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TuttoToscana 2017 Brigade

FUA IN NEW YORK CITY WITH TUTTOTOSCANA To highlight the remarkable culture of Tuscany, Florence University of the Arts organized cultural activities for the TuttoToscana study away program in New York City from October 22 to October 29, 2017. The events, which served to provide guests with an authentic experience by capturing the essence of the colorful, rich flavors of Tuscan cuisine and art, were planned and prepared during the three-week Florence based courses in Session II. For the NYC program, FUA worked in collaboration with the James Beard Foundation, as well as hosting the events at The Beard House in the heart of NYC.

by Marina DeAngelis Photo by David Weiss

The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit organization which aims to “administer diverse programs to achieve their goal of educating generations of chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food� to maintain the legacy of James Andrews Beard himself. The first event, Fragments of Tuscany, was held on Wednesday, October 25. Guests were treated to an encounter with Tuscan culture through the artwork of Lorenzo Brini, a popular modern artist from Pisa, with a unique aperitivo menu of regional favorites.

The premier event, the Gala dinner, was held on Saturday, October 28, and featured impeccable food and wine pairings originating exclusively from the region of Tuscany. The final event of the program was the FUA Alumni Dinner, on Sunday, October 29. Organized by the FUA Alumni Association as an opportunity for past students to reunite with old classmates, share favorite memories, and network professionally with other FUA Alumni. The event also served as a fundraising opportunity as all ticket sales went to a scholarship in memory of Apicius alumnus Cody Durbin. Throughout the TuttoToscana program in both Florence and NYC, FUA students and faculty members actively participated in perfecting many aspects of these events, from menu description and design, to cooking and serving the meals. These courses include: Special Event Management, Restaurant Management, Tuscany and its Wines, Visual Communication

Fundamentals Studio III, Food and Wine Pairing and Wine Service, Digital Media and Art History, Advanced Digital Photography, Visual Communication Fundamentals Studio III, Creative Writing, Renaissance Florence to the Contemporary Metropolis, Digital Media and Visual Art, New Trends in Contemporary Art, Food Management and Production for Special Events, Breads of Italy, Baking Techniques II, Tradition of Italian Food III, and Physiology of Taste and Flavor. Florence University of the Arts has developed TuttoToscana as an academic program which culminates in real-life event production experiences in the US. Through this unique international study opportunity, FUA seeks to teach the innovative concepts of local Tuscan culture while offering an international academic experience to all participating students.

FUA Alumni dinner attendees



by Alessandra Mania

Advanced Italian language student Alessandra Mania contributes to this issue of Blending with a movie review of this world-renowned Italian film on the Sicilian Mafia. La Mafia Uccide Solo d’Estate è un film drammatico sulla criminalità uscito nelle sale nel 2013. Il regista e protagonista, Pierfrancesco Diliberto, racconta la storia della vita a Palermo durante un periodo in cui la mafia era presente nella vita quotidiana. Il film si svolge in Sicilia tra il 1970 e il 1990, e descrive l’influenza della mafia siciliana sui cittadini italiani. Lo fa soprattutto in modo ironico, anche nei momenti più drammatici. Pierfrancesco Diliberto interpreta un personaggio chiamato 2



Arturo, che presenta la storia della sua vita e tutte le sue interazioni con la mafia sin dall’inizio della sua vita. Anche se questo è un film sulla mafia (o Cosa Nostra), il film è anche una storia d’amore che racconta i costanti tentativi di Arturo di ottenere l’attenzione dell’amore della sua vita, Flora. Flora, interpretata da Cristiana Capotondi, è una compagna di classe di Arturo. Durante gli anni di tentativi di Arturo di far innamorare Flora, vediamo come la Mafia ha colpito la vita di chi viveva a Palermo. Pierfrancesco Diliberto fa un ottimo lavoro mostrando da un lato la dura realtà della mafia e dall’altro una storia romantica

di gioventù. La vera storia di questo film non è solo la mafia, ma anche la storia di chi insegue l’amore durante un periodo di caos. Inoltre, i dialoghi del film sono in dialetto siciliano, che può essere difficile da capire per chi non è originario della Sicilia. Tuttavia, penso che sia un ottimo modo per insegnare la storia e il linguaggio della Sicilia agli spettatori. Mi è piaciuto molto guardare questo film e lo consiglierei. Serve come promemoria per tutti noi che, anche in un mondo pieno di rabbia e di odio, possiamo trovare l'amore se guardiamo profondamente.

BEYOND THE SURFACE: A NEW LOOK AT PAVEMENT Florence, Italy. As small as it may seem, this beautiful city holds history that is unmatched by most places in the world. This very city can be seen as the heart of art in Italy, featuring masterpieces that date back to the Renaissance and Medieval times. Art is one of the most talked about things in a city like this. It brings people of all different ages, sizes, and walks of life together. Art is what brings artists from all over the world to this stunning city to begin a new chapter. Artists come here with a dream of creating something that will leave a mark in people’s minds forever. This is what brought artist Giuliano Genovali to the streets of Florence. However, not all art is seen only through the amazing architecture and popular tourist attractions in common museums and galleries. As you walk the busy roads filled with tourists and locals, some would never think that the most beautiful attractions would include you staring at the pavement. As different as it may seem, this city is the home to some of the most talented street artists that the world has ever seen. As I scramble through the streets looking for my classes I can't help but become captivated in all of the wonders that are below me. The streets are filled with colorful, vibrant street art that makes you question why people deal with the lines and chaos of museums when some of the most talented artists are sketching out masterpieces on the pavement. Seeing these works of art took me back in time to growing up in New

by Briana Ekloff Photos courtesy of the author

York. I always loved searching the city for different types of art than what the average human eye would look for. From chalk drawings on the streets to spray paint on the walls, there was always huge vibrant masterpieces that would make you do a double take and appreciate something that many people wouldn’t consider looking at. As you look at artists like Mr. Genovali, you begin to appreciate street paintings for what they really are. You begin to notice that this street art is more than just sketches on the street. It is more than just markings and text. These images fascinate you with every step you take by making you look further than the uneven cobblestones and flooded museums. Mr Genovali explained his appreciation of art in the simplest way. Art harbors creativity and can really help you channel your inner spirituality. He reminded me many times to give hugs whenever I see something inspirational with an underlying meaning to each hug. H-U-G-S, repeat it back, he said. H Help, U us, G Grow, S Spiritually. Help us grow spiritually. With this being said, take a moment. Look around. Really involve yourself with your surroundings and look for these hidden gems. Whether it’s looking at the pavement, or admiring the intricate placement of these restored, contemporary renaissance masterpieces, street art in Florence is something you don’t want to miss out on. 3

THROUGH THE VENETIAN GLASS In any souvenir shop in Florence, it isn’t uncommon to find a plethora of colorful glass trinkets. What many tourists don’t realize is that this type of Murano glass is significantly different from what skilled artisans of Venice have spent generations mastering. With the popularity of Murano glass constantly growing, foreign producers have attempted to replicate this well-known form of art. In China, many retailers have been known to apply the same techniques and sell similar items to those of Murano’s artisans. “Murano glass is more than a souvenir, it’s art,” Samantha, an associate at renowned Murano glass gallery, Archimede Seguso, says. In Murano, glassblowing is an innate tradition. Glass blowers learn the skill from the time they are very young and everything is made by hand in a technical and precise manor. This one-of-a-kind glass is made from the melting of silica and sodium oxide. At 1300°C (2372°F), these chemicals are liquefied, pulled from a furnace, and are blown and shaped into all different designs. By adding vibrant colors and materials (like gold, for example), these artists can create various and versatile sculptures, figurines, vases, chandeliers, jewelry, and much more. While the glass may look fragile and delicate, it is actually quite dense, making it strong and durable. This fact alone sets authentic Murano glass apart from counterfeit retailers. “It simply cannot be done,” Samantha comments on


by Jamie Elfassy Photos by Kyriaki Sideris

the mass production of Murano glass. “If the glass is not hand made in Murano, then it is completely different.” Like all products of Chinese mass production, the mass production of Murano glass has affected local craftsmanship. Since more people are inclined to purchase cheaper merchandise, they’re more likely to buy fake glass rather than the more valuable one, if they believe that both are the same quality. An authentic glass butterfly figurine that costs €70 only costs €2 from a Chinese reseller. While the latter price is more reasonable, the two items are not the same. The cheaper item was mass produced and the other was made by hand by an individual who put countless hours into his work. Every protruding piece of a sculpture and every limb of a figurine is melted and sculpted individually. While Murano glassmaking has been an Italian tradition for many centuries, it still remains one of the most unique and magnificent treasures of the Italian culture. This common keepsake may not be valued to the extent that it should, but we can learn to appreciate all of the hard work that goes into the making of these ornate creations. When souvenir shopping, reconsider selecting the cheaper Murano glass. It may be temping, but remember, you’re not only paying for a piece of tangible glass, you’re paying for quality, history, tradition, and craftsmanship.




THE SOUNDS OF FLORENCE The sounds of Florence have become an essential aspect of my study abroad experience. My eyes shoot open as soon as the clock strikes seven. Every morning, the echoing chime from the bells of the Duomo wakes me. I can hear the day beginning from my bedroom window, the sound of the horse’s hooves moving from stone to stone, the tiny distinct bells of each bicycler that passes by, and roaring mopeds that weave in and out of cars. As I leave my apartment, the voices of everyone in the café blend together with the dogs barking on the streets. Florence is frequented by tourists and residents alike, so I hear

by Eddie Curi

many different languages spoken all at once. With every step I take, I find myself dodging a cooing pigeon, hearing the sound of wings flapping away. As the day goes on and the sun starts to fade, I make my way across the piazza to the sound of children laughing, playing, and singing along with the street musician playing his guitar the center. At night, the lively atmosphere of Florence is followed by loud music, eating, drinking and those enjoying their time in the city. Without the sounds of Florence, my experience would be less rich and full.


by Alma Limon Photo courtesy of the author

In this short story inspired by an unusual window in Florence, Creative Writing student Alma Limon let her imagination spin a tale of young and unrequited love. “It is a great day as any to go for a walk,” Marco said, and all the other young men seemed to agree with him. He was walking down Via de’ Pucci next to his best friend, Vincenzo, and both were invested in a conversation. The day didn't seem to promise any thrill, and Marco just had the expectations of enjoying an aperitivo on the last night of the weekend. And then, like a kid who falls asleep all at once, without even expecting it, he saw her. “ Vincenzo, look at her,” Marco ordered. Vincenzo followed Marco’s gaze over to the window of the building in front of them, where a girl stood smoking. She seemed lost in her own thoughts, yet not distracted. She was pleasant to the eye, surely not the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. However, there was something about her, that he hadn't seen in any other girl before. Innocence. There she was, so close, yet she seemed unreachable. “What about her?” came Vincenzo’s

reply. “She is always there.”He couldn't believe how he had walked down this street every weekend for the past couple of years and had never seen her before. Vincenzo kept on walking but Marco couldn't, he stared at her, deeply and long enough for him to not only see what was in front of him, but he started to imagine what was not, his imagination kept running wild until she felt it, she looked at him directly in the eye, and it was him who felt naked, so embarrassed as if he got just caught stealing by the police. The girl closed the window immediately, but Marco opened up to the chance of seeing her again. Next weekend, he knew, he would come back, and this time he would talk to her. But when he arrived, he saw that the window had been walled in, where before stood beautiful girl, now there was only a frame on the wall, and he never saw her again.



FLY LOOK OF THE MONTH This month FLY is hosting FemininityIs…, the newest featured collection from our emerging designer Alexandra Zofcin, an FUA alumna. This collection is a blend of strong tailored lines and soft snug fabrics. Here you can see two juxtaposed looks, one chic and high class, the other street savvy and edgy. Our first look features The House of AmZ “Wife Beater” in charcoal, as well as the Seta Midi skirt in light grey - uniquely made of upholstery fabric. The coat shown is made of Mongolia fur paired with Manolo Blahnik black kitten heels. The look is brought together with a gold bucket bag, inspired by birds and designed by FUA student Rutendo Karikoga. This look speaks to a sophisticated sense of femininity, possibly an idea more akin to a time before, yet still daring and elegant. Our second look features two additional products from The House of AmZ, the maroon Sovereign Corset as well as a Gilet Vest in cream with charcoal pocket accents. The black straw hat featured is by FUA student Gretchen Shepard. This look eludes to a more rebellious sense of femininity. This collection has a great sense of versatility to allow any individual to define their sense of femininity and style.


by David Brocious, and Rutendo Karikoga Photos courtesy of David Brocious Modeled by Rutendo Karikoga




STUDENT VOICE In this issue of Blending’s Student Voice section, the students in the Travel Writing course reflected on the positive experience of solitude inspired by their Florentine surroundings.

STATUE I have always associated solitude with a negative connotation. I am a person who thrives when I am around others and thus I find it difficult to comprehend why some enjoy isolation. The statue depicts a sense of solitude and isolation. Others surround him, constantly, yet he is still in a state of isolation - unfamiliar with those around him. Confined to a bench on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I watched the statue as people passed by. Thirty minutes had elapsed. Just get up, I told myself, you have been here for long enough to try to understand the positivity of solitude. My feet refused to lift me. I did not enjoy the time alone- I wanted to leave. But something kept me. I sat for a while longer and pondered. I stared at the statue. I realized his unchanging gaze at the frazzled people

PALM TREE Positive solitude is a curious notion. So often, solitude is associated with sadness; but to be alone is not to be sad. A young palm tree, standing alone on a hill that overlooks the entirety of Florence is far from sad. Instead I see myself in the palm tree. Since I was young, palm trees have always been one of my favorite things; my first question after moving to Ohio was “where are the tall trees?” It is fitting that I should find this one, standing just below the Piazzale Michelangelo. It sways softly with the breeze, influenced by, not affected. Everyday it stands quietly learning the city below it, street by street, until it is memorized. Impossible? Maybe. But this tree has more time than I do. I wish I could stand and learn as it does. I wish I could know what it knows and see what it sees. But I see myself in Florence in that growing palm tree. I, too, sway back and forth, influenced as much as I want to be. But I don’t bend too far one way or the other. The tree is growing in height, and while I hope I am not anymore, I hope I am growing during my time here in Florence. Learning, studying the city, taking everything in as that small palm tree would. While I may be alone, it isn’t a solemn solitude, but more of an appreciative one. I take in this city, my new city, better when I am alone, because I am silent, watchful and growing, just like a palm tree.


by Emily Dugan Photo courtesy of the author

walking by him. Most did not notice him; most did not notice me. Something in that instance clicked. To my dismay, I was okay with this. I did not mind that people could not care less for my existence. I started to enjoy the time to ponder, to reflect. I thought long and hard about my feelings, and for the first time in a long time, I accepted them. For the first time I accepted the positive definition of the word solitude. He was an accurate exemplar of how one can be alone, and enjoy it. I did not want to be noticed. I wanted to stay for three more hours. For the first time in almost two months, I wasn’t distracted by the constant buzz of fast-paced Florentine life. For the first time in almost two months, I allowed myself to feel every fiber of my being, to soak it all in. by Brian Ginise Photo courtesy of author





Canoe in one hand, paddle in the other I walk down the ramp to the Arno river. The morning wind blows back the little hair I have left on my balding head and the sun glistens on the water in the early morning. As I get to the end of the dock I set down my canoe, breaking the surface tension of the water. I get in and gently push off the dock, ready to embark on my Sunday morning routine. Next to me is a group of duckling’s swimming patiently behind their mother. There is no rush on the water, not even a current to paddle against. It is the perfect escape, and so incredibly calming, just as it is every Sunday. It washes away my stress and allows me to focus on

PEACE LIKE A RIVER As I am writing this, I am sitting alone in silence on a balcony looking over the gorgeous Arno river. Solitude strikes me at every corner, yet I sit here content and happy. I think perhaps that being alone, you learn more about yourself, what you like and don’t like, and it can help you see yourself and the world differently. Like the Arno here in Florence. It is more than just a body of water that tourists take pictures of to post on social media. It is a place of solitude, a place of peace. It is a place where you can shout into the void and have your words skip along the water that no one else can hear. The moment I realized the true meaning of solitude was right here on this river. After a tough day of classes, I walked by myself to the river to try to collect my rapid thoughts and to try to relax after a long day of classes. Even though I was alone, I didn’t feel that way. I felt at peace, in rhythm with myself and the world around me. It is here when I realized that solitude is positive, and can help you navigate through

by Jesse Borgese Photo courtesy of the author

the beauty that is constantly surrounding me. In and then out. In and then out. My arms repeat the fluid motion, pushing and pulling the oars. The rhythmic splash of the water relaxes me and the sounds of the city fade away. I continue at my own pace for as long as I want. I feel free and completely independent. Every time I pass under the Ponte Vecchio, I am mesmerized by its exquisite colors. Although I have been rowing every Sunday for twenty-one years now, the city’s beauty never ceases to amaze me. It is difficult to express the peaceful feeling I experience while rowing on the Arno river. It is solitude, without loneliness. by Christina Falso Photo courtesy of the author

difficult times in life, which I believe everyone needs once in a while. Here along these waters I found my place to feel content and at peace. 9



by Chrystalla Christodoulou Photos by Karlianne Wilson

What is femininity? A night of fashion, a wonderful collection, and a young designer reminded me of the impossibility of this question, and the myriads of answers.

On October 17th, FLY hosted a launch party for the Fall/ Winter Capsule Collection of emerging designer, and FUA alumni Alexandra Zofcin, of The House of AmZ. The collection, titled Femininity Is…, seeks to challenge our narrow view of what it means to be feminine, and the event invited visitors to discuss this topic throughout the evening. The ways gender shapes our lives are ubiquitous, and the fight to disestablish it has a very long history. Femininity has long been defined by fashion, so a fashion line that actively challenges gender norms is inevitably interesting. I found Femininity Is… to be not only visually beautiful, but very thought provoking. The entire line stays within a very limited colour palette, and without being boring finds a middle ground between “feminine” and “masculine” colors. Similarly, different shapes and silhouettes ranged throughout the collection; A-line skirts hang next to a “Wife Beater” tank top, another clever flip of traditionally gendered clothing. I had the chance to speak to the talented designer and learn more about her inspiration and goals for the collection. She explained how almost a year ago, as an intern at FUA, she


began thinking about the complications of being a woman today, and how fashion plays a role in this. She found herself wondering why it was that people were so eager to define femininity, as well as categorize a type of clothing as “girly” or “masculine.” Instead, she yearned to blend these elements. Extremely fascinating was her explanation of her Spring runway collection. She indicated the first few pieces and how she used linen to represent the way women experience social constraints, or, in her words, the “bindings we are put in.” However, eventually, this binding turns into armor, as it protects her arms and frees her back. Before speaking with Alexandra, I had never thought of how a collection of clothing could serve as a medium to tell a story with a beginning and end. But this is exactly what the emerging designer aims to do with her work: every garment is interesting or beautiful on its own, but as you see the collection as a whole, the story behind the pieces unfolds. It is always an honor for FUA and FAST to see its past students and interns return as professionals; congratulations Alexandra on your first ready-to-wear collection!




FLORENCE MARATHON: FLY THROUGH FLORENCE IN 42 KM The 34th annual Firenze Marathon, whose slogan this year is “DON’T RUN, FLY!” will take place on Sunday, November 26. A unique way to see the city of Florence over forty-two kilometers, starting at Piazza Duomo and ending at Piazza S. Giovanni. This event is not for the faint-hearted. Most have trained for this upcoming event. You can register at If running is not your forte, you can still come to support the athletes and even join them afterwards

by Anna Hoffman

at the Marathon party with musical entertainment. In addition, there will be a Ginky Family Run the same day at 9am. This two-kilometer run starting at Piazza della Repubblica is free for children under the age of 14. Adults may also join to make it a family affair with a contribution of €10. There is something for everyone, so come run or cheer and support the city of Florence!


by Kimberly Calaj Photo courtesy of Official Press Kit

In 2008, Florence's first tattoo convention was brought to life by three friends, Giacomo Del Sala, Lorenzo Provvedi and Luca Lazzerini. The convention brings together 350 talented tattoo artists from all over the world for a grand event. View art through the different perspectives of each tattoo artist and see what unique and eclectic works they have to show. Be inspired and learn about the different styles of tattoos that are offered and maybe even transfer the art to your own skin. Be indulged in the artistic and historical tattoo culture. The convention seeks to provide tattoo artists with a larger platform and an opportunity to show off their talent, but also to encourage teenagers in creativity and expression, tools for their personal and professional growth. Come enjoy yourself with live music and mouth-watering food from local stands. There will be a children's zone so the parents can relax and unwind. The 10th edition of the Florence Tattoo Convention will be held at Fortezza da Basso, from November 3-5. For more information and to buy tickets visit


by Sarah Dossey

From November 10 through November 28, the Biennale Enogastronomica Festival returns, for its 5th edition, to highlight the flavors of Florence. This event aims to promote and honor gastronomic traditions of both Florence and Tuscany. The 18day long experience features a calendar of events that promise to enrich attendees with culinary knowledge. Though there

is a heavy emphasis on the culinary side of the festival, the Biennale Enogastromica Festival also boasts an array of musical, artistic, literary, and cultural affairs. This festival features a full itinerary of informational and enriching opportunities that spotlight the history, tradition, and metamorphosis of Florentine culture.

More information can be found on the website or by phone. Infoline +39 055 2705233

BIENNALE HOUSE former Center for Contemporary Art in Florence EX3 Viale Giannotti 81/83/85 50126 FLORENCE 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 7 - Numero 7 - Novembre 2017 Year 7 - Issue 7 - November 2017

Caporedattore / Editorial Director Grace Joh

Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore

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BLENDING Newsletter November 2017  
BLENDING Newsletter November 2017