The last week of our course is getting closer and I still feel like more and more surpised: time has really fled. Yesterday we had our second fieldtrip in Vicenza to visit the Teatro Olimpico, the first permanent theater in History of European modern Theater, projected on 1580 by Andrea Palladio, the most important architect of the Renaissance period: a masterpiece made all on wood, plaster and stucco (the thriumph of illusion, the thriumph of theater…). The Teatro Olimpico, founded by the Accademia Olimpica had, as protector, Hercules, the semi-god.
The day before the fieldtrip I was really worried because the weather was cold, windy and rainy like an ordinary day of February…in Scotland! Furthermore, the weather reports literaly “predicted”, for the following days, storms, snow, ice, high tide, temperatures -6°C, plagues, locust infestation. Thank “gods”, as we were protected by the Greek Gods, in particular by Zeus, Hercule’s father”. We had a sunny and warm day for our trip! Marissa, Curt and Nicole (Ccis Program students at Istituto Venezia), joined us. I’m sure that you really liked this “jewel”, still used for public plays and concerts: the scenography is a masterpiece of Renaissance perspective studies to reproduce the city of Thebe.
This week our last classes are waiting for us: Carlo Goldoni, The Servant of Two Masters, the Reform, the “feminist” Mirandolina, last videos, review, final exam. Finito tutto? Nooooooo. Appointment on Wednesay 7th March for our Classe di Cucina: fish soup, risotto, gnocchi and tiramisù!!!!!!!!!!!
Professoressa da Teatro
This has been one very cold week. We started the week out with wind and rain and ended the week with a bit of snow….we tried to escape it but it just followed us here. We started our second level of Italian this week and got to learn reflexive verbs. I also learned how to the tell the time and finally learned the colors! In music class we visited another ospedale and in theater class we visited the Teatro Olimpico. The Teatro Olimpico was by far the most amazing theater I have ever been to, the use of architectural perspective was incredibly impressive.
This weekend led to another crazy adventure, the destination was Bassano Del Grappa. I wanted to see some mountains and greenery and I was not at all disappointed. It felt like I was at home again. When we first stepped off the bus we walked into a winter wonderland. The snowfall was beautiful and I felt content even though I was freezing. I got the chance to go to visit a museum of Ernest Hemingway. It was very informative. The best part of the trip was getting to experience a small Italian town ajjway from all the tourism. We even got to speak some Italian! We crushed it.
This week flew by! Over the weekend most of our group went to Rome. I was able to see the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colloseum, and many other ancient ruins and monuments; places I’ve only dreamed of seeing. Back in Venice we started the second level of Italian class. In music class we got a private tour of one of the four ospedali we’ve been learning about. It was beautiful, especially the stucco work which looked like real marble and stone. For theatre class we took the train to Vicenza and visited Teatro Olimpico. I wish we could have seen a play there because it was a beautiful theatre with lots of interesting history behind the architecture and sculptures. It actually used to be an old prison, but I would have never guessed.
This week was a good food week. Starting in Rome, I had some of the best food of this whole trip. For only one euro, Libby and I split a Napolitana. After researching the pastry, I discovered that the chocolate one was not the classic flavor but nonetheless so addictive. It had a shortbread crust all around and then a very interesting filling with a cake-like texture. Come to find out it is made with pastry cream, eggs, tempered chocolate, toasted wheat, and flavorings. For dinner, we had some delicious smoked salmon with lime and crema aceto balsamico, eggs with bread and truffle spread, and pasta with Gorgonzola, pears and pistachios. But dessert got even better: dark chocolate fondue with different cookies. It was so refreshing to see such an innovative menu that didn’t just cater to tourism. At home we made homemade tortillas for chicken burritos as well as sliders on homemade buns with quail eggs, arugula, and pancetta. I’ve never had quail eggs and they were awesome, Preston, Dorothy, and Libby agreed with me.
This weekend I write to you from a small province of Vicenza called Bassano Del Grappa. So far the food and experience has been amazing, starting with snow just like Montana. Stay tuned for an update next week!
While everyone else left Venice last weekend I stayed behind and enjoyed the quiet that followed the end of Carnevale. On Saturday I set out to go the fish market to pick up some mussels so I could attempt to make a dish that we had made in our first cooking class with Anna. There were long tables covered in ice that the fish and other ‘fruits of the sea’ sat on. Quite a few people were gathered around getting fish and such. My confidence in my level one Italian faltered. I was suddenly very nervous about trying to order what I needed and was tempted to just go home. Then an older gentleman walked up next to me and whistling a cheerful tune. My courage was renewed when we greeted each other in Italian. I decided I had to get those mussels that I wouldn’t go home without them. I just had to get the attention of one of the men working there. The older gentleman seemed to have noticed my nervousness and got the attention of one of the men for me, which was a relief. So, I was able to order in my very simple Italian enough mussels for two people. I was only cooking for myself but who doesn’t like leftovers? After thanking the nice gentleman, I left the market feeling like I had conquered a mountain and headed home. I decided that if I was gonna take the time to really cook that I might as well go big or go home. Which is how I ended up making pasta from scratch using an empty bottle as a rolling pin. With the help of google and asking the advice of some friends online I succeeded in cleaning, debearding (did you know mussels have beards? I sure didn’t) and cooking the mussels. My pasta, that was made without an actual rolling pin or any sort of measuring cup, turned out perfect although a little wider than your usual linguine. It took me nearly all day to make everything but it was so good and really worth it.
This week we got to go to another theatre! Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any play in this one but, on man, I really want to. We went to the Teatro Olympica. The seating is in the style of Greek theater and statures of a classical style are everywhere. At the stage is a wall that appears to be marble. Through the first arch you can see buildings and due to some clever construction a street that disappears to the horizon. It’s an amazing used of forced perspective and I wish we had had the chance to actually walk on the stage and see what it looked like up close. It’s amazing that it was built that detailed and it wasn’t meant to be permanent.
This has been one very cold week in Venice. The weather consisted of lots of wind, rain, and clouds. Despite our efforts to escape the treacherous snow storms in Montana, it looks like next week’s forecast in Venice shows a chance of snow. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
We have been learning about reflexive verbs, colors, and time in our Italian two class, and that has been nothing short of exciting and interesting! For our Music class, we were privileged with a private tour of one of the Ospedale’s, the Mendicati, and the Room of Music. Both were a spectacular sight to see. For our Theater class, we visited Vicenza to see the Teatro Olimpico and it was absolutely amazing. The perspective of the architecture on the stage was just masterfully incredible. There were statues everywhere towering above us, along with a fresco of pastel pink clouds floating on the ceiling. It was quite the sight to see!
This past weekend, I went to Bassano del Grappa with Abby and Libby to cure our mountain withdrawals and see some neat sights. We found the best pizza ever, we saw some lovely mountains, and we went to the Ernest Hemingway museum. When we were there, it was snowing quite a bit, and it made this place feel a like home. The people in Bassano are very sweet and charming, it gave us a great opportunity to practice our Italian language skills! We spent the rest of the day touring the city and trying out varies types of food and hot chocolate. In my opinion, it was definitely a day well spent!
As this semester is slowly coming to a close, I’m trying to soak up every moment in Italy as much as I can. I hope to explore more of this beautiful country with the little time we have left!
Ciao ciao tutti!
I can’t believe how lucky I am to have been able to celebrate my 19th birthday here in Venice. This last Saturday was my birthday and I was so humbled and grateful to all the people who made it so special. The group threw me a surprise birthday party, with cake and music. It was so cute and thoughtful.
Earlier that day we had visited Vicenza’s Teatro Olympico. It was an amazing theater that is still used today. The background of the stage is an optical allusion which tricks the eye into thinking that there are long narrow streets cutting back into the stage. I really enjoyed visiting the “teatro” because it was so unique to other theaters that I have seen which are typically more blank and basic. In contrast Italian theaters are extravagant and delicately decorated. From the gorgeous sculptures in the Teatro Olympico to the gold painted walls of the Goldini.
On another note the weather in Venice has been quite cloudy and rainy lately and recently an intense wind has been blowing. The wind is so cold and comes from all directions making it kind of impossible to use an umbrella on a rainy day. It is really kind of cool because; despite how cold it is outside it is kind of fun to be blown around by the wind.
I have been enjoy the little things here in Venice and am looking forward to another week of adventuring.
This has been the craziest week yet! I know I say that every time but this one really was. We got to celebrate Savannah’s birthday this weekend and it was wonderful. We kicked it off with some sushi on the Strata Nova and dancing on the mainland Saturday night. I’ve decided Italians are better dancers than Americans. I got to tango, two step and twirl around all night with Savannah and our new friend from New York, Nicole. We even caught a live hip hop dance performance at the venue! That night was as tiring as it was fun, so tiring that I slept past my alarms Sunday morning and missed my train to Padua! I immediately called Savannah mid panic attack so we could run and hop on the next one. What we had imagined as a relaxing spa day at Abano Terme Preistoriche, a local hotspring that would include a much needed massage, turned quickly into a chaotic mess. After getting off of our new train we took a stupidly expensive taxi to our spa retreat only to find every spot had been booked and we were too late. Abandoning that dream we headed over to a second less exotic hot spring. Fun fact: you have to wear a swim cap if you go in any pool. They also like speedos. We did NOT look cute in our second-hand-where-has-this-been caps. I think we looked like dilly bars, our heads dipped in strange colors. This was so comical to us it made the whole thing worth it. Screw the money, I made some amazing memories with Savannah and for a birthday I think she’ll never forget. I might even write a book about this day: The Many Misadventures of Sav & Dot.
As for school we have been reading very interesting plays to wrap up our last week. Mirandolina is my favorite. The plot follows a woman chasing a man who believes women are “the worst thing in creation”. Eventually, he falls in love with her and she has finally proven him wrong. She denies him claiming she was right and that women are the most precious things in creation. As a feminist, I think this story is a great comical representation for equal rights and what women really have to offer. We also had the opportunity to see a stunning music room in the Ospedaletto with Stefania. The acoustics were to die for and I couldn’t help but to hum a couple notes to myself, it would’ve been a crime not to. The frescoes of the young girls in the Ospedaletto were beautiful, my favorite was the “Triumph of Music”. When my dad visits for a while I think I’ll have to take him there myself. I wish I could share all of Venice with the ones I love at home. To all of you, I miss you! I think of you all the time and send all my love from Venice. Ciao miei amori!
This past week has been a blast. I learned even more about the history of music and theater. We visited a Ospedali and Teatro Olympico in Vicenza. The theater was breathtaking. It had an old wooden benches and stage that had long depth of field display. This week in Italian class, we learned about reflexive verbs and I had an easy time learning that so I feel like things are getting better. This next week we are having our final for music and theater, so this next week will be lots studying.
This week I spent a night hanging out with my new friend Curt. He’s a pre-law student from Saint Louis. We spend a couple hours walking the streets of Venice talking, joking and enjoying Venice at night. Over the weekend Callie, Angelica, Kurt, and myself met up with a couple of Anglica’s friends who live in Vicenza and they were very nice people. They fed us a wonderful home-made meal of steaks, ribs, mash potatoes, and salad. It was one of my favorite meals I’ve had in Italy so far. All in all, its been a great week. So till next week, Ciao
This week we went to the music room of Ospedaletto, a hospital built in 1776 that was later converted into an orphanage where they educated children from the ages of a few days old to twelve years old. The boys learned woodwork and the girls learned music. Many renowned masters of music taught at this school, such as Giovani Legrenzi and Nicolo Porpora. This school became more than an educational institute, it became a home where children could create and express themselves through the art of music. On Saturday we went to a small town called Vicenza and visited the Teatro Olympico, this theater was constructed between 1580 and 1585 by Andrea Palladio. It is very unique to the other theaters we have seen, it was originally used as a prison and later built into a theater that deceives the eyes with its marble like statues that are actually made out of wood, stucco, and plaster. The design of the building is astounding with the spectacular illusion that creates an imaginary world of an outdoor theater. The detail and the Roman stylized amphitheater has made this one of my favorite theaters in Venice.
The weather has taken a cold spell here in Venice and bundling up is a must to go outside. This was a relatively laidback week, though school is getting a little rushed for information as the days count down. We took a tour of a small hospital turned music school and orphanage for girls called Ospedalleto. We had to walk through a church to get to the Ospedalleto offering an opportunity to learn about another historical church and to see the damage of an intentional fire. Stepping into the music school you go up a shoulder-width spiral staircase to see the main room where concerts and meetings were held. Originally the kitchen of a hospital the main room was changed into a masterpiece with the play of light and shadows and perspective, it gives off an air of eloquence as one steps into a small flat one-dimensional room but sees a 3D marble room at first glance. The process of creating perspective and three-dimensional art is hard to grasp because a shadow box had to be used with specific lighting and handmade objects that give off the specific shadow.
The next place we visited was the Accademia Olympico in Vicenza. The story behind the theater is truly amazing and seems to fall into place with the Ospedales in Venice. The Accademia was a prison donated to a board in Vicenza who thought a permanent theater would be a good idea, but with the prison being so small and the budget tight very unique techniques had to be used to transform the prison into a beautiful theater. Most of the marble work is painted on with only the very top row of statues being fully marble. All other statues and building features are made with a metal frame, some form of reeds, stucco, and plaster. The stage is also proportioned to give an effect of the actors moving farther away because of the use of perspective to give different angels and distances. The main designer, Andrea Palladio, was very ingenious with his lighting as well to provide the right amount of shadows and light at specific angles. Many of the lights were hidden to portray an image of natural light or mysterious light. Both places set the theme for the week as architecture and the best way to visually enlarge small spaces while on a budget. Overall, it was a relatively quiet and cold week that brought Montana a little closer to heart. Stay warm out there and hold tight for next week.