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Photo by Meaghan Kacsmar

Breaking news TuttoToscana Brigade graduates in Florence By Blending Staff

The TuttoToscana kitchen brigade members presently enrolled in professional Apicius programs in Florence will be recognized at the Palazzi graduation ceremony at the Farewell Party. Marco Assandria, Jeff O’Neill, Melodi Sezener, Courtney Hamlin, Lindsay Osborne and Kelsey Richards have returned to Florence after a week of events in NYC to resume their professional culinary and pastry programs and will be honored for their successful program completion at the ceremony held in Palazzo Pandolfini. The brigade served a total of 275 people spread over 4 different events in prestigious New York City locations such as the James Beard Foundation, Astor Wine & Spirits and De Gustibus at Macy’s in Herald Square. The results of the Italian Riviera menu concept were stellar and the US audience was thoroughly impressed with each event. James Beard Director of House Programming Izabela Wojcik writes that “2011 was the best weekend and I’m looking forward to 2012!” Brigade members Mike Phyall, Nedret Erbilgic, Samantha Sklar; event management team members Emily Berryill, Kathryn Peters, Katherine Martinez; and documentary team members Meaghan Kacsmar and Tyler Bagwell will not be attending the ceremony as they have returned home to their respective studies, jobs and countries after the event week in NYC. Read all about the TuttoToscana event preparation and staging at the students’ blog:


newsletter 3 DECEMBER 2011

eVenTs December event roundup By Blending Staff

Don’t miss out on your last chance to enjoy cultural events in Florence before the semester ends! Vasari, The Uffizi Gallery And The Duke from June 14, 2011 to January 8, 2012 Galleria degli Uffizi info: 055 23885 Declining Democracy: Rethinking democracy between utopia and participation from September 23, 2011 to January 22, 2012 Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina (CCCS) info: 055 2645155

Past event: getting Tattooed and Talking art with Claudia De sabe, an independent artist

Photo courtesy of Alex Grant

By Alex Grant When I saw that Sabe was tattooing at the Florence Tattoo Convention November 4th, 5th and 6th , I messaged her the day of and paid my deposit for my tattoo: a Victorian styled lady with a snake and raven skull in her hair, dripping in jewels. I’ve looked up to her art and attitude for so long I couldn’t wait for those three hours of pain and having a good conversation about my favorite subject: art. Sabe is now manager and artist of Jolie Rouge, a top tattoo shop in London. Start from the beginning…? I was drawing since I was little. I remember I would get super frustrated because what you see in your head isn’t coming out on paper. My mom was artistic, always drawing. When I started going to conventions 17 years ago, people could smoke, drink. I was only 14. My mom used to drive me there because it was in Bologna. We would stay half an hour then drag me out like by my ear.

Gala dinner and home lunch - food, cooking, good manners and table elegance at the time of Artusi from November 10, 2011 to January 31, 2012 Biblioteca Marucelliana info: 055 2722200 ‘Never seen before’ The faces revealed. Roman Portraits from the Uffizi deposits. from December 15, 2011 to January 31, 2012 Galleria degli Uffizi, Sala delle Reali Poste info: 055 2388742 - 055 2388622 The King’s Passions. Countries, horses and more in Florence at the time of the Savoia family from November 10, 2011 to February 10, 2012 Villa Medicea della Petraia info: 055 452691 - 055 23885

How did you start with the whole idea of putting a female figure into everything? Well I think when I was little. I told you that I did art college in Italy, you know school in Italy is a bit different. I started at art college at age 14 and then finished at 19. After that I decided to go back.I was kinda forced by my parents and randomly decided to study cinema and art during school. I fell in love with the first black and white films and that Victorian look, and I started studying all of those things. I just fell in love with the old English Victorian look. This old woman, a dutchess about 90 years old traveled all over the world doing these Victorian shows and she was really nice to me. She had me around her museum for a few months with her private collection, and that’s what she does. She buys these old Victorian things and has a museum where she can display everything. She made me fall in love with trolls and ghosts and dramatic women. I just figured I would draw this, and when I finished school and started to draw tattoos, that’s what I was still looking at. On Italians and Tattoos: When I started, I was drawing the same stuff I do now: Japanese dragons, women, skulls. My taste hasn’t changed, but at the time in Italy, they wanted realistic things, not traditional, it was too graphic. It was not part of our culture, too American and English. The style was geared towards 80’s and 90’s, such as Indian chiefs, bikers, heavy metal. Those were the kind of people who had tattoos. Now sadly a lot of Italian tattoo is trying to copy or be something else. They follow trends. I hate trends, just do your own thing and make art that comes from inside you not what everyone else is doing. Some of the best artists have done their own thing, didn’t copy anything and made history. Follow what your heart tells you. In Italy now, people want whatever I already do so it’s easy, but it didn’t start like that. Just always keep going. What are the best places in Europe for tattoos? London, because there’s millions of people living there and tattooing has always been a massive part of English culture. There are kings and princes getting tattooed. It’s part of their history; you can’t deny it. There’s some amazing work in Germany as well. Holland is also pretty cool; I would move there if I could. Care to go out after this interview? (wishful thinking): I have to go home and do drawings for tomorrow. I have no social life at all besides art. People think it’s easy but they don’t see the sacrifices we make.



DECEMBER 2011 newsletter 3

The aBC’s of art: Private Flat Comes to F_air By Alex and Becky Chipkin

On October 14th and November 4th 2011, F_AIR - Florence Artist in Residence invited to its space the organization team of Private Flat - Arte Contemporanea in Spazi Privati. In the spirit of collaboration and networking of Florence University of the Art, F_AIR offered a location where to discuss, organize and manage the logistic of the the coolest and most independent event of contemporary art in Florence, arrived this year at its seventh edition. Private Flat, founded in 2006, is the creation of a group of friends who put together artists and curators in Florence to organize exhibits in private apartments and spaces. Private Flat involves hosts, those volunteering the exhibition space, and the curators of the exhibitions on display. These unique groups function outside the gallery and museum context, making the artist-to curator-to space relationship much closer, and challenging. Each curator and artist has to take into consideration the domestic location in which they will exhibit. The flats are scattered throughout Florence and are open to the public. Preparation in progress at Space 7.10. Photo courtesy of Private Flat. The Private Flat group met in F_AIR’s lecture room to discuss this year's edition (running from December 9th through December 11th, and consisting of 12 exhibitions in the same number of private spaces), and to illustrate each group's project, revolving on a general theme entitled Shameless. Martino Margheri (also the coordinator of university educational programs at the Strozzina Center for Contemporary Culture) led the meeting, introducing each of the speakers. During the meeting, the curators and artists enthusiastically presented their projects for the upcoming exhibition. The title dictates the theme of the pieces, which include everything from painting to performance. Two artists, Marco Mazzoni (1965) and Raffaele de Vaia (1969), who have participated in group shows at F_AIR (Vanity F_AIR, winter 2011, and The Summer Issue, June 2011) are also exhibiting their work with Private Flat. Some art professors of our School of Fine Arts, Antonella Mercati, Paride Moretti, Virginia Lopez, have participated in the current and previous editions of Private Flat. The FUA students had the chance to meet the organizers involved in Private Flat during a few of the weekly Arty Friday visits. If you would like to know more about Private Flat, check out their website at

a Happy art: Ugo nespolo By Brittany Benevento

The Simboli Art Gallery showed works by Ugo Nespolo. The gallery is located at Via di San Giuseppe, 6/r 50122, Florence, Italy. The exhibit ran from the 15th of October until the 27th of November. Walking up to the gallery, the first thing you notice is a piece of artwork in the window. It is a colorful and unique portrait of Marilyn Monroe. This was a smart move for the art gallery because the artwork is so colorful that it is bound to catch your eye. It almost beckons you to see the rest of the exhibit. When you enter the exhibit, you are immediately overcome with color. Every piece of art has at least five different colors in it. The pictures vary from still lifes to portraits to abstract pieces. The pieces are carved into Ugo Nespolo, Ipotesi numerica, acrylic on wood. wood and painted. Some were in frames but most of them were not. One piece in particular, a second portrait of Marilyn Monroe, seemed to be made from some kind of Styrofoam and had different layers. Marilyn’s face seemed to be coming off the artwork. Nespolo’s work is different from any other artist. The perfect word to describe his art is whimsical. He makes you look at things in a different, silly and colorful way. Walking into the gallery and being surrounded by his art, you think of amusement parks or candy and being a kid again. While there is no way of knowing what Nespolo intended, a piece of artwork that can make you forget your problems is something that not many artists can pull off. This is definitely an exhibit to see if you want to look at the world with just a little bit more imagination.


newsletter 3 DECEMBER 2011

a Collaboration of the senses: gianfranco Becucci By Katie Blair

Music and artwork have a long history of working to inspire listeners and viewers. While both are greatly moving, they are very different forms of expression and art. When there is a collaboration and one work draws on the other, the result can be stunning. Gianfranco Becucci (Florence, 1959) does exactly that. In this exhibit, The Color of Sound, there are two main muses—music and people. Becucci has taken on the difficult task of describing one sense in relation to another. Choices of the colors incorporated are rich and vibrant. The most intriguing aspect of this exhibit is definitely the mutation of musical instruments. They are morphed into one another, on their way to becoming one while still being separate entities that, viewers remember, produce different sounds. There is a sense of fluidity and purpose. A piano is bent into a shape that isn't normal and enclaves a violin. In one painting, a violin, saxophone and piano are depicted as overlapping and intertwined, as if to show the importance and beauty in the sounds that can be made when combining the instruments. In a way, the portrayal of these instruments feels like a harmony in itself. Separately the instruments are basic, but combined they create an image that is far greater than any of the pieces alone—much like combining the sounds of different instruments together; the overlapping heightens what you hear. Becucci calls the imagination to play a role in all of his works as well. He simply paints an instrument and as the viewer, we must use our mind to remember the different sounds they make. We are also called to imagine some of the sounds that might be made when the different instruments are combined. In a way, Becucci's artwork is simply a means to an end. He presents the foundation, but, as the viewer, we create the music and melodies in our minds. We hear the tunes and each individual hears different notes within themselves. Becucci guides us by using specific colors, helping us feel the mood of the music we are supposed to hear. The abstract is made uniquely concrete. In this way he truly captures “the color of sound”. Gianfranco Becucci Il Colore dei Suoni Culculia, libreria con cucina 4 November 2011—2 December 2011

notes From The Venice Biennale By Giovanni Bove*

Light was the topic of the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, named Illuminations. Light was the device;the pretext for artworks, as “pretext” means prae textum, “before the text”. The artists used a natural element of light in order to build a unique, artistic main text made of single texts, each one different from the others, simple or complex according to the displayed light and the light language properties. Where is the most luminous (and illuminant) message? Is it in the experimental and extreme work of James Turrell (Ganzfield piece, installation) for which viewers waited for hours just to be lit up and have the perception of their bodies be altered? Or is it in the three masterpieces of Tintoretto which affected sight and gave a start to the tour from the Central Pavilion? After visiting the exhibition, some questions arise: what is light and how is it? How did artists combine different ideas of light (and luminosity, that is its effect) thanks to the elements of their art works? Arts and Art History lovers as well as Art Languages and Elements enthusiasts should handle with these questions. If we “see” correctly - it is the occasion for saying this – the topic of light implicates eyes and their ability of seeing. In the statement of Bice Curiger, art historian, critic and curator of this Biennale, there are no doubts: “I am particularly interested in the eagerness of many contemporary artists to establish an intense dialogue with the viewer, and to challenge the conventions through which contemporary art is viewed”. So, the question is: Is it the viewers’abilities or the properties of the artwork that display its content through the light? Perception and meaning are strictly and inevitably related in a significant process kindled by artworks and accomplished by viewers. Then meanings, conventions and interpretations can interact with each other generating sense. To deepen, semiotics can help us to study visual language properties and better understand the process of signification of artworks. * Giovanni Bove is an expert of Semiotics and Communication. For those interested in exploring the subject of “Semiotics in the Visual Arts”, the course will be offered at FUA in future academic sessions.

James Turrell, Ganzfield piece



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i’ Chiodo Fisso Vintage By Meaghann Mellen

Vibrant hues of red, deep red, purple, magenta, along with small specs of black catch a common pedestrians eye upon passing this small, unconventional, used clothing shop. “I’ Chiodo Fisso” is the name, but you would never know this just by passing by. By day, the shop remains nameless unless window gazers take the time to actually walk in and grab a business card from the front desk. By night it remains disguised after store hours; by a metal gate displaying graffiti bubble letters hiding the unknown gems. Initially upon walking into the shop you are greeted by a friendly woman with a polite face and dark brown eyes. Always well-kept with a modern rocker edge, she sits at the desk in the back of the store decorating multiple pairs of converse sneakers with metal studs, while graciously asking if there is anything she can assist you with. If you happen to turn too quickly to your right, you are confronted with a small, hanging, wooden bookshelf filled with vintage plastic and aviator Ray Bans. To your left, charcoal leather boots rest against the wall in rows surrounding the full-length mirror. Directly across from the full-length mirror you can find a makeshift dressing room. The distinct details found on the majority of the clothing follow a specific metal accent trend, whether it is the details on a leather jacket from the seventies, studded Converse sneakers, or a metal clasped bracelet, the trend continues throughout most of the items. Upon purchasing an item the cashier hands you a plain brown paper bag with the business card stapled to the side of the opening in the bag. Being handed this simple brown bag, resembling the grocery bags I am accustomed to back home, I immediately grew a sense of fondness for this store. Unfazed by the name brand nonsense found on most shopping bags, this store doesn’t bother plastering their name for all to see. The items are not the only reason why I continue to return, it is the people, the experience, and the environment it radiates that is incomparable to other shops I have seen in Florence. Via Dell’Anguillara 39 50122, Firenze - Email:

FooD Foodie Flash By Carey Wong Carey Wong is a Yelp! contributor who is sharing her personal take on Florentine cuisine. Antico Noè Gustapanino Address: Volta di San Piero, 6r Address: Via de' Michelozzi 13r Category: Panini, Italian Category: Panini Stars: 3 1/2 Stars: 4

Photos by Carey Wong

After hearing so much hype about the delicious panini served here, I had to try one for myself. Right off Piazza Santo Spirito, you might miss this small doorway if not for the constant stream of people walking in and out. The counter is filled with a variety of fresh vegetables and meats, which you can get in a wrap or on toasted bread. After pouring over the menu and list of ingredients posted outside the door, I decided to try the panino with turkey, mozzarella, tomato, and pesto and my friend got the salami and eggplant. We both enjoyed our panini, but I was not blown away. Maybe I had too high of expectations, but I have had fresher bread and more fillings in a panini from other places around Florence. I do admit that Gustapanino's freshly made sandwiches are a step up from the ones sitting in cases all around the city and for the same price. I would probably be a regular if I lived in the area, but I don't think their panini warrant another trek from the other side of the river.

Antico Noè is another panini spot that I have heard a lot about and walked by a million times but only recently decided to try. Located directly opposite of Lion's Fountain, this should be a good place to grab a bite throughout the day and well into the evening. Their menu is large, their ingredients are fresh, and they make and grill your panini right when you order it. However, I thought the baguette and the turkey meat were a little dry, which were apparently not helped by the grilled onions, brie cheese, peppers, and spicy sauce. For the truffle lovers, one of the last menu options is a turkey panino with truffle oil, a pretty rare menu item for panini. Overall, I was satisfied but not ecstatic about Antico Noè, although I might come back for their 1,50€ glasses of house wine.


newsletter 3 DECEMBER 2011

reigning Chefs Competition Lindsay La Marca

One bright sunny Friday morning, the Student Life Department hosted the annual Reining Chefs Competition. This was a way for students to form teams together and apply their creative cuisine techniques into the, preparation, flavor and presentation of food. Students were given a mystery box of ingredients upon their arrival to Apicius. Students were challenged to create two separate dishes with approximately one hour cooking time. For a bonus round, prior to entering the kitchen, the chefs were put to a blind taste test. Teams garnered one extra point for being able to identify items including olives, peppers, anchovies and dijon mustard. Unfortunately, everyone was stumped by the unidentifiable flavor of okra. According to Chef Gordon Ramsey, “a good palate is a must in order to truly be creative in the kitchen.” The competition was comprised of three different teams: "The Tigers": Maureen Gburek, Kara Shierly and Lauren Held. "Burnt Turkey" : Ed Arzomand, Beth Vogel, Jennifer Wolf and Dana LaFranca and the winning team "RNB": James Bae, Sam Kolesnik and Yifu Ren. The first winning dish was called the Red Sea Dragon which was a stewed codfish with potatoes and broccoli and their second dish was a fried patty of egg, chicken and vegetables with a side of rice. An honorable mention was the second course by Burnt Turkey with a balsamic chicken, seasoned potatoes and sautéed vegetables that was most certainly a crowd pleaser among tasters and judges. This year’s judges: Luciana Avallone, Melissa Rossi, Mina Chakmagi, Valentina Monacò and Chef Desi Boualy all agreed the competition was very stiff. “… But the RNB team delivered just a little more flavor in the end.” "We felt the heat and pressure not only in the kitchen but amongst ourselves, however, we were garnished so well as a team that we blended as a group, as Burnt Turkey and managed to prevail" - Ed Arzomand. "We came, we saw, we conquered with our pumpkin ravioli!" - Maureen Gburek

Photo courtesy of Luciana Avallone

how they each embraced the challenge and created some interesting courses from the mystery box of ingredients. It was a true testament of how food always brings us together." - Kandace Phyall, Student Life Manager It’s important to note that the tasters, (Raquel Walker, Jaclyn Galietti, Matt Golstein and Alejandro Palacio) were able to add their vote to the final tally. Their personal favorite was The Tigers!

"Reigning Chefs was exciting this year, especially since all of the competing chefs were non-culinary students. I was happy to see

Tips on eating Like a Local when Traveling By Brianna Bond and Maria Vasquez Chef and food blogger Erika Gobbetti shared some of her favorite tips on how to visit – and eat – your way through a city like a local.

1 Use your guidebook for one thing only: to find suitable lodging. 2 Visit a pastry shop for tips on the best places to eat and shop locally for high-quality products. 3 Rent a car when possible to get outside touristy city centers that are often packed with expensive souvenir shops and overpriced restaurants. 4 Bring a portable camping grill to cook whatever local, fresh products you find on the way. 5 Get lost with a map. 6 Talk with the chefs and small business owners from the area about their products and ask to visit their production sites. 7 Bring a small, reusable grocery bag and fill it with local products that you find during your trip. It will encourage you to get out and search for the best. 8 Don't eat in a restaurant where no one is speaking the city’s native language 9 If you're not fluent in the country's native language, bring a dictionary. 10 Go with an empty stomach. Photo courtesy of Carey Wong For more tips check out Chef Erika’s blog:



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is wine really Healthy for Us? By Marissa Donovan

Living in Italy it is hard to escape wine. It’s used for eating, cooking, celebrations and family time in general. Wine “consumes” the culture for its ubiquitous presence and we consume wine. It is natural to wonder about the impacts of wine on health. Some claim that wine has immense benefits, citing examples such as the “French Paradox.” Then there are those who may claim that wine is purely hazardous to your health. Many studies are being conducted on the matter and here’s what we do know about wine. The Good Wine does contain antioxidants that are derived from the grapes. The concentration of antioxidants is higher in the skin of the grapes which is why red wine (made with the entire grape) has higher levels of antioxidants than white wine (made without grape skins).So we know that wine has antioxidants but what exactly does this mean for our health? Antioxidants are used by your body to combat free radicals. Put simply, free radicals are the “bad guys” in your body. Technically, they are unpaired electrons which can cause harm to your body by way of oxidation. We can accumulate free radicals from any number of sources. Some common sources are smoking, environmental toxins, too much sun exposure, and an unhealthy diet. Antioxidants can be considered the “good guys” in your body, helping to neutralize the free radicals. While your body does produce some antioxidants, others must be obtained through food and drink. This is where wine comes in. Wine contains antioxidants that help to defend your body against the free radicals.

Photo by Marissa Donovan

Antioxidants are thought to help alleviate and even prevent certain conditions. Among them are some serious diseases such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, macular degeneration, and more. Since wine contains antioxidants, this is how it has been linked to the prevention of these conditions.

The Bad Since wine is alcoholic, it does have the potential to be harmful to your body. Immoderate consumption of alcohol can lead to any number of hazardous health effects. If you are consuming more than a glass (or two depending on gender/body size) a day, then the negative effects of the alcohol are far overweighing the antioxidant effects of wine. The Bottom Line Wine is a good source of antioxidants that can help to improve your health, however the benefits are only visible if consumed in moderation, because over consumption can cause adverse health effects. It is important to remember that many other foods and drinks contain antioxidants—fruits and vegetables for example are a great source. So the bottom line is, yes, wine does have potential health benefits in moderation so grab a glass, relax and enjoy that Tuscan Chianti!

TraVeL Biking Through Tuscany By Marissa Donovan When my mom and sister came to visit me in Florence, we thought what better way to tour Tuscany than by bike? We started by departing from Florence in a van that brought us to our first stop — Greve in Chianti. Greve is a small town in Tuscany filled with family owned shops and restaurants, and a wonderful butcher and bakery. While we wandered around the piazza, our tour guide, Elizabeth, got our bikes ready for us. Elizabeth gave us a brief lesson about how to use the bikes and then we headed up a 3 mile incline to Panzano in Chianti. This bike ride was proving to be much more difficult that I had imagined but nonetheless the landscape views were amazing. In Panzano, Elizabeth took us to meet the famed, at times controversial, butcher Dario Cecchini. Because he is so famous, it was humbling to see him working on a cut of meat in his small shop, just as any other butcher would do. We were also offered some samples of

Dario’s authentic Tuscan creations including a lard spread. After this nice break, we continued on through the hills of the countryside. We rode past vineyards, olive groves and through several small medieval villages. The ride opened up so many breathtaking views that my sister remarked “the camera just doesn’t do this justice.” Our final stop was the village of San Donato in Poggio — a town untouched by tourists. Here we visited Fattoria di Montecchio, a winery that also makes its own olive oil. We were taken on a tour of the wine cellars while learning the history of this winery as well as information about wine making in general. We then had a wine and olive oil tasting guided by Elizabeth who is also a Sommelier. Biking through Tuscany was a unique experience that I was happy to share with my family.


newsletter 3 DECEMBER2011

a weekend in Dublin By Lauren Bushman

“Are you okay?” is the phrase one can expect to hear when walking into any food establishment in Ireland. No, they aren’t asking if you are sick or upset, but rather this is their standard “how can I help you?” greeting. Over the fall break, my roommates and I were greeted in this manner many times as we combed our way through many of the restaurants and pubs in Dublin, Ireland. Expecting lots of meat, potatoes, and of course, fish and chips, I was surprisingly impressed with the variety, quality, and love the Irish put into their food. Even on a student budget, the food and drink was outstanding. The food journey began in an appropriate Irish fashion - with a pint of Guinness. The Guinness storehouse, where the beer is brewed, is right in the heart of Dublin city center. The storehouse offers a comprehensive tour of the ingredients and process of producing the one-of-a-kind Irish Guinness in the strikingly modern facility. After your Guinness is digested, as it is a meal of its own in Ireland, you head to O’Neill’s Bar and Restaurant, which has been around for over 300 years. Find a cozy corner and snuggle up with your comfort food. The Christmas Panini is sure to satisfy with its “Thanksgiving meal” complete with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce squeezed between two slices of baguette. For the best sweet treat around, head to Queen of Tarts just down the road from O’Neill’s. With an assortment of rich, gooey chocolate cakes, carrot cake, and apple crumbles, even the healthiest of eaters is guaranteed to cave for one of these delightful slices. Order a pot of tea to wash down your slice of heaven and enjoy the crisp, white and red polka-dotted atmosphere out of the rain. If you are in Dublin for a few nights, don’t miss the White Elephant restaurant located in the always-popular Temple Bar district. Complete with table service and modern décor, the burger topped with chili is a favorite. Accompanied with the best chunky “chips” or French fries around, it is one of the best burgers to sink your teeth into in all of Ireland. Also popular are the chicken wings drenched in hot sauce if you are willing to put your taste buds on the ring of fire. Later in the evening, locals and tourists alike answer the beacon of O’Sheas Pub, located in North City Center near many of the hostels in Dublin. With live performances every night by local Irish bands, try a cider beer and spend the night singing your heart out with the friendliest of the Irish. Join in and keep time with the band in a round of clapping to both classic and modern Irish tunes.

FaCes anD PLaCes

Photos by Alessandro Schneider

shadow games By Alessandro Schneider

This is a new project that I’m working on that came to me out of the blue. I started to notice shadows and found new worlds of subjects and stories within them. Since shadows have a blurred, lessened identity compared to their owners, I decided to use them as a freer, mirrored world in which situations transform into surreal, almost action/comic-like ones. The photos published here are like vignettes from a Western comic strip as explained below. My inspiration for this series was the Belgian Lucky Luke comic book series. The photos were shot digitally in color and transformed in b&w. Photo 1: The Crowd, Piazza della Signoria The idea comes from a Wild West theme, I imagined the individuals as the onlookers of a Western showdown duel. Photo 2: Gunslinger, Via Verdi The subject is imagined as gunslinger walking towards his opponent. You can glimpse a hint of his weapon in the contours of the shadow. Photo by David Andre Weiss


DECEMBER 2011 newsletter 3

gLoCaL news ganzo Joins oxfam for Coltiva Campaign By Samuel Cho

Hello, my name is Samuel Cho and I am a volunteer with the non-profit organization Oxfam Italia alongside Julie Colangelo and Deshani Senewirathne. We are students from the United States studying abroad in Florence with Florence University of the Arts. Working closely with FUA and Oxfam Italia, we coordinated a fund raiser for Oxfam's Coltiva campaign. Coltiva in Italian means “cultivate.” Basically, the Coltiva campaign works to grow food more fairly and increase sustainability. Our fundraiser took place place in the popular cultural association called “Ganzo,” which is familiar to most FUA and Apicius students. On November 30th, Ganzo graciously allowed a portion of its aperitivo proceeds to go towards the Coltiva campaign and set up a donation corner for further support. The theme of our fundraiser was “South East Asian Food” to show solidarity with the regions Photo by Lillie Hodges in the world where the Coltiva campaign is taking place! We featured speakers from Oxfam, videos of interviews, and of course, delicious food. We thank all students, faculty and members of the community that came out to support the Coltiva campaign! We could not have had a successful fundraiser without all of you! Thanks to the efforts of Palazzi’s Olimpia Bozza and Melissa Rossi, eight Oxfam staff members and three volonteers from the Oxfam offices came to Ganzo to witness the efforts of Palazzi students Samuel, Julie and Deshani. Pierluigi Fabiano, Manager of Territorial Groups for Oxfam, stated in his followup that “the organization [of the event] and the students was impeccable. The collaborative spirit, effort, availability and desire to create something that was constructive and important led the way for an experience with the Oxfam community in Italy that gave surprising results. We are extremely happy about this collaboration and what we can develop together in the future.” As for Giancarlo Pulci, head of Oxfam activists in Florence, “it was a source of pride and very moving for me personally to see the students interact with conviction and competence amongst the friends, colleagues and professors of Oxfam and the campaign.”

angeli del Bello The angels of Beauty By Melissa Rossi Angeli del Bello, The Angels of Beauty, in collaboration with the Florentine Quadrifoglio waste management company, is a metaphorical call to arms to protect Florence from daily abuse that marks the city in the form of litter and defacement. Palazzi encourages students to give back to their host city; the Angeli del Bello association is a fantastic way for students to both beautify Florence and help raise awareness in the community to each member's personal obligation to protect this amazing town. The symbolic participation in this initiative is not so much about actually cleaning but more about transmitting through actions how important it is that everyone, residents, tourists, and study abroad students alike, take responsibility for their actions and protect the city of Florence, not abuse it. This semester, the Palazzi Angeli del Bello volunteers have been very productive with the Piazza Santa Croce initiative, and the city of Florence is grateful for the meaningful contribution these students have made to this project. Starting in Spring 2012, Palazzi Community Service volunteers will also have the opportunity to participate in the Angels of Beauty initiative, I Love Oblate, to bring the philosophies of the association to the Oblate public library and protect this communal space as well.

Angeli del Bello is not only a way for students to give back to Florence but also a mode for them to become members of the Florentine community and not just be transitory study abroad students, which is what draws Palazzi student Kayla Dossman to this initiative: “I didn't want to just come to Florence for fun. When I found out about Angeli del Bello it seemed like a good opportunity to get involved in the community. Participating in Angeli del Bello allowed me to have a stronger sense of community and responsibility”. Student Rebecca Pullano also experienced firsthand the impact a symbolic action can have on the Florentine community through her own participation in the initiative: “The most fulfilling aspect of my volunteer experience was probably when a local Florentine man who worked at one of the stands in Santa Croce started picking up garbage and cigarette butts off the ground with us. It was a great feeling to know that we were influencing a local person to join in the effort, and it made me feel like more of a part of the Florence community rather than simply an American who was visiting”.


newsletter 3 DECEMBER 2011

Community service spotlight: emily newman By Olivia Johnson Volunteering for a couple hours every Monday afternoon is one way FUA student, Emily Newman, has integrated herself into the Florentine culture. A ten minute bus ride and she is at La Tinaia, a psychiatric hospital specialized in art therapy, where she helps archive the artwork. What made you pick to volunteer at La Tinaia instead of another organization? I knew that La Tinaia was a psychiatric hospital and as Psychology is my major, I was very excited to involve myself in a setting that interests me, especially in a foreign country, even though I knew that I would be helping with more artistic tasks as opposed to psychological ones. What responsibilities do you have while you are there? I archive the artwork done by both the residents of La Tinaia and

visiting artists whose work is displayed in museums worldwide. What is your take on art therapy? I think it is a great way to get in touch with inner feelings and emotions that may not otherwise be recognized or easily expressed and helps those who utilize it to tap into their creative side. By seeing the patients’ artwork, do you feel you are more connected to them? It is definitely very cool to see the artwork done by the patients and to get a glimpse into what they are thinking and feelings based on the art they produce. My greatest connections, however, have come from actually meeting one or two of the artists and having them show me the works they produce and try to explain them to me. It is so heartwarming to see the pride they possess from both their finished and unfinished works and in trying to communicate with me about them. What will you miss the most about La Tinaia? I will miss the warm environment as created by the residents and staff as well as the colorful and innovative art studio that I work in.

FaCULTy ProFiLe Faculty spotlight: Camilla Carrega By Olivia Johnson Camilla Carrega is a wine studies professor and the voice of her family’s vineyard; here she shares with us her outlook of teaching on the subject of wine. When did you start teaching at Apicius and what classes are you currently teaching? I started teaching at Apicius two years ago, and currently I’m teaching Tuscany and Its Wines and Introduction to Winemaking. I also taught Wine Service and Beverage Management for the TUTTO TOSCANA program. What do you think is the most important part of being a professor? I’m always learning from my students, in order to teach them how to appreciate our culture I have to see my own culture from their eyes. A perspective that is new to me, so that nothing is obvious. In my opinion, a good professor is a person who lends students the curiosity to look for that information. Passion, curiosity and appreciation are the three important qualities that I hope to instill in all of my students. Are you involved in any activities outside of Palazzi? If so, what are they? I’m actually involved in my family’s winery in Colli Fiorentini, a hilly sub-region of Chianti, for both the production and communication of the wines we produce.

Photo courtesyfor of Camilla Carrega important students to

You open up your vineyard for field trips for students. Why do you think it is experience the harvesting process in person?

I really think that practice in fundamentals is necessary, especially in this matter of study. I’m always saying to my students that they won’t understand the world of wine only in two hours of class. If a student was interested in wine but did not want to go into viticulture, what could they do to further their knowledge of wine? In order to increase their knowledge of wine, my best suggestion is to gain practical experience in order to understand how complicated yet fascinating this sector can be.


DECEMBER2011 newsletter 3

sTUDenT ProFiLe student spotlight: alexandra “Lexi” sigesmund By Olivia Johnson Business major and Ceramics minor Alexandra “Lexi” Sigesmund has quite the talent. She has been sculpting women’s torsos since her junior year of high school. Whether she is taking classes at Miami University, being an artist in residence at Banff, or studying here at Florence University of the Arts, Lexi continues to perfect her skills. Have you always had an interest in Ceramics? Or did it just recently appear? In 8th grade, I had a painting, ceramics and photography class. I enjoyed ceramics the most because I could really manipulate the medium. I decided to continue with it my freshman year as an elective. I made some terrifying pieces and some cool ones freshman and sophomore year, but really found my niche junior year making women's torsos. Last summer, you participated in the Banff artist in residency. Tell me about that. I was invited to Banff by my ceramics teacher from high school. I worked with her and four other women. I spent 12, or more, hours a day in the studio for just over a week (our residency was a short two weeks, so we needed time for our pieces to dry, fire, glaze,

and fire again). I ended up making four small torsos, two big torsos and four little figurines in just over a week, which is a lot, so I was very proud of myself. How has your experience at Banff influenced your pieces today? My experience at Banff has influenced my pieces today by allowing myself to not be afraid to try new things. It made me realize that pushing the limits is the way to go and to never be afraid to fail. Besides your projects at Banff, what other pieces have you made? In high school, I made about seven large torsos and lots of small pots and figurines. I've made lots of art. The ongoing joke with my parents is that we need a bigger house to put all of my artwork. They don't buy a lot of art anymore because they get so much from me. Where do you get your inspiration from? My main inspiration comes from Deborah Rael-Buckley; she makes large torsos and chairs. I like to work with abstract forms, so most of my work comes from things I see when I walk around in other cities - trees, statues, plaques, logos, etc.

By Samantha Davis

Do get lost.

Wander. You’ll discover the hidden gems of Florence this way. Like a bar or piazza that isn’t packed, or a relatively inexpensive leather shop in the middle of a residential area, or a park on the other side of the river where local guys like to go to play soccer.

Do go bargain hunting. If you’re a broke college student like I am who can’t afford to shop on the main strips, the galleries underneath the train station or the Tuesday market at Cascine Park are good sources for striking gold. Do find a good place for people watching.

Find a place that’s only slightly crowded, preferably with locals, like a park or a bus station or even a well-placed bench. Sit and observe.

Do give back.

Most of you probably made a visit to Cinque Terre in the beginning of the semester and most of you have probably heard about the devastating floods in Liguria. GANZO gave back to this cause as well as Oxfam’s campaign for sustainable food through the Wednesday Aperitivo.

Don’t cling to a group.

Dare to do your own thing because traveling in packs can be quite limiting to your experience. Dare to plan your own trip as opposed to relying on Bus2Alps or FlorenceforFun. When you ditch the idea of large group travel, you may actually have the opportunity to meet the people of a place instead of simply seeing its sights.

Don’t spend too much time in your apartment.

If you find that it’s the middle of the afternoon and you haven’t been outside yet, go outside. If you have nothing specific in mind, just go for a walk...see Do #1.

Don’t travel TOO much. You don’t have to tell me twice about the value of traveling and experiencing something new, but spend some time in Florence, especially as the semester comes to an end. You’ll regret it if you don’t.


newsletter 3 DECEMBER 2011

sTUDenT serViCes The italian Family Club at Palazzi By Lindsay La Marca The Italian Family Club is organized by the Student Life Department and allows Florentine families to temporarily "adopt" exchange students during their time in Florence. The families open up their homes and have their student come over for dinner or maybe even babysit. In exchange, students are able to truly experience what every day Florentine life is really like. Students usually commit one day a week to their families. Chris Swezey, an FUA student, has decided to become a part of this club and says it was a great decision. Chris shares "You get to experience how a real Italian family lives. You get to go inside their home and immerse yourself in their daily lives. I have the opportunity to eat, shop and do daily activities with my family (even rock climb)! I hope to stay in touch with them. I would love to have them visit the US and see what life for me is like there. I meet them about twice a week: usually once for dinner and another time to go to a museum, shop or some other activity."

Luca, Sandra, and Lorenzo with coordinator Francesca and their “adopted” FUA students Eddy, Sam, Ed, Chris, and Alejandro. Photo courtesy of Chris Swezey.

ganzo eVenTs DeC - Jan

GALA-XY GANZO Tuesday, December 13, 20:30 - 22:30 Sparkling is not a wine color, but an effect; come join us for this celebratory culinary extravaganza where our students will sparkle in both the kitchen and dining room! Featuring fine wines by the Apicius Friends wine producers. APERIGANZO Wednesday December 14, 18:00 - 22:00 The place to be on Wednesdays! Join us for cocktails, a selection of extraordinary wines at the Apicius wine corner and an

exceptional buffet full of international and Italian flavors. APERIGANZO Wednesday January 4, 18:00 - 22:00 Join us for an exceptional aperitivo buffet full of Italian and International flavors by our Ganzo brigade, with a selection of extraordinary wines from the cellars of the Apicius Friends. A TuSCAN WINTER MENu Thursday January 12, 20:30 The Ganzo brigade starts the new year off

Blending Newsletter Supplemento di Blending Magazine Reg. Trib. di Firenze n° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011 Anno I - Numero 3 - Dicembre 2011

Redazione Corso Tintori 21, 50121 Firenze Tel. 055-0332745

Editore Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore Via Alfonso La Marmora 39, 50121 Firenze

Blending Masthead Editor-in-Chief Matteo Brogi, Senior Editor Grace Joh, Copy Editing Olivia Johnson and Rebecca Valpy

Stampato in proprio

with an exquisite menu that features the best of Tuscany's winter specialties, paired with fine wines from the cellars of the Apicius Friends. GANZO’S TAPAS NIGHT Thursday January 19, 20:30 The Ganzo brigade presents a creative tasting menu featuring 12 mini-courses of modern Italian tapas, paired with the fine wines from Apicius Friends producer Castello di Volognano.

Blending is a monthly newsletter created with and for Palazzi FAIE students, in collaboration with the Student Services department of Palazzi. For information contact Newsletters can be viewed at

Newsletter 3  
Newsletter 3