Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chi lo sa? Mi piacciono i capelli.

Things never seem to slow down over here in Florence Italy. There is always tons to do and see! Seven out of the ten undergraduate students are traveling this weekend, some in Venice, others in Prague, another visiting family somewhere close by! Me, I am enjoying the Florentine lifestyle this weekend(and saving a little soldi :) ) This past week was pretty jam packed full of awesome! I had over three museum visits, attended some extra events for fun, and yesterday I went to the largest horse show in Europe!

On Wednesday night JMU gave us the option to attend a lecture given by Bob Shrum, an American political consultant, a political analyst for 'Hardball', he has worked on many presidential campaigns, and been published in many national publications. This event was hosted by the Democrats Abroad organization. So after Food and Wine Pairing, a few undergrads, Mark Stern(the Faculty Advisor's husband) and the entire graduate program headed over to the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi. The building in which the lecture was held was beautiful!! This Renaissance Palace was enormous and the room in which the lecture was held, Sala Luca Giordano, was enormous and had frescos occupying the entire ceiling and mirrors with amazing paintings across them running down the entire right side of the room. It was gorgeous. The title of the lecture was "The Obama Administration: One Year Later." Once we got there the organization waved our cover donation because we were students and allowed us to participate in the reception before the lecture began. It was really fun being at an event like this, full of people interested in American Goverment. Once the lecture began many of us were sad to hear Bob Shrum discussing mostly the election results of last Tuesday rather than a recap of Obama's first year in office, which is why the majority of us were attending. All in all, it was still pretty interesting and it turned out to be a really fun evening out with both the undergrads and grads from JMU.

On Thursday, I had three art history classes in a row! If I were in Harrisonburg I may have griped and moaned about sitting down in a lecture hall for that long staring at slides, but because I am in the Art History capital of the world I was ecstatic! First, we went with Professor Sidsel-Vivarelli to the Capella Medicee which was by far my favorite building I have seen to date. The hundreds of feet high ceiling of this chapel was beautiful. The walls leading to the ceiling were made of all dark marble- deep greens, blues, purples. It was unlike anything we had seen so far, the colors were so dark but with the light of day pooring in it lit the room up and you could see all of the detailed marble work and it was amazing. After leaving the Capella Medici we stayed with Professor Sidsel-Vivarelli and followed her to the connecting Basilica di San Lorenzo. Both of the museums are part of the same bulding but one is a state museum and one national museum(I think I got those right). So they are seperate museums and seperate tickets. The Basilica di San Lorenzo was equally as enormous and just as gorgeous, but there wasn't as much of the unique, deep colored marble we had just seen in the Capella Medici. It was still extraordinary. At the end of the day we went to the La Gipsoteca dell'Istituto d'Arte. This was all the way through the Porta Romana, the gate leading out of Florence, but directly on the other side of Florence's walls. We arrived with Professor Auf der Heyde just as classes were letting out of this Art Institute, kind of a high school for students pursuing art. La Gipsoteca is a private, educational museum within the school. There are lots and lots of plaster casts inside with everything from the David to the Ghiberti doors. Everything is actual sized plaster casts so this room was enormous. Seeing everything so much closer than you could normally stand to these masterpieces, because they were only copies, was unreal. You could examine David's toe nail or study Neptune's trident within a few inches. These plaster casts are used at this Art Institute to teach studying artist about the shadows cast by the different parts of the human body. For hundreds of years artists have been taught this way, before moving to real live models they must master the drawing of plaster casts because the shadows are so apparent on the stark, white figures. It was really interesting to see how an art school operates outside of the United States and how they trained the masters of the past and probably the masters of the future!

Finally, we get to the largest horse show in Europe that I attended yesterday! Mama Lo knew I was staying in Florence for the weekend so she invited me along with two students from her Center, Le Rose. Le Rose is a center that Mama Lo helped start about twenty years ago, it is located at a beautiful ranch just outside of Florence. Monday through Thursday special needs adults come to Le Rose and participate in everything from cermaics classes to horseback riding. Gorky and Zoe were the two students who were coming to the show yesterday and both avid horse lovers. FieraCavalli 2009 was enormous. There were tents, and when I say tents I mean buildings, hosting horsing events and stalls holding the thousands of horses, that never seemed to end. There was an entire section devoted to food, there were outdoor shows, indoor shows, even horses trotting up and down the streets with the people. It was raining and it was still jam packed! We saw horses dancing, bowing, jumping, rolling, neighing, running, was all there! Even the World Cup for barrel racing, sadly the stands were too full and we couldn't see over the enormous fences. Gorky is one of the most outgoing people I have ever met, we went into a saloon with a live country music band and no one but professional line dancers on the dance floor(and yes...we're still in Italy) and he took over! He grabbed myself, Mama Lo, Zoe and led us all onto the dance floor and he was the life of the party! Kids and adults followed suit and before you knew it the floor was full of people without a care in the world. It was great to see so much positive energy started by one person. We were at FieraCavalli 2009 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.! We had so much fun, I'm not even a big horse lover and it was one of the best days I have had so far! When we arrived home at around ten I was beat, so I had some dinner and hit the hay! I had a great night of sleep and now I am off on my next adventure in Florence that you should look forward to hearing about in my next blog post to come in a few days.

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