Hope everything is well for you all back in the states (or wherever else you may be reading from), things couldn’t be better for us here in Rome! After a fabulous long weekend in Florence I must say it certainly feels great to be back home in Rome. Wow, I can’t even believe I just said that; Rome is my home! I can’t tell you how lucky I feel getting to call this place home (even if it is just for a few short weeks); Rome is immaculate to say the least!
We’ve gotten to see so much already including (but not limited to), the Coliseum, the Roman forum, the Vatican, countless piazzas, cathedrals and courtyards, the Theater of Marcellus, the Jewish ghettos, the Spanish steps and the Ara Pacis. Believe it or not though we still have so much more to see! In a city as big and overwhelming as Rome it is incredibly easy to simply hit all of the easy to find tourist spots and be perfectly content with your trip but as a local, a student and an architecture major Rome is so much more. Thankfully we have the most fantastic history professor/guide in all of Rome, Dr. Antonella De Michelis.
We get to see Antonella about once a week here (maybe a little less) but I always look forward to her “lectures.” Antonella lectures very quickly and passionately as she brings us on these crazy journeys throughout the city (usually several miles long), she is sure to highlight the significant historical sites and features along the way but she also points out things like her favorite restaurants, shops and routes. She incorporates new terms and phrases into these tours and shows us examples of all kinds of construction methods that not many other cities but Rome could offer us. I am typically not one for ancient history but the way Antonella speaks with such passion, I could listen to her talk for days no doubt.
As much as I love Rome it was awesome to be able to travel to Florence for the weekend, the two cities were just so different from each other. We were given quite a bit of freedom for the weekend, with suggested places to visit but the ability to wander wherever whenever. I was able to venture to the top of both the bell tower and the Cupola of the famous Florence Cathedral, I visited the Boboli Gardens, the Piazzale Michelangelo, the Uffizi Gallery, The Societa Canottieri Firenze, the Church of Santa Maria Novella, the Church of Santa Croce, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, Ponte Vecchio, and of course several marketplaces. Certainly one of the most memorable parts of the Florence trip was our time spent with the architect, designer, and artist Andrea Ponsi. We were so fortunate getting to visit his home and studio and to just sit and listen to him talk about his past and present works, simply soaking in any sort of advice he would give us. While we were there Andrea also did a live drawing/painting for us, explaining as he worked what his different techniques were and what his typical thought process is as he works. It’s an amazing thing to see how differently people work and think and just what it is that inspires them.
Florence was a trip centered around sketching, while we were there Ozayr challenged us each to do five sketches a day. If you think about it though five sketches really isn’t a crazy number but many of us were definitely out of the habit coming into this trip. It’s astounding just how much many of us improved our abilities over our four days in Florence just through drawing daily and having that consistent practice. With all of this practice and getting to see the results sketching can have on our more final works as well as receiving encouragement from Andrea I know we all left Florence with a greater desire to continue in this kind of consistent and frequent sketching. The timing for this desire couldn’t have come at a better time either as we now have returned to Rome and start to really dig into our term project and tackle the of mapping Rome. Speaking of which, I should probably get on that! I leave you all with some photos I managed to snap in Florence, enjoy!
Till next time,