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oh my god, shoes.

July 2, 2011

I got some walking shoes! And I actually think they are kind of cute.

I bought them at Abbadabba’s in Little 5, which is a really fun shoe store, and they are by Naot, style Kirei in Black.


Andrei sul Ponte Vecchio ma per buttarmi in Arno!

July 2, 2011

(I would go to the Ponte Vecchio and throw myself into the Arno!)-“O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini.

Just Kidding.

Instead I am going to throw myself into arte di Firenze!

And I can do that because I bought a plane ticket!

Here’s my itinerary:

January 22nd: fly out of Atlanta at 3pm, arrive in Rome on January 23rd at 8am.

Hang in Roma with other students in my program for about a week

January 30th: classes start

January 30th-May 12th: Have time of my life!

May 12th: Train to Pisa, flight to Paris Beauvais, train to center of Paris

May 12th-May 19th: Soak up art everywhere.

May 19th: Train to London

May 19th-May 26th: Literary day trips, including to Jane Austen’s House and Haworth parsonage

May 26th: Fly home to Atlanta.

Also, both of my flights are non-stop, so that’s great and easy. I am planning on buying all the in between stuff once I get to Florence.

Happy Father’s Day to the Pater Patriae!

June 19, 2011

Cosimo de Medici

Here’s Pater Patriae himself! Or “Father of the Fatherland,” the title was originally a great honor given to ancient Roman men who were distinguished in politics, usually emperors. And it also used as a general term for international founding fathers, who each have their own ways of describing their founding fathers.

But of course my favorite is Cosimo de Medici.* So Happy Father’s Day!

*It is pretty clear that my opinion of various political leaders is generally determined by their patronage instead of their politics.

Book Review: Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King

June 19, 2011

Cover for Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King

This book has a pretty narrow focus compared to a lot of the history/art history books I’ve been checking out in preparation for Florence. Note that the title is not  Brunelleschi and his Dome or Florence and its Dome. It isn’t even Il Duomo and its Dome. It literally begins with great men thinking about how to build the largest brick dome ever constructed (and without concrete!) and it ends with the completion, which happens to coincide with the death of its greatest capomaestro, Filippo Brunelleschi. While the chapters in between do follow closely Brunelleschi, this is because the man and the work are hard to pull apart. It is hard to imagine what Brunelleschi’s legacy would be without his greatest feat, and it is equally hard to imagine anyone other than the genius pulling off an architectural feat that remains unmatched.

With this narrow focus, and as a relatively short tome, it seems that Ross King would have a lot of trouble working in background information while staying on point, especially because he is clearly writing  for a popular audience, who could easily pick this book up without knowing a whole lot about the Renaissance, Florence or architecture. King does a great job at this. While I do know quite a bit about the timeline of Renaissance and Florentine history, as well as the concurrent politics and art to the Dome being built, I know very little about the mechanics, physics or architecture principles needed to understand how Brunelleschi could build the dome. I can say that King’s explanations were clear and easy to understand, as well as through. This is one of the reasons I wanted to read this book because Brunelleschi’s technique for building is the dome is often mentioned (see: Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance) but not often explicated on. King does a great job of explaining this not only once, but throughout the book as we follow the building of dome at the different levels.

One complaint is that I wish there was slightly more context for the men with whom Brunelleschi had direct relationships, other than Lorenzo Ghiberti, who is sufficiently covered. For example at the mention of Cosimo de Medici, it would have been helpful to note how he was a great patron for the arts, even besides Brunelleschi, and what typified his relations as a patron, and when mentioning his exile providing some context for this would be helpful as well. I suppose King is assuming some basic knowledge of Renaissance art and history, but it stills seems like this information could have provided a fuller look at Brunelleschi’s place within early fifteenth century Florence. One section of this book that is slightly fuzzy is the discussion of the hostile relations between Milan and Florence because lots of names are dropped without a whole lot of context besides their positions in the animosity.

Nevertheless, I would highly recommend this book to anyone, regardless of their knowledge of the Renaissance, especially because the information that is left out is just a quick Google search away

London and Paris: Plans

May 14, 2011

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but: I’ve never been to Europe. I’ve never been outside of the US, in fact. So I want to milk my 1000 dollar plane ticket for all it is work. and do as much things as possible as I can while I’m there.

But, I don’t want to be spending my time Florence trying to get to other places in Europe. All I really want to do once I am in Italy is be in Florence and take three trips; one to Rome, one to Venice and one to see my best friend studying in Seville, Spain.

But I want to go to London! I want to go to Paris!

Ah ha: I’ve concocted a plan.

I have to be in Florence on January 22, 2012. School at Agnes Scott gets out on December 12. Of course I’d like to spend my Christmas with my family and probably New Year’s. But still, that’s like two weeks and a half that I have to play with.

Here’s the plan at the very moment: Fly into London-be in London for a week-Chunnel to Paris-be in Paris for a week-fly to Pisa-train to Florence-be in Florence forever and ever until May.

Acceptance and Passport

May 10, 2011

This post is just what is sounds like: letting you know that I am officially, completely, all-the-way accepted into my program abroad! Yay!

Also today I applied for my passport, which made me really disillusioned with the efficiency of our local government, but made me really excited because is one big step that I’ve now completed!

The passport process was very simple, but also very laborious, with all the rules. Like that I had to pay with money order, instead of debit card. That was a bit of a pain. But in 4 to 6 weeks, I’ll be a passport carrying lady!

The Bag

May 3, 2011

I don’t know why this is, but I tend to fixate on very minute and mundane aspects of any trip I plan.

Florence is no different.

The two things I became most concerned with recently are 1. The bag I would be using in Florence and 2. What my hair was going to look like in all my study abroad pictures.

The second one shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise, as admittedly my main reason for wanting to go to Florence is that I am under the disillusion that as soon as I get to Florence my hair will look like this: 

and I would be happy for the rest of my life. But I’ve since come to reason concerning my hair dreams, but it is still a big concern. Because one of my favorite things to do is to stalk people’s photos abroad. But this is not an event that I can prepare for once hair wise, this trip and the photos will represent my life for a semester. So I need to have good, low-maintenance hair because I plan on taking a lot of photos.

Back to the first concern: I love huge purses. Once in high school, a friend got a new purse and I asked (to determine the quality of it): “Could you fit a baby in it?” Not that I wanted to steal a baby. Just that any purse that could carry all the things I “required” in high school needed to be pretty big. So I had huge purses with barely any organization. Since college, I’ve returned to the backpack, which I love and is way more convenient and organized than my big purses. But this still leaves the problem of social purses. In college it seems silly to have to transfer stuff between bags all the times. So I want did for the first two years of school was carry around a Vera Bradley wallet/wrislet thing:

It was very helpful and could hold my keys, my phone, my debit card and ID card, which all I ever really need.

This became a problem when considering study abroad because 1. While Vera Bradley stuff is pretty hardy, this wallet had seen way better days. 2. The Vera wristlet was not big enough to hold a passport/plane ticket/a notebook for museum trips. That meant that I would have to have another bag.

But I couldn’t go back to the huge purse of high school! I am so much more organized now, I need pockets! And I couldn’t imagine myself walking the Ponte Vecchio with a backpack.

So the search for the bag began. I wanted a cross the body, leather, tan bag, with lots of pockets and room for the new Vera wallet I planned on purchasing with room for a passport and boarding passes:

Here is what I found:

The wonderful bag. I love it so much, it has already helped me be so organized and keep everything together. There is enough room in the top pocket for a small notebook and some papers, but there is also a pocket for my phone and a large pocket with lots of card holders. Also, I don’t know if you can see, the large grommet (?) like things on the strap are perfect for attaching me keys to with my Scottie dog carabiner.

The designer of the purse is Tignanello. Their prices can be kind of steep, but I got my purse at a TJ Maxx and they are also carried at DSW, so if you’re interested, I would check there!

I’ll keep you updated concerning my other mundane goal of my hair.