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by Savanna Nelson Photo by Andrea Firetto

The Traveler’s Lens is an exhibition featuring local artist Andrea Firetto's photography of his travels to Peru, Tibet, Nepal, and Bolivia, currently on display in FUA’s student run restaurant, Ganzo. Five students, in collaboration with professor Gianni Rossiello, worked to make the exhibition possible, curating, displaying and hanging the artist’s photographs for the show. Much time and effort went into the behind the scenes planning of the show to make it such a success. Students began preparation for the show by checking out the Ganzo exhibition space where the photographs would be dis-

played, and meeting with the artist. The students and Professor Rossiello, together with the artist, examined his body of work and discussed his experience as an artist and any vision he may have had for the show. After the initial meeting and presentation of the potential pieces to be exhibited, students met to brainstorm titles before settling on The Traveler’s Lens. They likewise collaborated to write the show’s press release, choosing to highlight the photographer’s unique way of viewing the world as opposed to merely selecting one particular country.

A finalized selection of twenty-eight photos were paired together by color, format, composition, content and cohesiveness and strategically mapped out in the location within the walls of Ganzo so that they complimented each other. The top three photos were selected and the students then met with the school’s graphic design team to design flyers and posters to advertise the show. As the final touches were added, it was

time to set up and install the show while preparing speeches to give on opening night. The students framed and hung all twenty-eight photos in the days leading up to the show. When opening night finally arrived, each student gave part of the introduction speech to packed restaurant to kick off a night of food, drinks and incredible art.


by Cailin Smith Photo courtesy of the author

“Expect the unexpected.” As well-intentioned as this popular advice is for students going abroad, it’s not as helpful as one would think. In fact, it’s downright nerve-wracking. What things will be unexpected? How often will it happen? How soon? Will it be the good kind of unexpected, or the bad kind? My FUA internship at Florence’s St. Mark’s Opera was not what I was expecting: and, yes, it happened very soon, but it was also the very best kind. Every Tuesday through Saturday, I help run the shows, now in their 11th season, in all aspects and details, and I see and hear professional performers as they exhibit their talent to the audience of opera lovers. Backstage, I’m frequently asked if I’m a singer too, and when I answer yes, I’m always offered words of encouragement. Through my internship, I’ve learned about more than just technique, demands of a professional singer, and how to take care of myself; I’ve learned about the creative process, what different operatic characters look like on stage depending on who is singing the part, and that music is limitless. I regularly hear a professional opera singer perform pop songs, and no one turns up their nose when I express my interest in contemporary classical music. And, perhaps most unexpected yet best of all, I perform, too. My supervisors decided to cast me as Frasquita, a soprano role, for the remaining two summer performances of Carmen, and I was also asked to sing an aria in some of the “Love Duets” concert programs! Florence, the birthplace of opera, is not the place I thought I would make my opera debut. I am a frequent daydreamer, but this possibility never crossed my mind. Though I am excited about how far I have come in my training, I am also humbly aware of how far I have to go. At my lowest points, I think that I could never hold a candle to the singers next to me, whether in Italy or at home. But, at my highest, I believe everyone when they say that I can. Florence has taught me, yet again, that you can ’t compare your Chapter One to someone else’s Chapter Ten, but has added: Well, in the meantime, why not celebrate Chapter One, too? “Volare, cantare…” 2



A CURATOR’S PERSPECTIVE OF FLORENCE’S YTALIA When one thinks of art in Italy, often the Renaissance is what first comes to mind, and contemporary Italian artists are sidelined. But this summer, that is not the case with Ytalia, an exhibition in which some of Italy’s most well known contemporary artists are being shown in nine different locations throughout the city. Many of these places, such as Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, the Santa Croce Basilica, just to name a few, incorporate the old and the new, in a unique dialogue between Florence’s past and present. Each of the twelve featured artists has at least one work at the main location at the Forte di Belvedere. Forte di Belvedere opened in the sixteenth century and is now a popular tourist location due to its beautiful view of Florence. The alluring Florentine landscape is incorporated into the background of every piece. For example, Giovanni Anselmo uses interaction with his stones to heighten the view of the infinite in his work titled Dove le stelle si avvicinano di una spanna in più, or Where the stars come a hand’s-width closer. The placement of every piece throughout Forte di Bevedere is very well thought out. Marco Bagnoli’s serine noises and minimalist works were placed in a section completely apart from the rest of the sculptures in the show to allow visitors to explore the exhibit. One key challenge to curators of exhibits such as Ytalia can be the lighting of the works. Many of the spaces rely on natural

ART by Olivia Case Photos from the Ytalia press kit

lighting, which is good concept, but at times may not display the piece in the strongest way. An example of this is Jannis Kounellis’ Sanza Titolo at Palazzo Vecchio. This piece, while very large and interesting, can only be viewed from the side opposite from the windows. This means that if the sun is not shining through, the piece is not well lit, whereas if there is direct sunlight, the piece is too bright and the viewer can only see a silhouette. Of all the works shown throughout Florence as part of Ytalia, one of the most interesting pieces from a curator’s perspective is Mimmo Paladino’s work in the Museo Marino Marini. Paladino’s main piece is titled Dormienti e Coccodrilli. Entering this room early in the morning, just after the museum had opened and had yet to fill up with visitors, the first thing that drew attention was the low, humming noise coming over the speakers of the exhibition. When reaching the bottom of the stairs, the dimly lit rooms with statues in the fetal position and crocodiles coming out of dark spaces gave off an uneasy feeling. Being alone in this space heightens the viewer’s sensitivity and allows them to experience this show in a new way. Being able to view the works exhibited in Ytalia in their various settings was an eye-opening experience as it offered rare insight into the works and practices of contemporary Italian artists.


THE PENITENT MAGDALENE It started out as a group assignment for our FUA Art and Architecture class when the unexpected happened. As we did our research, the artist Donatello started to become almost like a friend to us. Then, his work seemd to gradually spring to life. One piece in particular, the Penitent Magdalene, was both captivating and haunting as we viewed its image displayed in our textbook. We knew she was at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, and we had to meet her. As we stepped into the first rooms of the museum we visited after only the first few lectures of our course, we found that we were able understand and appreciate the sculptures and artwork in a way that we had previously been unable to. In these rooms, we connected with “our” artist’s works in an intellectual way, getting to know him better and appreciating his work for the unique emotions it proffered. As we made our way through the museum’s suggested itinerary, we eventually stumbled upon Magdalene. She filled the room in such a way that we had to step back and collect ourselves before fully "meeting" and observing her. Yes, we had come to the museum to see her, but we were not


by Shelley Winkler and Leo Jagels Photos courtesy of the authors

prepared for the overwhelming feelings of humility and honor that accompanied our time with the sculpture. There before us stood the six-foot-tall wooden masterpiece, Donatello's Penitent Magdalene. Sculpted in the mid-1450s, her raw beauty radiated throughout the room and around us. With tears in our eyes and goosebumps on our arms, we felt as if we were not ready meet her. She evoked something beyond mere artistic or academic appreciation. When first sculpted over five and a half centuries ago, the realism with which Donatello shaped Mary Magdalene’s aging features was striking, and is so still today. Her lifelike hands come together in an act of prayer yet do not touch, as if she was frozen in the moment just before. The figure’s iconic long hair cascades around her on all sides in wavy tresses. Yet here, unlike in other depictions of her, her long locks are not a symbol of her sin of seduction, but rather tell the viewer of her journey towards redemption and penitence. What began for us as a research assignment soon turned into an unexpected encounter with history, art, and a Mary Magdalene whose presence will remain with us for times to come.





by Garland Patterson Photos courtesy of author

With 500 hectares of barley nestled in the heart of Tuscany, an artisanal brewery in the countryside of Pisa looks to tip the glass in their favor. It is no secret that Tuscany, the land of Chianti and Vernaccia, is partial to refreshments of the grape variety. Knowing this, where does beer fit into the equation? To my surprise it fits perfectly, so perfectly in fact that it seems as though the rows of barley, stretching far beyond my sight line were christened for just this. Stepping onto a gravel drive lined with towering trees, cicadas hum sweetly - my own private sonata. The hallowed ground of JuliaSessantatre greets our bus of weary travelers with a humid hug under a sweeping yellow pavilion as bright at the sun overhead. JuliaSessantatre, or J63, holds court on an estate that has seemed to stopped time in its tracks. The brewpub’s headquarters, with its single mesh and kettle along with a small restaurant, is juxtaposed by the remains of an era long-since gone. Charming in its disrepair, the vibrant oranges, pinks, and greens of crumbling plaster and dark iron rails seem perfectly at home next to its less-seasoned neighbor. Ushered past gravel paths that meander through colorful facades, I sit at the head of a long, family-style dining table, dabbing a very damp forehead with a small, red napkin. The Tuscan sun shines as bright as ever; I am its unwilling victim. As I recline in my chair, a soft breeze breaks the heat of the afternoon pressing down on my shoulders-- a welcome relief, if even just for a moment. Quickly, my glass is filled to the brim with liquid gold; the sweet citrus brew is a refreshing and familiar comfort. Going down easy, the cold rushes to my head warding off any distant pangs of heatstroke. Quiet chatter floats between the leaves above my head, a million shades of green dancing through a glimmering light. The breeze comes again, this time knocking a small plastic glass across the table, the water swirling in the dirt underneath my tired feet. My trance is broken by the slosh of a new brew in my once-empty glass, this time a dark auburn color. The Rubra, I am told will pair nicely with the salami I have steadily inhaled

since I collapsed into my seat. The sweet scent of lavender floats from a nearby path, mixing with the earthy, clay-like smell of my glass and tickles my nose as I reach for a broken piece of bread drowned in olive oil, smooth and floral. I close my eyes and drink in another gulp of my beer; it is heavy and bitter, spicy and sweet. Each sense stirs and lingers as I sip slowly; my feet not yet ready to carry me home. The birds chirp eagerly. “Stay a bit longer,” they whisper, so I do.




Though perhaps not among the most famous piazzas in Florence, Piazza di Cestello is not one to miss. Filled with unique Florentine history, this Piazza di Cestello, on the southern side of the Arno, also offers alluring views of the city and outstanding places to dine. The first thing that stands out about Piazza di Cestello is the large brick facade that dominates the southeastern corner of the square. This is San Frediano in Cestello, named in part after Saint Fridianus, an Irish cleric and hermit who later became the bishop of nearby Lucca. This church conceals a rich and varied religious history. Previously on this site stood a convent which was home to the Carmelite nuns of Florence. One such nun, Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, was the daughter of one of the wealthiest Florentine families of the time. From an early age she was prone to frequent ecstasies, and after her death was declared a saint by Pope Clemente X. The church that stands in the piazza was built in the late 1600s after it was passed to Cistercian monks, from whom it took the second part of its name, or “Cestello.” Inside the church, there are frescos dating from 17th and 18th century Florentine painters. These frescos are worth seeing not for the depictions they offer of Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, but for the breathtaking colors as well. The church is illuminated by natural lighting from windows at the top of the dome, allowing the colors throughout the church to stand out and giving the church a spacious and welcoming feel to visitors. Teatro Cestello, situated just next to San Frediano in Cestello, is known as the only stable theater in the district. The theater 6

by Shelby Olson Photo courtesy of author

was originally built as a small parish hall but was ruined by the flood in 1966 and was closed for 20 years. The theater is currently running and is managed by the Cenacolo dei Giovani Theater Company. To find out what’s up next on stage, visit Cestello Ristoclub is a well-known restaurant in the piazza that specializes in Italian and mediterranean cuisine, and especially, seafood. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating to accompany to your taste in dining. The restaurant boasts a real fish market inside, from which its customers can select their dinner and even request that it be cooked according to their favorite recipe! The Cestello Ristoclub also offers a late night bar for drinks after dinner. Another restaurant to add to your visit in Piazza di Cestello is Essenziale. Owner and chef, Simone Cipriani, chose the name to spread the idea of reducing everything to the essential. FUA had the honor of hosting Cipriani at the Apicius Conference this past March where he talked of the history of culinary innovation. In order to really hit the concept of “reducing everything to the essential” home, there is a drawer placed under each table with all the cutlery you will need throughout the meal. This drawer is used to cut back on wait staff so there can be more cooks in the kitchen to focus on the culinary aspect of the restaurant. Piazza di Cestello is a great place to visit if you want to escape the busy crowds of Florence, appreciate breathtaking architecture and art, watch a show put on by locals, or sit down for a relaxing meal. The piazza also has beautiful views of the Arno and Ponte Vecchio that you will not get anywhere else in Florence.




by David Turner and Nathan Houle Photo courtesy of Ingrid Stenvall

In an increasingly globalized and detached society, it can be hard to find genuine connections with strangers today. Despite the changes this future brings, one hopes that the grounded, close-natured culture of our past will remind us of where we come from. Across the globe, Italy is renowned for its respect towards these traditions, and right here in Tuscany, you don’t have to go far to find an example of this. Just a 30-minute train ride to the southeast of Florence lies the beautiful town of San Giovanni Valdarno. Different from the hustle and bustle of the Florentine city life, the streets seem a bit softer and the people a little more amicable. The city center is beautiful and the Basilica merits a visit, but the real attraction of San Giovanni Valdarno are the skilled artisans that live and work there, and their passion for their work. One such artisan, Simone, can be found in the shop Mastrociliegia. He specializes in wood creations, pyrography, and bookbinding. Like many small, traditional businesses in Italy, the profession has been passed down through the family and he is the second generation to work his trade. Such genuine interest for the one’s work carries some advantages over the corporate world which many of us have grown accustomed to. Whether it’s the soothing scent of wood greeting you as you enter his shop or the church bells of Sunday mass ringing softly in the distance, it’s hard not to find yourself at ease. Simone’s warm demeanor makes him easy to interact with as you browse around the shop and upon hearing he’ll be receiving guests, he gets some of his crafts laid out as gifts to remember him by. He’ll even let you try a little pyrography and bookbinding for yourself if you’re prepared to attempt competing against his steady hand. A visit to Simone and his artisan shop is well worth the trip if one wants to truly experience the close-natured and human culture of traditional crafting trades in Italy. Shops such as Simone’s are a dying breed, and shop-keepers who treat you as lifelong friends on your first visit just as rare, yet they remain an integral part of the Italian identity. So if you’re looking for a unique human connection in the daily hubbub of the city life, journey a little south to San Giovanni Valdarno and say stop by Mastrociliegia to say hi to Simone.



by Chloe Khaw Photos courtesy of Shelby Seader and Natalie Derks

This month we welcome the hot summer weather by exploring and wandering down the streets of the beautiful city that is Florence. The style of our look is tropical and Boho-chic, featuring clothing by local emerging designer BE GUILS. Our lovely model, Annabel Frame, is wearing a casual denim jumpsuit and a cute romper by BE GUILS, styled by students Nichole Foisy, Courtney Gates, and Sarah Fernette. Her makeup is done by Fabio Grisieti (Mac Firenze), and her hair styled up in a bun by Nicole Steuart. Inspired by local students working at FLY, the shoot features an independent woman on the streets of Firenze, styled with fresh fruits and pops of color which represents the unique style behind the BE GUILS collection.


SEARCHING FOR STYLE Fashion happenings are seen all over the stylized cities of Italy. Take a look into a Dolce & Gabbana photoshoot that one street photographer stumbled upon while walking home from class. Everywhere you look on the streets of Florence, you are guaranteed to see a bold look, whether a bright cobalt blue suit, a colorful floral printed skirt, or a simple white fedora paired with a striped blazer and reflective sunglasses. Being a small-town girl, I have never been too interested in following the top fashion trends, with the exception of seeing the occasional ads in magazines for high-end brands such as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Dior. However, after living in Florence for a short time, I have a newfound appreciation for all styles of fashion, and searching for the craziest and classiest looks on the streets of this beautiful city has become one of my favorite past-times. One of my favorite places to do my street style hunting is the famous Piazza della Signoria— one of the main squares of Florence and the heart of Florence’s social life. I just so happened to stumble upon a Dolce & Gabbana women’s photo shoot in this piazza - a pleasant surprise and an experience that I will never forget! Dolce & Gabbana is a superior-quality, Italian high-fashion house based in Milan that was founded a little over thirty years ago.


by Alison Kabrich Photos courtesy of the author

What surprised me the most about witnessing this photoshoot, aside from the incredibly creative and striking outfits, was how close a passer-by could get to the models and how open the whole set was. The porcelain-skinned models were styled in graphic cocktail dresses and sundresses with bold hues of emerald greens, deep reds, bright yellows, and true blues, accessorized with purses, bandanas, snapbacks, and the most bling embellished shoes you could ever imagine. The models were true professionals, they appeared entirely at ease in this environment and were not phased if a local walked right in front of the shot or if the breeze was not working in their favor. They seemed to be having lots of fun, getting the crowd involved as they grabbed some tourists and allowed them to have a model moment of their own. After a quick outfit change into high-waist bell bottom jeans, a graphic tee, a black and white floral printed jacket trimmed with jade green, and red and gold accessories, the brunette model was ready for more pictures, however, with a new addition. The Dolce & Gabbana crew asked a nearby couple who was getting their wedding photos taken to join in on the shoot, and with that, the photoshoot was complete. If you ever get the chance to visit Italy, always keep your eyes peeled for the unexpected!



MUTABLE IDENTITY IN RICH TRADITION: YOUTH FASHION IN FLORENCE Globalization has brought an ever-changing perspective of style. Ranging from moods to colors, alternative eco-friendly textiles to smart tailoring, it is evident that the Italian fashion identity is not fixed. What may be fixed however, are the shopping strategies adopted by the locals to make sure their looks remain relevant and on-trend through the changing stagioni without breaking the bank. There is no doubt that history is influencing what currently defines the fashion choices of Florentines of all ages. From avant-garde statements to gender fluid looks — its variety is a combination of the culturally diverse tourists and locals who intermingle with Florence’s rich history of Renaissance humanism and elegance. It is no coincidence that Florence is the proud home for iconic designers such as Emilio Pucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Roberto Cavalli. The Renaissance town remains a cradle for innovative fashion, philosophy and art. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that many find themselves here in flocks to soak in the inspiration that has hypnotized many for centuries. What I was set to find out was how Florence’s youth can accomplish this without breaking the bank. I interviewed a local fashion student, Giulia Collosi, 21, to get her take on what constitutes the Florentine ‘look’ in particular, how to shop like a local and any details on popular trends. I’ve noticed that many Italians, particularly Florentines love to layer as a part of their look. How do you still manage to do this despite the hot weather? “I think it is mostly about picking the proper fabrics to make sure you will not be too hot through the day. The reason why

by Isabella Gutierrez Photos courtesy of the author

we layer so much is not only because it looks elegant, but because it prevents sunburns and is modest. We do not like to show much skin unless we are by the beach. For us, that is how you can determine whether someone is Italian versus a tourist.” Is there a modus operandi when it comes to shopping around town? “Yes! It is all about the iconic piece or accessory. A lot of Florentine girls usually shop at Zara but they mix this with more expensive stuff, for example, a nice coat or pair of shoes that they borrowed from their mother. Many girls at my school would wear family necklaces, earrings or rings to add a sense of luxury to their look. Mainly it is about having one unique investment piece that can be worn in different ways. Probably found in a small boutique on a lesser-known street to avoid wearing the same thing as friends.” What trend is particularly popular right now amongst locals? “Culottes and palazzo shoes [platforms] in natural colors. Many girls prefer blues, beiges, white and most importantly, black. Anything that is elegant and flattering for the body, perhaps also paired with a pair of Adidas or Converse if they choose to be more casual. This is a very general reference but I believe this is very consistent with girls from town. There are a lot of different ‘groups’ that like to dress in a certain way. Like the hippies versus the fashion students. But I believe some would agree that for most people it is about being modest while also composed.”



WINDOWS IN FLORENCE Looking through windows gave the students from the Session IV Travel Photography course on a new perspective on Florence.

Photo by Emily Hug

Photo by Taylor Slotin

Photo by Lilian Benton

Photo by Emily Seybold

Photo by Victor Ordonez




THE SKY IS THE LIMIT FUA students Alyssa Miller, Taylor Slotin, and Yajayra Barragan captured the beauty and limitlessness of Florentine skies.

Photo by Alyssa Miller

Photo by Taylor Slotin

Photo by Yajayra Barragan

Photo by Alyssa Miller



UNDERSTANDING THE MEDITERRANEAN - INTERVIEW WITH FUA FACULTY CECILIA RICCI FUA professor Cecilia Ricci first fell in love with cooking after spending hours in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother as a child. Originally, Ricci studied architecture in school, and it was not until her grandmother's passing that she decided to pursue a career in the culinary arts. When Cecilia Ricci began working at Apicius, she was reminded of those memories in the kitchen as a child. She found a new interest in the history behind food and began teaching at FUA to share this knowledge with her students. Teaching courses such as Health and Fitness in the Mediterannean and The Mediterranean Diet: A Guide to Healthy Living, Ricci shares her passion for the Mediterranean cuisine with her students on a daily basis. With her students, Ricci focuses especially on how the Mediterranean diet is dependent upon the seasons and upon regional ingredients. It is important that students have a firm understanding of where and how certain ingredients end up on our table. One easy way to get a rich, healthy, and varied diet is to follow the seasons the way Italians do. For example, during the winter, Italians prepare more dishes that are heavy in dry legumes, cereal, and grains, as these store well. Ricci explains that during this season, leafy green vegetables like kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, and Swiss chard are also common, as they are hearty and grow well in the cool winter climate. Cheese and cured meats are consumed. During the spring and summer months, less cured meats and cheeses are consumed, while vegetables and fruits make up a bulk of the diet. Zucchini and artichokes come in to season during this time, so a great dish to prepare is a frittata, or a thin omelette, with one of these fresh ingredients. Apricots, peaches, melons, cherries, and berries are common during the summer in a Mediterranean diet. Ricci stresses the importance of fruits and vegetables during the summertime because they are great sources of water, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

by Noelia Ramos photo by Lauren Pugh

In autumn, Cecilia recommends a mushroom risotto, as most Italians know that mushroom-hunting season in the Italian woods begins in late August and goes through October, when the temperatures are not too hot or cold and humidity rises. In fact, mushroom picking is a national past-time, so much so that in some places, the Italian state even offers free consultation to find out if the mushrooms one has picked are edible or not! One of Cecilia’s favorite dishes is la crostata di frutta, or fruit pie. Like many Mediterranean desserts, this pastry can be served year-round but the fruit used changes seasonally. It starts off with pastry dough that is baked and filled with ricotta cheese. After finishing off in the oven, the pastry is ready to be garnished with jellied fruit. Cooking truly is an art and Professor Ricci's appreciation for food and the Mediterranean cuisine is apparent in all that she teaches her students!


by Zoe Blair-Andrews photo courtesy of Andrea Adams

Taking classes abroad provides students with the ability to immerse themselves in a new culture and thoughtfully examine the similarities and differences between their home country and the country they are studying in. Andrea 12

Adams, a professor at Florence University of the Arts, encourages this type of global education and critical thinking in her business and communications courses. Along with being a professor in the

International School of Business at FUA, Adams also has professional experience working in the business sector as a consultant to hospitality and lifestyle groups. “Being able to work in Florence at an international company and also



being able to teach at FUA really allows me to connect the dots on my personal working world, and allows me to bring experience and real life case studies into the classroom,” Adams said. Adams’ connections with the Florentine business world allow her course to be more interactive. “I’ve been able to show students the professional realities outside of the classroom, which I think is a key to success in any business course,” she said. For the courses Adams teaches, she assigns a final project where students communicate with local businesses. Through these conversations, students become more educated on how business is conducted here in Florence. “While there are international companies in Florence, there are thousands more family-owned enterprises. Students are able to be in contact with them through some of my relationships, and are able to understand the quality, integrity, and tradition that goes into many of the businesses here. I find this to be something very unique to Florence, and I love being able to share that with my students,” Adams said. Students are also encouraged to come up with their own proposals for the local companies they’ve come into contact with. “What I find in this generation of

students is they have interesting and unique ideas on how businesses here can operate on a marketing level. I encourage those students to work hand-inhand with these local realities to help them achieve professional objectives,” Adams said. The collaboration is a winwin for all involved: FUA students learn from real experiences, and in doing so, also support Florentine companies. The diverse backgrounds of students lead to interesting class discussions and varying opinions in on the best marketing strategy to pursue. Adams says she has had students from all over the world such as, the United States, Turkey, Chile, Venezuela, Columbia, and Hong Kong and with them, they bring varying perspectives. “It makes a very enriching classroom when the point of view isn’t always decidedly American, Western, or Italian, and it allows the class discussions to be much more international,” she shared. Although study abroad programs aren’t always lengthy, Adams says she still sees growth in her students. “By the end of the semester I find the students are much more confident and they’ve made friends with local business people, whether it’s going to a local café or one of their favorite restaurants, I see them much more secure in who they

are,” she said. Adams attributes part of this growth to the experiences that her students have had in her course. “I’m confident that they leave my class better prepared for the world, both personally and academically. My job is not only to prepare students to be great business professionals, but also prepare them to be global citizens and to be able to think critically about the challenges that they may face in life and to be able to adapt, with a smile.”


THE ARNO AT SUNSET Introduction to Digital Photography Experiential Learning student Kyriaki Sideris captured the particular atmosphere of the Arno as the sun sets over the river.


FINDING SOUL IN A STORE With a profound and eager gaze, she smiled at me and said, “Value comes from people, not things. I strive to find a soul in this business.” This is Meri. She has lived in Florence for as long as she can remember and with a proud posture change and a gentle smile, Meri was glad to explain that she was a true Florentine. Wandering through the streets of Firenze led me to new places that revealed treasures of the past and present. Meri owns a few of these places, in particular, a small vintage thrift store. I entered the cool, welcoming atmosphere, and took in the warm, bright colors of shoes and purses. Every inch of Rrose Sélavy, Via San Gallo 111/r, was artistic, had character, and was very affordable. Each quaint commodity had a unique story of its own. The heart of the thrift store emulated the heart of Meri. From the moment I walked in the store, she greeted me and made kind conversation which put me immediately at ease. Her tight red curls bounced around her forehead as she laughed with costumers and exchanged jokes with her coworkers. She knew the way her coworkers worked and graciously handled their achievements and struggles. They shared stories of mistakes they’d once made and laughed at the imperfections that life threw their way. There was an obvious community within this place. From a photographer modeling a dress to a dancer showing off a purse, I had never felt so invited to be a part of the lives of the people I had just met. Three years ago, this enchanting environment did not exist in Florence. It was then that Meri decided to change her life and establish this shop. Prompted by a neighborhood art project, Meri wanted to create a meeting place for locals to share their art, talk about other artists, and simply have a place to come and understand the lives of the people around them. Today,


by Rachel Renbarger photos courtesy of the author

each piece in Meri’s store is used as her way of doing just that. “When I started, I was interested in understanding what art can change, not only with words and thinking, but in the concrete, in real life. The things in the store speak across languages, so we can learn things without a book,” she said. She went on to talk about how her store was intended to be anything but touristy and I relished her authenticity. Two nuns skirted in quickly, asking for directions. Meri pointed out the streets and explained the way. She turned back to me and chuckled, “I don’t have dresses for them.” I left the shop that day beaming, feeling as though I had discovered a secret prize: a community of ambitious artists and friends led by a humble dreamer. For briefer than I desired, I was a part of that community. I had entered an unfamiliar world, and left a home. It was a home that had value because of the people there, because of Meri’s soul. by Natasha Samuel and Noelia Ramos photos courtesy of the authors

Florence is known for its beautiful architecture, vibrant people, and as anyone who’s ever been to the famous city can attest, Florentine pups! Whether you're walking around the city center or down its narrow alleys, you can spot Florentines and their beloved dogs - big, small, purebreds, mutts, and everything in between, Florence is truly a dog-friendly city that is bustling with furry friends. Here's a tribute to Florentine dogs enjoying some fun in the city!






by Samantha Lucenti photo courtesy of the author

Samantha Lucenti shares how being an FUA alum opened the door to an opportunity to work as a Wine Educator at Macari Vineyards, the family business of another FUA alum and classmate! My name is Samantha Lucenti, and I’m originally from Buffalo, New York. I came to Florence University of the Arts in 2015-2016 from Grand Valley State University, where I just graduated in May 2017 with a degree in Hospitality Management. At FUA, I enrolled in hospitality and wine courses, and my ultimate goal in studying abroad was to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and I was so fortunate to be able to meet many different people who all brought something their own unique experience to the table. One of the best opportunities I had at FUA was my Experiential Learning at Fedora. I really enjoyed making espresso and cappuccinos every morning for students and Italians, and being able to practice my Italian language in a very realistic work situation. I had the pleasure of working alongside the Hospitality Manager of Fedora and Ganzo at

many special events, and I learned an incredible amount through this handson experience. One of the most important skills I learned was not being able to do a certain task, but rather adopting a mentality that allowed me to open to change and flexible. This mindset has

led to many positives things for me! After participating in the 2016 TuttoToscana program in NYC this past fall during the week of events, I had the opportunity to reconnect with another FUA Alum Eddie Macari, whose family’s wines from Macari Vineyards were featured at the FUA Alumni Gala

Dinner at the James Beard Foundation. Eddie and I used to have class together and he’d come to Fedora for coffee, and thanks to the TuttoToscana program I was able to connect with his family and talk about future employment which recently became a reality. Macari Vineyards is a 500-acre vineyard that is on the North Fork of Long Island, New York. A typical day for me is prepping for any expected visitors and pouring wines while educating guests about the family, vineyard, and wines. As a wine educator, there is a responsibility to always provide the utmost level of hospitality and being knowledgeable about the wines and history of Macari Vineyards. My advice for future FUA students is to go outside of your comfort zone, and that includes your comfort group, and go do something around the city by yourself. Talk to people you don't know, and take advantage of opportunities whenever you can. 15



Supplemento di / Supplement to Blending Magazine

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Reg. Trib. di Firenze n° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011

Matteo Brogi

Anno 7 - Numero 5 - Agosto 2017 Year 7 - Issue 5 - August 2017

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BLENDING Newsletter August 2017  
BLENDING Newsletter August 2017