I went to Florence for my High Renaissance class, with Professor Paolo Carloni. The course fee for the class paid for the train and hotel.
Going to a city with an art history class is excellent. Our professor is able to get us into museums or sites for free or reduced price. We saw huge museums like the Uffizi, and small churches with mannerist paintings. We saw famous monuments like Michelangelo’s David, and smaller known works many people don’t think to see. It was particularly inspiring to me as an art student. It was perfect to go with a class, because we saw so much art that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I have friends who went to Florence by themselves, and they didn’t see nearly as much art as we did. When I go somewhere, I’m interested in the visuals in the streets and the art. So I enjoy being in my art history classes, and being able to experience other cities with the class.
The museums didn’t allow anyone to take pictures inside, and some places don’t allow drawing inside either. Small sketches in my notebook had to suffice when I wanted to capture the paintings by Botticelli or the sculptures in the Medici Chapel. My friend Portia and I stayed in the museum later than our class to make sure we got our money’s worth of art.
My High Renaissance professor is an excellent professor. He doesn’t just tell the fact about what could be on the test. He elaborates with history and stories. He brings not only the High Renaissance to life, but also the local Italian history and politics from all time periods. I always enjoy listening to what he has to say. It’s great to have professors who get students into the material, and having professors who have the local Italian perspective is even more awesome. My favorite professors are my professors who are native Romans.
Florence is a smaller city than Rome. I enjoyed it because it was a very walkable city with beautiful art. There were many American students who study there because many universities have programs in Florence. Because of this, the central part of the city was set up basically solely for tourists and American students. It is nearly impossible to find authentic genuine local food in the central part of the city. Like any part of Italy, the best food is found in smaller, out-of-the-way locations.
For dinner the first day there, our professor walked us to a restaurant outside of the main city where he had taken previous classes. The food was amazing. I got a dish with seafood and pasta because I wanted to try octopus. Octopus is sold in the markets and grocery stores here, either fresh or sometimes frozen. I was told that octopus tastes really good, so I wanted to try some. It was so tasty! apparently it doesn’t require very fancy cooking. It can just be boiled in water with salt. It didn’t taste gross in the slightest bit. It was savory and wasn’t even a gross texture. I do like Calamari though, so maybe if you can’t get over the tentacles, octopus is not for you.
These are two of my friends and various other people sitting on the steps of the Duomo in Florence.