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(Logo courtesy of UNIMED)

FUA headquarters - back side facing the Arno river.


logo courtesy of UNIMED

by Blending Staff

FUA has been officially confirmed as a member of the UNIMED association of Mediterranean universities. UNIMED was founded in 1991 and represents over 80 universities from 21 countries along both shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The aim of the association is to promote collaborative research in the euromediterranean zone in the areas of science, culture, society, and economy. The inter-country network sustains the idea of universities without borders in a culturally rich corner of the world. UNIMED actively promotes the internationalization of Mediterranean universities, research, student-researcher-faculty mobility, development of quality in instruction, conference and seminar organization, and strategic analyses of the Mediterranean macro-region. For information visit:



by Brooke Allen and Jamie Reschke Photos by Silvia Mancini

As first time curators we had the pleasure of working with a talented photographer and receiving an amazing learning experience of installing an exhibition at Ganzo.

The artist Enrico Berni, Jamie Reschke, Brooke Allen, and the instructor Gianni Rossiello (Gallery Curating course).

The process was extensive. We were taught how to interact with the artist and how to better understand his work through our interviewing process. Our professor provided us with a framework of instructions of what was needed to be done and Photo by the autors

Brooke Allen and Jamie Reschke working to set up the Ganzo gallery.


how to properly execute the exhibition. We worked with the Press Office director Susanna Bausi and Journalism EL student Monica Humphries to create a press release and catalog introduction. Our graphic designer Alberto Simoncioni and artist Enrico Berni worked side by side with us to construct the catalog. Many meetings were held with Berni to discuss photography selection and the order placement of the photos in Ganzo. Photos were printed and placed into frames the day before the exhibition and the morning of the event. The photos were assembled in the correct order for the exhibition. At the exhibition, we presented the artist and his work to both the FUA and local communities at Ganzo. The exhibition was a huge success and opened to a full house. Many guests were impressed with the black and white style of Enrico’s photographs. Gaia Poli, FLY manager, shared, “I usually don’t enjoy blurry photographs but these images invited me into the frame, making me question the subject matter and create my own interpretation.”



ENRICO BERNI is a 38-year-old Florentine native who discovered his passion for photography only four years ago. Within those four years he has received two international awards: second place at the Moscow International Foto Awards and second place at the International Center of Photography Awards in New York. He is a self-taught photographer who has learned from Antoine D’Agata, Michael Ackerman, and many more. Intimacy - Enrico Berni Ganzo - via de' Macci, 85r June 8/July 12, 2016

Enrico Berni's photographs on display during the exhibition opening. Photos by the autors

Jamie Reschke and Monica Humphries typing up the Ganzo press release.

Enrico Berni working with Jamie Reschke, Alberto Simoncioni, and Gianni Rossiello to publish the press release booklet, with Matteo Carlomusto.



by Monica Humphries Photos by the autor

It’s a split second decision, well 1/500 of a second or 1/1000 of a second. Between these time frames, everything can change. Expressions of emotions, voices of laughter, and the location of people are no longer frozen.

In photography it’s called the decisive moment, a term coined by Henri Cartier-Bresson who was one of the first photographers to develop the concept of street photography. The decisive moment is the instant a photographer decides to take a photograph. It’s when every part of the photograph is what you hope will be perfect. Sometimes it’s not. But sometimes it is. The streets of Florence are filled with people from all over the world, dogs of every breed, food from every region, and a culture that is hard to capture in a single photograph. But when one does, it is so rewarding. This summer semester, I am taking a three-week course on street photography. In and outside of the classroom, I roamed 4

around Florence taking pictures. One moment I’d be in an empty street with a single person and the next I would be squeezing my way to the front of a crowd. Initially, the bustling city was difficult to manage. Pictures came out blurry, people moved into the frame, and too much was going on around. Snapping a quality photo felt impossible. I started experimenting and taking photographs of everything I saw. Slowly I got the hang of anticipating what would happen next, and I started to enjoy every moment on the streets. Anticipation is a key skill for photography. Looking through the lens, a photographer needs to be aware of his or her surroundings, so he or she is ready when the perfect moment strikes. Unfortunately, this simple task can feel

impossible at times. Giulia Mangione is a street photography professor at FUA, and she has a few tips for recognizing the decisive moment. “I thinks there’s just one moment when the picture’s right,” she said. Her advice to capture that one moment is to be ready. The photographer needs to predict the moment. Don’t restrict your view. If you’re taking photos in a street, look at the end of street to see who’s coming because you might not be prepared for the people closer to you. She also said to always be present. Have you camera turned on and in the right settings, so you don’t waste time getting ready for the photo. The biggest piece of advice was don’t get discouraged. Sometimes the situation isn’t ideal but make the best of it. Maybe



you set out to take sunny photos but it started raining. Take rainy photos. Or maybe you’re fixated on getting a certain photo. Mangione said one time she had her mind set on taking photos of mothers pushing strollers. After weeks of not finding any strollers, she decided to take a break and go to the movies. The cinema that day was celebrating mothers and children, and there were strollers everywhere. “What's happening around us is always for the best,” she said, “sometimes things just happen and you have to be ready to capture it.” The photo of the girl touching the boar’s head highlights the beauty of a decisive moment. Piazza del Mercato Nuovo is a busy area, and the bronze boar is often surrounded by a crowd. To capture a picture with an empty background is quite the task. On top of the busy scene, the girl in the photo only had her eyes closed for a split second. The single click and the scene was gone. I looked back into my viewfinder and found four hands on

the boar and the girl now laughing with her family. Other moments, like people on bicycles or strolling on the streets and the exhaling of smoke, were opportunities that only lasted a few seconds. Decisive moments can also be created. Initially the wedding couple was taking pictures in the Piazza della Signoria. But

after following them for a few seconds, they went to a lonely alley. That was the best opportunity for a photo, and it was an opportunity I created. Moments like this create the excitement of street photography. The scene is constantly changing and the opportunity for new photos is always present.




by Lindsay Hilliard Photo by the autor

Aside from the obvious lack of the letter “P” in the spelling of Italy, I am referring to common misguided beliefs that the majority of foreign students have about Italian cuisine before studying abroad. Like many of the classmates I came to Italy with, I have never lived outside of my home country (USA) for an extended period of time. Having grown up in New England, I live in an area primarily dominated by descendants of Italian immigrants that still possess a strong love for Italy. This sense of pride has been expressed through the many Italian-American restaurants in my area – but believe me, I am not complaining about it. I often find myself drawn to these types of places for delicious pizzas, panini, and pastas, which brings us to the P problem. These three foods are seen as an immediate indicator of “traditional” Italian food. Although many Italian and non-Italian spots do offer a variety of these tasty P’s, it is not a true overall representative of the food served around the table of an Italian family. Each area of Italy has its own specialty dishes with ingredients coming from the native plants and animals of the region. Some common ingredients in Florentine plates are Tuscan bread, tomatoes, beans, and various meats. Local olive oil and wines not only round out the meal, but

represent important connections to the land. Now if you’re thinking that such basic ingredients couldn’t possibly create a savory meal, then you are in the same mindset that I was in when I first arrived in Florence and are probably suffering from the P problem. I know its tempting to scan the menu for what looks the most exciting or unique, but in a city like Florence, simple is better. As cliché as that sounds, it rang true to me after having a single bite of Tuscan pappa al pomodoro from L’Ortone Restaurant, near the Sant'Ambrogio market. Made primarily of stale Tuscan bread, olive oil, tomatoes, and basil, this twist on tomato soup presents itself as simple while being anything but. The preparation and use of these common ingredients instantly made the dish one of my new favorite traditional Italian dishes. As great as pizza, panini, and pasta are, they are not an accurate representation of authentic Italian foods and should not be seen as such. Italy is a country known for its fantastic cuisine and therefore should not be iconized by a trio of foods that can be so easily nicknamed “the P problem.”



by Alyssa Bandes, Alix DeGraffe, Alexander Dudash, Janardan Bautista, Christina Schreiber

Our social media class recently went on a field learning excursion to experience the beauty of Tuscany and Umbria from diverse perspectives. Since we previously prepared a class activity related to the trip, we knew what to expect. The group was looking forward to seeing historical Cortona, experiencing beautiful Lake

known as Franciscan-style churches, which are located throughout Tuscany. Cortona is also home to a museum that harbors many ancient artifacts of the Etruscans, who inhabited the city prior to the rise of the Roman Empire. Being a hillside city, the views from Cortona’s 494-meter altitude are breathtaking.


Trasimeno, and shopping at The Mall. The first destination, hilly Cortona, did not disappoint. Every other street in the city either has on an incline or decline, which makes touring the town a walking challenge. Cortona is also known for the church dedicated to St. Francis. This church and others like it are


Ph. Abigail Willett


Cortona (Arezzo)

Though we could have stayed there all day, we moved on to our second stop: Lake Trasimeno. Just like our visit to Cortona, Lake Trasimeno emanated a sense of relaxation and serenity, truly highlighting the Umbrian region’s cultured past. The pure blue waters of the lake provide memorable views. Occasionally, thrill-seeking wakeboarders and windsurfers can be seen taking advantage of gorgeous days and surprisingly sizeable wakes throughout the day. For lunch, we visited La Capannina in the lakeside town of Castiglione del Lago for delicious homemade recipes. Lake Trasim-

eno is a lesser-known gem that should be on everyone’s travel list. Our last stop was a shopping excursion to The Mall, a major Italian shopping destination. Located close to the main Tuscan cities only 30 minutes from Florence, The Mall is a luxury outlet with extremely advantageous prices. One can find the most exclusive brands in international fashion ranging from Saint Laurent to Gucci, as well as everything in between. When first arriving at The Mall, we were immediately captivated by the elegant and refined atmosphere, as well as the detailed architecture of all of the buildings. Between the 30 different

A CLOSER LOOK AT CORTONA’S HISTORY The most memorable stop of the Cortona, Lake Trasimeno, and The Mall field learning day was the historical town of Cortona in the region of Tuscany. A guided walking tour educated us on the history of the Etruscans and the city itself. The streets of Cortona are steep and narrow causing the residents to walk rather than

drive. The original main street became too difficult to navigate, so it was moved to the only flat road in Cortona. The road change caused the main church to no longer be the central focal point of the city. The Chiesa di San Francesco, constructed in 1245, was designed around the humility of St. Francis, mean-

brands at The Mall, we discovered that there are many opportunities to find a deal that suits your budget and taste. In addition, when taking a break from shopping, the Gucci café and restaurant is a great spot to relax. In just one day we got to experience the heart of Tuscany and experience an Umbrian lake. On our way home we could not decide which place was our favorite. Was it the beautiful church located in Cortona? The food at La Capannina near Trasimeno? Or the very hip Gucci café at the outlet? There is no better feeling than being able to experiencing a different culture and way of life. by Abigail Willett, Ashley Shapiro, Hannah Troutman, Patrick Madigan, Omkar Derasari ing there were little to no decorations and a wooden ceiling. St. Francis was declared a saint by Pope Gregory IX a mere two years after his death, a rare instance in church history and he quickly developed a myriad of followers. Over the years more altars have been dedicated to saints and renovations have revealed 7

Ph. Isabella Martini

artworks behind the altars, adding to the medieval patrimony of the church. As for the Etruscan presence in the Cortona area, the local museum MAEC holds the longest script of Etruscan writing and several other artifacts. Most of the objects are still a mystery due to the lack of knowledge on the Etruscan language. The museum collection also includes items related to the overall history and culture of Cortona. We got the opportunity to see what a bedroom for the local aristocracy would have looked like. The historic contextualization of Cortona aided our group in connecting to a different time period through hands on learning.

Ph. Nathan Elliot

Lake Trasimeno (Perugia)

The Mall - Leccio Reggello (Florence)



by Evan Pagano

A two-part story on a city exploration, written from an Italian-American perspective.

Part 1 – THE ELEVATOR The thwap of the clothes rack on my balcony woke me up just before my first Florentine thunderstorm gusted from the hills and hung its gray clouds over my crackling apartment building. I pushed the clothes in over the radiator just before the drops fell. I took that thwap as my cue to go out and explore this city. 8

I threw on clothes from the rack, trying to look more like the pre-hyphen word in Italian-American, and ventured out toward the cloud-greyed world of Florence, Italy. But first, I rode the elevator, an experience that showed me that I’m still very much the word post-hyphen. My roommate told me it was small, and I thought, suuuuure. Maybe compared to freight elevators. But now, as its narrow



metal door looked self-consciously at me, spreading its lats and puffing up to be a measly Evan width, I understood that as soon as the small light went on, as soon as I turned my smallest key clockwise, I’d walk into the smallest elevator I’d ever seen. Light, key, and I went in, a little too comfortable as I thought of my missed trips to the gym. I scooted into the crypt sideways, facing my reflection and words I wouldn’t be able to use in caso di emergenza. After a sputter, I remembered my cultural training and hit zero, not one, and when the button didn’t light up, I looked back out to freedom from this terrible choice, but it was too late. The door had sucked shut, and two-piece door which folded in four places skid and clacked together just in front of it. On one neuron tucked in my brain, I accepted this Florentine elevator as my final resting place. And then the elevator went down in its descent, seeming to veer here, veer there, and visit old friends on its excursion down the shaft and surely past the ground floor. Face-to-face with myself, I ran over where it could have taken me—was I in the janitor’s closet? A tiny elevator-sized grave under the building? Thhhhunk. Next to my right shoulder, the folding door slid, clashed, and the gray door reappeared before I was ready; a small and gangly figure was at my hip. “Whuah,” I let out with a powerful pump of my heart. It was a boy, on the ground floor, looking at me with his head turned. “I am so much more Italian than you,” he thought, in Italian. I squeezed out, he walked in and pressed his button. I shook my head, laughed at myself, maybe thought of writing this as I walked through the open air garden and out of the complex, into the weak rain.

Part 2 – THE LION The storm was a tired lion pawing at a string, the drizzle its purrs, the thunder which roars to remind you that he’s still a lion, and that this house cat act could end at any time. Florentines strolled calmly subdued on the sidewalks, aware it was raining yet hardly a problem. They went past Mister Pizza and Pizza Man, into Cariparma Credit Agricole or Cartoleria di Cristina, or home. It was calm in the streets of Florence, as it always seems to be when Italians are out, and the lion purred until he fell asleep. I sat on a bench to finish this piece, in front of the pharmacy between Via Pietrapiana e Via dei Martiri del Popolo. As I wrote about the elevator, I wanted to finish this entry on how calm things were—how on a busy meeting point of three streets, it sounded like everyone had a sleeping roommate nearby. I raised my pen, looked up to observe the serene town, when I heard a yell. An anomaly, I thought, but then I heard another one, then a cackle, then the clopping of shoes, all in English. Directly down the middle of the street came a wide line of girls, like a convoy of trucks blaring pop music. They were coming from the Duomo, all wearing identical, brand-new Italia shirts. Their loudspeaker conversation was in English, but universally translatable as not worthy of broadcasting to the street. I was alone in the fact that I looked up, almost baffled. Everyone else kept walking, their faces as serene and sure as ever. But in my head shake and annoyance, I felt a strange connection, and silent communication from the calm faces that if their parents didn’t teach them to be so polite, they’d be doing the same thing. In that moment, I felt Italian, if only a little. I wanted to go tell the little kid.



by Hannah Grisham Ph. Monica Humphries

As I entered Piazza Santissima Annunziata, I noticed that there was something different about this square. The area seemed to be a lot slower than many of the piazzas that I have visited during in my time here in Florence. I looked around a noticed many locals sitting, eating, and chatting with one another away from the crowds that occupy most of the city center. 9

Ph. Olivia Paggiarino Ph. Olivia Paggiarino

Santissima Annunziata Church - courtyard

Santissima Annunziata Church - the corridor on the facade




Ph. Monica Humphries

Santissima Annunziata houses many beautiful buildings and is named after the church flanking the north side of the square, founded in 1250 by the Servite Order, one of the five original Catholic Orders. Another important building is Ospedale degli Innocenti (Hospital of the Innocents) that's considered the first example of not only Renaissance architecture, but also specialized orphanages for abandoned children in Europe. It was originally a children’s orphanage in 1419. At one time, mothers could drop off their child in a basin at the front of the building. Later on, the basin method evolved into a wheel that a mother could put her child in and rotate to place the baby inside of the orphanage anonymously. Eventually the orphanage turned into a hospital, and is today a museum*. This piazza should be visited at some point during any stay in Florence – it's a place full of history and also offers a momentary escape from the city center crowds.

*The newly renovated Museo degli Innocenti opens to the public on June 24, 2016. For information on museum hours and tickets, visit

Piazza Santissima Annunziata Ph. Olivia Paggiarino

Ospedale degli Innocenti




Supplemento di / Supplement to Blending Magazine

Direttore Responsabile /

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

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Anno 6 - Numero 4 - Giugno-Luglio 2016

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Year 6 - Issue 4 - June-July 2016 Caporedattore / Editore / Publisher

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Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore

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BLENDING Newsletter June/July 2016  
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