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BLENDING Newsletter Issue 7 Year 2 - Palazzi / FUA - OCTOBER 2012

Image courtesy of Palazzi Graphics Office


FUA’s 8th James Beard Foundation Events By Rachel Murphy The TuttoToscana team is proud to announce that the staff and students at FUA are preparing for events in New York at Queen’s College, De Gustibus, and James Beard Foundation starting the week of October 22, 2012. “Contemporary Chianti” is the theme for this year’s events; the Tuscany region is well known for food and wine, especially Chianti. Chefs from FUA’s hospitality

school Apicius and students are preparing beginning to experiment on contemporary dishes that will reflect the traditional Tuscan region. The first event is at Queen’s College, where the students of TuttoToscana are able to give a presentation before their demonstration about cooking light and cutting calories. The following night the team will head to De Gustibus at Macy’s Herald Square and as the Chef’s demonstrate step by step a five course Chianti region area based menu along with wine parings. The final two events will take place at the James Beard Foundation the first being a lunch on Thursday October 25, and dinner on Friday. Each meal will consist of wine parings from the Chianti area and five courses, reception, antipasto, primo, secondi, dessert. This is the eighth year for the TuttoToscana program that is a part of the Apicius International School of Hospitality. The program takes place in Florence where the students learn about and experience the Italian culture; then are placed into their area of specialty where these events are planned out in great detail by the students before traveling to New York.

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Photo by Gary Kieffer


Florence In a Day By Julia Elizabeth Uribe If you only had one day in Florence what would you do? A city this rich in art and culture would be very difficult to “see” in just one day, but here are some tips for making the most out of your 24-hours in Florence. The first step is to get a good map (most tourist oriented spots offer them for free); though Florence is fairly compact, the streets can get a bit tricky so be prepared. An obvious must-see in the city is the Ponte Vecchio: get there early so you have time to take pictures without a massive crowd filling the frame. After the Ponte Vecchio, head to the Galleria dell’Accademia for an up-close visit of Michelangelo’s David. It’s breathtaking when you see it in person—take my word for it: no picture does it justice. Hungry? Do what the locals do and get in line at I Fratellini on via Cimatori for a quick, delicious sandwich enjoyed

in piedi (standing up). After lunch, take the short walk to Piazza della Signoria to gaze at the architecture and beautiful statues. No trip to Florence is complete without a visit to the Duomo and Baptistery. If the lines aren’t too long, it’s worth the wait to go inside the cathedral. Be sure to walk around the entire perimeter and make sure to stop and take in the Gates of Paradise adorning the eastern side of the Baptistery. Finish the afternoon with a visit to the Boboli Gardens, located across the river in the city’s Oltrarno district. At sunset, Piazzale Michelangelo is the place to be. It offers one of the most amazing views of the city and provides the perfect backdrop for your pictures. No day in Florence would be complete without a sample (or two) of the local gelato enjoyed while strolling along the banks of the river. Buon divertimento!

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When Traveling Close By Gina Mingione Gina Mingione really sees a street for the first time and wonders what would happen if a rabbit hole of a vortex opened up beneath Ponte Vecchio. Last week I was wandering on my street, taking pictures, when one of my neighbors, a rotund, bearded man in black suspenders asked if I spoke Italian. I gave him my go-to response-the uneasy shake of my hand. He swiftly began speaking in

beautifully precise English, putting me to shame. He showed me around my street, gently placing his hand on the small of my back, pointing out things I really should be photographing, like this metal cage fastened beneath one of the windows across from my apartment, one of the last two in Florence. These cages served as places to dry one’s clothes before there were clotheslines. I thanked him and continued to photograph our street, catching one last shot of him saddling his plump body onto a wobbling bike before turning our corner, into the heat. The Arno River is still enough so that it creates a glassy reflection of Ponte Vecchio. The reflection trembles with the slight breeze, ripples making the arches look hazy, less solid. When I

squint my eyes the light emanating from the lampposts intermingles with my eyelashes in a strange way. I think about Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities-- there is a city underneath this river. I want this spot to be mine, but I know it’s not. We all want to feel like we discovered Florence; we all just want something to possess. The thing about this city is that there have been people long before you and there will be others long after you, sitting on this triangle, writing in their tortured journals, in tortured cursive. There is a city underneath this river. If this triangle were to collapse beneath me, crumble into the river, I don’t think it would bother me. I would just float on my back along the Arno, creating ripples, staring at the upside down arches, like I used to.

Holy Cannoli! By Janezia Ketchel After having the amazing opportunity to spend a long weekend in Sicily, I have discovered so much more about Italian culture and how it can differ from region to region. Sicily is not only a beautiful island with intriguing cities and gorgeous terrain, it also has a very interesting cultural background and some exceptional qualities that differs from the rest of Italy. What I found most interesting about Sicilian culture and its origin was the fact that its regional capital, Palermo, had such a multitude of cultures all tied into one place. Cultures such as Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Greek, Spanish, and several more have all contributed to the beauty that is Palermo and Sicily as a whole. These different tastes and traditions can be seen in the streets, in squares, and are the make-up for most of the majestic buildings that stand in that region. Not only was the cultural background a satisfying feature, the diverse preparation of certain foods also grabbed my attention. For example, Sicilian pizza differs in several ways when compared to pizza I have had in other parts of Italy. Though all have been excellent, it is important to note that Sicilian pizza is much thicker than other Italian pizza I’ve had and is made with a different sauce. Another item of food that I was dying to try was the authentic Sicilian cannoli. Made with fresh ricotta cheese wrapped in dried dough and sprinkled with pistachios, this Sicilian delicacy was created right in front of me. Its creamy cheese filling and warm, flakey wrap sent my taste buds into a frenzy and left me craving for more. Another quality that Sicily has that makes it such a fascinating place is its dialect . Though I am nowhere near fluent in Italian, I could still pick up differences in the how Sicilians spoke to each other and to our group of travelers. It was extremely interesting to see and hear these differences that I didn’t even know existed between northern and southern Italy. Overall, my experience in Sicily was a wonderful and intriguing one, and I would love to go back. Sicily has definitely given me even more of a look behind Italian culture and its many enjoyments. Sicily and its distinct qualities are part of what makes Italy such an astonishing country.

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David Returns to David By Abby Englund Surrounded by a city of Renaissance history, a student can be easily overwhelmed by a place locked in an unfamiliar time. A time of classical masters, ‘founding fathers,’ and an entire era of new inventions of the period. The Renaissance was so influential that it should not be overlooked or forgotten, especially when considering the arts in Florence. Included in this, is the works of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Brunelleschi, Raphael and many more. Swallowed in by the history of the city can be daunting, at points it can also seem annoying that everything in the city seems to be from at least four centuries ago. Fear not my fellow international students, for Florence also has its share of modern and contemporary events and works too, you just need to know where to start. Although these two periods seem far apart, their beginnings were not so different. Renaissance is a word derived from the French ‘rebirth,’ as the era was a ‘rebirth’ of the works from antiquity of Greek and Roman art. Similarly, contemporary art is a new era that rebelled against classical and traditional works. Both movements created new styles and methods that were considered revolutionary. While respecting Florence’s impact in the Renaissance, we can also dive into a new movement and begin to bring an old city into new times.

The easier way to start divulging into “modernism” is with the food and nightlife, which has been evolving over the years to be more modern. After filling yourself with good food, the next step is to go check out the contemporary art scene. For the students that are more cautious, the simple task of going to F_AIR or Ganzo to see the new and contemporary exhibits throughout the semester is a must. Art readily available at your fingertips, and without the long lines, is possible. Ready for some more? Florence also hosts contemporary art galleries such as Il Ponte, the Otto: Luogo d’Arte, and the more institutional venue CCCS Strozzina. Until November, a contemporary art exhibit is even at one of the temples of Florentine art, that is the Gallerie dell’Accademia. The exhibit Arte torna arte (it translates: Arte returns art) at the Accademia is great way to incorporate contemporary and the timeless classics. Although not directly translated, it is an exhibit that implies a continuum between past and present art. The artists have taken inspiration from the past, reworked it, made it their own, and is now it’s own. One of the most eyecatching pieces is that of Hans Peter Feldmann’s David.

new experience from Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Feldmann’s sculpture is an exact replica of the original, except for the gaudy color that embellishes it: the bright pink skin tone, glowing yellow-orange hair, and vibrant blue eyes. Recognizable as a replica of Michelangelo’s, but only just. The glaring colors completely transfigure David into a representation of contemporary art. Opinions of shock, horror, revelation, disgust, curiosity, and downright awe can be associated with such a piece. Feldmann’s David has truly forced the famous David to become a consumerist product. In a city filled with history, it seems only natural to want to add to it. Florence may appear lost in time from the outside, but as locals know, and the students are beginning to understand, Florence is also a vibrant, contemporary city. So, I encourage everyone to marvel at the classics, but also to explore the contemporary scene. Go set out on the adventure of admiring the latest art, create an opinion and contribute to this great place!

Feldmann was inspired by Michelangelo’s David, perhaps the most internationally known sculpture of the Renaissance. Michelangelo’s sculpture, originally a symbol of culture, faith, politics, power was a masterpiece of the time. Although still considered a masterpiece, it is also transformed into a tourist symbol, adorning mugs, shirts, notebooks and even underwear. With this in mind, Feldmann’s David is a whole Martin Feldmann, David, 2006. Image courtesy of

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Curators: Antonio Budetta and Federica Cirri Aria Art Gallery, Florence From 13th September to 21st October 2012 By Morgan Lee Alyssia Lazin is an art photographer who is able to transform ordinary subjects into a “painterly photographic image”. She moved to NYC where she pursued modeling before she discovered her fascination for photography. She was then selected to be a part of the graphic design program in the Art and Architecture Department of Yale University, where she then went on to launch a graphic design studio. From graphic design she transitioned to an art photographer with a strong eye for detail. She has a “personal relationship with nature and the world around her”, which helps her capture her beautiful photography. She uses unconventional viewpoints to create a new identity for what is being shown. Lazin uses fabrics and weaves in her photography, but has them appear to be something else. I had the privilege of seeing some of her works in the gallery and was amazed by what she could convey just through fabric and material. Some of her works such as “Wave Surrender”, “Tulle Tease”, “To Nirvana”, and “Winter Blossom” show the true depth of her photography. Using the fabrics, Lazin is able to create beautiful artworks that look like the ocean, flowers, and much more. One of my favorites was “Winter Blossom” because Lazin used delicate white fabric in order to look like a winter white flower. All of her photography was beautiful and located in a cool location of Florence, which I do not think I would have known about if we did not go visit it. I was very impressed with Alyssia Lazin’s photography and I would definitely visit the art gallery again. More information

Tuscan Food Style Doubles Up at Gastone


By Kaleigh Rusgrove After one month of cautious spending and many nights spent eating in, I finally decided to go out into Florence last week and try something new. I found myself at Gastone, a small restaurant and wine bar located at Via Matteo Palmieri 26/R, not far from Santa Croce. Our waitress was extremely helpful, and non-Italian speakers will find it much easier to order here as they provide menus translated into English. If you are interested in trying new wines while in Florence, the staff is extremely knowledgeable and helpful in picking a wine to pair with your meal. One of the most interesting parts of the menu at Gastone is that it has two different sides. One side is their classic Gastone menu, which features dishes such as sliced grilled tuna and spaghetti in pistachio cream sauce with sea bream. The other side of the menu is traditional Tuscan dishes such as tomato and bread soup with squids and Florentine beef steak. They also have an extensive dessert menu if you are looking for something sweet to finish your meal. With their wide variety of options and helpful staff, Gastone is an excellent choice for those who are looking to start exploring the gastronomic options in Florence.

Photo by Kaleigh Rusgrove

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Gelato Faces Caption by Janezia Ketchel, photos by Ayan Maxutova On nearly every street in Florence there is a shop where one will find a true Italian delicacy: gelato. This flavorful, frozen treat can be savored as a dessert or a fun snack and as can be seen, is a sweet that everyone from all ages can enjoy.

Photos by Ayan Maxutova

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Nutella VS Peanut Butter By Samantha Gormley Nutella. Peanut Butter. Talk to any Italian or anyone who knows an Italian and you will know that their absolute loyalty lies with Nutella. Flood the city each year with a few thousand American study abroad students craving their tried and true peanut butter and the air is rife with conflict. So which is it- Nutella or peanut butter? This could be a battle for the ages. Italian food traditions are not to be trifled with, and the spirit of American stubbornness won’t back down without a fight. How do we determine a winner? Let’s rely on a basic functioning checklist of the two items and see how they compare. First, let’s look at what each goes with. Nutella is seen with fruits, breads, desserts, even meats as one bold recipe of Nutella Marinated Steaks claims. Peanut Butter can vie with its competitor point for point. I myself have dared to try a Peanut Butter Bacon Burger back in the States and actually enjoyed the experience. Since these opponents are still head-to-head, perhaps their ability to stand alone will decide a victor. Alas, after taking a poll of my housemates, both spreads have frequently been enjoyed with a spoon alone. Next factor: price. As college students, this can be a deal breaker. Here in Home Sweet Italy, Nutella is the cheaper of the two products. Peanut butter has become a special treat, an honor that is reserved for Nutella at home. As it stands- Nutella: 3, peanut butter: 2. But how does all this goodness settle in our very satisfied stomachs? This is where the lines begin to get blurred. While Nutella can fulfill that everpresent chocolate requirement, peanut butter is overall more filling. Peanut butter also just has a unique taste that can’t be found anywhere else. We’ll call this one a draw. And what of the issue of spreading? Nutella advocates insist that Nutella is easier to spread, especially if heat is a part of the equation, as in the case of toast. Taking this into consideration, it must also be considered that peanut butter has variations that can affect spreading. Let’s not forget that peanut butter comes in two famous forms: crunchy and smooth. The factors of this argument are too complicated to formulate the better spread. Another white flag. Now, let’s talk about nuts—health nuts. Which spread is better FOR you? Overall, kudos must be given to peanut butter. Nutella possesses more fats and calories, not to mention seven times more sugar than peanut butter. Pass the peanut butter, please. Finally, as much as we love to eat it, do they posses any use beyond paying homage to our palates? Peanut butter has some practical uses, such as getting gum out of hair, and some not-so-practical uses, such as pranking and feeding to your dog for a few good laughs. Nutella, however, tends to just make a mess, and will, unfortunately, not produce the same laughs if given to your dog. Quite the opposite really. Forget I even mentioned giving it to your dog. In conclusion, I’m not sure it’s fair to declare a winner. There are pros; there are cons. There are personal tastes and cultural debates. In the end, I guess we just have to agree to disagree. Whatever your path may be, eat well, my friends.

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What Inspires You to Help Others? By Alexandra Lopez I think that when we help others we are driven by that human sensibility within ourselves. No matter how often you are able to help others, always remember to apply the golden rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself or in this case we should say: One should help others as one would like others to help us! I am glad to say that FUA students contributed towards the “Corri La Vita” marathon taken place on Sunday, September 30th, 2012. This is an event that helps raise funds for local and national associations that work in various ways for the treatment, research and cure of breast cancer. I found it very interesting that in order to participate you must make a minimum donation of 10€, which I think makes a great difference. Back home I’ve seen often that there is no minimum donation which makes a lot of us not donate 10 but maybe 2 or 3 dollars. I realized that if I didn’t buy every single bag and shirt I saw on the market I could be saving a life! As my journey on Sunday began I decided to ask people what inspired them to donate not only their money but their time, I was moved by the various answers I got. People from around the world had different reasons to be part of the event. Some were patients of cancer, some had family members affected, most said that it was just the right thing to do. Finally, I really think that more needs to be done to educate the masses about the various options they have to help others. As Jane Goodall once said “Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help shall they be saved”.


Spot in Florence By Catherine Augustyn I discovered the area during my first week of classes in Florence with my friend Ali. Although it is not our own, we feel as though it is a secret place from all the other students, a special spot that is just for us. Whether we go there together or alone, it is tranquil and isolated from the rest of our hectic lives. The view of the river is spectacular and the people watching never ceases to entertain me. The vines and plants hug me in a way that makes me feel as though I am in the comfort of my own home, not an outdoor space. When I come here I sit with my legs criss-crossed on the patio furniture and feel as though I

don’t have a care in the world. Monday was about reflection: I arrived to my little cocoon for some alone time and to gather my thoughts. I brought nothing with me besides my pen and notebook. I had just enjoyed and survived a weekend at Oktoberfest. A million things were running through my mind as I sat in this secluded spot. I thought about the craziness of the Friday and Saturday festivities and did my best to piece them all together. My mind then jumped to Sunday morning when we arrived at Dachau concentration camp and a somber and eerie feeling came over me. Sobering, that it was I decided to call it. There were no disruptions on this day, at least if there were I did not notice them. Monday was about me time and nothing else, until of course it started to thunder and lightening, and then I realized it was time to head inside.

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Tuesday was about work: I returned to my spot carrying a bag full of books and my iphone. Although this spot helps to remove me from the world, it can also connect me thanks to its wifi access. As I begin my work, I take a moment to zone out and I notice the different people who are walking on the street. There is a child and a mother who are enjoying an afternoon stroll, there is a couple who looks like they are in the midst of an argument and then there are two fellows who are looking across the street up at the patio to where I am sitting. I realize at this moment that although I feel as though this is my people watching spot, others can still see me. I become a bit unnerved and

return to my book. Wednesday was about conversation: I walk up the stairs and am greeted by my friend Ali who found the patio with me one month ago. I pull out my Panini that I just purchased from All’antico Vinalo and enjoyed every bite. We talk about how our weeks were going, about our friends from home, about our boys from home and how we love that this place that is our own. It is much cooler on this day. I notice that there aren’t as many people walking along the river. I could have stayed there forever, but instead I headed to class.


Simone Pierotti By Ayan Maxutova Simone is teaching my I n t r o d u c t i o n to Classic Photography and Introduction to Photojournalism courses. I am gaining a lot from his crit sessions to improve student photography and I find that I am improving thanks to him. His assignments are always stimulating. Example, we had shoot an empty piazza in creative ways, do our own self-portraits describing our personalities, etc. With each assignment we discuss our approaches, the results, what can be improved. He’s a direct individual and this is beneficial to guiding our learning.

Photo by Ayan Maxutova

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Keep Artisans Alive By Kevin Connolly I’ve never felt so compelled to buy a piece of jewelry until I walked into Ditta Carlo Cecchi di Giuliano Ricchi. Located in Santa Spirito it is one of the select artisan work shops which still produces hand made products. With clients such as Dior there are still multiple calls going in keeping the business running. Upon a class visit to the lab we had the chance to get a euro pressed into a hand made Florentine mold. This shop is one of the few chances to get something that is truly “made in Italy.” Because of the rise of cheaper goods made in other countries, it is unfortunate that the desire for actual hand crafted goods has gone down. Shops like this could eventually disappear, Giuliano Ricchi appreciates any purchase and is always happy to have company. Support the local artisans of Florence, keep the local art alive for generations to come. Photo by Kevin Connolly

Somewhere Between Milan and Florence By Ayan Maxutova

Photos by Ayan Maxutova

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Musing Club: Opera Night at St. Mark’s By Michelle Chiarappa Autumn is coming and right now you’re probably missing those pumpkin spiced lattes and watching the leaves change colors. You might also be wondering what on earth there is to do in Florence on Halloween. Well, studying abroad is all about trying new things, right? Why not try attending an opera! It may be a far cry from your traditional trick or treating back home, but according to Musing director Thomas Brownlees, the opera will be nothing short of spectacular. This is not your typical opera - it is not being held at a fancy theater, and you do not have to wear a ball gown; in fact, it is not even a full opera, but rather a selection of love duets from classical operas such as La Traviata, La Boheme, The Marriage of Figaro, Madame Butterfly, and Neapolitan Love Songs. The performance is being held not at an opera house, but at St. Mark’s Church, an English-speaking Anglo-Catholic church located a short walk from the Ponte Vecchio. Never having been to an opera myself, I asked Thomas a few questions and this is what I found out: What can students expect while attending this show? Students can expect to see a great show, to become more familiar with opera, and enjoying it at a very affordable cost and with the opportunity to see the show literally inches away from the “stage”. The acoustics are very good and it is a wonderful chance to see an Opera show in a very approachable and entertaining way. This is clearly no ordinary opera, so what makes this opera different from others? This opera is different from any other, because of its setting - a church. The scenography is basic and there it’s a much less formal environment in comparison to an actual opera house, but the quality of the singers and performances is still very high. The repertoire they focus on is the great Italian operas, each opera is explained and briefly introduced to the audience before the show begins giving the opportunity to the audience to have a key to understand the plot and the different characters and enjoy the music and lyrics. What familiar faces can we expect to see performing? How did they get involved with St. Mark’s? You can certainly expect to see some of FUA faculty! Cristiano Manzoni often performs as a pianist for the shows, and also Eva Mabellini often performs. They got involved because they are very affirmed artists in the Florentine musical scene and are often asked to perform in these venues. They really enjoy it because its a very effective way to reach a wider audience and get to those who would not have the time, money or opportunity to see a show at the Florence Opera house.  Lastly, I’ve been dying to know, since the opera will be taking place on Halloween, will anything special be happening in relation to the holiday? find that out, you have to come and see for yourself… I can say that there will be a little surprise! For more information or to sign up, please contact the Student Life and Development office at

Blending Newsletter Supplemento di Blending Magazine reg. Trib. di Firenze n째 5844 del 29 luglio 2011 Anno 2 - Numero 7 - Ottobre 2012 Editore Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore Via Alfonso La Mamora 39, 50121 Firenze Redazione Corso Tintori 21, 50121 Firenze Tel. 055-0332745 Stampato in proprio Blending Masthead Editor-in-Chief: Matteo Brogi - Senior Editors: Grace Joh, Rebecca Valpy - Copy Editing: Blending Staff Layout Editor: Alberto Simoncioni Blending is a monthly newsletter created with and for Palazzi FAIE students, in collaboration with the Student Services Department of Palazzi. For information contact - -

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