory came to me during an art therapy session, which led to a series of works in which I am having the first candid conversation with the man I love, but more importantly with myself. I can see the emotional transition between each piece of artwork: nostalgia to despair to anger to frustration. I reread my quick notes on each piece from the class discussion and have enough insight into myself to write the expository pieces that haven’t always come so easily. I am no longer afraid to call myself an artist. I believe in the practice of art therapy because I am living through it right now. It’s a healing process. We all have madness inside of us, but art is the self-medication that let’s us keep our madness and enjoy it too.


Dysfunct ional ERICA K AVANAGH I am a dy sf unction al collage has jagge . I am ch d and org aotic and anic curv plimente weird. My es that a d with b body re highlig ri g h t however a hted and n d d a rk colors far away c om. Up close I am com colors, lin I am me posed. No es. At firs ssy, th ing is the t I look st mixed wit same; sha range but h many te p es, then I loo xtures, so one to un k unique ft and ha derstand . I a m rd. I don’t me , a s I a beauty in e x p e c t ev m an abst me and so e ry ract piece me will th continue . Some w ink I am to shape ill see tr a a n sh d . I am unfi form my My experi nished, a overall co ences s my story mpositio I change n. Howev is not done and tran er sform a li being told color, sha ttle more . Everyda pe, and te y a dding ne xture. I w as it will w elemen ill never only be d ts o g f e t to see m one when y final pie I am don c e, e.



I am unique I am free I am random, but yet I am precisely chosen I am large, but yet I am small I am dark blue because I feel sad I am light blue because I am relaxed I am pink because I am staying positive I am green because I am grateful for my life I am mixed colors because I have mixed emotions I am special I am happy about my work.

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The Divine Afterlife of the Mediterranean Dante described the indescribable: the afterlife. His vivid concepts inspired literature across the Mediterranean and Italy. Dante’s influence over the afterlife survives to this day.


ll hope abandon ye who enter here,” is often quoted in popular culture from The Lord of the Rings to the start of American Psycho. However most don’t realize its magnitude. This cautionary phrase warns Dante at the gates of Hell in Inferno. Incredibly more than 600 years later the name Dante still echoes. The Florentine Dante Alighieri was a medieval poet, best known for his poetic trilogy, the Divine Comedy (1472). Throughout the series Dante vividly describes the ideals of the Christian afterlife of purgatory, heaven, and hell. He so aptly described the levels of the afterlife that his work greatly changed the Western perspective. In Italy, the cult of Dante is still alive through museums, education and monuments. Dante is an important part of Florentine history, even the House of Dante is located in the city. Young Florentines study Dante from primary school to high school. Each year of high school is dedicated to studying the different realms of afterlife. Like Dante, young Florentines explore all of the levels of afterlife and

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after often feel freed upon finishing the Divine Comedy. Constantly surrounded by Florence’s small, numerous churches and towers from the medieval era, Florentines never forget Dante’s influence on the city’s culture. Dante’s image can be seen throughout the city, not only as the father of Italian language but also as a symbol of Florentine culture. This symbol did not only affect Florence. Dante was the first poet to write in the language of the people. By doing so, he solidified the Tuscan dialect as the true Italian language. As the Bible was often written in Latin, the common people read Dante’s descriptions of the realms of afterlife, hell, purgatory and heaven, as doctrine. The Italian art and literature mirrored Dante’s version of the afterlife. Novelists began describing heaven’s light; poets began referring to purgatory; and church ceilings began to reflect his framework. His epic poems reached Italy and eventually spread across the Mediterranean.


Roberto Benigni explains “the Divine Comedy is like a miracle as written in a language that even today after 700 years we understand.”

Shortly after the 14th century, the Mediterranean felt Dante’s rippling legacy. During the Spanish Renaissance, the Italian culture influenced writers, poets and artists and brought new styles and elements that were reminiscent of Dante. From there the Spanish literature began to evolve. Bernat Metge, a 15th century Spanish poet was one of many who employed Dantesque literary features. Both Metge and Dante wrote with allegorical styles and similar satirical characteristics. Bernat Metge wrote many satirical poems and irreverent parody verses. However, Metge’s most famous work is Lo Somni (1399), a dream allegory focused on the “immortality of the soul, essence of religion, and the dignity of moral essence of human being.” Divided into four books, the series narrates a dream of Metge-the-character. During the second book, two characters discuss Metge’s soul and its destiny to reach purgatory in order to be purified before heaven. Furthermore Metge’s third book, again narrates the journey of Metge’s soul through hell with the literary style of Virgil and Dante. Metge’s books correlate tremendously with the Divine Comedy’s Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso with paralleling images of Heaven and Hell. Metge emphasized the immortality of soul, the destiny of men after life, and the rewards and punishments in the afterlife as a consequence of man’s ethical behavior on earth. Dante’s influence in Lo Somni exists through the allegoric method of writing as well as the recurring theme of Heaven and Hell much seen in the Divine Comedy. Dante influenced more than the perceptions of Heaven and Hell; he also influenced writing styles and theological themes. Ludovico Ariosto, a 15th and 16th century Italian poet, known for his romance epic Orlando Furioso, written in octaves, remains one of Italy’s greatest classics of literature. Ariosto, praised for the creation of a new style was heavily influenced by classical poetry. His allegoric work combines humor and irony with recognizable people and places. Though there are no written records of Dante’s influence, Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso depicts a very abbreviated and ironic tour of Dante’s afterlife in an adaptation of Dante’s terza rima scheme (three line stanza). One of the greatest similarities between both writers can be seen in a few lines; the opening lines of Furioso “Le donne, i cavalier, l’arme, gli amori, / le cortesie, le audaci imprese io canto” [“Of ladies, cavaliers, of love and war, / of Courtesies and of brave deeds I sing”] and Dante’s Purgatory, “Le donne e’ cavalier, li affanni e li agi / che ne ‘nvogliava amore e cortesia” [“The ladies and the knights, the toils and ease, / That witch’d us into love and courtesy”]. Both poets also describe the recurring theme of the Catholic afterlife as well as the journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.

Ariosto’s protagonist-hero descends into Hell and then an earthly paradise in which he receives guidance from a saint in order to fly up to Heaven. Many of his characters share similarities with Dante’s Virgil, Beatrice, and St. Peter. Ariosto’s powerful style combined with the inspirations of Dante, have created a strong poetic vision that helped shaped the Italian vernacular tradition. Dante’s Mediterranean influence does not end there. Still in the early 1900s, France was contemplating Dante’s ideals. Paul Claudel, a devout Catholic and poet, admired Dante and believed Dante encompassed what is was to be a true poet: inspiration, intelligence, and catholicity. Claudel continued to build upon Dante’s concept of Heaven and Hell. In his poem “Le repos du septiéme jour,” he mimics Dante’s Hell almost to a tee. His Hell is broken up into levels with brutal, torturous punishments. His characters also have guides to lead them through the unknown. His works touch on the same themes with a new age twist. Claudel’s concept of heaven built upon Dante’s. Beatrice, Dante’s long-lost love from the Divine Comedy, proved to Claudel that human love can actually lead to salvation. Claudel’s heaven is therefore connected to Earth. Modern Italy still feels Dante’s influence. Roberto Benigni’s play Tutto Dante satirically interprets the central themes of the Divine Comedy. Benigni wanted to connect the topics covered in the Divine Comedy to contemporary topics, and the work was well-received. The show premiered in Rome June 2006. Thanks to the response from the public and critics, Piazza Santa Croce in Florence hosted Tutto Dante in July for 13 evenings next to the statue of Dante. Benigni performed thirteen songs of the Divine Comedy. Roberto Benigni explains “the Divine Comedy is like a miracle as written in a language that even today after 700 years we understand.” The Oscar winner allows us review the beauty of his acting skills before we can appreciate his passion for the Divine Comedy. Benigni recites the Divine Comedy with the same pathos and dialect as Dante once did. Florentine people still feel the presence of Dante, not because Tutto Dante reincarnates, but because the sacredness of literature survived in Florence. Dante will forever be a name in the history of literature. However, knowing the great influence of his work is not always obvious for everyone. Dante’s ideals of the realms of afterlife are so ingrained in the Western canon many forget his influence. Our modern literary concepts of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven derive from Dante’s work. His Divine Comedy spread throughout the Mediterranean and the rest of the Western world. It transformed Florence, the Mediterranean, and the world. Dante Alighieri’s warning on the gates of hell will forever be etched upon our souls.

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Photographs by DANIELA ANSELMO

Sticky September

HELENE JOHNSEN There’s something about a sticky September in Firenze. The ominous clouds swell and threaten rain that never seems to come. Fans blow the heavy air round and round, churning it like molasses. These sunless days drive hoards of sweaty people to cluster around gelato shops, causing beads of perspiration to accumulate on the frosty window sills. Predictably the next person in line decides to graze a multiplicity of samples, making your blood boil more than it already is. Your feet swell within the confines of your walking shoes as you scale the hill in hopes of reaching the foremost vista point, Piazza Michelangelo. Your dewy upper lip curls and your palms clinch at the sight of a couple holding hands. You disdainfully stare as she finally releases her hand from his grip. Your visceral relief comes to an abrupt halt as he drapes his dripping armpit over her shoulder. You are a romantic, but you don’t even want your own body crossing over itself. There’s something about the way the underside of your thighs sticks to every surface that makes you feel like fleshy cling wrap. I’d like to roll on out of here until fall decides to reveal itself and the breezes are no longer fiery as hell.

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Florence University of the Arts

encourages students

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BLENDING Magazine Fall-Winter 2015/16  
BLENDING Magazine Fall-Winter 2015/16