Italy2013 A study of Renaissance Art throughout Italy

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.

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