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MAGGI O 19 — GIUGNO 8, 2 01 6 USA­­—— I TALI A





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There’s a reason Milan is the fashion capital of Europe. Each detail from the architecture of the Duomo to Leonardo’s “The Last Supper” to modern galleries, high end shopping, and a number of trendy bars and restaurants, solidified Milan as a design center — as well as my new favorite city. Chloe and I have decided to move here after graduation; just to be near all the inspiration, and a part of a city dedicated to the arts.

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Taking a break along our bicycle tour throughout Milan, lead by James Clough – a British typographer living, teaching, and creating in Milan. A bottle of frizzante in the basket. I miss having sparkling water at every meal.

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A 600-year project The Duomo di Milano is easily the most detailed and awe striking cathedrals I have ever seen. When viewing the Duomo for the first time I thought it almost looked fake, because the cathedral was so incredibly daunting and meticulous. However, recognizing its truth makes it all the more impressive. The Duomo was first planned in 1386 but completing took around 600 years. Evidently, no expenses were spared to build the church dedicated to St. Mary of the Nativity.

Cathedral in London, I remain most impressed by the Duomo. Visiting the Duomo was, however, my first experience with a mass of pigeons. While classmate, friend, and travel-buddy, Chloe Hubler, loved the dirty birds, I hated them. Additionally, before entering the pigeon-filled courtyard where the Duomo is placed, we stopped into a coffee shop for an espresso. How wonderful is it that coffee is government regulated to cost only one euro?

View of the front exterior of the Duomo in Milan. The gothic architecture was impossibly ornate.

I will never forget walking up what seemed like a million steps to see the view from the top of the Duomo. Milan stretched for miles in every direction and I fell in love with the city. Especially after seeing a Ray Ban billboard from the roof – my wayfarers are my signature. Furthermore, examining the flying buttresses up-close made for a better understanding of how the architects were able to make such a floating atmosphere inside the cathedral. The stained glass and extremely tall ceilings gave the sense that only God himself was holding the church together. Even after visiting the San Marco Basilica in Venice, and Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s

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When can I afford Prada? The Galleria was stunning. Almost as grand as the Duomo, which neighbors it, the Galleria is a highend shopping mall in Milan. In fact, dating back to 1861, the Galleria is considered one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. Although I didn’t have nearly enough euros, I definitely marveled at the first Prada store that opened in 1913, proving Milan really is a center of fashion.

to this time and money commitment. T-shirts are really fine for me in the States. Although I do still want that Louis Vuitton I saw everywhere.

Nice restaurants were dispersed among the stores. Their openair dining options were so quintessentially European… fresh flowers and white table clothes on tiny circular tables, as sharply dressed waiters circled around.

The Galleria is covered by a tall glass ceiling, artfully arched, connecting the buildings.

That wasn’t how I wanted to spend all my money – but I did want to spend all my time looking into each designer store. The labels that seemed too over-the-top in America were everywhere in Italy. The women of Milan really took time into planning their outfits. It didn’t take long for me to start trying to discretely take pictures of Milanese women on the street so I could go home and mimic their style. So far, I haven’t been able to dedicate myself

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drop the â‚Ź2000 next time on a Damier tote.

kept me from purchasing. I guess I’ll just have to

of Milan, but my lack of Italian and fear of polizia

European. I saw fake bags being sold in the alleys

transformed into something so rich, beautiful, and

that I had once found ostentatious was suddenly

a LV Neverfull tote around their shoulder. A look

together and always walking around the city with

Vuitton bag. The women of Milan were always put

By the time I left Milan, all I wanted was a Louis

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Almost every day in Italy, we would spend happy hour at a bar with a spritz in hand. At first, the bitterness of the Aperol was hard to get used to, but soon enough I changed my cocktail order from a Jack & Coke to a spritz. Apart from the spritz, happy hour drinks would include peanuts, olives, potato chips, pretzels, and other snacks. Additionally, I learned that some Italians would eat the garnish orange slice at the bottom of the glass — rind and all. I tried this once, but I didn’t like the excessive chewing involved in digesting the alcohol-soaked peel. In Northern Italy, the spritz is king. It is said that spritz originated during the German soldiers occupation of Italy. Germans were used to drinking beer, but not the high alcohol content of wine. Thus to accommodate, the spritz was born — a cocktail of prosecco, Aperol, and soda water. It is often served in a wine glass with an orange garnish and a black straw.

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After research, I’ve learned that the spritz is just becoming trendy in the United States. I cannot wait for the orange cocktail to be common knowledge back in Kansas City. Making spritz is easy —— 3 parts prosecco 2 parts Aperol 1 part soda water —— Poured over crushed ice and garnished with an orange slice.

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The flying buttresses of the Duomo in Milan.

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Don’t bike and text James Clough, a British typographer living in Milan, gave us a tour of the city not usually seen. We hopped onto rental bikes and rode through the streets of Milan, stopping at beautiful examples of typography. While some of us were much better cyclists than others, it was mostly a fine ride and really was a great way to explore the city and learn about the history of lettering in Italy. After all was said and done, our group had lost a pedal, broke a chain, and lost a lock, but I am so glad I had the opportunity to experience Milan from the streets the way we did. 1. Apart from the lettering itself, I find it curious that Milanese builders took pieces from other buildings, sculptures, etc. and used them in the erection of new buildings. The type therefore has nothing to do with its current location, the walls looked like a quilt pieced together. The typography presented however, is not skilled. Men who had not been trained in carving most likely did the lettering for these marble pieces. This made the letters unique and not nearly as perfected as the Roman lettering. It has character and mistakes. I found this rewarding because it proved not everyone in the era could make perfect letters.

2. A common street sign. In the States, street signs are an afterthought; they are standardized and easily replaceable. In Milan, street signs are carved into marble and painted in with black to increase legibility. This shows the Milanese actively caring about the design they surround themselves with and their attention to detail. While I did miss being able to find street names with obvious ease, the street signs in Milan do not take away from the beauty of the city. This is also an example of a modern Roman-like type, celebrating their past, but embracing their future. 3. An example of fascist type from Mussolini’s era. I find it interesting how the S’s curve is so tight and slanted, and the D’s do not have a counter. I love the low crossbar on the A’s. Not only that, but realizing that this type was carved in relief is incredible. Such talent and time was spent on making this type. I want to find a typeface that is similar to the fascist type we encountered in Milan; it was stunning.

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1. Unskilled writers; stolen stone for new buildings

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2. Milanese street sign

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3. Mussolini-era fascist type

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Breaking bread Inside the Santa Maria delle Grazie, past two different humidity controlling rooms, stands Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. I had seen this painting a million times in printed recreations, but nothing prepares you for seeing the full masterpiece in person. Remembering that The Last Supper had survived the Santa Maria delle Grazie’s bombing during World War II; remembering the tiny print of the The Last Supper that hung above my best friend’s kitchen table in elementary school; remembering that everyone has an individual experience with this painting, and that everyone can recognize it, made me swallow back tears. This is it. This is what as designers and artists we strive for. We strive for relevance, for breaking past a time barrier and connecting with people for centuries. I will always carry with me that first glance of Leonardo’s legacy.

image before leaving Italy. Andrea so graciously offered to be Judas, as no one else wanted to be. Fellow student Jake Carter, the only male student on the trip, automatically got to be Jesus, or Gesù.

The Last Supper, 1495–1498, Leonardo da Vinci, tempera on plaster, Santa Maria delle Grazie.

There was a chart that labeled each of the figures in The Last Supper. I found it interesting that the names change from English to Italian. For instance, John would be Giovanni. Upon leaving Leonardo’s masterpiece, each of us decided it was necessary to recreate the iconic

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S N APCHAT — TA K EN HE RE 05.22.16

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Exterior of the Duomo in Milan.

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Back when it wasn’t wrong to draw on the walls Lining the walls of San Maurizio are beautiful frescoes. Every surface of the church is painted to extreme detail, including the ceiling. The frescoes tell the stories of the Bible. Including a depiction of Noah’s Arc, proving that unicorns did exist at some point in time. An image I found rather interesting was that of Christ, wounded across his hands, crown, and abdomen from the cross, bleeding streams of blood straight into goblets. While I understand the relevance of communion, I had never seen the blood of Christ being so literally the wine. It through me off, and demonstrated a cultural difference between American Protestantism compared to the 1518 Italian Catholicism.

Frescoes painted in the church. These frescoes line all of the walls – not one wall is empty.

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yarn and felt made into social commentary pieces.

sign. Especially present was soft materials such as

and through a door that opens up to feminine de-

To enter the exhibition, you cross over and bridge

Entrance to the “Women in Design� exhibition.



The Triennale Design Museum was truly beautiful. While I enjoyed looking through as many exhibitions as I could, my favorite was W. Women in Italian Design. To enter the exhibition, you must cross over and bridge and through a door that opens up to feminine design. Especially present was soft materials such as yarn and felt made into social commentary pieces. As a woman in design, I appreciate other designing women and the women that came before me to ensure I could choose a career in design as well. The following is a description provided by the Triennale: The exhibition traces a new history of Italian design in the feminine, reconstructing the figures, theories, and approaches to design that were sown in the twentieth century and that have taken hold, transformed and evolved in the twenty-first century.

design by Margherita Palli, examines Italian design in the light of one its most delicate, most problematic aspects – but also one of the most exciting and appealing, which is that of gender. The idea that gender is no longer just a biological and natural fact, but rather a cultural issue opens up interesting perspectives for what design after design might be. But to address the question of gender in design in an objective and balanced manner, we first need to examine the great removal of the female gender perpetrated during the 20th century. The modernity of the twentieth century pushed women’s design skills to the side-lines, where it has been virtually ignored by design historians and theorists. The twentyfirst century is increasingly showing a new-found intensity in these design skills. Women create, design, experiment, risk and challenge.� I cannot find the title or artist of this piece. I loved it, however, because you fanned the bells to play a song.

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Like walking into a dream

On the occasion of the XXI International Exposition, Triennale Design Museum presents its Ninth Edition W. Women in Italian Design. The Ninth Edition of the Triennale Design Museum curated by Silvana Annicchiarico, with installation

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Because the cemetery was closed, and it started raining as we walked back, we stopped inside a small cafe to get a Coke or coffee. We felt so American to be ordering Coca-Cola everywhere we went.

What I thought was most interesting about the trip to the cemetery was the trip itself. We took the Milanese equivalent to a San Fransisco street car, with nice wood interior. I didn’t realize that Milan would have such a type of public transportation.

every other day. Don’t try climbing the fence.

closed on MONDAYS, but open from 8AM­— 6PM

a graveyard. Please note that the cemetery is

I’ve never been more upset that I couldn’t enter

Unfortunately, the cemetery in Milan is closed on Mondays. Therefore, gates kept us out. Looking through the rod-iron, however, we could see statues, tombstones, and the beautiful Famedio chapel. While many famous Italians are buried in the Cimitero Monumentale, I only recognized Bruno Munari, the renowned designer, artist, and inventor. Perhaps one day I will return to Milan and be able to walk through the cemetery.

Locked out and rained on

CIMITERO MONUMENTALE DI MILANO A chapel within the Cimitero Monumentale di Milano.


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The view from the roof of the Duomo of Milan.

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Lucio’s studio tour was enlightening. The space itself was charming and small, but big enough to fit a press. We got an inside look as to how Lucio works on his projects. Not only that, but Lucio pulled out samples of his work which helped me to familiarize myself with his style and realize his expertise. After all was said and done, Lucio passed around wine that his neighbor in the country made. I think it would be nice to have a neighbor that makes wine, and definitely nice to have a country house as well as a place in Milan. Later that night, a select few of us joined Lucio and his wife to dinner. This was my first dinner doing two courses – the pasta and the meat. The steak was incredible, as this restaurant was known for its meat. We all needed the help of the Passerini’s, however, because no one in the restaurant could speak English. A look inside Lucio’s studio – complete with all the tools needed for letterpress and bookbinding.

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The studio of Lucio Passerini

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It’s not everyday that you get to stay in a bed & breakfast on a prosecco vineyard — but for seven nights Villa Bolzonello was our home. A home stocked with sugary croissants and bottles of prosecco — also, conveinetly located just up the road from the German/Italian sports bar where we ate almost every night. It’s said that some of the best gelato in Italy was “just around the corner,” but we never found this elusive gelateria.

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Double-fisting two glasses of wine that Mauro poured for me at his restaurant – Le Corderie.

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Stealing bottles from the fridge As a first-time train passenger, I did not know what to expect. All I could picture was the Hogwarts Express. Instead, the travels to Cornuda took forever. The train workers were on strike, so the already long journey took even longer, helping us to miss connecting trains. I started regretting all that I had packed, because changing trains became such a hassle. By the end of my time in Italy, I learned to appreciate the train system. I started to understand how it all worked. I think that growing up in Kansas doesn’t prepare you for public transportation, so it takes getting used to. However, Sandro was there to help us get our bags to Villa Bolzonello.

studying abroad. Chloe and I spent many nights up together talking and wondering what it was like to be Luigi and his family – living there full time.

Luigi’s Villa Bolzonello was stunning – rolling hills of green vines and a view of the city. Staying on a vineyard was truly a treat. When we would return from a day’s work, someone would scrounge up a bottle of prosecco. I discovered how much I loved this sparkling white wine while staying in prosecco country. Furthermore, Luigi would bring us a sugary croissant and espresso every morning. The entire Villa was so well kept; it felt more like a romantic getaway than

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A look at some of the posters produced at Tipoteca. All of the drawers are filled with metal & wood type.

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With the instruction of Claudia Tavella, we learned how to write pretty. Using a nib and ink and a steady hand, we started by practicing creating letterforms and graduated into creating compositions. Calligraphy, especially at Claudia’s level, takes a lot of patience and I wonder if I’m cut out for it. I like the pace of letters appearing as soon as I press a letter key. This workshop helped me slow down and experience design at an analog setting. Because of her talent and style, we dubbed Claudia the “Eric Marinovich” of Italy. We experimented with taking old Coke cans and making them into aluminum nibs. This allowed a thicker, more free-formed line. Interestingly enough, Italy doesn’t have Diet Coke, but “Coke Light” instead. I find the subtle changes in appropriation so comical.

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Claudia joined us after our days of lessons at the German/Italy sports bar. She saw us order “speedy rocks,” which looked like Sonic’s Popcorn Chicken, plates of fries, margherita pizzas, and rum drinks. It’s highly possible that we lived up to all our American stereotypes. However, in the bathroom of this restaurant, a woman said something to me and I said I didn’t speak Italian. “English?” she asked. When I agreed she was so excited to have met a British person, so maybe we aren’t so cowboy American-looking after all.

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fingers� in the States.

used in making tiramisu are referred to as “lady

minutes straight when learning that the cookies

making special tiramisu and also laughed for five

Cristina taught us how to keep our boyfriends by

postcards from italy Chef Cristina spooning fresh marinara sauce onto the gnocchi we all rolled together.


Rollin’ in the dough At Le Corderie, Cristina Colle runs the kitchen. Luckily, we were able to steal some of her time so she could teach us how to make classic Italian dishes. The first was the potato-based pasta gnocchi. It was mesmerizing to watch her work; I think I forgot everything almost immediately after she did it because I was too distracted by the next step.

and capers; this sauce was applied heavily to the meat. This is another classic Italian dish, I liked it more than I had imagined. I would love to be as good of a chef, especially in Italian food, as Cristina.

We got to help Cristina roll the gnocchi out into thin ropes and cut them into cuboidal shapes. We also watched her make the tomato sauce for the gnocchi, the same way that “all mamas in Italy make their sauce.” With celery, carrots, onion, fresh garlic, and peeled tomatoes. Additionally, we made tiramisu, a dessert that “girlfriends need to know to impress their boyfriends,” while Cristina told us the origin of tiramisu. The chef that created tiramisu lived across from a brothel, so thus tiramisu literally translates to “pick me up” for the men to be picked up from the night’s events and continue with their day. And lastly, Cristina cut thinly sliced veal and laid it on a plate. Next, she blended together a jar of mayonnaise, tuna, olive oil,

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Mecca of printed typography Sandro Berra gave us a tour of Tipoteca Italiana. The whole building is a testament to letterpress and printmaking. Drawers of metal type and wood type line the walls and a number of presses are out on the floor – used often by Tipoteca employees or letterpress aficionados from around the world. For instance, Lucio Passerini came in from Milan to instruct us in a letterpress workshop.

Tipoteca. There, Professor Linda Samson-Talleur told me about her time in Italy, studying letterpress on a Fulbright scholarship. It was in this moment that I decided I need to earn a Fulbright as well. And also go to graduate school. Yale here I come?

The introductory page of our very own printed version of La Fontana Malata.

We typeset the poem La Fontana Malata, by Aldo Palazzeschi, a well-known Italian Futurist poem. I learned a lot from watching Lucio work. He is patient in his work. Lucio takes time to check and fix his typesetting, center his text on a page, roll the ink, etc. Everything is done with precision. You lose track of time when working on a project like this, I forgot how time-consuming doing everything by hand is when I am accustomed to the immediacy of computers. Nonetheless, finishing the printing, folding, and binding of our very own version of La Fontana Malata was very rewarding. After working all day in the letterpress studio, we ate pizza at a great little restaurant right near

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Bassano del Grappa is the destination you never knew you needed. The famous bridge is absolutely picturesque, the grappa is dangerously delicious, and everyone was so nice ­­— even when they didn’t speak English and we didn’t know a word of Italian except for “grazie” and how to order gelato. This is also the city I discovered that Italian men shaved their legs and also never stop tanning in Speedos, no matter how old.

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Laying on the rocks that the Italians all tanned on. We should have brought our swimming suits. Instead, I tried to look like a mermaid.

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The famous bridge in Bassano del Grappa.

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When I went into this famous shop, I asked the clerk for two small bottles of grappa. The man looked at me and said, “you with your blonde hair, you don’t look like grappa.”

Carbonara pasta in Bassano del Grappa.


look like grappa.”

“You and your blonde hair… You don’t

In Italy, I tried my first glass of grappa. An Italian alcohol made from left over grapes used in winemaking. The taste is truly unique, I was expecting a taste similar to an American Rye or Bourbon, but the grape provides a different aroma and flavor. Grappa tastes more strongly of pure alcohol, the burn is evident. Right at the east entrance of the famous Bassano del Grappa bridge, is the B.lo Nardini grappa distillery, which opened up in 1779 and snagged itself a spot on the list of Historical Places of Italy.

Andrea described grappa as lighter-fluid so I tried it


We also went to a restaurant that overlooked these beautiful rolling hills and had gluten-free pasta for Chloe. It was hard to communicate, as they didn’t know very much English and we knew no Italian. I really need to learn.

After convincing, he picked out two bottles he thought I would like the best – a classic and an aged. My family did not like the grappa I brought back. I think it takes an acquired taste.

View from the bridge in Bassano del Grappa.



The Museo Remondini holds a collection of woodcut prints, early printed typography, and books. It’s amazing to comprehend how much effort went into the creation of these early printed products. Not only that, but how much history there is in these works and in Italy as a whole. I think I really realized how young the United States is when I saw the rich history of Italy. Furthermore, seeing the portraits of the Remondini family was interesting. Interesting to see what the rich families wore, how they posed, and popular painting styles of the time.

Entrance to the Museo Remondini.

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I still need something here

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For someone who loves the water like me, Venice was incredible. The whole city travels by vaporetto boats throughout canals. Even in the rain, the city was beautiful. The whole day was as gilded as the Pala d’Oro in San Marco. We lost Sarah in a grocery store after buying juice boxes of red wine, but found her again while watching a kids’ soccer practice — it took everything in me to not join in.

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A not-so-subtle attempt at getting a picture of our very attractive gondolier on the Grand Canal.

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Scene from the vaporetto

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Where to buy silly souvenirs Piazza San Marco is gorgeous. The open air square is enclosed by tall buildings with arches and columns and beautiful symmetry. The basilica, however, is stunning. Large arches with biblical mosaics so well fit together I thought they were paintings, domes, columns, carved detailing and statues. This church has it all; it is magnificent. I have never seen more gold in all my life. The entire church is gilded – elements on the outside, the full ceilings, crosses, etc. but most importantly the Pala d’Oro altar. This altar is solid gold with rich gems and jewels encased in the gold, images of saints in perfect golden windows. Truly the most ornate display, the altar is huge and unbelievable.

Mosaic above one of the entrances into the Basilica San Marco in Venice.

I bought a rosary that had beads made out of compressed rose petals to give to my best friend Anna Hamilton. The gift was well-received.

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Peggy redefined my goals The Peggy Guggenheim Museum was one of my favorite stops in Italy. While it’s not necessary rich in Italian history, this art museum has essentially every modern artist you would ever want to see – Georges Braque, Salvador Dalí, Piet Mondrain, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Willem de Kooning, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, etc. Whether it was Peggy purchasing artworks from famous artists, or Peggy making them famous by purchasing their artworks, it was the most impressive collection from a single person I have ever seen. The museum itself is right on the Venice Grand Canal, and before her death, was Peggy’s actual house. Peggy Guggenheim quickly went from a person I did not recognize to a person I aspire to be.

Se la forma scompare la sua raice e eterna, Mario Merz, 1982–1989, neon tubes



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View of the Grand Canal from the gondola – which we spent 80 euro on for a 30-minute ride.

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In this city, we found the friendliest Italians yet. Maybe too friendly. We also found out that most of the citizens of Fabriano had no idea their city housed the papermaking museum that we had come to study at. It was also in Fabriano that Jake bought port instead of wine and then feared gout, the hotel breakfast had the first American bacon we had seen, and we met our first “Paolo.�

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Taking “junior pics� next to a door in Fabriano during an exploration walk.

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Scouting gelaterias We got a tour of Fabriano and learned all about the history of the city. Interestingly enough, a friend of mine from the University of Kansas was from Fabriano. Now his family lives in Oklahoma City – his grandfather still makes his own wine. While he recognized Fabriano as a papermaking city, most of the locals did not realize their paper mill was their claim to fame.

to English. It’s a completely different culture of approaching women/flirting. Because of this, one night in Fabriano, we all snuggled into a room and Jake bought us Port because he doesn’t speak any more Italian than the rest of us.

The city had a small-town feel with almost medieval-like architecture. I felt like I had stepped back in time. Our tour guide took us to the museum – Pinacoteca Civica Bruno Molajoli – in Fabriano and around the town square and city streets. We stepped into churches and saw a mixture of modern architecture with the classic frescostyle walls that we saw in Milan. A lot of our time in Fabriano was spent trying to avoid a few of the locals that we met at a bar one night. They were very excited to meet some American girls. We all took turns being “Jake’s girlfriend.” To avoid the trouble. Chloe and I also got cat-called by two Italian men driving by. First they tried Italian, then Dutch, and finally got around

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View down a street of Fabriano.

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Italians offered me animal gelatin to eat We made watermarks during our first day in Fabriano. I decided to make the outline of the state of Kansas because I anticipated that bending the copper wire would be difficult and it was. Even more difficult was sewing the copper wire onto a shifting sheet to make the paper with. I kept breaking the extremely thing wire used to tie the copper on – making me frustrated. I realized that most everything I learned in Italy was that design and making things by made takes lots of skill, time, and patience.

of paper with a good thickness. I learned that this process of papermaking allowed for a natural deckled-edge on the paper. I really liked making paper once I figured out how to do it correctly. Chloe and I even made a dance using the movements used to make paper to the song “Look at me Now� by Chris Brown because we think that we are really funny.

We also got a tour of the mill and watched paper being made. Our tour guide taught us that to make paper more water-proof, they put it through an animal gelatin. He then offered us little pieces of animal gelatin to eat and this honestly concerned me.

Making a single sheet of paper in the Fabriano paper mill. Roberto is somewhere editing my technique.

The papermaking was more fun of a process. A large trough of cotton and water was stirred together and we used the shifting sheet to scoop up the mixture and shake it softly and evenly among the sheet. Roberto, an expert papermaker, helped us learn how to do this gracefully to create an even sheet

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Giuseppe Baldinelli helped us bind two different leather projects together. The first being a photo album and the second a journal or sketchbook. Oddly enough, Giuseppe said that he hated bookbinding and really loved just working with leather. So it was interesting learning the tedious binding work from him. I will always remember how anal Giuseppe was about keeping the glue brush in the right place in the glue bucket and wiping the excess glue off the brush in the exact right place as well. For the most part, we all followed directions fairly well. My favorite product was the sketchbook because I am more likely to use or buy something like it; however, I am afraid to use it now because it is just so beautiful. Although the most fun technique was pressing leaves, sticks, wheat, etc. into the covers of our photo albums.

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I really appreciated Giuseppe because he was a passionate and straightforward designer and teacher. After finishing book of my books I exclaimed our favorite new Italian phrase “chicchirichi� meaning cock-a-doodle-doo. Giuseppe laughed and no doubt thought we were all crazy. But I got all my points for this class, right Andrea?

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View of the rolling hills of Fabriano.

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Now I don’t need to go caving in Branson, Missouri Only a train ride away from Fabriano there exists giant caves referred to as Grotte di Frasassi. These caves were incredibly impressive. Stalactites and stalagmites hung and stood so tall. Not only that, but the pure size of the caves were huge. Our tour guide said that the largest “room” in the caves was bigger than Milan’s Duomo. I found this almost impossible. He pointed to a stalactite hanging from the wall and said that particular stalactite is a football field away, it seemed a matter of feet. My whole sense of space and distance was warped. The caves were still actively forming stalactites and stalagmites, but the formation process is so slow leading me to wonder how old these caves really are. Photography was permitted, so I tried my best to secretly take pictures. Pictures will never do these caves justice anyway, however. Illegal picture taken in the caves, as there was no photography allowed.

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Hey now, hey now, Rome is what dreams are made of. From the very start, eating a prosciutto pizza and drinking a Peroni, to my Lizzie McGuire moment at the Trevi Fountain, to going to the Opera, Rome was incredible. Even crammed into a tiny hotel room with three other girls, the charm never wore off. I met a nice boy who told me he was “for free tonight,� and considered buying a sacrilegious calendar of hot priests.

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Walking around inside the Colosseum; wishing I had seen The Gladiator.

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Fountain with Poseidon along the piazza.

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Jake wouldn’t buy me a flower In the Piazza Navona, there are tourist trap salesmen everywhere. Jake wouldn’t buy me or the other girls flowers. We don’t know why he wasn’t willing to drop the cash on getting all of us roses? Apart from the goofy salesmen, the piazza has beautiful fountains and restaurants with open-air seating. It was so stereotypically Roman. We ate at one the of restaurants not too far from the Piazza Navona and it was incredibly good. Arguably the best pizza I had in Italy; however, I really enjoyed the small mom-and-pop pizza shop right outside of Tipoteca. Each of the sculptures in the fountains were so well defined and detailed. So masterfully carved. It was all so impressive. Especially aesthetic was the pastel-colored buildings that really made the stone sculptures pop.

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Different from the Parthenon The exterior of the Pantheon is something so recognizable that it almost seemed fake when I saw it in real life. However, what really amazed me was the interior. No expense was spared, as different marbles were put together in a pastiche style and certain areas were gilded with gold leafing. The dome ceiling, with all of it’s missing squares, was incredible. Well-knowing that these cut-out squares were to make the dome lighter, as to not cave inward, I still didn’t realize that someone had to cut those out by hand. It’s really hard to imagine all of this handcrafted work in a space this large. The Pantheon held an altar as well as the sarcophagi for multiple notable Romans – including the painter Raphael.

The front exterior of the Pantheon; the view of the ceiling inside the Pantheon dome.



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The Trevi fountain.

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postcards from italy


A dream that took 13 years to make reality In 2003, the greatest movie ever made was released – The Lizzie McGuire Movie. In the film, newly graduated high school students travel to Rome with their graduating class to study. Lizzie tosses a coin into the Trevi Fountain and wishes for an adventure. So Chloe and I did just that. Even though we didn’t have superstar Italian doppelgangers – yes, we researched – our trip was still an adventure. The Trevi Fountain was created from 1732–1762, and stands in the center of Rome. The sculptures are stunning. One of the men who worked on the fountain was Gian Lorenzo Bernini – the same man who made The Rape of Proserpina among other great works.

Chloe and I tossing coins into the Trevi Fountain.

Seeing this massive fountain, the beautiful sculpture, neat engravings, and crystal blue water was breathtaking. Throwing my coin into the fountain was also one of my favorite experiences in Italy.

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building tools or modern cranes, scaffolding, etc. I learned that the numerous tiny, little holes in the Colosseum were not the war wounds or old-aged missing blocks I thought

they were, but rather where the scaffolding was inserted. I wonder what it was like to be a contemporary citizen, watching gladiator fights. I cannot even imagine what that would be like. The wooden floor across the top of the chambers is gone now, but I picture different gladiators and beastly animals all down there and it’s terrifying.

animals. It’s so hard to believe it was ever real.

gladiators pop out of trap doors and fight vicious

being flooded for naval battles. Or watching these

I cannot even fathom the idea of the Colosseum

We received little cell phones that spoke to us, in English thankfully, and taught us about the Colosseum. As we walked around, I thought about how impressive it was that early Romans made this structure without modern architectural

The Colosseum is something that everyone should see once in their lifetime. Although we’ve all seen a million images and reproductions of the Colosseum, seeing and experiencing the sheer size of it in person is necessary.

Better than any American stadium I’ve been to

THE COLOSSEUM View from inside the Colosseum.



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Persephone’s leg though Villa Borghese was almost impossible for us to find, but yet so worth it once we did. For instance, paintings by Caravaggio and sculptures by Bernini made this museum unmissable.

The Rape of Proserpina, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1621–1622, marble.

Although every part of this museum was beyond perfect and gorgeous, each work more amazing than the next, my favorite piece was Bernini’s The Rape of Proserpina. This is because I had learned about this sculpture already in one of my art history classes and knew what to examine and what to find most impressive about the piece. Hades’ hand grasping onto Persephone’s leg is so realistic, as is the hair and expressions, etc. The movement of the piece is also notable. It is not a static bust, but rather a very active sculpture. Also, Persephone is the patron goddess of my sorority at the University of Kansas – Chi Omega – so I have always been interested in her story in Greek mythology.

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Being that I love musicals and plays back in the States, I couldn’t leave Italy without going to the Opera — especially when it was the opera from “Pretty Woman” with Julia Roberts. So I gathered a group together and we bought tickets to the Opera! The experience was awesome. While I worried that we weren’t dress well-enough, we didn’t end up looking too out of place. Upon entering the theater, we were offered risotto and pasta. Drinks cost extra money, as did gelato in a cart off to the corner. It was a nice treat we were not expecting. The show itself was overly dramatic and so great. The voices were unlike anything I had ever heard before. Even though the words were not in English, the melodramatic actions were easy enough to follow.

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During intermission, we ate delicious grappafilled chocolates that Andrea gave us before the show. Toward the end of the show, I think we all got tired — like the whole trip was catching up to us, as this was our final night. After the show, the only restaurant that was open — or maybe we made that up as an excuse? — was McDonalds. We ordered Big Macs and fries and Coke and enjoyed a break from pasta and pizza to chow down on American classics around midnight. A great way to end any night.

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This was probably the most incredible trip I will ever take part in. The things I learned and saw will be a source of constant inspiration. Not only that but I made friendships that I know will last. Also, somehow, I made it back to the United States

with five bottles of alcohol, a giant bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and two bottles of perfume — with none of them breaking or being confiscated. My only regret would be not “kissing as many boys as I can without getting into the car with them.”

A special thanks to Andrea Herstowski and Linda Samson-Talleur from the University of Kansas for planning this trip and taking us all around Italy. ADS 532, Summer 2016 Body text and captions are Univers 55; headlines are Unity Bold. All of the pictures were taken by either myself or Liz Hixon.

Postcards from Italy