Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chiesa Santa Maria

Day 42.

Today we traveled to this beautiful church, not far from Termini Station, which made it an easy journey for us. We went there for our sketching class and our assignment was to choose anything we wanted in the church to draw. It has been really great to branch out from regular lessons and be able to have creative freedom in what we choose to draw. I know as someone who is more inclined to studio art, drawing the architectural subjects can get tedious, and is sometimes completely out of my comfort zone, but this assignment was great because I got to choose something that I wanted to do, while still pushing myself. I chose to do a one point perspective of this part of the church, off of the main chapel area. It is spectacularly beautiful in person, with the arched ceiling and golden embellishments. I am currently still working on it, getting the perspective correct proved to be quite challenging and adding all of the detail and the line-work to get it to be a successful sketch has also proven to be a little bit more challenging. As soon as I start feeling more confident in my sketches I will start posting them, but until now, photos will have to suffice!

Cars in Roma.

Day 41.

One of the biggest pieces of culture shock that the whole group has been privy to is the traffic, the cars, and the fast paced speed of the city. The size of the cars are the most surprising, I will put it into perspective for you: Smart Cars look normal sized here. Whereas at home they look like little bugs on the street. Coming from New England where almost everyone has SUVs, the small cars are actually comical, and usually only fit 2 people. This is a car that I saw hanging out outside of a restaurant in Trastevere, and I thought that for starters it was a really beautiful car but in person it was pretty tiny. If you look at the tables at the restaurant next store, you will see that the top of this car is not much taller than they are. And this is a larger car than some that we see on a day to day basis!
Drippy Candles

Day 40.

Walking along any side street in Rome, specifically in Trastevere you will pass  restaurants with tables on the sides of the streets, decorated with bottles of wine with candle wax that has been accumulating. This is one thing that I have heard about in Rome that is actually true, and they are really fun to see decorating the tables In our apartment we have plenty of wine bottles and we have tried to recreate the drippy candle look. Well, usually the candles are fatter than the neck of the bottle so we had to whittle down the candles, and then melt the bottoms of the candles to adhere to the bottles. Then once that was all set we lit them and waited for the magic to happen! We were expecting beautiful rivulets of wax to drip down the bottles, and we were anxious to burn other candles to layer on the colors. Well, the candles didnt all. I am wondering where to get the magnificent drippy candles, because clearly we can't find them anywhere. Then, the leftover stubs and bottles were taken away by the landlord when he came with the cleaning service. I am thinking the candles are best left at the restaurants at this point. 

Rain in Rome

Day 39.

Being abroad has been an incredible experience, I have already traveled to 2 fantastic places and have had the time of my life. It is sometimes easy to forget though that Rome is such an amazing place on its own. Back in the city (though not for long) is so refreshing, and I have surprised myself with how relieved I feel back in Rome. Traveling is so fun, but when I get back to Rome it feels like home, I feel comfortable and I know I can get around the city easily. It has gone to show me how much I have grown since coming here in my first weeks, and how I have grown to love the city and really feel like I live here and can call it home. This photo is a shot of a tall statue outside of the Chiesa Santa Maria, and I loved looking all the way up the solitary column and seeing only sky. Then, by chance a seagull passed by and I snapped this shot. It has been kind of rainy here, so things are moving a little slower, but it does help to stop and smell the roses, and take everything in after having been traveling so much. 

Vienna Opera House

Day 38.

For my last night in Vienna my aunt and uncle treated my cousin and I to the opera playing at the Vienna Opera House. For me this was the biggest thrill, I have always wanted to see something in the Vienna Opera House, and from my musical experience as well as studying classical music for some time I was beyond excited to see the opera. The opera we saw was Cosi fan Tutte, which was done by Mozart. It was especially exciting to see an opera where it was originally performed. The opera was beautiful, it was a 6 person opera, and I found that the first sopranos voice was really breathtaking. It was a comedic opera, so there were funny parts, which I was not expecting. I loved it, and it is something that I think I will always look back on. This photo is of the chandelier that hangs in the opera house, right above all of the seating. As you can see, it is stunning and I took several pictures to remember the beauty of the theater, as well as the music we enjoyed. 

Belvedere Museum and Grounds

Day 37.

Today I am still in Vienna and my cousin had a meeting so I headed out in Vienna on my own. I walked around,  did a little shopping and took in the Viennese atmosphere. I had decided that one of the places that I really wanted to see was the Belvedere Museum and grounds so I made my way over there. It by far has been one of my favorite things thus far in my abroad trip. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I spent about 2 hours walking up and down the pebbled paths, looking at all of the statues, manicured shrubs lining the paths, and the incredible architecture of the museum itself. Currently I am working on a 2 page sketch spread of the building, which is architecturally stunning and visually makes a lot of sense. I loved the white building, with the beautiful roof, and all of the ornate pieces of the grounds. There are walking paths, places where fountains spring from and people of all ages strolling around the grounds, taking it all in. It was a beautiful afternoon, with long winter shadows and perfect lighting for photos. I was so interested in the grounds that I didn't even make it into the museum... Well there is always next time!

Morning light in Vienna

Day 36.

Today I woke up to this beautiful view out of our hotel in Vienna. The light streaming through the clouds, over the view of the city, made for a much better start to the day! Abby and I spent the day walking around Vienna, seeing the sights. Abby showed me the authentic porcelain shops, the places to get leiderhosen, and all of the authentic places in Vienna. Vienna is a beautiful city, gorgeous ornate architecture, white buildings and clean streets and I would love to spend more time there. We had lunch in a lovely tearoom, where I had quiche and some of the best cheesecake I have ever had, and it was so nice to spend time with my cousin. We also went to an international gourmet food shop and it was so fun seeing everything that had been shipped around the world, and ended up in Vienna. They even had maple syrup from Maine, which was a surprise, but something that I was very excited to see!

Sacher Torte and Champagne

Day 35.

Today I ventured to Vienna, Austria to visit my oldest cousin Abby while she was on a business trip. This was the first time I had traveled alone from Rome, and it was a little nerve wracking. I successfully printed out my ticket, got to the airport, checked a bag (it was free!) and sat in the airport, about 2 hours early. I waited, and waited and they still had not boarded my flight. Turns out, there was a strike in the Rome airport and they was no one to get the flights out of the airport. My flight was delayed by 6 hours, and since everything was in Italian I was extremely confused for that entire time. We finally boarded our flight, with relief and had a relatively smooth flight. In good spirits, I helped an Italian couple figure out how to ask in English for a connecting flight and headed to claim my bag. I was immediately looked at like I was crazy, and had an older Italian woman laugh in my face. "Oh ragazza, your bags aren't coming". Well, lesson learned, just because it is free to check a bag, does not mean you should. I finally made it to the hotel to meet my cousin, where she promptly whisked me out to a lovely dinner complete with authentic weinershnitzel and we ended the night with a piece of sacher torte, at the famous Hotel Sacher and champagne. It was a great way to end a perhaps unexpected day, and it was so nice to spend time with a family member. 

Saint Sopra Minerva

Day 34.

Today we started our Urban Palimpsest class, which is sort of an urban studies course based in Rome. Today we followed a popular classic guidebook and his itinerary of Rome and the area around school. We stopped in the Chiesa Saint Sopra Minerva, which I love partly because Bernini's elephant statue is out front of it (I love elephants). We also have had the chance to draw axonometrics as well as elevations of the interior of this church for a previous assignment, which proved to be a challenge. I felt that this church wa challenging to sketch because the beauty, the ornate feeling it has comes from the painted interior of the church, not from moldings, or columns or carved embellishments. It can be hard to portray those bold bright colors, when technically they are flat. But, the church is breathtakingly beautiful and I especially loved the stained glass rose windows, which is something you do not often see in Rome. A really beautiful place to sit and reflect, but since we were in class we kept moving on to our next site. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lago Maggiore

Day 33.

Today we said goodbye to Locarno, and the crazy weekend that we had while there. This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip, and kind of puts the whole experience of being there into a photo. The lake, the harbor, the Alps that we went to the top in the distance, the blue that we were surrounded by the entire weekend, it really was such an amazing weekend. For my first travel weekend I think we did a pretty great job. Something that I have also learned from this trip is to fly by the seat of my pants. The friends I was with did not want to plan anything. They didn't want to buy train tickets, didn't want to look up times, exactly how to get there, or look into things to do while there. All we did was book a hostel.(Which I insisted on) For any of you who know me...that isn't normally how I roll. I don't really like surprises, I like to be in control of plans, and I don't really like to just see what happens. This weekend I put faith in the two friends I was traveling with, and I am so glad I did. Everything worked out perfectly, and I have them to thank for that. This doesn't mean that I will stop planning things, and all of the other trips I am going on, but I can now appreciate the spontaneity of a trip like that, and will look back on this weekend as one of the most epic trips ever.

Swiss Alps

Day 32.

Today the three of us (from the left: Andrew Guild, Drew Oliveira and myself) went to the top of the Swiss Alps. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. I do not think that I have ever seen anything so beautiful, or at risk of sounding stereotypical; majestic. Being at the very top of the Swiss Alps is something I will never, ever forget. We took a funicolare (little train) up, and then a gondola, a chairlift and then walked up to the very top, dodging skiers as we made our way up. We stood up at the very top for a while, taking it all in. The Alps, Lago Maggiore at the bottom, the hang gliders swinging gracefully through the air, it really was one of the most amazing experiences. Breathing in the fresh mountain air, the three of us were quiet, for I think the first time ever. We realized that we really wanted a picture of the three of us, but were the only ones at the very top, so we built a mountain of snow to put my camera on, and set it to self timer. This is one of the still frame shots of us being ridiculous at the top of the mountain. It was so fun, but it was even more awe inspiring, to think that we were surrounded by that amount of beauty. The trip to Switzerland was a huge success.

Locarno, Switzerland Harbor

Day 31.

Today we arrived safe and sound in Locarno, Switzerland after 3 trains, and hefty taxi cab fare. We arrived and had time to check out the harbor, which is situated on Lago Maggiore, or Lake Maggiore. The lights on this lake, combined with the lights on the Swiss Alps in the background were really quite incredible. It was breathtaking, and I had a moment of wonder, and could not really believe I was standing at the foot of the Alps. Its times like these that I am jumping up and down inside because I am so happy that I am abroad and able to experience it all. After walking around the harbor we found dinner, Swiss beer included! After dinner we experienced Locarno's version of Carnevale, which in one word is insane. It is part block party, part Halloween on steroids, part frat party, part their version of a 4th of July celebration. There were hundreds of Locarno citizens in full costumes, and when I say full, I mean full body suits of all kinds. Kids were there, teens were there, adults were there of all ages and it was one of the craziest things I have ever been to. We were exhausted about an hour into the party, having traveled all day, but the party went on till around 4am...when we could hear the windows of our hostel vibrating with the music. A great introduction into Swiss culture. 

Milano Duomo

Day 30.

Today marks the 30th day here in Rome, and what a crazy feeling that is! I am off for a crazy adventure to Milan and Locarno, Switzerland with two friends I am abroad with. To get to Switzerland we have to take something like 3 trains, and we stopped in Milan after our first train to see the sights. We checked out the Duomo, and the Galleria which were both very interesting. The Duomo was incredible, such a gothic, ornate structure right in the middle of bustling Milan. This photo is from the inside of the church, of the prayer candles that people from anywhere and everywhere light for loved ones. They were spectacularly beautiful and the line of the them was almost unending. After the Duomo we walked to the Galleria (conveniently across the street!) and checked out the architecture, and compared it to the Galleria in Rome. This Galleria, the original is much more successful as an urban shopping space, as it connects to 4 different ways outside and provides a beautiful inside/outside experience. We did some on site sketches and then we were back on the train to Locarno!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bus Stop

Day 29.

Living in Rome is a huge change from being at HWS, because not only am  I living in a different country with a different culture, I have made the big leap of going to a school in the country, to the inner workings of a large city. Taking the bus almost every single day is a huge change because I am used to walking out of my house at school and right to class, all within 5 minutes. Being here has been a huge adjustment because I have to give myself 30 minutes to get to class, not 3. Surprisingly, I actually really like it. It is incredibly freeing just to walk out my door and know that I can get anywhere in the city either on foot or through transportation, its like knowing the city is really at my fingertips. I have learned to love exploring, and seeing new things and really surprising myself by finding myself in new areas. Perhaps I am cut out for city living. 

Galleria Alberto Sordi

Day 28.

Today we ventured to the Galleria Alberto Sordi for our sketching class. It is on Via Del Corso which is a really popular and big shopping street that goes from near the Spanish Steps all the way to Piazza Venezia. The Galleria is very interesting because it is modeled after the one in Milan, and is meant not to be a shopping mall, but an interior walking space with shopping included. The details that they added to make it feel more like an interior space include streetlights and adding "apartment" spaces above the stores, just how they would be like outside. It is nice to draw and sketch something a little different, and I am enjoying taking visual not on not only the architecture, but the design of the space and what works in an interior place. This is a picture of the center of the Galleria, with the glass translucent ceiling, something you do not often see in Rome. 

Piazza Navona Vendors

Day 27.

Piazza Navona is about a 5 minute walk from our Italian school and is right on the path that we take when walking from our bus stop. Piazza Navona is absolutely beautiful at night as well as during the day, and I love the vendors that set up there with their paintings, and artwork. Since we are in the middle of Carnevale there have been live plays in the middle of the piazza, complete with horse drawn carriages, and festival music. Being here while this huge festival is going on is really fun, and walking through the Piazza and seeing plays put on is really fantastic. Very different than say Mardi Gras in the United States.

Friday, February 10, 2012

San Giovanni

Day 26.

Today we had our Visual Notes class in the beautiful Chiesa San Giovanni. We got on the metro and quickly got to the front of this stunning church. Our visual notes class is essentially an architecture class on foot, where we are all armed with our sketchbooks, pencils and pens. We travel around the city to all sorts of sites, measuring proportions of column to column, and bay to bay. (Basically measuring the building) Then we sketch on site, or take pictures to work on them at home, because since it has been so cold here it has been hard to sit at a site for more than a couple of hours or so. At this specific location we learned about axons, which is a sort of 3D drawing of columns and arches from an above viewpoint, without using perspective. For me it can get very complicated and sometimes frustrating, and I know it will take much more practice to get all of the lines and measurements just right. But, they are definitely good skills to have as an art student, because without a solid core of how things are built and how they stand, drawings do not make sense visually. Once my drawings get better I hope to share some photos with you, but for now a picture of me and my roommate Trilbey is much nicer. 

Cold in Rome

Day 25.

Today the cold weather has really hit me and I have started, like a couple others in the group to get a cold. But, the cold did not stop me and me and one of my friends decided to poke around some vintage shops and then go get a glass of wine. It is still absolutely freezing, but we have found quicker ways to walk home than originally thought. Most of the snow has melted, or turned to dirty slush, but down by the river it doesn't seem so bad. Even on a cold, grey day I think it is absolutely beautiful here and walking around is the perfect way to capture that. 

Beautiful day in Rome

Day 24.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself when walking to and from class. Living in Rome, despite the odd quirks, and the lack of American food is absolutely incredible. I find my breath being taken away by just walking down the street on a day to day basis. It is easy to see why so many people choose to vacation here, study abroad here and perhaps even live here. I know I chose the right place to study abroad, because I truly think this city is magical. Every single day I learn something new, something surprises me and I am so glad that I am here, even if I do miss little things about the US. My favorite part of this picture is the couple that is in the bottom right hand corner of the picture. Before snapping this shot I watched them have a snow ball fight, tackling each other and horsing around, which put a big smile on my face. 

Embarrassing Americans

Day 23.

Today marks the day that I give in and admit that I miss American food. Yes, just a little bit. Its a little strange being this far from home, with stores that do not sell anything remotely American, and when you are always playing a guessing game with what you have just bought. "Is this chicken, or pork" "Is this brie, or something else?" "Do they sell anything whole grain here?!" We in the apartment have had our fair share of playing the guessing game and today my roommate and I quietly snuck over the to McDonalds near the Spanish Steps. It turns out that we spent a good 20 minutes just trying to find it, even though there are signs every 10 meters pointing, (said signs are kind of misleading...) This McDonalds is the fanciest McDonalds I have ever been, and its underground, with crazy seating areas and displays. We both ordered a burger and fries obviously, and somehow, we still dont know how, my roommate got a beer with her meal. We sat down and ate, and it was delicious, though somehow still tasted Italian. The menus that we got on our trays were the most interesting part though, they had the US as a map with different pictures of food at locations. New York was pastries, Arizona was a southwest burger, Fort Worth was a salad and Birmingham, Alabama was fried interesting and perhaps oddly stereotypical interpretation of the United States. Our trip to McDonalds actually made us think a lot more than I thought it would. 

Snowmen Overlooking Vatican

Day 22.

Today I ventured out of our warm apartment to walk around and see how the city was faring after this "blizzard" they had just had. I walked and walked and saw snowball fights, streets empty with people running through them.  It also looked like there were many newly purchased snow jackets and the Romans snow boot of choice, the Moonboot. Pretty ugly, but they seemed to be doing the trick. I walked and ended up at my favorite bridge overlooking the river with a beautiful view of the Vatican. There were snow "people" everywhere I looked, it seemed that even adults were making them, or throwing snowballs at each other. Everyone was out, it was a beautiful sunny day, even though it was freezing and none of the busses were running the whole city seemed to be in good spirits. 

Snow in Rome

Day 21.

Today marks the first heavy snowfall in Rome since 1985, and let me tell you, it was pretty incredible being here when it happened. Being from northern New England and going to school in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York I am used to snow. I love snow, and was pretty disappointed that I didn't really get any at home. Well, not to fear, I have gotten my fair share of it here. We only got around 4 inches here, but it felt like a blizzard because instead of the snow being immediately whisked away by plows, and dedicated dads with snowblowers, the snow just sat there. It was like the city shut down, busses weren't running, taxis were packed and people were roaming the streets. It was amazing to see that the only solution the city had was to put the street sweepers out to try to sweep away the snow. My roommate and I saw the street sweepers trying to clear the snow, and we both burst out laughing. Needless to say, it didn't help, and the city has continued to be almost desolate until the snow decides to melt.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Panino at Gio.

Day 20.

Today we headed to the Catacombs, which are a portion of the thousands of tombs underground in Rome. Not one of my favorite trips to sites that I have been on here, it was pouring rain and really chilly and being underground in a underground tombs made for a really creepy atmosphere. After the trip we headed back to one of my favorite places to eat and grab some hot tea. Gio, a restaurant, and cafe is right around the corner from our scuola and I tried one of their paninos for lunch. Smoked salmon, brie and arugula on delicious bread. One of the BEST paninos I have had here, it was absolutely delectable and definitely what I needed to warm up and get over the odd experience we had just had. And only 3 euro! A steal. 

Cooking Class at Tricolore

Day 19.

Today after Italian class we all had the opportunity to go take a cooking class at the restaurant Tricolore.  With 26 of us trying to get to this little restaurant, it turned into quite an adventure, especially during rush hour. Getting 26 of us on one bus was actually impossible and it took a while to actually get there. Once at the class we learned how to make fresh pasta called tagliatelle as well as fresh tomato sauce with their version of bacon, guanciale. We rolled out our own batches of pasta by hand (required some serious elbow grease) and learned how to make the amatriciana sauce with the guanciale. Towards the end of the cooking process, my cooking partner Sara and I tried to follow the directions by pouring a bit of the pasta water into the sauce to make it thicker. We ended up spilling almost all of the water into our sauce and the chef declared our dish "underwater". We then decided to strain the sauce and put it back...interesting decision on our part. I tasted the end result, not too bad, but definitely one of the more hysterical and ridiculous experiences I have had here. 

A lovely gift.

Day 18.

Today has been a day of immense happiness and celebration! I have just heard that I have been offered the position as one of the leaders of Orientation back at HWS. I have been working on my application and everything that went with it for about a month and what a relief it was to hear that I was offered the position. This means I will be in Geneva, NY for the summer and I couldn't be more excited or ecstatic. It is a little strange to be hearing this news and to be in a different country and not at HWS, but the girls I live with are incredibly sweet, and 2 of them went out and got me this little dessert as congratulations! It was absolutely delicious, but was even better was that it was so caring and thoughtful of them. If I could scream from the rooftops of my apartment about how happy I am, I would...but I don't want to get evicted. So, I am sharing my excitement with all of you!

Ponte Sant'Angelo

Day 17.

Today has marked the 17th day I have been here in Rome and let me tell you, it has been quite a realization to think that I am here for 3 months and I am not on a vacation. It has been a little bit of a shock to realize that I am really here, that I am going to be here until April and it is definitely an interesting feeling. I think that so far I have adjusted fairly easily, but that I think lies in the fact that I knew that this experience was not going to be all easy, and a walk in the park. Its been hard, its been interesting, and I have learned something every single day, whether it is about myself or about the environment I have been thrust into. I love this particular picture that I took today because it is of my favorite bridge, with a serene and reflective aura- kind of how I am feeling today. I know it will not be easy, but this is an experience I wouldn't give up for anything and already I have had some incredible and crazy times. These 3 months are going to fly by, and its days like today that I am glad I can take some time and reflect on them. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The 8 Pack.

Day 16.

So far I have talked about the culture, the city, the food and of course the fountains. But I haven't mentioned a huge part of my life here. I am living in an 8 person apartment, which our professor named the 8 pack on the first night when we couldnt seem to find our way anywhere. From the left, Emily, Me, Trilbey, Maggie, Dana and Britt. Not in this picture are Sara and Renee, I think they were on photo duty. We all went out to Trastevere for the night for Danas 21st birthday which was a ton of fun. We are all very different, with different expectations of our abroad experience and for the most part in different groups at school. It has been so much fun getting to know all of them and has made this experience interesting to say the least! All I can say is that there have been a lot of laughs in this group and we all are here for a great time. Living with 7 other girls in one apartment is definitely different but we have tons of fun together. Mostly its just a lot of giggling about everything that goes on, but as many of you know, laughing is one of my favorite things, and this group really is great. 

Sassy Statue

Day 15.

Today was a day to relax, gather my thoughts and go for a walk by myself and  take some pcitures. After walking for a  bit I found myself back at Ponte Sant'Angelo, which is one of my favorite spots. It was late afternoon, the sun was beginning to set and there was this golden light settling over the bridge. I captured this image, because I love the statues but after looking through them on my camera I fell in love with this one, because either she is giving someone the finger, or is just really sassy. Its like she is saying "Talk to the hand" when she is in reality some beautiful statue that I just caught at a bad angle. Either way, it made me giggle and she is definitely my kind of statue. 

Piazza Cavour

Day 14.

Every day, we head off to school either on foot or on the bus and we pass this beautiful park. For the first two weeks of our trip it has been guarded with fences, caution tape and looked completely off limits. Today as I rode the 280 to school I wondered if we would be able to enjoy it, or if it would still be closed when we left. Well, on the way home from school the park was ready. It seemed that it had been put up, or renovated almost overnight, and I thought to myself, "...well that was quick". Nothing in Massachusetts, or even really on the HWS campus goes up that quickly! The piazza is gorgeous, there is a big center statue, but lots of lush green grass (that apparently grows overnight?) and benches. I settled myself on steps looking out at the piazza and sketched the big statue while eating some delicious fragole gelato. It was a lovely afternoon, and I was very glad that the renovations were over and that we will have plenty of time to enjoy it in our 3 months here. 

Mimi e Coco

Day 13.

Our area around school is teeming with little places to eat, drink, grab a gelato or an espresso. It is so nice to walk around and pick somewhere to eat after class if we dont feel like going home and cooking. One of my favorite places, that I have already been to a couple of times is Mimi e Coco, a little restaurant with FANTASTIC pizza. I love the pizza parma, which has proscuitto on it, but fell in love with the mushroom pizza the other girls got. Although we all live together it is really nice to go out and relax and laugh about class, how horrible our italian is, and eat together without actually having to cook for ourselves. 

Piazza Navona

Day 12.

After class half of our group headed to our professor's apartment for wine and snacks to get to know the 2 HWS professors we are here with. It was really nice to be able to get to know Professors Makker and Bulson while not in class or at a site, but to relax and just chat. After our apertivos I headed towards Piazza Navona, which is a beautiful piazza near our Italian school with 3 gorgeous fountains. I love this piazza because unlike a lot of fountains, this one is only lit from underwater, which is pretty cool at night. I snapped this photo because, there are so many things in the fountain besides the large statues at the top. I loved this fish, because it looks like it has the biggest smile on its face as its splashing around. Quite different from other fountains with just statues or forms, this one actually captures what could be going on in the waters below. 

Capitoline Museum

Day 11.

Today we ventured to the Capitoline Museum near Piazza Venezia. The museum is famous for  its beautiful statuary, rooms full of ornate decorations and the Romulus and Remulus wolf statue, among other things. We were able to walk through most the museum, see beautiful views of the Roman Forum as well as the rest of the city. The best part of the museum for me was the exhibit on Michelangelo and Da Vinci. We were able to look at actual sketches, their notes and original copies from their sketchbooks, such as Da Vincis sketches on flying machines. It was very surreal being only inches away from actual pages in each of Michelangelo's and Da Vinci's notes and sketches. Very, very cool. There were no cameras allowed in that specific exhibit, for obvious reasons but I was able snap some photos in the other parts of the museum. I particularly liked this shot of the light coming into either side of windows, illuminating the gilded decorations on one of the walls. 

Monday, January 23, 2012


Day 10.

Having Italian every day for 3 hours a day doesn't seem like much, especially compared to our hectic schedules at HWS. But, sitting in the same small room can get tiring and I have come to enjoy walking home. Not the quickest walk, (about 2 miles) but it is nice to clear my head after a long class. I pass this carousel every time I walk to school and tonight it caught my eye. When I was younger I loved carousels, and one of my favorite pictures of me when I was about 4 is me on one. I stopped for a moment to take a few photos and the lights, combined with really beautiful gilded embellishments made for a really beautiful scene. It was just what I needed to clear my head of all of the conjugations and prepositions of Italian class. 

Ponte Sant'Angelo

Day 9.

Having only been in Rome for about 9 days I have surprised myself with already having favorite places in the city. I never thought I would become comfortable this quickly, but I have. One of my favorite places is the bridge that brings us from the center of Rome over the river right to the Castel Sant'Angelo. It is one of the only places that you can walk freely without mopeds, or cars flying by you without the slightest care that they might hit you. Walking across this bridge, with the statues each depicting something different is really beautiful. During the day, or seen here at night it is definitely one of my favorite places to walk. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Day 8.

Today we ventured to the Colosseum with the whole group. We got up early and hopped on the metro, thinking it would take us forever to get there. Well it didnt and we ended up standing, waiting for the entire group to arrive. It takes some getting used to, the public transportation and the collective movement of 28 people. It was the first cold day we have encountered here in Rome, I think it was a chilly 36 degrees. Nothing compared to Geneva, or even Wenham, but cold for here and we felt it in the open space of the Colosseum. Being in there is really breathtaking. It is huge, and the way it is set up you can really imagine what went on thousands of years ago. The gladiators, the lions, the gauntlet type fights; you can really see it happening. This is a picture of that one of my apartment-mates took of me doing one of my many requisite sketches. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Forum Statues

Day 7.

Today we went on a sightseeing tour of the Palatino and Roman Forum with the whole entire group. We were able to walk around, take in the sights and sketch a little bit too. One of my favorite parts of the the tour was this garden of statues...statue garden? It was a large square garden with pretty lush grass and roses with a perimeter of these beautiful statues. Most of the statues had parts missing, hands, arms and sometimes whole faces. One of the most beautiful things about these statues is the fabric they are draped in, how such movement can be captured in stone. These were mostly intact and I was very happy to observe and of course take lots of pictures. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Salami Bruschetta in Tresteverae

Day 6.

So far Ive posted pictures of places, night scenes and things around me. But I havent gotten to one crucial part of living in this wild city. The food. The food here is incredible. Everything is fresh, well made and clearly good quality. You can taste it in the produce, in the fresh bread and of course the cheese. At dinner I ordered a salami bruschetta, and what do you know, they gave me a platter of salami! Quite a surprise, but very delicious. The eating experience here is extremely different than the US because dinner here is something to savor, enjoy and take time with. It is completely different than the rushed, quick dinners that are common in the American culture. Takes a bit getting used to, but is definitely worth it. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Statues Caught in Traffic

Day 5.

Today (Sunday) we woke up pretty late, and to make up for our laziness we set off in search of the correct Metro route to get us to school quicker than the 30 minutes we had been walking. We are lucky to have a Metro stop about a block from our apartment and decided to hop on and see where it took us. We ended up COMPLETELY in the wrong direction and ended up giving up trying to find our school and set in search of the Trevi Fountain instead. Well we didn't find that either, but we ended up walking through a little garden, finding interesting winding streets and eventually came to a four way intersection with these beautiful statues on the four corners of the sidewalks. The juxtaposition of the stoplight and the statues was very interesting; like this bustling metropolitan city had been built right around these old carvings. Its the little things like this that have been keeping me surprised every day.  

Vatican Fountain

Day 4.

Saturday night we all went out as a group and explored all different parts of the city. Rome at night is one of the most beautiful sights, and although you want to run through the cold, it is worth slowing down and admiring all of the lit up sights. Walking home my roommate and I happened to walk through the Vatican, which at night is a completely different experience. There aren't hordes of people, or taxis and buses stopping every 5 feet, or lines to see everything. It was calm, peaceful and absolutely gorgeous. We took time to walk around and take pictures, and this became one of my favorites. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Castel Sant'Angelo

Day 3. 

This is just one of the bridges that we walk across to get from our side of the river that our apartment is on, to the other side where the school is and where the center of town is. Walking home at night is absolutely breathtaking, when it is all lit up you have to slow down and take it all in! The big structure behind the bridge is something we also walk home towards every day, the Castel Sant'Angelo which is incredible when all lit up. It makes our walk home much prettier at night, and reminds me to just drink everything in and take time to enjoy all that is around me. 
Piazza di Santa Maria

Day 2.

This picture is marks the success of my first bus ride in Rome! My roommate and I wanted to go to Tresteverae, which is a small area with lots of small streets, restaurants and bars, but it is 45 minutes away from our apartment. We decided to take the bus and after about an half hour of waiting, and switching sides of the street, we made it to our destination and had a great dinner in a restaurant around the corner. I felt very accomplished with the fact that I had made it somewhere nowhere near our apartment in one piece and even that small accomplishment felt really great. The Piazza is beautiful at night, the church in the background is beautiful, and the fountain is really quite gorgeous. I would have preferred to have put up a picture of the Piazza itself but my Mom insisted on pictures of me as well, so here you go! 

Scuola Leonardo da Vinci

Ciao! Greetings from Roma! 
Today marks my 5th day here in Italia and it has been such a whirlwind of emotions, sights, sounds, smells, everything one could possibly imagine. I have decided to start a blog, or something similar to that to keep family, friends, and everyone who prefers not to be on facebook in the loop with what I am doing. I hope that this gives even a small glimpse of what I am experiencing on my semester abroad, and while doing that, some pictures to enjoy. I found out on our 1st day of the trip that we are here for exactly 100 days, and I wanted to capture a photo every day to remember each part of my journey, and share it with you all.

My first entry is of my first full day in Rome. It is a picture of the school I will be attending while here in Rome, Scuola Leonardo da Vinci. I will be taking all of my Italian classes in this beautiful building, which as you can see is surrounded by Rome's beautiful architecture. The school is about 2 miles from our apartment, so getting there the first day was a little different than I had expected, and took a lot longer than it does to get to class at HWS. We were able to stop before our first day Orientation at the school though and order cappuchinos and croissants before, delicious! After our Orientation we were able to go get a lovely Italian lunch at a cafe nearby and then we were sent off in a scavenger hunt around Rome to get acquainted with the city. We then ended our long day with our walk back home, and quickly collapsed into our beds.