Bargello- Omar Rodriguez

This trip to Italy has been an amazing experience. We have seen an incredible amount of beautiful paintings, and sculptors by different artist. As time goes by I have noticed that my knowledge about art history as increased. It would be nice to talk about all the different museums and sites that we have visited, but I will just talk about two museums that we visited today.

The visit to the museum Bargello left me speechless. The statues of the David’s by Donatello and Verrocchio were both made by bronze. The David by Donatello was the first David and it was made in the 1440s, while the David by Verrocchio was commissioned by the Medici family. In the statue by Donatello we can see that he is wearing a hat and boots which cause some controversy.IMG_3352

While being at the Bargello museum I also learned about the contest that Ghiberti and Brunelleschi had to see who would get to construct the doors of the Baptistery in Florence. The contest was that the one who would make the best Sacrifice of Isaac would win the contest. Ghiberti won the contest and was the one to make the golden doors of the Baptistery.The beautiful art and the history behind it here in Florence, and all over Italy is just fascinating. I am also fascinated by how much appreciation the people here in Italy have for their art. It makes me happy to know that people here take their time when doing something that way it can come out as perfect as possible. I am definitely planning on coming back to Italy sometime in the future. I have fallen in love with this country and their culture.

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The Colosseum- Steven Hullum

When we traveled to Rome during our second weekend of the trip, we visited many different places because our time in the sprawling city was limited, and we had much to see. However, we were able to spend some quality time in some of the most astounding places I have ever set eyes on. One of those places was the Colosseum, which is also known as the Flavian Amphitheater. As we toured the Colosseum, we had the luxury of having Dr. Lisot, our Art teacher, give us an in-depth analysis of the structure and its history. The Colosseum was built upon the ruins of Nero’s Golden House, which had been destroyed by the people because of his terrible leadership. The emperor that assumed power was Vespasian Flavian, hence the lesser known name, and he wanted to build something that the people could be proud of, something that would take their mind off of Nero’s rein. The structure was constructed from 70 A.D.- 80 A.D. but Vespasian never saw the completion of his most famous monument; he died in 79 A.D. and his son Titus assumed power and finished the building. In honor of the grand opening of the Colosseum, Titus mandated that the first 100 days of games would be free. Each citizen of Rome could come to the Colosseum, get a ticket with a specific seating assignment(an amazing feat considering the Colosseum holds 70K and this was the 1st century A.D.), and get free bread as well. This is where the term bread and circuses comes from, and it refers to the mollification of the citizenry. This was a political tool used to distract the masses while the emperor grew more and more powerful through his mandates. However, regardless of what the intention was behind the games, they were extremely successful at entertaining the Roman citizens. Moreover, it was a place where the Romans came together as a common people who could enjoy the blood sport together. All people of Rome were able to come, however, one’s class determined where they would be seated. The Ima level, which is the lowest, was reserved for the Emperor and his family, the Senators of Rome, and the Vestal Virgins. The next level moving upwards, the Media (middle) was reserved for the officers of the military. The Summa (top), was for the common people of Rome, and this was where the largest available seating was. The attic space, which is the very top of the Colosseum was for the slaves of Rome, and the few women that were able to/ wanted to attend the games.

The Colosseum is a feat of engineering. Not only has it remained mostly standing for almost two thousand years(most of the damage was due to looting), but it was also a very flexible venue. The engineers found a way to use existing aqueducts to flood the hypogeum, which is the area under the dirt floor of the Colosseum(if you’ve seen Gladiator think about where Phoenix stabs Crowe before their final showdown). They would do this so that they could reenact famous naval battles that displayed the Roman military prowess in comparison to other civilizations. Also, there were trap doors that were built into the wooden floor of the Colosseum so that animals and gladiators could spring out to amaze the crowd. Almost 2 million animals were killed in the Colosseum from the time it was constructed in 80 A.D. till the year when animal hunts ceased in 523 A.D. The reason why the Colosseum is still standing and in such good shape is because of the ingenuity of the Roman engineers. They mixed a volcanic ash called Pollozana with lime, and they made some of the strongest concrete ever created. Moreover, I recently read an article that said that Seattle based concrete companies were going to attempt to recreate the roman concrete because not only was it superior, but it also was more environmentally friendly. The Romans knew how to make stronger concrete, concrete that could set even if it was poured in the ocean, that emitted fewer Green House Gases 2000 years ago. Simply amazing.

Ultimately, the visit to the Colosseum captured the essence of my visit to Rome, sheer amazement at the beauty of the structures, shock at the ability of the Roman people those many years ago, and wonder at how they ever managed to fall if they were so advanced. Moreover, the Colosseum also captures the image and identity of Rome itself, both ancient and contemporary. The structure was such an icon of the ancient civilization, many Roman coins were printed with an image of the building on them so that word would spread of the Roman’s greatness. Furthermore, it captures the feeling of the city today. It, like the city, has taken some hits in its long lifetime. However, both continue to be admired for their perseverance and sheer beauty.

Steven Hullum

HOW TO BE A VISITOR, NOT A TOURIST – Chelsey Pryor

After staying in Italy for the last two weeks, I have noticed something astonishing: there are way too many tourists. Aren’t I a tourist though? No. I am not. Tourists to me is a horrible word, it evokes the feelings of only going to a new place to look at the monuments or taking selfies in front of stuff. I am not a tourist… I am a visitor.

THERE’S A DIFFERENCE?

Yes, yes there is. I think of it has going to somebody else’s house. When you visit somebody’s home, you respect their rules and customs, no matter how crazy they sound to you. You eat the food that they prepare for you and you try to talk to them in their native language. To me, many tourists do not do that. Tourists only care about running to the next monument or eating at a restaurant that looks like it came from their home country or only speaking to people who know their native language. Tourists don’t care about attempting to try a local hole-in-the-wall eating place or adapting their schedule to fit in with the local customs or even attempting to speak their language.

Learn from my bad example

Learn from my bad example

HOW TO BE A VISITOR, NOT A TOURIST

So, how can you change from being a tourist into being a visitor? Well, for starters learn a little bit of Italian (or the country’s most popular language or that region’s most popular). It is that easy. I really thought that people were being melodramatic when they told me that Italians really like it when you at least try to speak their language… well they were right. Italians will be very happy with you if you at least learn the most basic words. Do not assume that everybody speaks English, ask: “Parle inglese?” If they say yes, then great if they say no, well then that is why you learned the most basic Italian phrases. Also, do not get mad or frustrated when they do not speak English, it is not their fault that you don’t know Italian. Why did you come to Italy if you wanted to go somewhere where English is the primary language? Moral: learn some Italian.

After you have learned some Italian, the next thing to do is to stop stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to look at the map glued to your hand. There is nothing wrong with having a map (I use it when I am going into a part of town I have never seen before) the problem is when you are blocking the street for other people who need to get to school or work or something else. How would you feel if you were trying to get to work and a pack of tourists stopped right in front of you to figure out where they are because they took a wrong turn? Pull over to one side, out of the way, and get your location there. Moral: don’t block streets or entrances.

So, you know some Italian and you are not blocking any streets, next try some different kinds of restaurants. Italy is known for its food but don’t limit yourself to only tourist locations, try something off the beaten path. How do you tell the difference between a place for locals and a place for tourists?

  • Is it next to a monument? Yes – it is for tourists.
  • Is the menu mainly in English? Yes – it is for tourists.
  • Are there a dozen different gift shops around? Yes – it is for tourists.
  • Is the menu in the host country’s language (or a language other than English)? Yes – it is for locals.
  • Does the restaurant play music other than English songs? Yes – it might be for tourists or locals. Is the restaurant a McDonald’s or another fast-food chain? Yes – it is for tourists.

I know trying new food can be scary and somewhat hard, but if you put yourself out there and try something new, then I know you will have more fun than if you only go to the “American” style restaurants. Moral: try different types of food.

So, you have learned some Italian, stopped blocking walkways, and are eating new food, the next step is simple: talk to people. I do not mean to only talk to the people in your group or class (which you should talk to them because they are in your class) but also locals around town. What do you talk to locals about?

  • Lost? Ask a local.
  • Want to find the best restaurant? Ask a local.
  • Want to know how to get to that certain monument? Ask a local.
  • Need to find the nearest bathroom? Ask a local.
  • Looking to make new and awesome friends? Talk to a local.

By talking to a local you are not only practicing Italian but you are also forming a friendship with that person that could last the rest of your lives. Moral: talk to locals.

MORAL OF EVERYTHING

I know it can be hard to see yourself as anything but a tourist when you are traveling to a different country, but by taking these steps you will no longer be seen as that annoying tourist but as a respectful visitor.

All the World’s Futures Meet Here – Alexis Larrinaga

 

 

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“The Key in Hand,” Japanese Pavilion. One of the first pavilions we encountered was absolutely mind-blowing. Thousands of old fashioned keys hung from red thread. The mystic imagery represented individuals and their interactions throughout the passage of time.

This summer marks the 56th annual festivities of the Biennale Arte Exhibition. Born from the contemporary artistic minds such as Curiger, Gioni, and Enwezor, the Biennale provides an international stage in which contemporary artists come together to comment upon and recreate the world around them. Rather than an overarching theme, this year’s exhibition, All the World’s Futures, builds upon three intersecting categories referred to as “Filters“: Garden of Disorder, Liveliness: On the Epic Duration, and Reading Capital.Artists were asked to represent their nation on the global stage. With 89 countries in all, I regret to say we could not see them all. We did, however, manage to see 12 pavilions: Switzerland, France, Germany, Great Britain (England, Scotland and Ireland), South Korea, Japan, Italy, United States, Australia, Canada, Israel, and Uruguay.

 

The National Pavillon provided our little group with an opportunity to explore personal perspective of individuals from all of the world. While certain pavilions appeared to reinforce age-old stereotypes (the German pavilion, for example, was extremely regimented and industrious), others defied expectations entirely.

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photo by Maggi Marco. Information for the installation provided in the National Pavillion pamphlet and here.

Coming from a predominately Western mindset, I found myself faced with the unexpected voices of past and present in countries I had erroneously (and paradoxically) defined as “peripheral.” The Uruguay pavilion, fittingly titled Global Myopia, was one such example. Upon entering the pavilion, I was visually assaulted… by plain white walls. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the walls were not, in fact, blank, but covered with imagined aerial perspectives.  The implications were convicting: as members of a “Western” perspective, many of the visitors find themselves seeing the world around them without truly “seeing.” The work is meant to stimulate our sympathy “for the immediate and the insignificant.” It is only when we allow ourselves to get up close to other cultures and explore that we find ourselves able to truly appreciate the experience.

Other installations spoke not to our cultural ignorance, but  instead encouraged viewers to reexamine their own fast-paced lives. Upon entering the Francia pavilion, the visitors would find themselves presented with a large Scotch pine, which emitted a soothing hum.

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French pavilion installation, titled “Revolution.” Artist and engineer Celeste Boursier-Mougenot harnesses the principle of “transmutation.” The tree moves freely about the space powered by its own energy.

Although the space seemed rather unexciting, we found ourselves moving toward the ampitheater-styled steps, les marches. These steps heralded our first surprise: they were actually made of foam core. Joining the rest of the pavilion’s visitors on these plush steps, we lay back to enjoy the zen of the environment, and were met with a second unexpected delight: the tree was actually moving. The tree moved according to its metabolism, allowing it to travel a distinctive path throughout the space.

It is as if the interior and exterior roles have been reversed. Amidst the Giardini (the garden where the pavilions have been staged), the building recalled the “follies” of French 18th century parks (“folly,” from the French folie and the Latin folia, menaing “leaf”). The space, titled Revolutions, invited visitors to appreciate “the order of things” found within our natural environment. The space provided a sanctuary for cross-culture unity and reflection, utilizing our collective environment as a conduit.

We are Proud, We are Italians-Becky Dixon

As I sit here on my laptop I find it difficult to express all that I have seen into words. I feel that it is impossible to truly describe our experiences here in the beautiful boot shaped country of Italy. A country that is so proud, that even the city you were born in is a vital mark of your identity. We think that we Texans have pride, but as one local explained, even moving across the river made him feel like a fish out of water. The greatest thing about Italy, is that you could stay here a lifetime and never see it all. No two places are alike, even as you travel to the different provinces you can feel a dramatic difference in the atmosphere.

When we were in Rome, everything was very fast and rushed. We were constantly berated by salesmen on the streets trying to sell us sunglasses, scarves, bottles of water, selfie sticks, and everything else you can imagine. In Pisa, things were more relaxed. The scorching heat and the characteristics of town reminded me a lot of my hometown Tyler, except for than the giant tilted bell tower of course. And Florence—Florence has become a second home to me. One of my favorite experiences on this trip was when a woman heard my friend and I speaking English and asked us for directions. I felt like I was a local. We were able to tell her how to get to the nearest grocery store, and even the street name where it stood.

While I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to immerse myself in the Italian art, food, music, literature, and tourist sites, the greatest experience has been immersing ourselves in the city. I can’t imagine any other way to travel now. The greatest site for me is getting a cup of hot tea and watching the city wake up in the morning.

Alayna Sims, Penny Dutton, Diego Loya, Omar Rodriguez Montes, Alia Pappas, and I sit down to a Mexican-Italian dinner in our apartment.

Alayna Sims, Penny Dutton, Diego Loya, Omar Rodriguez Montes, Alia Pappas, and I sit down to a Mexican-Italian dinner in our apartment.

I feel like I am a part of this city. If I were to return here in ten years, I feel like I would still belong here. I know these streets, these shops, these people, this city. I wonder sometimes how I will feel when I return to America. I enjoy walking to the market pick up fresh fruit. I enjoy walking by our friend, whom we call “Dudeman”, who is constantly trying to get us to eat at his restaurant. I enjoy walking by San Lorenzo every day on our way to school. And while annoying, I even enjoy the constant blaring of sirens, honking horns, and loud tourists that go by our apartment every day.

Alayna Sims (top left), Penny Dutton (bottom left), Alia Pappas (bottom right),  and I (top right) take a picture with "Dudeman" after eating at his restaurant.

Alayna Sims (top left), Penny Dutton (bottom left), Alia Pappas (bottom right), and I (top right) take a picture with “Dudeman” after eating at his restaurant.

Even Coca Cola tastes better here. What is there not to love about Italy? Nothing, or at least that’s what I thought until we went to the home of the Italian artist Michelangelo.

While at the home of Michelangelo, I got to have a conversation with a college student who was working in the gift shop. We spoke in a mix of broken English and Italian, both trying to work with the language barrier. When I told her we were from Texas, her heart leaped. Her dream, she exclaimed, was to go to America. My friends and I have discussed that life in America cannot compare to life here in Italy, where the food is fresh and the men are as fine as the dining. When I told the woman I had always dreamed of coming to Italy she stared at me like I was crazy and told me, “Italy is great but…”

She sees America as a big, grand country, where the people have so many opportunities and so much freedom. She continued to compliment America, and told me that she planned on traveling there when she graduated college.

I was conflicted. My great-great grandfather Vincent Signore spent a lifetime trying to get from Italy to America, and had to wait nearly thirty years for his citizenship. However, I was also so used to hearing people bad mouth America that it was odd to hear someone complimenting it. It made me realize that while our country might not be perfect, we tend to focus on the bad rather than focus on the good.

Even as the cashier sat there praising America, she never had a bad thing to say about Italy. She thought America was bigger and had more opportunities. However, she still displayed a great love for her country. No matter who you talk to, you will find the same innate pride in the hearts of every Italian you meet. Even our tour guides proudly proclaimed their city was the best, whether it be Sienna, Rome, or Florence. To them, their hometown is “the best”, without question. Even the people who have ‘Merican pride tattooed over their hearts in red, white, and blue can’t compare to the pride instilled in the hearts of the Italian people.

Rebecca Provines, Penny Dutton, Alia Pappas, Maggie Mahfood, Summer Munoz, Ashlynn Bostick, Omar Rodriguez Montes, Erin Hicks, and I living like locals in Florence, Italy.

Rebecca Provines, Penny Dutton, Alia Pappas, Maggie Mahfood, Summer Munoz, Ashlynn Bostick, Omar Rodriguez Montes, Erin Hicks, and I living like locals in Florence, Italy.

Everything about Italy is strange and different, its kind of like the thrill you get when you go on a roller coaster. You don’t really know what you’re getting yourself into until it’s too late. While terrifying at first, the lurch in your stomach quickly floods your body with adrenaline and makes you feel alive. In Italy, I feel that my pride has awakened. I love everything about Italy, and now after this short time I feel like I am a part of it. This has also awakened a pride in my own country, America. A country that is broken but still good. I realized that while I would love to adventure through more of the countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa, I also want to discover more about the country that I call home.

 

-Becky Dixon

Blending In By Standing Out: Florence and the Bella Figura

After nearly a month abroad, I have come to gain a greater appreciation for our home away from home. There are still many aspects we have yet to learn about the local culture; in fact, I was treated to an entirely new perspective of the city this week. When we returned from Rome, my fellow students and I had the opportunity to meet with SRISA’s Fashion professor, Enrica Guidato. I expected to learn about Italian “Fashion Week,” or where the locals shopped for their leather. Instead, we came away with an incredibly formative experience about a culture who’s sense of confidence and flair is as old as the Italian Renaissance.

Before we arrived in Florence, I was told to leave my nike shorts and flip flops behind. It is summer, yes, but in Italy, such apparel in public was downright unthinkable among the locals. What I did not realize was just how far removed from these comforts their culture actual is. Men and women wore blazers and tasteful, form-fitted outfits. Even in my skirts and tanks and sweaters, I still felt as if I might have somehow missed something extremely important. That something, as Professor Guidato so kindly pointed out, is known as the “bella figura.”

The bella figura permeates every iota of Italian culture. The term, literally translated, means “beautiful figure.” There are two connotations associated with this term. The first and more literal meaning implies that a person exhibiting bella figura literally has a “beautiful figure.” We see this exemplified in both art and humanity.

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The second stems almost entirely from within. It refers to one’s ability to stand out among the crowd. Doing so requires confidence. A person’s perception of another is severely influenced by that person’s body language. Thus, if a person says that a man or woman has a strong bella figura, it means that they are impressed by the other’s confident appearance

The bella figura extends beyond the bounds of fashion and body language, and its meaning has been expanded to incorporate other forms of aesthetic over time. Window displays, bakeries, buildings, and even elegant table arrangements are said to exhibit the bella figura as well. More on this, here.

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Today, one’s appearance still speaks volumes, especially to the Florentines. I have heard locals objectively describe Americans as both “practical” and “extremely efficient.” As a result, our collective aesthetic has come to reflect these concepts. Americans tend to go for what is easy and inexpensive, often giving Italians the impression that we may be severely lacking in taste. Worse, our evidently slovenly appearance can be perceived as a lack of respect for the locals and their culture.

Knowing that their appreciation for beauty permeates every aspect of their culture has given me a fresh pair of eyes in which to see their world. It is yet another of the many ways our connection to the location has affected me. Already I find myself more confident, more adventurous, and more willing to take my experiences head on. We only have so much time here, and I for one intend to make the most of my experiences.

The Firenze Bell Tower- Steven Hullum

Yesterday I climbed Giotto’s Campanile, more commonly know as the Firenze Bell Tower, and I have to say that it was quite amazing. First, one is struck by the sheer height and perfection of the structure itself. It thrusts upwards seemingly out of no where, and if one stands at the bottom, it appears to extend all the way to space. This is the first awestruck moment I had during my experience at this amazing structure. The line was quite short to enter the Bell Tower, so that was a big bonus. When one enters the Bell Tower, it seems impossible to imagine that the building extends upwards for 255 feet. But once one starts climbing the stairs it becomes a reality. The way upwards is quite narrow, but there are several landings that allow one to examine the city and its people while one stretch one’s legs. On one floor, there was a large metal grate that one could look through and see every other floor below, so it was an interesting, yet slightly scary experience to lay on the grate and take a photo. Once you make it to the top, one finds them self in a covered area which is sometimes blisteringly hot because of the beating sun and poor ventilation, but once one steps out onto the roof line one is hit by one of the best breezes in human history. The marble work that rings the rooftop sucks the air through as it pushes up the side of the building, and I have to admit, it feels quite heavenly. After cooling off and ringing the sweat out of every article of clothing, one gets a chance to admire the city from the second tallest point in the city. People look small, the skyline is laid out before one, and the mountains can finally be seen properly in the distance. It is a truly breath taking, jaw dropping, experience. One can walk around the entire Bell Tower and see Firenze from all angles, and it is Flawless. It will certainly be one of the crowning moments on this wonderful trip abroad, not only because of the sheer beauty, but also because I had the ability to experience it with my close friends and fellow GATE students Rebekah Provines, Erin Hicks, Maggie Mahfood, and Diego Loya. The ability to admire and share experiences like that with people like them is something that I hope I never take for granted. I will always be able to cherish and remember that wonderful day in the city of Firenze with friends.

 

Steven Hullum

Florence is Home By: Erin Hicks

 

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It’s funny, I never thought that I would get attached to a foreign city as quickly as I’ve gotten attached to Florence. Saying the words “foreign” and “Florence” in the same sentence doesn’t even seem right anymore. After spending the weekend in Rome I was IMG_2949ready to get back to my routine. I’m not talking about my routine back in the states either, I’m talking about my life here in Florence. Getting off the train and seeing the streets that I recognized instantly made me feel at ease. Rome was amazing and an awesome experience but it was go go go most of the time and I was glad to be back.I’m already making acquaintances with the people at the market, I know the name of the waitress at our favorite restaurant, and the baristas at the caffe give me the usual now. I don’t feel like a tourist any longer, I feel like a local. It’s an amazing transformation and realization. GATE is giving me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and truly blend in with the society and the culture around me. The language barrier is not an excuse anymore. I’m learning how to communicate and how to function independently just like I did as a young adult in Tyler, Texas. It’s an exciting experience and I’m proud to call Florence my home away from home.

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Ancient stones of Rome By: Alejandra Giaccardi

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The trip to Italy with the cohort of 2015 has been filled with many adventures, growth opportunities, and eye opening experiences. As of right now we have been in Italy for about two weeks and have about two weeks left, which is a very bittersweet feeling. In the time that we have been in this beautiful place we have had the opportunity to explore Florence, Rome, Siena, and even do a little exploring on our own. In doing so we have grown closer as a group and have made friendships that will last a lifetime!

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Over the past weekend we had the privilege in going to see the beautiful city of Rome. We did so much in the little time we were there; on one of the days that we were there we went to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Both of these places were absolutely drop dead gorgeous and held so much mystery and beauty within them. At the Roman Forum, during our free time, a group of us went exploring through the pile of rocks to see what stories could be told. As we were taking pictures we came across a piece of paper that was between rocks, within the wall. This letter was from the past, dating to the beginning of this year and briefly described ancient Rome to present day. The group then decided to keep the letter but replace it with our own to the future, sharing what we felt.

 

This is just a little glimpse of all the magic the Forum holds as well as Rome and even Italy. The GATE cohort of 2015 has the pleasure of not only visiting but also learning in such a majestic place. This trip has been breath taking and has open our eyes to a whole new world. It has shown us that we are connect in some way and we have a responsibility to each other. The Roman Forum dates around the 7th century BC, it is unbelievable that these ancient stones have connected us for so long and will connect us for years to come.

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In History, For History

This experience of living abroad never fails to teach me something new about life, society, Italy, and myself every day. I admire the fact that I can call Florence “home”, not just another exciting tourist destination. We spend hours each week exploring, visiting museums, attending class, doing homework, and living life. Through this, I have learned the value of knowing where I am at. I have learned how necessary knowing history is in shaping my daily life.

During a lecture on food, an instructor from Santa Reparata explained that Italy, throughout history, have been highly influenced by Catholicism. While I know from our literature class that this was emphasized during the classical period, the Renaissance did not remove ideas of Christianity entirely. In fact, religion impacted the way people ate and still does. As the ritual of Christianity pertains to eating the body of Jesus (bread) and drinking His blood (wine), Italians developed a habit of their consistency. IMG_0990 When I first arrived here I spent a few days desperately trying to discover meals without bread or starchy material (such as pasta). I gave up quickly. Here in Florence, that is impossible. Wine and bread are so prominent, still, because of religious familiarity, historical context, and availability, that they cannot be easily avoided. Therefore, every day I eat some type of bread and see wine accessible in every shop or restaurant.

Another small way history shapes my daily life is the location of my apartment. In the time of Dante (1300s C.E.), houses were built stacked up. This is due to the need of space in the area, and protection of the people. If homes were build up and with many levels, it would be more difficult for enemies (in Dante’s case members of other political parties, probably) to reach the people. Even the Medici palace is built up and right next to other buildings.IMG_1169 The city was built condensed, and was refurbished in the same way it was thousands of years ago. Because of the need for space and protection, I can walk through Florence and see the crest symbolizing a prominent family palace then window shop in the leather store right next door. The same is true for my apartment. IMG_0886At first, I never would have guessed the doors that lead to my apartment are residences because they look like a hotel. I must climb stairs to get to my apartment but right below my room is a farmacia (pharmacy). Nothing is really separated.

These two examples of food and location of apartment are only some of the many ways which we all have had to adapt to here. Without the history, we could just stereotype Italians as lovers of wine or consistently complain about the amount of stairs we have to our apartment; however, knowledge of the past helps me appreciate and analyze why things are the way they are now which is needed to understand the environment. IMG_1542As an American, I think I tend to miss the historical significance of daily life because the United States does not have thousands of years of history. But still, whether I like it or not, it still affects me. This trip has encouraged me to know more about the history of the other places I call home, such as UT Tyler, so that I may understand and appreciate them more.