BLENDING Newsletter April/May 2019

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by Tia Page and Hannah Hastings Photos by Nell Warnock

FUA students blur the lines between conventional boundaries to create bold, universal styles, changing the world of fashion for the better. FUA students explored the concept of “Breaking Barriers”

an exceptional experience; one room showcased Sam

on Tuesday April 16th. Hosted at FLY (Fashion Loves

Falzone’s Capsule Collection alongside handmade leather

You), the event was filled with an industrial and urban

party favors. Another room was an observatory for mood

energy. Guests arrived to see students showcasing their

board production.

iconic styles and paying homage to gender-fluid fashion.

The night began with a gracious welcome from fellow

Students and faculty collaborated to produce an alluring

FUA students setting the stage for the night. Sam

and lively atmosphere, and to commemorate the launch

Falzone discussed his vision and creative process for the

of two student designers from Florence University of the

collection, Get Lost, which encompasses the concept of


exploration while accompanying the empowerment of

The event went outside patriarchal boundaries to unite all

the urban explorer. As the stylish attendees mingled, the

genders with the use of unique designs surrounding self-

event transitioned into a celebratory mood.

emergence and androgyny. Tiche and Sam Falzone, the

The aperitivo showed up later that evening. The

featured designers, incorporated various construction

experience of Falzone’s remarkable design served as

techniques to create fearless, contemporary looks.

space for individuals to connect and unify through their

Each room at FLY offered different happenings for

advocacy for genderless fashion.

“Breaking Barriers� proved that gender is simply an outdated construct. FLY and FUA are individualizing fashion and highlighting non-binary attitudes. Collections such as this initiate a chain reaction across other emerging designers and brands, challenging harmful gender norms and empowering individuals. Enhancing our knowledge on ethical fashion moves us closer to equality and positivity within society.






by Allen Hebert Photos by the author

La Divina Commedia Opera Musical March 3rd, 2019

Experiencing the opera in a foreign country is exciting.

at the top of a 15-foot dead rooted tree stump was to me

No defined understanding of the words is required to

a world performance that must be checked off anyone

feel the emotions of a truly talented singer. The sole

with a pulse’s bucket list before passing. The hair on my

purpose of a theatre venue is to sell an experience. A

arms rose with such curiosity of the depths of pain and

good storyline has a beginning, a contextual middle, and

hope the human soul possesses, and how he proclaimed

a conclusion. A story line as deep and intriguing as the

these emotions with such beauty and passion. At Mr.

‘La Divina Commedia’ was exactly what I was urning for.

Venturini’s closing note, there wasn’t a single person

To hear the resonance and emotion in the role of Dante

who didn’t applaud. Without knowing Italian, one must

by Antonello Angiolillo was magical. The strength in Mr.

heighten their other senses to understand meaning in

Angiolillo’s voice, whose precisely sung notes which

the musical. The choreography, set and costume design

flawlessly massaged the audiences ear drums, touching

helped to give placement to the historical journey. I sat

our hearts, needed no translation. We knew when Dante

by a very sweet 75-year-old woman, who wore a blanket

was in the depths of Hell (inferno), confusion of Purgatory

to keep her legs warm. She watched me listen to the

(purgatorio), or the heights of Heaven (paradiso).


As the flyer given at the entrance proclaims, the musical,

fantasies. During the interval, she took out her phone

which has been performed for over 700,000 people,

and wrote in Google Translate, “I applaud your efforts

truly involves and arouses the viewers, bringing Dante’s

in coming, even Italians who read Dante in school have

dreams and fantasies to real life. The tree in Purgatory

no clue of what’s really going on.” I told her, “Mi piace

made my heart beat faster. Daniele Venturini’s vocal range

sentire la musica.”


I closed my eyes at times and pondered the


by Allen Hebert Photos by the author

I left the exhibit thinking I could have spent all day

the adornment of the Christ Child. We also see each detail

viewing the attendees reaction’s to the sheer talent

pronounced down to the delicate strokes that open the left-

they had witnessed. Though I only feel welcome so

facing angel’s eyes to the shining heavens above.

long in a museum environment, I thought, to be a

My determination mixed with patience allowed me to examine

fly on the wall at Palazzo Strozzi would be amazing;

each masterpiece through the bustling crowds on opening

people would not notice me. I could watch viewers

day. Lacking the complex eyes a fly endows, I can’t examine

react to Andrea del Verrocchio’s masterpieces, a

each piece from 800 different views at the same time. I swivel

prominent artisan of the Florentine Renaissance.

and focus my irises with new fascination in each moment.

Verrocchio was the master and mentor to Domenico

Each piece in unison creates an experience only possible at

Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli,

Pietro Perugino

this exhibit. It took nearly five years of collaborating with

and Leonardo da Vinci, whose works are brought

the museums to make this experience possible and I urge you

together in this exhibition.

not to let this unmissable experience pass you by.

Some of the world’s

most prominent museums collaborated to make this exhibit possible, including the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, displaying over 120 paintings, sculptures and sketches. Until July 14th, 2019, we have the unique opportunity to witness at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, a synergy between the most prominent Renaissance artists of the 15th and 16th century. As the exhibit calls it, “artistic genealogy,” through the mentoring relationships of a more experienced artist to a newer evolving artist, we see how Donatello and Desiderio da Settignano taught Verrocchio. In turn, Verrocchio (1435-1488) taught Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519), hence the theme “Master of Leonardo.” In Verrocchio’s Flemish-style tempura, “The Virgin and Child with Two Angels (Volterra Madonna) c.1471-72,” we see the clear and pure saturation of bold colors that give such definitions to how each angel plays their part in



The walls that used to surround the city of Florence have lost their purpose in time, but their story and importance remains in Florentine history.

PORTA ROMANA Secoli fa, Firenze era circondata da alte mura che difendevano la città. Nel corso dei secoli ci sono stati cinque o sei tipi di mura diverse, ma oggi rimangono solo piccole parti di queste mura. Porta Romana era la porta più meridionale delle mura del XIV secolo di Firenze. Oggi si trova alla fine di due viali - Via del Poggio Imperiale e Via Senese. È la seconda porta più grande e meglio conservata di Firenze. A Porta Romana è stato dato questo nome perché punta nella direzione di Roma, ma in realtà il suo nome originale era Porta San Pier Gattolino. La porta è stata progettata da molti architetti, tra cui Arnolfo di Cambio e Giotto. L’arco esterno presenta un affresco del XIV secolo raffigurante la Vergine in trono e i santi. L’ingresso della porta ha ancora le porte in ferro originali, ed è decorata con lo stemma dei Medici incisa su una lastra di marmo e una placca che ricorda l’arrivo di Carlo V a Firenze. Davanti alla porta ci sono due statue di donne chiamate “Dietrofront”, eseguite da Michelangelo Pistoletto nel 1933. Una donna punta verso Roma e l’altra verso le mura della città di Firenze. Approfitta del bel tempo primaverile e fai una


by Brianna Soccio & Katie Lyons Photos by the author

passeggiata in Oltrarno per visitare Porta Romana. Vicino alla porta c’è una nuova gelateria, Sbrino. Prendi un cono e immaginati di essere nella Firenze del XIV secolo!

by Carmen Turner & Claudia Curros Photos by the authors

e si trova in Piazza della Libertà. È la porta più settentrionale della città, e quella che ha visto il maggior traffico dato che si collega alla strada per Bologna. Sulla porta c’è un’iscrizione che ricorda la sua costruzione nel 1285 per volere del Capitano di parte Guelfa Rolandino da Canossa. Le chiavi della porta sono ancora conservate nel Museo di Palazzo Vecchio. L’esterno della porta è decorato con due leoni di Parte Guelfa (chiamati marzocchi) in pietra, e all'interno ci sono tracce di un affresco della Madonna e Santi. La placca sopra l’arco d’ingresso ricorda il passaggio di Re Federico IV di Danimarca in città nel 1708. Avere le porte di Firenze, come Porta San Gallo, ancora in piedi oggi è sia interessante che importante. Unisce la città antica con la città nuova e mostra come Firenze sia cresciuta Ogni città deve essere protetta, e porta San Gallo ha avuto

nel corso dei secoli. Residenti e turisti possono così vedere

questa funzione per la grande città di Firenze. È uno dei

la barriera che un tempo circondava la città. Queste porte

monumenti più antichi e culturalmente significativi rimasti

fanno parte della storia di Firenze ed è sorprendente che ci

a Firenze. Porta San Gallo faceva parte delle mura di Firenze

siano ancora dopo tutti questi anni.





by Michael Gottschalk Photo by the author

My knees started to hurt first. Around the outside, surrounding the knee cap. It wasn’t a sharp pain; It felt more like rubber bands beginning to lose their elasticity.

Halfway there, my brain told my aching legs near the Ponte Vecchio. Shut up, we hate you, my legs responded. I’d worked hard for this moment. Running at least three times a week, at least 25 miles total in preparation for the Florence Half Marathon. I ran along the river, through the city, anywhere I could. I also consumed enough caffeine to kill a small horse before the race started, so my energy level had never been higher. I was not going to stop unless my defiant legs decided to mutiny. As the miles passed, my vision tunneled. I saw only my feet in their bright green shoes, pounding away at the hard-stone streets of Florence, totally focused on not tripping this far into the race. I weaved my way around other runners, pushing my lungs to their full capacity with every breath. When I hit the 12th mile, my legs felt renewed. I began to almost sprint, ready to finish in the fastest time possible. Turning the corner into Santa Croce, past the inflatable arch, and onto the red carpet through the finish line. I was flying. I saw my friends waiting for me, filming me in my moment, smiling ear to ear. When I finally stopped running after one hour, fifty-two minutes, my eyes became heavy as I fought back against tears of joy and buckling knees. My goal was to finish the half-marathon in under two hours. I beat that by eight minutes, faster

Photo by Yuri Catalano on Unsplash

than I had run at any point during my training, and I could not stop smiling. It was the first time in a long time that I was proud of something that I worked hard for and accomplished. I stood in the crowd of other ecstatic finishers for a second and looked at my medal. I could feel a glow beaming out of my body. It was the perfect mixture of brilliant euphoria and radiant body odor. I walked over to my friends and received hugs, a bottle of champagne, and a good deal of very welcome praise.

I did it, I thought to myself, I don’t have to run for a long, long time. Thank god, you stupid idiot, my legs responded, before reminding me to stretch with a shot of sharp pain through my knee. 7



by Sophia Lascaris Photo by Sydney Court

Florence has kept me captive for almost two years

staring at him creepily, but when I crack an enormous

now, and her well- groomed claws are not showing any

smile he waves and returns a grin possessing the warmth

signs of letting me go. I marinate for months at a time

of a burning furnace.

in her pungent soup; composed of every kind of human imaginable, her busy yet relatively quiet piazzas, the

On a parallel street, via della Chiesa, I hear energetic

odours exuding from behind closed doors, the harmonising

strokes on a classical guitar. I walk slowly towards the

sight of an analogous colour palette embracing her. Reds,

origin to find a man sitting on his stool in the centre of

oranges, yellows, browns and greys dominate every one

his woodworking studio surrounded by dusty rubble and

of her corners, with the occasional dark green interlude

miscellaneous objects. With an almost Spanish articulation

of her sporadic flora. Even her birds match this coalition

the man was frowning in concentration darting his eyes

of urban complexion.

to and fro his snaking fingers. The scent of the sawdust complemented the vigorous yet rustic song and so did this

Walking to any destination becomes a journey on its own;

musician’s appearance. Dressed in beige cargo pants and

I frequently find myself in the midst of a tale every time

a dark orange t-shirt all smothered in dust and varnish,

I am on her roads, narrating, as when I share bed time

he effortlessly blended into Florence’s hues. I broke his

stories with my boy. There is always something significant

concentration with my presence and he put his guitar

to be engraved in my memories.

down, standing up and politely asking if I needed any help. I was simply there to ogle at him.

I have recently discovered a behaviour, that I am now inevitably associating with Florence…

And yesterday, as I was thinking about this unusual pattern, I was crossing my street, via del Campuccio, and

In Oltrarno, walking in the narrow pavements of the

to my surprise I find these big doors on the street open

blocked-off streets, with the sand from the repair

for the first time. A young man with curly black hair and

excavations crackling under my shoes, and the infrequent

a short beard was on his piano playing a few chords at

drops of cold rain hitting my head, I discern a lonely

a time then jotting them down on his notebook. He was

instrument, playing a slow, melancholy melody. It pauses

creating a piece… in front of me. I was under a sky that

and then resumes from the first note. I find the source,

held the colour and sensation of a shark; dark blue and

echoing from my small organic market on via Dei Serragli.

grey electrically entangled together, only broken up by

The closed sign is facing me and all the lights inside are

soft spots of white. I looked up at this immense, menacing

off save for the one theatrical spotlight hitting the old,

sky and to the architecture around me and back to the

practicing musician. I listen with my eyes closed as he

young piano player only to perceive that all were stirring

shyly studies his sax’s solemn magic. The man notices me

up something innately irresistible.





Styling and copywriting by Sarah McNulty | Photos by Rachel Bill | Modeled by Lindsay Kasprzyk

Lindsay is spreading good vibes with this colorful ETRO Milano button down in the spirit of summer being just around the corner.

This look is styled to bring out the uniqueness of the button down by tying it over these Asos Denim overalls; Lindsay is ready for the warm summer days, but cold summer nights. With hair slicked back into a pony and sunglasses, Lindsay is putting an edgy spin to the look. Head over to FLY to find your springtime vintage pieces.




by Olivia Kolkana Photo by the author

As captivating and mystifying the city of Florence is, it can also be a huge distraction when the reality of schoolwork and assignments hit. Fortunately, there are many beautiful places where students can go to stay inspired and focused. Here are a few of my favorites: 1. Caffetteria delle Oblate Via dell'Oriuolo 26, 50122 Firenze FI 055 263 9685 Caffetteria delle Oblate is where you’ll find me most afternoons, sitting at a table with an apricot croissant and a specialty coffee (the “Oblatino” is my favorite) while occasionally glancing up at the stunning view of the Duomo. Lunchtime or early afternoon will be the least busy time. TIP: Keep in mind that they may have to dismiss you in the evenings due to dinner reservations. There are not a lot of outlets, so bring a fully charged laptop if you can. Don’t want to sit in the café? The library has plenty of outdoor seating that is perfect when the weather is nice. 2. Caffè la Cattedrale Via dell'Oriuolo, 61, 50127 Firenze FI 055 215770 This sweet spot is a lot lesser known to students, however, it’s one of my favorites. There’s a loft upstairs that faces the duomo, free wifi, and a plethora of different beverages. TIP: A budget-friendly aperitivo starts at around 5:30 in the evening, so you can study and catch dinner at the same time. Head upstairs for a quieter atmosphere (they don’t play music), just be aware that the space might be booked for an event.

3. Rivarno Lungarno delle Grazie 12r, 50122 Firenze FI 055 245535 Not only is Rivarno aesthetically beautiful, it offers an amazing selection of snacks like banana bread and hummus with veggies. My personal favorite is the pecorino con frutta e mostarda, a delightful cheese and jam board. TIP: Make sure to mention you are a student for a 20% off discount! Also, keep in mind that the tables are small so you might 10


want to secure two if you are doing work. There is a great outdoor space as well! 4. Ditta Artigianale Via dei Neri, 30/32 R, 50122 Firenze FI 055 274 1541 Albeit expensive, this coffee bar is another great option to grab an espresso and get to work. Their coffee is both exclusive, ethical, and roasted locally. It’s also a popular brunch spot, so don’t forget to go back for a meal. TIP: There are two locations—the one south of the river is ideal for dining but less laptop-friendly. Stick to the one north of the river for doing homework and remember that laptops are only welcome at the bar seating. I hope you can enjoy these places as much as I have.




by Katie Weiler Photo by the author

When I think of Florentine bookstores, I picture dusty old books, some so rare and unique that I’ve never heard of the title or author. When visiting a place as old as Florence, there are a number of stores like these that are hidden in the city. For every one of these, there is a new kind of bookstore emerging in Florence, a mirror for the modern age and the rise of technology.

The Black Spring is not only a bookstore, but a Florentine

Black Spring is a book store and experience all in one.

experience. In a city filled with art and new ideas, this

The atmosphere of this store is more like a coffee shop

bookstore embraces them both. In mixing the concept of

or an art exhibit, and I’m overwhelmed at once. It’s

the modern chain store with the archaic cramped shelves

nothing like a modern coffee shop though, since a sign

of the traditional bookstore, there emerges a new space

politely declares there is no wifi, only in encouragement

for both literature and art.

of reading instead. There is plenty surrounding the walls to distract people from needing to scour the internet.

Most stores aren’t an experience, however Black Spring

With every piece of art I see, I have an almost macabre

gave me the impression that I was approaching books all

sense of the place, the paper skeleton in the corner

wrong. I guess you could say I am a much more traditional

intrigues as much as it delights. There are dark drawings,

book reader. I crave the pages and often scour the titles

sketches and paintings on the walls that surround me

for familiar names. I have a love for classic books, and

giving the room a dark aura. Not everything about this

through the detailed biographies of the famous writers,

place is dark and off beat though, in fact it’s the contrast

I become them as I read. In this store, I find only one or

that truly makes an impression on me. For the illusive

two familiar titles, the rest are as exciting and foreign to

pictures creating an image of death, there are also bright

me as Florence was a few months ago.

twinkly lights hanging from the ceiling over a bright and



welcoming array PLACES of armchairs and tables. It makes the FACES AND name Black Spring all the more relatable.

the stores. Bookstores tend to be gravitating towards more of a “sit down� experience. The space in this store allows people to browse interesting titles, sit down for

The fact the dark appearance of the shop appeals to

a cup of coffee, or even just admire the artwork on the

me is that I have never seen something quite like it. It


is both art and books, something I appreciate so much more in Florence. There were both Italian and English

The rise of technology and especially the use of e-readers

books, sharing a mixture of the community in this part

has changed the attitude of bookstores. Many have

of the Oltrarno. Each book cover was so creative in its

desperately converted their stores into internet spaces,

illustrations that it made me realize the art wasn’t just on

or workspaces, but this store holds strong in its interest

the walls. Every book had a unique drawing, some with

in the arts; no wifi allowed.

dark colors, some brighter than the others. There were

Walking into the store, I was not sure what to expect.

books on tattoos, books on gardening and even books

The store is only one room, but the space is decorated in

on mythological creatures and astrology. These off beat

a way that makes use of every inch. The aesthetic is both

genres really made me remember this store as a unique

modern and vintage, the lamps and armchairs sharing an

part of my time in Florence.

artsy feel while the use of drawers and built shelves hold the many titles in order to show the practical use of the

After wandering around the store several times I

space. The space is welcoming, yet it holds many more

decided to approach the lady at the desk, who identified

secrets than a visitor can uncover on the first visit. It just

herself as an owner of the shop. She told me the store

shows this place is worth a second visit.

has been opened for five years and they work hard to offer something different to the community. To find the artwork that covers the walls she described their search for artists in the city that peak their own interest and then share them with their guests. I was impressed at how the artwork fit so well with the rest of the store. The mixture of a space for art is not a new idea. Many places, restaurants, stores and even the streets themselves serve artists with a platform to share their art. Now, bookstores are integrating art exhibits within



INTERVIEW WITH TAYLOR WILLIAMS By FUA Alumni Association Photo by Taylor Williams

FUA: Hi Taylor, tell us a little about yourself. TW: Ciao! I’m Taylor Williams. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA but grew up in Memphis, TN. My first degree was in Business Management from the University of Memphis. It was during my time there that I got the chance to study abroad. I studied abroad in the Spring semester of 2014. While at FUA I took business, marketing, Italian, and intermediate piano. FUA: What have you been up to since graduating? TW: Once I graduated, I worked as a marketing intern at ServiceMaster, a major company in Memphis. After a while, I decided I needed a change. I went to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and got my second degree in Nursing. Currently, I reside in Pittsburgh and work as a Nurse at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. I am a postpartum RN, meaning I take care of newborns and their moms after delivery.



FUA: Did you do any volunteering while you were at FUA? TW: I volunteered as a waitress at Ganzo, FUA’s restaurant. It was honestly one of my favorite parts of my study abroad experience. I was there at least once or twice a week, probably more than I was required to. It gave me a chance to talk with other students, interact with locals, and learn about Italian food and wine. How did FUA help you grow personally and/or professionally? TW: Studying abroad changed my life. When I first arrived in Florence, I struggled a lot with homesickness. It was so bad I became physically ill and considered returning home. I quickly learned a lot about the doctors’ offices and pharmacies in Italy. If it weren’t for the wonderful staff at FUA and my roommates, I might have left and missed out on a wonderful life experience. Studying abroad forces you to become independent. You have to make adjustments to the way you live your life and do so in an environment where there is a language barrier. You have to step out of your comfort zone. I do not think I would be as confident as I am now if I hadn’t studied abroad. Now when I travel, especially to areas where there is a different culture and language, it is much easier and I feel more comfortable. FUA: What are your favorite FUA memories? TW: Many of my favorite memories involve the piano class I took at the school and volunteering at Ganzo, the school’s restaurant. We were required to practice for our piano class and I loved going to the practice room. The acoustics were wonderful and you could open the windows and listen to the birds and cars outside. Also, outside the practice room my friends and I would sit on the balcony in the courtyard and play guitar and enjoy the view overlooking the Arno. At Ganzo, we hosted events and I loved getting to interact with fellow students and local residents. I always felt so at home at Ganzo and FUA. FUA: If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad at FUA, what would you say? FUA: What are your plans for the future? TW: Don’t be that person who graduates without studying abroad. Life is too short to not take advantage

TW: I hope to start travel nursing within the next year

of the wonderful experiences you have at your fingertips

and get the chance to see more of the US. My hopes

as a student. FUA and the beautiful city of Florence will

are also for me to make my way back to Florence, and

not let you down.

potentially move there for a few years.




Supplemento di |

Direttore Responsabile | Editor in chief

Supplement to Blending Magazine

M atteo Brogi

Reg. Trib. di Firenze n° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011 Anno 9 - Numero 3 - Aprile-Maggio 2019

Caporedattore | Editorial Director

Year 9 - Issue 3 - April - May 2019

Grace Joh

Editore | Publisher

Coordinamento Editoriale |

Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore

Managing Editor

Via Alfonso Lamarmora, 39

Shauna K avanagh

50121 Firenze

Redazione testi | Copy Editors Sede editoriale |



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