Italy2013

June 10, 2013

Venice Day 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfroncek @ 3:22 am
On our way to see Manet!

On our way to see Manet!

Love this shot

Love this shot

Today was very exciting, most of the day was spent at the Peggy Guggenheim museum in the heart of Venice’s hippest neighborhood. I love Contemporary Art, so the opportunity to see this famous collection felt like Christmas.

While we waited to enter the museum, Maureen told us a little bit about Peggy’s life story. She inherited a large sum of money after her parents died in the Titanic, which fueled her support of modern artists. Personally, she was independent at a time when women normally weren’t. Because of this she was ostracized as being promiscuous. She opened her fist gallery in New York City and collected works by modern artists like Pollock and Warhol. Luckily for us, they were all displayed in the Guggenheim in Venice.

Seeing the art of so many famous Modern and Contemporary artists that I had just spent a semester studying was a thrilling experience. I loved Warhol’s daisies, of course, as well as Picasso’s work and Pollock’s early paintings but I really appreciated the genius behind Donald Judd’s Fibonacci based sculpture, where he worked with metal in accordance with the famous mathematical sequence which is also found in nature.

After the Guggenheim we ate excellent pasta with seafood. Maureen and I shared pasta with shrimp. The shrimp were huge! They were left in shell, with claws and antenna still on! The meat had a completely different taste when prepared like this, and I much prefer it to the peeled shrimp. It was a challenge to eat, but well worth it!

After lunch, Livia and I stopped by an Italian bakery to try some things we saw in the window. We both stayed in the French pastry family, coincidently, with chocolate macaroon and a vanilla meringue. The meringue was huge, but delicious. It looked like a mountain of whipped cream, and tasted like one.

The trip was such a wonderful experience, from the bustling streets of Rome to the serene back roads of Siena, I couldn’t ask for a better introduction to Italy. And now, my train ticket back to Rome is purchased and I prepare to embark on my first solo international excursion. With the skills I have gained traveling on this leg of the trip, getting to Rome via train will be a breeze.

Arrevaderci!

Venice Day 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfroncek @ 1:18 am
Loved the flowers in the window boxes

Loved the flowers in the window boxes

I loved the glass blown sculpture at its base. It really seemed to represent the Island and its craft

I loved the glass blown sculpture at its base. It really seemed to represent the Island and its craft

The medeterrainian sea Me by the sea

You can see Murano in the background

You can see Murano in the background

Today we got to sleep in a bit for our free day. I decided to stick with the group and take a boat over to Venice’s famous glass making island, Murano. The water bus there was long and crowded, but I was lucky enough to get a spot by the edge where I could watch the Mediterranean. The water here is so much bluer than the grey Atlantic that I am used to, it was a refreshing change.
The island was much bigger than I expected it to be, it seemed like a city within itself. There were glass vendors everywhere but it was distinctly less touristy and I got the feeling that we had wandered off the beaten path.

The glass here is famous for its beauty and being hand blown by Italian glass masters. You could tell each was hand blown because no two cups, bowls, or beads were alike. I noticed that many shared characteristics that would differ by vendor. One shop sold mostly red and blue cups where another twisted black and white in its vases. My favorite glass commodity that they sold was their jewelry, each bead so unique that even the individual earrings in sets differed slightly from their pair (though not by much). I purchased a small bracelet with black beads encased in gold filigree, with a set of beaded earrings splashed with hints of black and blue. The blue accents in the earrings are the same color as the ocean we passed en route to Murano.

After this we relaxed in Piazza San Marco for a while, my favorite piazza, and people watched. This was followed by a trip inside the Doges Palace to see a Manet exhibit! I loved how Olympia contrasted with other Venuses we had seen previously in the Uffizi. Particularly with the Venus of Urbino, I love how the gaze of Olympia differs so much from the Venus of Urbino, as well as their posture. Even the animal at the foot of the bed contrasts, Urbino has a small dog which is the symbol of fidelity and Olympia has a black cat which I was told represents the devil. This interesting contrast inspired me to do more research; perhaps I will do my class project on comparing the Venuses of Italy.

Until next time!

Venice Day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfroncek @ 12:57 am

A view of the canals

Note how it opens on to the water!

Note how it opens on to the water!

I just can't get enough of these views

I just can’t get enough of these views

View from the Bridge of Sighs

View from the Bridge of Sighs

Reminds me of the Great Gatsby

Reminds me of the Great Gatsby

Today we arrived in Venice. The minute we walked out of the termini, we were greeted with white cobblestone and blue canals, a sight that I’ll never forget. The air there smelled cleaner, not surprising for a city that exists largely without motorized vehicles. Our hotel was only a short trek from the termini, and the little mop-like hotel dog walked out to greet us, needless to say I have a soft spot for puppies.

After unpacking and a quick lunch, we took off for Piazza San Marco. I have truly never felt more at home anywhere in Italy. A combination of the smell of the ocean, Mediterranean blues and shiny white marble palaces shot San Marco to the top of my favorite destinations list. We walked across the bridge of sighs, named after its location between the prison and civil courts of the Renaissance. Gondoliers paddled right under us as we looked off the bridge, a bustling port before our eyes.

Further exploration led me to the conclusion that Venetians must really love dogs as much as I do, everywhere I looked I saw dogs, on and off leashes, with their person. Most were small, though I did spot an adorable English bulldog, complete with a Louis Vuitton collar. On that note, I also noticed that Venice is a much more expensive city to live in than Florence was. Little things like bottled water was even noticeably more expensive.

The small streets that we navigated back to our hotel felt like a maze. I loved it, the small streets were lined with everything from smoothie shops to high fashion boutiques. Although we got slightly lost, we made it back to our hotel. I loved the little bridges we would pass, a lot of them overlooked canals with old world homes, one had a door that if opened would lead right into the water!

For dinner that night, I couldn’t wait to try the fresh Venetian sea food. Livia and I split the seafood risotto, and it was every bit as good as it sounds. The risotto was perfectly cooked and balanced out the complex flavors of muscles, octopus, and crab. We discovered that a splash of balsamic made it even better.

I’m looking forward to the next few days, and could really get used to living here!

Day Trip to Siena

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfroncek @ 12:16 am

The fountain at Sienna A street in Sienna A door in Sienna A view of the city A funny sign The Romanesque Cathedral

 

We got on the bus after breakfast for a beautiful drive through the Italian countryside. An hour or so later we arrived in the quaint town of Siena. It really felt like walking back in time, since its so small you really got the feel for what a Medieval town would be like, with the large Romanesque cathedral on the hill and smaller dwellings scattered on the slope below.
The first church we visited was renowned for containing an important religious relic, the head of St. Catherine of Siena. This saint hailed from Siena as her name suggests, and is a very important religious figure for the town. However, the relic made me feel uncomfortable; it looked like a piece of Halloween décor with a veil. Also, I wondered how they could claim this was the head without modern DNA samples and evidence, needless to say, my inner Biology nerd was disconcerted. Nevertheless, you could tell that it was important to the people of the city, with an extensive shrine and small hearts all around the relic.
After seeing this relic, we wandered around the steep streets and back routes until we made our way to the Romanesque Cathedral on the hill. I loved the architecture, where the columns were striped with black and white granite. There was also an interesting tiled section of the floor which depicted the symbol for each of the main cities in Italy. Rome was represented by an Elephant, and Florence by a bird. According to Ancient History.about.com the symbol for Rome is the elephant because of Julius Ceasers military campaign against Ariovistus in 58 at the battle of Vosges. http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/ancientarchitecture/ss/120612-Caesar-Elephant-Denarius-C-49-B-C.htm
Some other sights we saw today were the Piaza Del Campowith the bell tower, and interesting street art. Additionally, I had my favorite salad of the trip in the scenic brick piazza. The salad consisted of thinly shaved zucchini, Parmesan cheese, and tomatoes with an aged raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. It was light without sacrificing the fantastic flavors of Italian cuisine.

May 27, 2013

Florence Day 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfroncek @ 11:03 pm
You werent allowed to take photos of the actual David, so this will have to suffice!

You werent allowed to take photos of the actual David, so this will have to suffice!

Sunny San Maria Del Fiore Ticket to the Uffizi View from Ponte Vecchio

Today was rainy again – but we saw the most inspiring works of art to make up for it! On our trip to the Ufizi, my choice to major in art history was solidified through viewing the pricesless works of art featured in the museam.

We began our trip through the historic museam in the room of the three virgins where you saw the progression of artistic ability in three pannels of Mary and baby Jesus. I loved the shading on the Ognissanti Madonna‘s faces by Giotto, they really gave the painting depth and believability, in contrast to Cinabue’s early virgin and child.
Next came the inspiring Fillipo Lippi works. His portrait of Mary and baby Jesus was so beautiful and modern in its depiction beauty, since many of the other paintings portray features like a large forehead or oblong face as beautiful, Lippi painted a Mary that actually looks gorgeous and a wondnerfully mischievious-looking putti  in the corner. I couldn’t get over the veil on Mary, it looked so believable and translucent.
My favorite of all though was Lippi’s comtemporary Bonticelli’s Birth of Venus. The hair rippled and flowed like real hair would and Maureen explained how the Venus symbolized the Renaissance, she is about to be clothed just as the people were about to be clothed in knowledge.

After the Ufizi we saw the works by Fra Angellica. I loved the annunciation angels wings-the books dont show how the wings glitter in the light. The sense of dimension and use of scientific perspective are excellent-it looks like a room within a square. Additionally, his other works were surprisingly modern, reminiscent of the Surrealist movement.

After this we had yet another delicious meal at Pino’s. He and his wife are such talented chef’s, I had pasta and steamed vegetables.

May 25, 2013

Florence day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfroncek @ 3:03 pm

Florence Street San Marie Del Fiore

 

We took the train from Rome to Florence early in the morning, but despite the time the train station was packed with people. The ride was short, but we got to see the pretty Italian countryside.
Florence is much calmer than Rome, which is a nice change. We took a walking tour and I was pleasantly suprised with how walkable the city is.
The churches in Florence are magnificent. i like how they all have some green stone as a trademark of florence in them so they contrast and coordinate at the same time. My new favorite style of architecture that ties with baroque is gothic, the gothic cathedral in Florence has the most beautiful faccade I have ever seen. Its so detailed and polished that I was shocked to see how minimalistic and spacious the interior was.

We walked past Brunallescis Dome as well, I cant wait for the weather to clear up so we can go to the top! Pictures really dont do his dome justice, it is the largest dome I have ever seen in my life. The enormity of it is hard to decribe in words, it didnt seem real to me!

Todays food was the best sandwich I’ve had in Italy, at Pinos restaurant. Hes a really nice guy with an adorable family. The bread was so perfect md fresh, I would have loved it even without the delicious turkey meat and eggplant. Overall it was excellent.

Looking foreward to scaling the dome!
Cheers

Rome day 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfroncek @ 2:53 pm

St. Peters Basilica The Pantheon

Rome day 2
Today we woke up early to visit St. Peter’s basilica before the crowds arrived. The plaza looked entirely different from our last encounter; the piazza had been completely filled the day before to see the pope. Today it was empty, allowing the sheer enormity of the architecture to set it. I loved the arms of the basilica, designed by my favorite architect Bernini.
Inside St. Peter’s was otherworldly. Everything was decadent, from the baldacchino to the NFL Linebacker sized putti. In contrast, Michelangelo’s piety was much smaller than I expected. While the Pieta was lovely, I preferred Moses by Michelangelo. The Moses was so reminiscent of his painting on the Sistine Chapel that it felt as if the paint had come to life, where the Pieta almost felt reserved from his normal monumental bodies.
Even still, St. Igantius remains my favorite church.

After St. Peter’s we visited a slew of churches, which were all lovely but my two favorites was the ancient cult temple which was converted into a church and the church with the stairs that Jesus climbed.

The ancient cult church was by far the most fun-it was crazy to explore the ancient catacombs which spun underneath the church like a labyrinth. What stood out to me was the double sided tomb lid; one side had Christian inscription and one had pagan inscription. To me this reflected the doubt which must have been widespread as Christianity gained popularity. Family was very important to ancient Romans, so breaking from the traditional family religion would be an understandably difficult undertaking.
The church with the steps was probably the most religiously significant experiences of my life. The stairs were brought in from Israel, and they are the stairs which Jesus came up to Pilot after the scourging. As we ascended the steps on our knees, we could see openings in the stairs with blood droplets from Jesus. I’ve never encountered anything like this before, it made me think of religious pilgrimages and how lucky I was to kneel on the stairs Jesus reportedly climbed.

The food today was even better than yesterday, if possible. We had amazing Sicilian style pizza, my favorite food from the entire trip. Comprised of tomato, basil and tuna, the pizza harmoniously covered all food groups with an equally delicious crust

May 23, 2013

Rome day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfroncek @ 11:49 pm
The highlight of Day 1

The highlight of Day 1

Street shot

He loved his IPad

He loved his IPad

Another shot of the ancient arena

Another shot of the ancient arena

After a long and somewhat exhausting flight, we finally arrived in Rome. Eveyone was tired so we spent a few minutes freshening up at the hotel before our appointment at the colesseum! My mother told me to expect cats roaming the area, however I wasnt able to find any. The building was huge-I was especially taken aback by how many pockets of rock were missing. Later I was informed that people would just steal rocks from the building as needed. Luckily for us this practice has subsided with added security.
After that we saw a series of churches. My favorite by far was the baroque church of St. Ignatius and the early christian chruch with a highly decorated mosaic apse. St. Ignatius was so breathtaking it made me feel like a princess just to walk around. No surface was left undecorated-everything was gilt and shining. A very nice man pointed out to me small gold circles in the tiled floor which indicate where to stand for the best point of perspective. This allowed me to best view the ceilings and walls and has been a trick ive used in every church since. The early christian church was breathtaking mostly because of its mosaics; completely gold and sparking in the light. It was overwhelimg to think of the accomplishment early artists made with no help from modern day convieniences.

The food was of course, spectuacular. My first gelato was in Piaza Navona, which I loved. I had lemon and mango, both were delicious though I prefered the lemon for its tartness. For dinner we ate a wonderful meal at a restaurant in a part of town that used to be the Jewish ghetto. I had caprese salad and pork chops with artichokes, the best meal im Italy so far! We also sat in on a mass in the area, which was really moving.

The vatican museam was an experience unto itself. I could write for days about it, room after room of exquisite art from around the world. We spent the most time in thr Sistine Chapel, appropriately. I loved seeing art from not only Michael Angelo, but also Bontichelli and other artists decorated just under the famous ceiling. I think that of all, Bomtichelli’s was my favorite and I cant wait to see more of his and Phillipo Lippi in the Ufizi in florence. I loved learning about why and how Michael Angelo painted the chapel, specifically that he painted the buisnessman as the devil in the Last Judgement painting. I thought that was pretty amusing. The phophets on the sides of the ceiling were also spectacular, especially the phrophetess dressed in yellow and turned at an angle. Michael Angelos work is so true to the human atanomy and she really displays his skill for this.

The trevi fountain was a magnificent display of itslian sculpture. Pictures and movies do not do justice to its enormity in person. I couldnt get over just how huge the fountain was! It was very crowded, id like to return in the early morning some other time. However it was wonderful for people watching. I also learned that people live in the building that the fountain is connected to. Apparently the appartments there are crazy expensive, and i heard that Mel Gibson lived there once.

Looking forward to tommorow! Cheers

May 20, 2013

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfroncek @ 1:10 am

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