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Alexis Panetta and the TuttoToscana team prep at the Brooklyn Museum for FUA’s JBF events.


by Blending Staff Photo by David Andre Weiss

The TuttoToscana study away program run by FUA in NYC brings together professors and students from diverse nationalities in the Big Apple with two objectives in mind – to share Tuscan flavors with NY audiences, and to express the institution's educational mission through the flavors of Tuscany. The weeklong experience from Oct 22 to 29 showcased back of the house and front of the house teams at three distinct events. The first was a sold-out FUA alumni event in honor of the Cody Durbin scholarship at the James Beard Foundation, followed by a luncheon for university representatives at Queens College and a yet again sold-out dinner open to the JBF members and the general public.



by Nicole Fish Photos by Madison Lovell

Ai Weiwei disrupts. According to him, "Everything is art. Everything is politics." The Chinese contemporary artist makes sculptures, paintings, music, and movies, all with a single goal: to bring awareness to injustice. He takes influence from artists like Koons and Duchamp, refusing to make art for aesthetic value - he The Ai Wei Wei installation outside Palazzo Strozzi intends to highlight the tragedy of migrants in the Mediterrenean sea. makes it for the feelings it portrays. Weiwei’s work makes people uncomfortable so that With Two Legs Against a Wall,” he uses traditional techniques they consider their own role in the world’s affairs. and materials to celebrate his culture while he reprimands the Living under the Chinese government has made it hard for government for its irresponsibility and inability to relate to Weiwei to express himself. However, he does it anyway, even its people. He expresses pride in his birthplace and believes when the government detains him in a secret location for that times are changing now that young people are more 81 days. He has even made art about his willing to subvert the oppressive government by sharing detention. Much of this art is on dis- their own ideas and views. play this month at Palazzo Strozzi. His exhibit Libero features pieces from Weiwei’s imprisonment One of the first pieces in the exhibi- that he recreated from precious materials like jade and crystion is “Snake Bag,” which is assem- tal. This shows that he gained something from his detention bled from children’s backpacks in - if nothing else, he gained more inspiration to make art. His frustration is palpable. He refuses to be made powerless by the Chinese government, so he keeps making art and being political in exactly the way he wants. On his floor of photography, he takes pictures of the secret police that track him. Viewers feel his paranoia that everyone around him is watching him. Finally, he takes selfies and posts them on Instagram because if an artist does not adapt to the culture, he or she will become obsolete. The pictures are nothing spectacular, but they get his message across and show his personality. Additionally, Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 - installation in the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi. there are pictures of cats. Stray cats, friends’ cats, Weiwei’s memoriam of those who died in a school that crumbled in own cats. He is passionate about his causes but still in touch an earthquake. with his playful side. He has a strong vision for the way the Weiwei’s work is not fragile. It is right next to the viewers world should be, and this exhibit expresses exactly that. without fences or gates to keep them out. They can touch it, experience it, and find their own connection to the artist. Ai Weiwei’s exhibit Libero is at Palazzo Weiwei often speaks about Chinese life. In pieces like “Table Strozzi from September 23 to January 22. 2





by Vincente Grasso Photos by Madison Lovell

Winemaking and its consumption is one of the oldest practices in human history and Lambrusco is a style that has a longstanding history.

Winemaking and its consumption is one of the oldest practices in human history and Lambrusco is one of the oldest styles. Wine dates back to the Roman Empire, when the Romans admired the grape for its ease of growth and high yielding properties. During the 1970s, Lambrusco was one of the most imported wines to the United States. It was able to become so popular due its light, fruity, and sparkling components. As winemaking around the world began to expand and be improved upon, Lambrusco was left by the wayside. Fortunately, there are still many Lambrusco producers, the majority of which are located in Emilia-Romagna. Classic Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine made with a grape of the same name. Typi-

cally, the bubbly beverage is made using the charmat process, during which the second fermentation takes place in a pressurized tank. Carbonation either occurs naturally or carbon dioxide may be added. I was eager to experience Lambrusco after analyzing it for my Tuscany and its Wines course so I went to Enoteca Bonatti to buy myself a bottle. There, one of the gentlemen working was able to walk me through their Lambrusco section, explaining that there are three typical styles available. The first was a dryer version, comparable to a rosĂŠ in both flavor and color. The second was a classic version of Lambrusco and the third was sweeter and fruitier. Wanting to gain a full understanding of Lambrusco,

I chose the classic one and was not disappointed. As soon as it hit the glass, the wine bubbled up even more than champagne or prosecco. The Lambrusco was ruby in color with fine bubbles and gave off fresh berry and light citrus aromas including strawberry, blackberry, red apple, and orange notes. The taste was fresh, light, and crisp with plenty of summer berry and bright citrus flavors coming through, including raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, pomegranate, and orange. The wine was very easy to drink and would pair best with a cheese course consisting of hard pecorino and soft goat cheeses, grilled fish, or a light vegetable soup. It is important to remember that when serving Lambrusco, as well as other sparkling wines, they should be slightly chilled at around 10 degrees Celsius Enoteca Bonatti Via V. Gioberti, 66/68R 50121 Firenze




by Amber Wright Photos by the author

Driving through Umbria, rainbow flags emblazoned with “PACE” lined the streets as my tour group grew nearer to Assisi. A kid yelled from the front of the bus, “Somebody look up what ‘pace’ means!” “Its pronounced pah-SHAY and it means peace,” yelled another student from the back of the bus. In unison, the whole bus went “ohhhh.”

Basilica of Saint Francis, Assisi (Perugia)

The flags and banners that boasted “PACE” were a sign of unity in the fight for peace, appropriately held in the Umbrian city of Assisi. This city was home of the great St. Francis who advocated for peace over the land. While this is what he is remembered for, St Francis’s life did not begin this way. In his youth, he was spoiled and entitled. St Francis ate and drank excessively, never passed up a party, and dropped out of school. He was your average teenage rebel. His future was set for him to take over his father’s textiles business, but St. Francis dreamed of being a respected knight. When war broke out between Assisi and Perugia, he had his chance, except St. Francis had no combat experience and was easily captured by Perugia. Captive for over a year, this is when he first started seeing visions from God. Upon his return, he was very sick from the war, and his previous lifestyle no longer suited him. When Saint Francis spiritually converted in 1205, he had already accumulated a following. His peers from adolescence followed him into the faith and he eventually had a group of twelve men around him, all working for the same religious cause. 4

For a child who used to dream of battle and an extravagant life, St. Francis’s new and lasting mission was peace. He and his followers abided by “The Rule” which said that before you were to enter a home, you would proclaim, “Peace to this house!” St. Francis wanted the world to understand peace the way Christ had. St. Francis said, "A chain of commitment for peace unites all men and women of goodwill! The cry of peace should rise up so that they reach to the heart of all and all lay down their arms, and they may be guided by the desire to peace.” It’s not hard to see why this man is the inspiration behind the Peace Walk from Perugia to Assisi. Centuries later, St Francis’s desire for peace is still present in the city where his basilica stands. Children, adults, friends, and family march together to Assisi to show that the evil in the world will not overcome. The town of Assisi has become a symbol of peace. A week prior to the Peace March, Pope Francis was in town. He delivered the final speech at a conference to denounce the use of religion to justify violence. Leaders of many faiths were present. “We must never tire of repeating that the name of God cannot be used to justify violence,” said Pope Francis. “Only peace is holy, and not war.” The following week at the march, signs could be seen with “peace” written in multiple languages, echoing what Pope Francis said. The demonstration lit up Assisi in rainbow flags, and all who attended had smiles on their faces supporting the cause. Many entered the Basilica of Saint Francis in remembrance of him, what he stood for, and in solidarity with the struggle for peace. "While you are proclaiming peace with your lips," St Francis wrote, "be careful to have it even more fully in your heart."




by Jess Pitocco Photos by the author

The famous Roberto Benigni movie, Life is Beautiful, was filmed in Arezzo; however, this town has much more to offer than flashbacks from the WWII-era film. Arezzo had a long-standing relationship with the Medici and has a myriad of art, stained glass, churches, a fort and a cathedral to prove it.

The statue of the Grand Duke of Florence Ferdinando I de' Medici in front of the Duomo of Arezzo

Think this small town isn’t worth a visit? Arezzo will prove you wrong: its parks, restaurants and museums could have you exploring the hillside city for days. Arezzo’s rich historical prominence has no competition; first it was the location of a major Etruscan city, then in 311 B.C. was conquered by the Romans, then demolished to ruins in the Gothic War two hundred years later. In the centuries to follow, Arezzo was a prominent religious and economic leader in Tuscany and constantly rivaled Florence’s power in revolts, fights, and conflicts until 1384, when they were finally conquered by the Medici rule.

The chapel of Madonna del Conforto, Duomo of Arezzo

When I first stepped off the train into Arezzo, I was expecting a typical Tuscan town from the movies: narrow streets, old men walking with canes, an accordion player in the corner and tiny shop-fronts filled with red wine. Instead, I was greeted by a festival of goods from all over Italy, tent after tent, spanning the entirety of one of the main roads in Arezzo from Sicilian cannoli to Neapolitan pizza and Arezzo’s weekly antique market goods. There were hundreds of people perusing the food, clothing and jewelry, and it took me entirely by surprise. We toured Arezzo’s major historic monuments, including but not limited to the Medici fortress built on the foundations of Roman and Medieval architecture, the Communal Palace, the Vasari Loggia, and the Cathedral of Arezzo. The Cathedral is adorned with hundreds of paintings, sculptures and frescos of famous artists like Donatello, Andrea della Robbia, and Piero della Francesca to name a few. There was a baptism going on as we walked around the church, and we could hear the baby’s squeals echo off of the vaulted ceilings like sirens. By the end of the day, none of us on the day-trip wanted to leave. The EFT trip sponsored by FUA was planned to end at 3, but we ended up staying an hour and a half later than expected. Between the beautiful monuments, art, architecture and market, the entire group was captivated. This town wasn’t just a rustic farmer’s village – it was a city filled to the brim with historical riches. My recommendation? Take the hour train South to Arezzo and discover it for yourself. You won’t regret it.

Piazza Grande, Arezzo




by Regina Vargas and Alyssa Lamb Photo by the authors

On Saturday, November 5 , and Sunday, November 6 , the city of Florence will be hosting its annual Wool Fair called “Fiera delle Lane di San Martino.” The outdoor crafts fair will be held from 9 am to 7 pm in Piazza Santissima Annunziata on both days. The fair takes place in order to honor organically produced wool and wool products from Florence, dyed naturally by local artisans. It is free of charge and open to anyone interested in immersing themselves in the city’s culture. The fair is kid-friendly, offering free workshops for children, which lets them play and work with wool to create one-of-a-kind crafts and souvenirs. Florence was well-known for its artist guilds during Renaissance times, so the Wool Fair gives locals and tourists a first-hand cultural experience exclusive to the city where the Renaissance was born. th


For more information on the event, call La Fierucola at 345.3089164 email: – or visit


Photos by Madison Lovell

Styling by Carley Fernandes

FAST welcomed the latest emerging designer to be featured at FLY, its retail store and laboratory, at the recently held Fiesta Fabulosa event in October organized by FUA’s fashion and hospitality students. The Marakita brand was founded in 2009 by Florentine designer Benedetta Maracchi and is specialized in customizable clutches. Marakita’s vibe is a composite of styles - classic and vintage, redefined for the modern age with a cosmopolitan twist. The products are made from hand-woven materials that are a nod to Tuscan textile traditions. The accessories are made in Italy, eco-friendly, and can be found at FLY for the rest of the fall season.




Clockwise from top-right: shopper and iPad holder, Coralline collection; giraffe print beauty pouch, Animals collection; handbag and wrist pouches in handwoven fabric, Roselle collection. Left page: tvravel bag in plastic fabric, Flower Island collection.



MINI-STORIES FROM FLORENCE Travel Writing students offer fiction and non-fiction stories in a compact format. Though brief, these tales recount Florence through the urgency, force, and reflective nature of their protagonists thoughts and emotions.


by Alma Limon

Veronica knew the conversation wasn't getting any better. She actually wanted to leave the table and run away from it. She didn't even try to dress up, wearing the same sleeveless black shirt and blue jeans. She knew that this was the last time they would see each other, and she didn't even care about his last impression of her. “So…what do you think?” Paolo asked with a smile. “As if it mattered.” “If I am asking, it’s because it does.” “More hot chocolate?” A waiter in a red ribbon tie and a black jacket interrupted. “Sì, grazie” Paolo said and the waiter refilled their cups. “It is indeed the best hot chocolate I have ever had,” Paolo said. “I told you, Rivoire is known for its chocolate,” Veronica smiled. They let the tourists in Piazza della Signoria break the silence while they drank. Veronica didn't want to think about her, or

him, or them. So she lost herself in the Piazza, in the street artist singing an Italian song, in the smell of tomato and cheese of the pizza served to the table next to them, and she immersed herself in the sea of selfie sticks that were capturing moments…happy moments. She wanted to pretend she wasn't feeling an unknown pain in her chest. She wanted to cry, but the weight of her pride outweighed the tears. She stared at the piazza one more time - there were a group of tourist hovering around the street artist singing and dancing to his song, and she wished her life could be as simple as theirs. She had never felt something so deeply, yet remained so calm.


Photo by Madison Lovell

"Veronica, are you okay?” Paolo asked, almost concerned. "I will be” Veronica replied with a weak smile. That is the moment she knew she just learned to let go.



FALLING The metallic smell of blood overwhelmed me. Even with my eyes closed, the image of blood running down my leg made me feel lightheaded and weak. I took a deep breath before opening my eyes to see strangers looking at me with concerned faces, yet no one made an attempt to help me up. They must assume that my wound wasn’t too bad, which it wasn’t, but it’s enough blood to unsettle my stomach. I could only glance at the drops of blood

by Carlye Mazzucco Photo by Madison Lovell

sliding from my knee and down my leg before I felt my throat constricting in a spasm. My knee is cut up and dirty from the stone I fell on. I knew someday these cobblestoned streets of Florence would trip me; I stumble on at least one stone everyday. I just did not think I would fall so forcefully. I have been in Florence trying to memorize the uneven stones and walkways for a month now. I’ve been learning where

the ground dips down, where it raises up, where a stone is missing creating a hole in the street, but none of my research helped me when my foot caught on a jagged stone and sent me scraping my knee on the curb right outside of my apartment. The street I have spent the most time memorizing literally became my downfall. I knew that edge, but it still snuck up on me. No matter how much I think I know this city, I will never know all of it.




Photos by the authors

This issue's Faces & Places section is not about single, specific locations but the entirety of Florence and the maturation of the city-person relationship. Travel Writing students worked with the theme of “Being There, Actually There” for a recent course project based on what it really means to be in Florence – physically, emotionally, and as a part of the city's social and community fabric.

NO REGRETS by Daniela Roberto Much of what we know about Italy, particularly the city of Florence, stems from stereotypical ideas. For if one were to judge the city solely based off how it is advertised, it would be easy to fall into misinterpretation. I have learned this myself through analyzing my own travels as well as my preconceived notions of the city. For most people it is common knowledge that Florence is the home of the Renaissance and as a result the city still exists today as a hub of the arts. This is a preconception that definitely proves itself to be true; after being in Florence for just a few weeks, the historical churches, museums, and marvelous architecture that fill the city seem almost endless. The sites not only live up to the surreal pictures I have searched on Google images, but their beauty surpasses these visuals. What I have truly found amazing upon my exploration of Florence, however, are aspects that I was completely unaware of prior to my arrival. Arriving at the doorstep of my apartment in a cab filled with students on the first day, I was secretly disappointed that I was not one of the lucky ones with the view of the Piazza del Duomo outside of my window. I soon came to my senses, realizing that it was not only foolish of me to think this way, but also utterly wrong. Turning the corner of my quiet, seemingly deserted street, I was

CARVING MY OWN IMAGE by Jess Pitocco What I saw before arriving to Florence: trips, sales, prices, hotels, clothing, what-not-to-do, getting as much travel in as possible, and the list goes on and on. Look below for images with brief examples on what I was ‘supposed’ to do while living in Florence, according to the advertising and marketing of abroad travel companies. If clicked, they lead to lists of must-see monuments, top-10-best restaurants to visit, and cheapest places to shop for souvenirs. It is a clearly tourist view of the city. It is clearly telling me to make my entire four months here solely a travel itinerary. The messages, emails, texts and calls from travel agencies, banks, and tour groups make me feel like a sight-seer. This does not help me become a local. This does not make me feel at home while abroad, it only makes me feel like a foreigner. How do you see past these boundaries to get to an authentic abroad expe10

flooded with scents of authentic Italian food, mesmerized by the colors of the fresh fruit outside of the organic market, and comforted by voices of Italian friends engaging in conversation on every corner. Although my tiny street is not depicted on the front of Florence postcards and brochures, I now find it more intriguing than the typical touristic areas of Florence, and I am proud to call it home. Its quaintness is fulfilling and inviting, and for a second I forget that I am in a foreign place. I highly encourage those visiting Florence to explore outside of its main areas—you will not regret it.



rience? Yes, I wanted to do the advertised “27 Things to See, Eat and Do in Florence.” I wanted to act like a tourist for a while, take in my surroundings and appreciate the beauty. However, over time, I realized I could carve my own image of the city into my brain. I could explore the streets with no map, no translator, and no itinerary. I could find my favorite spot on the steps of

the Piazzale Michelangelo and bring a picnic of cheeses and meats from the local market to see the sunset. I can say hello to the local worker at my favorite gelateria every day on my way home from class. All these small steps, small efforts, help me understand my city. They help me see Florence in a new light. I have walked through the rain, wind, and cold; not just in the sweltering sum-

mer months taking pictures with a selfie stick. I have lugged my groceries home, but have only shopped for one night and not for the whole week. I feel a part of the city’s framework. I feel a part of the community. And I feel a part of myself will be left here when I leave. All because I broke the tourist mold, and stopped listening to what I “should” and “shouldn’t” do while abroad.



by Lauren Fromin Photo courtesy of Kara Brady

Our newest Alumni interview catches us up with spring 2014 study abroad student Kara Brady. She recently graduated with her Masters in Accounting from Fairfield University in 2016. Read about her study abroad experience at FUA and living in Florence, Italy below. I came to FUA through Fairfield University in Connecticut. I graduated from Fairfield in 2015 with my undergraduate degree. I loved it so much that I stuck around for another year for my Masters in Accounting and graduated from that program in 2016. I now work at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in New York City and am studying for my CPA to be a Certified Public Accountant. It’s been exciting to start my career as I transition from my life as a student. I studied in Florence during the spring semester of my junior year. I was there from January to May of 2014. I took two ethics courses abroad including Ethics in Communication and Ethics in a World Context. As a history class I studied Contemporary Mafia and Antimafia. This course was especially interesting to take while living in Italy. I didn’t speak any Italian when I arrived in Italy so my Beginners Italian Language course was really helpful. My Italian teacher was so passionate about teaching which made our class a lot fun. She made the classroom so welcoming that our class became very close during the semester. Lastly I took a Dance Workshop as a performing arts class. I had been taking dance classes since I was three so I loved having the opportunity to dance in Florence. My instructor Keith Ferrone was very encouraging and talented – I always looked forward to this class. We also got to interact with professional dancers during the semester and watching them dance was amazing! I always wanted to study abroad because I thought living in Europe for a semester would be such a unique, once in a lifetime experience. I guess my ultimate goal was just to take full advantage of the time that I had abroad. I wanted to make sure that I got to see as much as possible by exploring the city of Florence and traveling throughout Europe. I tried to

step out of my comfort zone and really embrace the culture I was in. Having that goal and attitude helped make the most of my experience. By attending FUA I met so many students from different schools and learned from professors that came from a variety of backgrounds. Studying at FUA was a very new experience for me and has prepared me for the next chapter of my life as I start to work in NYC. Everything about my time in Italy was so memorable. I lived on Via Ghibellina and loved being in such a central location to walk around Florence. I also took a cooking class with a few of my friends that was held once a week at our teacher’s home. It was so cool to learn how to make an authentic Italian meal from scratch and share it at the dining room table like we were at home. I was lucky enough to go to Florence with my three best friends from Fairfield and we did a lot of traveling together. We went on many trips and it was incredible to get to see so many places in Europe and experience new cities together. My advice to future FUA students is to eat as much Italian cuisine as possible! I think that may be what I miss the most. My roommates and I bought journals at the Mercato Centrale when we first got to Florence and kept a log of each day including where we went, what we ate, and anything memorable that happened that day. It’s a great thing to look back on and remember all your days abroad. Lastly, I would make sure to go to the Giardino delle Rose near Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s a beautiful rose garden that has an awesome view of Florence. It’s my favorite place in the city and the walk there from FUA is really lovely. 11



Supplemento di / Supplement to Blending Magazine

Direttore Responsabile / Editor in chief

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

Matteo Brogi

Anno 6 - Numero 7 - Novembre 2016 Year 6 - Issue 7 - November 2016

Caporedattore / Editorial Director Grace Joh

Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore

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BLENDING Newsletter November 2016  
BLENDING Newsletter November 2016