Who Doesn’t Love Tutto?

By Emma Montross, Marist Italy MA, 2014-2015

 

“Do you think Tutto has that?”

“You got what at Tutto?”

“Is the Tutto near San Lorenzo better than our Tutto?”

“Wait where is the super huge Tutto?”

I can state with assurance that almost every student studying in Florence has uttered at least one of these questions during their stay in this historic city. For Masters students like myself, Tutto is a way of life. Need a trash can for .99 cents? Tutto .99 has it. Folders, notebooks, and pencils for under a Euro? Tutto has that too. Energy drinks and pretzels? Yep. Holiday themed decorations? In abundance. Tupperware? Bowls and plates? Cleaning supplies? Nail polish? Converters and adapters? Honestly, I would be surprised if Tutto didn’t have a secret wardrobe to Narnia considering how much of a poor man’s utopia this store is.

The many charms of Tutto should be obvious by now, but the thing that makes this store different from the stale and uncomfortable dollar stores back home is the atmosphere. Upbeat pop music almost always plays softly overhead, the employees happily count your items aloud during check out, and your fellow shoppers seem just as excited as you are about the great deals at your feet. It’s a different kind of mentality about what a shopping-on-a-budget store is. At no point will you hear the sound of a flicking florescent light or wonder what that smell coming from the carpet is (because Tutto has tiled floors).

There are, of course, like any good thing in the world, knock off Tutto stores. I have, with sympathy, seen otherwise unknowing tourists get caught in lure of the 1 Euro store. If you didn’t know about a far superior .99 cent store, a 1 Euro store seems like a pretty good deal. However, the 1 Euro store is full of tourist tchotchkes and therefore doesn’t contain anything of real value while Tutto provides everyday items for real people, tourists and residents of Florence alike. All are welcome to experience the glory that is Tutto, and I hope that newcomers and repeat visitors to Italy alike can experience its simple greatness again and again for a long time to come. I know I will.

To experience Tutto .99, visit one of the five stores in central Florence located at:

  1. Via degli Orti Oricellari 16- 18- ​​20 R
  2. Via Nazionale 107 R
  3. Piazza Salvemini 23
  4. Via de‘ Conti 57 R
  5. Via de‘ Ginori 46 R

Perpetual Adage, A show by Alexander Salazar

By: Joseph Foti, Marist Italy BA

Selections from Perpetual Adage, by Alexander Marco Salazar. Photo by Joe Foti.

Selections from Perpetual Adage, by Alexander Marco Salazar. Photo by Joe Foti.

The forms dance across the wall, their brief life preserved in a 2-5 second exposure in black and white. At first I found the burst of motion chaotic, but as my mind adjusted to the image, an overall sense of balance and life captured my attention.

 

Each piece in Perpetual Adage, a show by Alexander Marco Salazar, stood in a row on the wall, connected by white string, fusing the actions together into one movement. The images, 37cm by 37cm canvas prints, are faded and low contrast; the forms as a whole speak more than the individual body parts that made them. The dancers appear weightless, strong, balanced and very much alive in the adage, a set of exercises in ballet consisting of slow, fluid, and graceful movements. For Salazar, these pieces represent “movement, fluidity, and transformation of a classic dancer while performing an adage.” His goal was to capture the dancer within a period of time. By utilizing a long exposure viewers can see the different positions and movements of the adage and how the movements ebb and flow into one another. The figures are gaseous and intentionally blurred to create a sense of ambiguity of the human body.

One of the most striking pieces, “Flight”, stands out abruptly because it is the only piece in which you can see with detail the dancer’s face. Her expression of complete tranquility and calmness coupled with the blurred forms of her limbs creates an incredible contrast between not only the clear and the blurry, but the frozen moment within the captured span of time. This work beautifully highlights an aspect of human beauty that is incredibly hard to describe, but does so in a relatable and aesthetically pleasing way. Salazar’s exhibit is located at Palazzo Nazionale at the Guibbe Rosse in Piazza della Repubblica 13 until October 10, 2014.

Artist Alexander Marco Salazar talks with visitors to the exhibition opening. Photo by Joe Foti.

Artist Alexander Marco Salazar (R) talks with visitors at the exhibition opening. Photo by Joe Foti.

Festa della Rificolona

By Allison Boyd, Marist Italy MA in Museum Studies, 2013-14

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Every September 7th, on the eve of the Feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary, Florence celebrates the Festa della Rificolona, or the lantern festival. Since Mary is the Patron Saint of the Church of Santa Maria del Fiore (better known as the Duomo), this is one of the most important feast days in Florence, and the lantern festival is the kick-off event.

 

Starting from Piazza Santa Felicita, processing through Piazza del Duomo, and ending in Piazza Santissima Annunziata around 8:30pm, the children of Florence process through the city carrying colorful paper lanterns. These lanterns are either store bought or homemade, and some of the homemade creations are simply amazing. All are welcome to join the procession, even if you aren’t carrying a lantern, but watch out for flying pebbles and spitballs! As tradition dictates, some of the older children will forego the lanterns, and take part in trying to knock over the candles housed inside the lanterns by blowing small stones and spitballs out of long straws. The evening ends with speeches by Florentine dignitaries and a fire where children toss their lanterns with glee to watch them go up in flames.

Taking aim!

Taking aim!

The historical roots of this event come from the annual tradition of residents from the Florentine countryside making the trip into the big city the night before the Feast Day of the Virgin Mary. They would bring their wares to sell in the market that took place the next day, they dressed in their finest clothes, and as they walked they carried lanterns lit by candles and carried on sticks. These lanterns created a beautiful scene and Florentines began creating their own lanterns as well.

So why rificolona? Well, what was seen as fashionable to the peasants from the countryside was not so for the Florentine city-dwellers, and the peasants were called rificolone – a word that today means a woman who wears too much makeup and has a poor sense of style. Thus, the lantern carriers were rificolone and today the festival of lanterns is the Festa della Rificolona in honor of those who first carried the lanterns.

If flaming lanterns and dodging spitballs isn’t your thing, there is also still a market in Piazza Santissima Annunziata during the day on September 6th and 7th  where you can buy locally made items, such as cheese, honey, small hand-made objects, and other interesting items.

Lanterns in the Piazza

Lanterns in the Piazza

La Toraia

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Picture it – you’re a Marist Italy student, out for a jog with a friend. The two of you get to talking, and suddenly you both realize you’re hungry. Your friend mentions words that you don’t normally hear in Florence: hamburgers and food truck. You are confused. But starving. Trusting your friend’s opinions on food, you let her lead you to the La Toraia food truck, parked in the grass on the Lungarno Colombo.

La Toraia food truck offers hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and French fries, as well as an array of panini, all made with locally sourced ingredients. A hamburger or cheeseburger with as many toppings as you can manage (my friend and I had zucchini, peppers, eggplant, onions, ketchup and mayo) will cost you 5 euro. For drinks to wash down your food they offer water, apple juice made from local apples, beer and wine.

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When the day comes where you can’t bear the thought of cooking for yourself and you just can’t handle the idea of more pizza and pasta (I know, I know… sounds impossible now, but that day will come), check out La Toraia for a delicious and quick meal.

La Toraia food truck is open 12 noon – 12 midnight, 7 days a week.

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A Closer Look at the Street Signs in Florence

By Jordan Beatty (MA Museum Studies 2014-2015)

When exploring the streets of a city known for its architectural, artistic, and cultural legacy, it’s easy to get swept up in the rich history of Florence.  Awestruck with Renaissance treasures, the last thing you might be looking at are the traffic signs surrounding you. As an artist and lover of all things unique and innovative, I would say you are making a huge mistake if passing them by without a closer look!  Artist Clet Abraham has been reinventing the street sign scene in Florence by secretly adding stickers to them at night.  The street art is meant to be funny and controversial in contrast to its backdrop, historic Firenze.  You can visit Clet’s studio in Via Dell’Olmo 8r where you can buy stickers and post cards in addition to viewing more examples of his quirky work.

Marist Italy Summer PreCollege

By Brad Miller – Marist Staff

“I’m so incredibly grateful I took advantage of this opportunity. This was absolutely perfect experience for traveling out of country for first time. Everything was handled responsibly; I learned a lot, had so much fun and was surrounded by great people while doing it. This precollege program gave me an experience I’ll truly never forget. Thank you Marist for the best trip I’ve ever taken.” — Sydne Barard, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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In July 2014 the 3rd summer edition of Marist Italy PreCollege took place, as 23 high school students from around the world spent two magical weeks studying Studio Art, Fashion Design, or Interior Design, thereby earning three Marist College credits.   Students hailed from all around the US, Singapore, Lebanon, Germany, and Greece.  These students (ranging in age from 14-17) witnessed first-hand how Florence itself functions as an open-air classroom, and returned home with precious memories having encountered dozens of entertaining Italian characters (“personaggi”!) during their Florentine sojourn.  

Afternoons and evenings allowed students to experience the most popular cultural activities of the city; the session began with a dinner atop a rooftop terrace, then continued to explorations of a personalized guided tour of the city, the magnificent Uffizi Gallery, a sunset boat ride on the river Arno, and of course sampling gelato:  thirteen different gelato shops in two weeks! 

PC NutellaWith the relaxed rules regarding picture-taking, students were even able to take ‘selfies’ with the statue of David in the Accademia Gallery.  Three full weekend days accentuated their weekday studies, as students dined with perhaps the most famous butcher in the world Dario Cecchini in his shop in Chianti, hiked and swum along the daunting cliffs of the Cinque Terre, and biked atop the medieval walls of beautiful Lucca.  Pisa’s leaning tower provided the classic postcard moment of the session, as students laughed themselves silly listening to the anecdotes of tour guide Roberto Bello.  The group even enjoyed an exclusive oil- and cheese-tasting session with a Florentine chef.  Students took their rest in residences normally inhabited by Marist first-years who take part in the Freshman Florence Experience.   In fact, a previous PreCollege student will begin her Marist undergraduate experience this month right back in the city that inspired her as a 15 year-old.  The 2014 PreCollege students were warned that this city has powerful effects on its visitors…

PC Pisa

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

By Jordan Beatty (MA Museum Studies 2014-2015.)

I stepped off the bus at Santa Maria Novella Train Station and immediately felt relieved.  After sitting in the same position during a fifteen hour bus ride from Prague, I had never been more excited to arrive at my destination: bella Firenze.  As I navigated through the platforms in search of a taxi, I struggled to keep my suitcases rolling as they seemed to weigh about as much as a baby elephant with all the shoes that I just had to bring.  (You were right, dad.)  My hands had fallen asleep, I had dark circles under my eyes, the strap on my purse had just broken, and not even a trace of the kielbasa from yesterday’s lunch was left in my stomach.  In that moment it all became real: I had left my life along with everything comforting and familiar about 4,300 miles away in Buffalo, New York.  What was I thinking?!

After settling into my apartment I decided to explore for a bit.  Oftentimes I like to wander without a map, get wonderfully lost, and stumble upon something unexpectedly beautiful along the way.  This romantic scenario usually comes to fruition, except when it’s your first day in Florence and it starts to rain and you’re without an umbrella.  Okay, rain is actually an understatement – it began to downpour and storm as if all the gods in the heavens above were about to strike us down, one by one for no apparent reason.  Within a matter of seconds the piazzas and streets were cleared and everyone was huddled under the tiny awnings of the shops that lined the streets.  It is here where I met a charming little Italian fellow named Lorenzo.

Lorenzo was about seventy-five, spoke no English, but looked in my direction and gave me a chuckle as if to say, “Can you believe this weather?”  He smiled patiently as I struggled to remember any Italian from my previous study abroad experience when asking him about his life.  We had the most amazing, broken conversation about his family and his home, and I began to remember why I was here in the first place.  Yes, the gelato is delicious, and yes, the history is fascinating, but it’s the people you meet that really make your experience that of a lifetime.

I arrived back and my apartment an hour later soaking wet, laughing, and above all, thankful for my first mini-adventure in Florence, Italy.

Jordan Beatty Blog Picture