Why Are Dogs Allowed Everywhere in Florence?

By Elena Tarasova, Marist Italy BA

A Florentine dog surveys his kingdom. Photo by Allison Boyd, Marist Italy MA

A Florentine dog surveys his kingdom. Photo by Allison Boyd, Marist Italy MA

It is difficult not to notice furry four legged man’s best friend in almost every place in Florence.   Dogs in Florence take to the city with confidence and with an air of nonchalance. In restaurants, museums, coffee shops, retail stores it is difficult to not find a dog with his owner. Other places in Europe and the United States generally do not let these furry companions roam leash-less, let alone enter some of the most amazing churches and museums in the world. So why are dogs allowed everywhere? Continue reading

Regional Flavors of Italy – Puglia

Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.

239px-Apulia_in_Italy.svgAnother post based on travel plans – this weekend a group of Marist Italy BA students are embarking on a long weekend in Puglia, and thus, we need to know what to eat! The heel of the boot, Puglia is emerging as a force of nature in the Italian culinary and tourism scenes. With beautiful coastline and delicious food, we can see the appeal! Read on to find out the best of what Puglia has to offer.

 

 

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The 2015 MA Cohort Goes to Switzerland

By Emma Montross, Marist Italy MA Museum Studies, 2014-15

Masters students at Parco Tassino, Lugano, Switzerland. Picture Credit: Sarah Klein ©2015

Masters students at Parco Tassino, Lugano, Switzerland. Picture Credit: Sarah Klein ©2015

6:30 AM is an early departure time under any circumstances, but when paired with the promise of waking up in a beautiful new country, the pre-dawn alarm becomes a lot easier to swallow. Last weekend, the Museum Studies Masters students had the opportunity to travel from bella Firenze to Zurich, the bustling and historic capital of Switzerland. A couple of stops were taken along the way, specifically Lucerne and Lugano, which couldn’t have been better additions to the trip. Being able to experience Lucerne, Lugano, and Zurich (with the Alps to keep us occupied on the bus in-between cities) was an excellent, albeit small, example of what Switzerland has to offer. Continue reading

Van Gogh Alive – Two Experiences

The Van Gogh Alive Exhibition is running until April 12, 2015 at the church of Santo Stefano al Ponte, Piazza Santo Stefano, 5. Two Masters of Museum Studies students recently visited the exhibition and wrote about their experiences:

Van Gogh Alive: The Experience
By Jordan Beatty, Marist Italy MA in Museum Studies, 2014-15

Photo by Jordan Beatty

Photo by Jordan Beatty

The Van Gogh Alive traveling exhibition has arrived in Florence, just steps away from the Ponte Vecchio. The multimedia show provides a refreshing contrast to the traditional museum experience, as the masterpieces of Van Gogh are projected as large images and accompanied by a symphony of lights, colors and sounds.

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Regional Flavors of Italy – Sicilia

Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.

SicilyOK, I have to admit, this post is a little bit selfish – I am about to embark on a week-long trip to Sicily, which naturally has me wondering, what should I eat? This island region of Italy, which looks like a ball being kicked by the boot, features one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mt. Etna, a long history of different cultures ruling the island, and a hilly landscape with rich soil, all of which come together for a diverse and delicious gastronomic landscape. Famous for its seafood and desserts, the cuisine in Sicily is not to be missed.

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St. Patrick’s Day in Florence – Irish Festival

By Mackenzie Constantinou, Marist Italy MA Museum Studies, 2014-15

The band Whisky Trail in action! Photo from http://www.follerumbafirenze.it

The band Whisky Trail in action! Photo from http://www.follerumbafirenze.it

Studying abroad in Florence and miss celebrating holidays like in the States? Teatro Obihall is hosting an Irish Festival at 7:30pm on Saint Patrick’s Day, 17 March 2015. Teatro Obhihall is located on Via Fabrizio de Andre (Lungarno Aldo Moro). The event includes a full night of Gaelic performances.

The night starts with a choral concert by Stefani Corsi and Giulia Lorimer with Il Coro “Altrocanto” at 8:00pm, followed by a performance by the band Whisky Trail at 9:00pm. Ireland is known for its plethora of different types of whiskeys such as Bushmills and Jameson, which inspired the name for the musical group. The night ends with a performance by an Italian band, Dalriada, who is inspired by Irish music. The Gaelic kingdom from the 6th-7th century is the group’s namesake, proving the band’s love for traditional Irish songs.

This event charges an entry fee of 12 euros, but the event lasts for several hours. The Irish Festival is a great way to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with a little part of Ireland in Florence. Sometimes, as an American within a country that speaks a different language and has a distinctly different culture, it is nice to find the little things that remind you of home. The Irish Festival at Tetro Obihall is the only Irish festival in Florence, so enjoy a taste of Ireland in Italy while celebrating with some traditional music and a pint of Guinness. Do not forget to wear green!

To buy tickets and for more information, visit: http://www.obhihall.it

Oh, Teaarific!

By Elena Tarasova, Marist Italy BA

Tea from Meykadeh Café on Via dei Pepi, 14. Photo by Allison Boyd

Tea from Meykadeh Café on Via dei Pepi, 14. Photo by Allison Boyd

We all know coffee and cappuccinos are synonymous with the Italian culture, but what about coffee’s quieter and subtler counterpart…tea! The art of tea drinking has been around for centuries and continues to be an integral cultural point for people around the world. Take the tea ceremonies in Japan for instance; aspects from the conversation to the clothing worn by participants are strictly bound in tradition circling around the important tea itself. Another example, continents away from Japan, is the popular South African Rooibos tea that boasts the benefits of antioxidants, restful sleep and clearer skin and is still an important staple both in economic exports and culturally for those who live there today. This list could go on and on describing the various cultures of the world that use tea for its health and cultural significance. So, being a tea aficionado led me to think, does Firenze or Italia in general have a tea history of any sort? Continue reading

Florence’s Oltrarno

By Tyler Ostrander, Marist Italy MA Museum Studies, 2014-15

When someone mentions Florence, you usually think of the obvious landmarks, like the Duomo, the Uffizi, and Palazzo Vecchio. All of these locations, as with a majority of Florence’s tourist attractions, are located on the northern banks of the Arno River. Despite the more apparent fame of this side of the river, there is still much to be seen in the lesser-known region on the other side of the river, commonly known as the Oltrarno. Continue reading

Fiesole: A Hilltop Town with Unbeatable Views

By: Jordan Beatty, Marist Italy MA Museum Studies, 2014-15

Photo by Jordan Beatty

Photo by Jordan Beatty

When one grows tired of the hustle and bustle of Florence’s center, Fiesole is the perfect retreat. A former Etruscan settlement, Fiesole sits high in the hills providing breathtaking views of Florence and the surrounding areas.

Compared to Florence, Fiesole takes the prize in terms of ancient history. Evidence of civilization dates to around 5000 BC, and the ruins from an advanced Etruscan civilization date to the third century BC. Typical Roman touches like a forum, pagan temples, and planned streets are still evident from when they conquered this region around the year 0. The Romans loved Fiesole; it was made the religious center of the empire and the town continued to prosper as Christianity spread.

Photo by Jordan Beatty

Photo by Jordan Beatty

Today it is hard to believe that Fiesole once loomed over little Florence. There existed much competition between the two cities as their borders drew closer, and finally in 1125 Florence officially gained control of Fiesole. Shortly following, the little town became the medieval equivalent of the Hamptons for wealthy Florentine families. The Medici family in particular was all over the prime real estate of picturesque Fiesole.

Fiesole’s main square, Piazza Mino da Fiesole, is lined with several small bars, trattorias, and shops. It is the setting of many reoccurring markets, including an antique market on the first Sunday of every month. Here you will also find the Cathedral of Fiesole. Constructed almost a solid 1,000 years ago in 1028 BC, the cathedral was built over the site where Romulus was believed to have been murdered by angry pagans. Additionally in this piazza, there is a tiny tenth century church, almost entirely dedicated to Santa Maria Primerana.

Off the piazza you will find an impressive Etruscan-Roman Archeological site , where you can see Roman baths and the Roman theatre in addition to many other historical artifacts within the Civic Museum. Entrance to the archeological area and museum is around 10 euro.

Finally, for unbeatable views, take Via di San Francesco, the steep pedestrian-only street west of the Duomo all the way to Convento di San Francesco. The uphill walk is worth it for views of Fiesole, the Tuscan hills and sometimes, on a clear day, even Florence. There’s a Gothic church with Renaissance paintings and 14th century wooden choir stalls built on the site of the ancient acropolis. On exhibit in the museum are local archaeological finds and a display relating to the friars missionary work in China and Egypt. Currently it’s free (donations appreciated) and open daily; below the convent is also a large park.

If you’re looking for a taste of small-town Italy, or just need a break from the busy streets of Florence, Fiesole can’t be missed. The easiest way to get there is to take ATAF bus #7 from either the SMN train station or San Marco Square in Florence. Buses run about every 20 minutes until almost midnight and drop you off right in the main square, Piazza Mino da Fiesole. Take the same bus to head back down into Florence.

Simone d’Auria “Personal/unpersonal”

Photo by Mackenzie Constantinou

Photo by Mackenzie Constantinou

By Mackenzie Constantinou, Marist Italy MA Museum Studies, 2014-15

Located on via Il Vicolo dell’Oro, near the Ponte Vecchio, is a contemporary art instillation by Italian artist Simone D’Auria. This work, entitled ‘Personal/Unpersonal’ is exhibited through the Lungarno Collection, the hotel management company owned by the Ferragamo family. This instillation consists of human figures with animal heads climbing up the side of a building, walking in the street, and flying through the air. These anthropomorphic figures, as described by D’Aura, “keep moving forward whatever the challenge, rise to the top because there are no limits”.

These eighteen life size figures, which are almost identical in form, are made from white resin but D’Auria placed different animals heads on each figure, which creates a captivating scene. Each animal was used to depict a different situation and message to the viewer. The artist was inspired by Florentine history to create these contemporary art figures. This outdoor exhibition, populated by fantastical figures, is inspired by the powerful men who created the city of Florence that were represented by animalistic symbols. These symbols and emblems depict the leader’s motto and how they wished to be portrayed, which was highly inspirational for Simone D’Auria. For example, within Florentine history the symbol of Cosimo I Medici was a turtle with a sail. This image was used to capture the essence of Cosimo I’s ideals and visually represent his motto festina lente. The artist Simone D’Auria was captivated by these images of symbolic figures which turned into the driving motivation for this work of art.

To learn more about the instillation visit the website: http://www.lungarnocollection.com/it/hotel-collection/firenze/gallery-hotel-art/arte-e-design/mostra-in-corso.html