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I'm a 21-year-old journalism student. I spent last semester living in Florence, Italy. These are my adventures.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Parks, Arts and Cooking

It's been a long but fulfilling day.
I had class from 9 a.m. - noon. During Intercultural Communication, Fabio mentioned il Parco delle Cascine — a park on the other side of town. In the mood for a walk and to see some greenery, I scarfed down a quick lunch and used the rest of my three and a half hour break to find this park. A 40-minute walk took me to a small green area with paths and benches. It was quiet and peaceful. I stayed for about an hour writing in my journal and reading my Kindle.

Upon later research on google, I discovered this wasn't the park Fabio was talking about. Had I gone about a block farther, I would have been there. I was just so excited for grass and a bench I didn't even think to go on. I'll head over there sometime next week. It was still a nice area.
Eventually, I gathered my stuff and headed back into town. I had worked up quite an appetite but didn't want to eat a lot before class and then dinner. I happened across an organic gelateria Nicoletta had shown us before, and I quieted the growl in my stomach with cioccolato and crema de grom gelato.
I climbed the two flights of stairs to my "first floor" classroom only to descend them soon after to go on a site visit with my practicum class. Our assignment for the semester is to shoot and edit one video documentary about Florentine artisans. We can choose between gold, mosaic and fashion. But before we have to pick, we are going to spend time visiting one of each of the workshops. Today was mosaic.
It wasn't until we began walking that I realized just how tired I was, and I still had a while before I'd be home sitting in my room.
We walked about 10 minutes to I Mosaici di Lastrucci. Our professor Christina had to translate everything for the workshop's owner, who has been working there for 60 years — since he was 8 years old.

His work was absolutely incredible. He explained that every color in this piece is a different stone from a different, specific place. He pointed out pieces from different places of Italy and even France.

There were shelves upon shelves of different colored rock. I watched as one of the artists stood in front of the wall examining each piece to get the right natural shade and color. The precision and time it would take to create their work is incredible. Some projects can take years. It's sad how much art like this has been lost over the years. This is one of four remaining mosaic workshops in Florence.

There were rooms lined with incredibly detailed masterpieces. They would have been impressive even if they were just paintings. But these are rocks, carefully cut, smoothed, shaped and glued.
In the entire time of our visit, one of the artists created a piece for his project less than 1 cm in diamater. I'm still in awe thinking about it.
I was hoping to have something for myself. Unfortunately, that was quickly ruled out when a pendant smaller than a dime with one simple flower was €120. But that didn't make their work any less magnificent to look at. 

I'm excited to do the other site visits. Right now I'd like to choose this as the subject for my video, but I'll see what the upcoming classes bring.

I got home around 6 p.m. and relaxed for an hour before heading to a cooking class at in Tavola. It was free! (Or really we had already paid for it with our program fees.)
With the help of some Italian chefs, we made a three-course meal:

  • Millefoglie di verdure
    • Eggplant stuffed with potato and zucchini
  • Pasta fresca all'uovo con sugo all'aglione
    • Handmade noodles and fresh tomato sauce
  • Tiramisu

We turned this:

Photo by Jess

Into this:

Photo by Jess

AND they gave us the recipe. I will be making this again. Very soon. molto delizioso

Photo by Jess

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