04
Mar

Movie Night!

Italy and movies. Home to some of the world’s greatest directors, Italy’s reputation for cinematic talent and experience is celebrated around the world and integral to Italian culture. One of the programmed activities offered by the Cornell in Rome program are weekly movie nights. Every Wednesday at 9:00pm in the lecture hall, students gather together to take a break from studio work and experience a taste of Italian cinema for themselves. This week, there was a screening of Davide Ferrario’s classic romantic comedy, Dopo Mezzanotte, or in English, “After Midnight.”

Dopo Mezzanotte movie poster. Image courtesy Italiaidea.

Dopo Mezzanotte movie poster. Image courtesy Italiaidea.

A film about film, Dopo Mezzanotte is set within the famous Museum of Cinema—La Mole Antonelliana in Turin, Italy. Angela, a brooding fast food waitress, is the protagonist of the tale and it is her frustration with the banality and repetitiveness of her days that ultimately drive her to throw hot, deep fryer oil onto her boss. Suddenly on the run from the law, she takes refuge in the cinema museum, assisted by the charmingly pensive night watchmen, Martino, a familiar face at the restaurant. Over the days of her asylum, Angela falls in love first with the museum and then slowly with Martino. Torn between Martino’s quiet depth and her current car-thief boyfriend’s wild excitement, a chaotic love triangle ensues.

Classically Italian in style, the pacing and composition of the film differentiates it from the one-dimensional, faster paced style that characterizes most American cinema. Equal parts poignant, quirky, and deeply aesthetic, its use of montage and cinematic history ties it to a dialogue far greater than its “romantic-comedy” designation. A beautiful piece, the film left us inspired and ready to take on the end of the week.

25
Feb

Journey to the North pt. 1

The Northern Trip was our first, longest, and coldest overnight field trip of the semester. A whirlwind of activity, the Art and Architecture departments were separated from the Planning students as we all embarked on a expedition to the more northern climbs of Italy. Art and Architecture each had nonstop itineraries to sites, museums, churches, monuments, artworks, and structures throughout Bologna, Parma, Modena, Genova, Milano, and Como, while the Planning students visited their own unique itinerary consisting of a variety of sites in Bologna and Torino. Because of the extensive, comprehensive, and intensive nature of this fieldtrip, the blog post covering it has been split into two parts. The first focuses on the Art and Planning experience, while the second—written by my colleague, Architecture major Evan Rawn—covers the separate itinerary undertaken by the Architecture department.

An in depth discussion of the range of impressions and incidents experienced by both Art and Planning programs would take pages to write and be impossible to account in full. Instead, I offer a sampling of interviews of three Art and three Planning students that begin to sum up the highlights of the field trip as a whole.

 

Art Majors:

  • Pablo Maggi
  • What was your favorite city and why?

Genova. It was fresh and by the sea and filled me with a sense of adventure. It had good energy. We went onto the rooftop of Palazzo Rosso and it was amazing. It was so beautiful there.

  • What was a personal highlight or your favorite moment outside of a planned tour?

The medieval churches were my favorite part of the tours. My favorite overall was the Baptist church in Bologna. The stonework was amazing and so unique. Also the paintings in the picture gallery in the Sforza Castle in Milan were incredible. Outside of the planned events, the best meal I ate on the trip was at a sushi restaurant in Milan.

  • If you were to go back to any of these cities, where would you go and what would you do?

I would go back to Genova, have some time to recover from my travels, and stay for a while.

A church facade featuring the intricate striping representative of Bolognese designs. Photo: Melody Stein

A church facade featuring the intricate striping representative of Genovese designs. Photo: Melody Stein

  • Emily Teall
  • What was your favorite city and why?

Genova! I liked the lighting and the layout of the city. I liked the feel of the streets after dark and I loved being near the water.

  • What was a personal highlight or your favorite moment outside of a planned tour?

I loved going on the roof of the Palazzo Rosso. In Milan I got the chance to visit the gallery that represents the artist I interned for in New York City through AAP’s New York City Studio program. It was great seeing her work exhibited.

  • If you were to go back to any of these cities, where would you go and what would you do?

If I were to go back to any of these cities, I would spend more time in contemporary galleries and museums.

A view of Genova from the top of the Palazzo Rosso. Photo: Melody Stein

A view of Genova from the top of the Palazzo Rosso. Photo: Melody Stein

 

  • Vittoria Cutbirth
  • What was your favorite city and why?

Genova. I really liked the atmosphere of the city. It was warmer and I liked the seaside ambiance. We got to adventure around the other cities on our own a bit, but Genova felt more comfortable for me—maybe because I’m from California and I love the sea. I think I also loved Genova because we got to do and see wide variety of things in addition to going to museums and looking at historical sites. One of the best places we visited was Renzo Piano’s biosphere and the Genova waterfront redesign. The Medieval and Renaissance church designs were also extremely distinct and interesting here. Genova was amazing, but how could I forget about Como? The boat ride in Como was awesome and really special. Definitely a highlight as well.

  • What was a personal highlight or your favorite moment outside of a planned tour?

I sat at the waterside in Genova and some of the locals came up and talked to me for a bit. At one point, we were walking to a museum and Pablo and I bought these copper bracelets from an artist on the street. The locals in Genova were so friendly, welcoming, and happy to have us visit.

  • If you were to go back to any of these cities, where would you go and what would you do?

Como was such a beautiful city. The architects went to a park on the water for one of their site visits and I would have liked to see that. I would go back to all the cities we visited on the Northern Trip to explore more. I was so tired at the end of each day on the tour I know I missed a lot. It was go go go all the time, but I’m happy we did so many tours because we got to see so much.

Art and Architecture students sketch in a theatre in Parma. Photo: Melody Stein

Art and Architecture students sketch in a theatre in Parma. Photo: Melody Stein

Planning Majors:

  • Kyra Spotte–Smith
  • What was your favorite city and why?

Turin. Overall we went to a bunch of different areas including Lingotto, which provided a contrast between peripheral and city center areas. Each place we visited was different from every other area and had a lot of vibrancy and unique qualities. They were well planned and we talked to the former mayor who was very integral in the process of spearheading efforts to revitalize these post-industrial spaces.

  • What was a personal highlight or your favorite moment outside of a planned tour?

We went to a really fun bar in the San Salvario area of Turin. This particular area is known for nightlife. During the day we went with the group on a tour, so in the evening we decided to check it out on our own. We went barhopping around and ended up at a gay bar called Cova Taranta. There were people playing tambourines and all kinds of musical instruments and they served wine in ceramic jugs. It had a fun Latin theme and everyone was dancing—it was a great night.

  • If you were to go back to any of these cities, where would you go and what would you do?

The climate in Bologna was so cold, I would definitely want to go back and see the city when it gets a bit warmer. This trip also made me more curious about the historical background of these cities, so if I returned, I would want to do more research first. I would love to go back to Torino and possibly Ivrea. It was about to be their carnevale and we got to see a lot of cool parades. They also have a festival where they throw oranges at each other so I would definitely go back for that.

Torino at night. Photo: Kyra Spotte-Smith.

Torino at night. Photo: Kyra Spotte-Smith.

  • Emma Guida
  • What was your favorite city and why?

Also Torino. It was a beautiful city. Every section was really interesting. We had the opportunity to talk to really remarkable people there. In San Salvario, we met Magda Bolzoni, a research fellow at the University of Turin who had studied this area extensively, as well as a past Cornell graduate who had done a project with the brownfield development during his time in the Cornell in Rome program. Now he lives and works in Italy so that was really inspiring to hear his story and it definitely helped put what we were learning in context.

  • What was a personal highlight or your favorite moment outside of a planned tour?

We went to the market in Torino— it’s the largest outdoor market in Europe! It has a giant food section with produce, cheese, meat, and fish, as well as a flea market. It was so incredible.

  • If you were to go back to any of these cities, where would you go and what would you do?

The Carnevale in Ivrea! I would also love to go back to Eataly in Turin. Additionally, Bologna has a peripheral area with a wholesale food warehouse that is also the largest solar farm in Europe. In the fall, this warehouse space will become the biggest Eataly ever built. Expanding on the Eataly concept, it will also have educational aspects and highlight sustainable agriculture and healthy eating. I would love to go back and see it when it’s done.

Ivrea prepares for its orange throwing festival. Photo: Kyra Spotte-Smith.

Ivrea prepares for its orange throwing festival. Photo: Kyra Spotte-Smith.

  • Caelyn Kwak
  • What was your favorite city and why?

Turin! The weather was so much nicer than in Bologna. Also, the people we met were so inspiring and great storytellers. They told us about their own neighborhoods and shared their personal connections to these places.

  • What was a personal highlight or your favorite moment outside of a planned tour?

We went to an amazing restaurant in Turin. Turin is known for risotto, so we tried to find the best risotto place. We made a reservation for 7:00pm thinking it was late, but when we got there, the restaurant was completely empty. At first we were worried that this meant that the food wasn’t good and the place wasn’t popular, but by 9:00pm, the restaurant was packed! It turns out it’s true that Italians eat dinner late!

  • If you were to go back to any of these cities, where would you go and what would you do?

I want to go back to Bologna when it is nicer outside. It was so snowy and cold when we were there, so although it was still beautiful, it was difficult to stay outside for long. I feel like it would be such a different experience in the summer when it’s warm.

One of the many up and coming neighborhoods in Torino. Photo: Kyra Spotte-Smith.

One of the many up and coming neighborhoods in Torino. Photo: Kyra Spotte-Smith.

23
Feb

Lecture by Beniamino Servino and Luca Galofaro

Conversations with Beniamino Servino and Luca Galofaro

Conversations with Beniamino Servino and Luca Galofaro

On the evening of February 16, we were fortunate enough to have Beniamino Servino and Luca Galofaro come to the Palazzo for a “conversation”. This lecture was unique because for the first time I truly felt a connection to Italy while sitting in the Palazzo lecture hall. Perhaps fitting for the theme of the lecture, the following is my own “translation” of their most important ideas.

Servino immediately begins his lecture speaking in Italian, and explaining, through a translator, why he prefers to lecture in the same language through which he makes his architecture. The intersection between language, thought, and architecture is rarely spoken of but nonetheless defines how we communicate our intentions.

The word translation is in fact a central theme of the lecture. Architecture is always a form of translation, whether it is a translation of an idea, an object, or a place. This translation through architecture expresses love for whatever is being translated. He goes on to discuss the ways in which everything can be understood as a form of translation. Even the act of reading is an act of translation as one interprets words on a page and is influenced by their own personal experiences and views. A quote from the lecture appropriately summarizes the feelings evoked by its theoretical content, that “Thoughts become complex when you have the words to describe them. Otherwise they are plain thoughts”. Many of the ideas presented in this lecture are clearly more difficult to describe in words than they are to understand in one’s head. Servino does not take the generic architectural lecture approach of displaying images of projects and describing their process in detail. Rather, his images form a background to a more complex narrative about the foundations of thought, form, memory, and their relationship to architecture.

By stating “I am not a creator, I detest the idea of creativity”, Servino begins to delve into the implications of created works. In a sense, he asserts that nothing is in fact created or original and that everything is merely a reinterpretation of something that came before. This idea is reinforced by the role of memory in many of Beniamino’s works, and his belief that memory is not simply an archive but an elaboration on what is experienced. Here again the idea of translation comes to mind because memory itself is in fact a translation of reality.

Beniamino’s work correlates perfectly with our current architecture studio project, as we are exploring methods of representation in collage and montage. By taking an image of an existing building, for example, he forms a canvas for subsequent operations. Thus, his work directly embodies his belief that architecture is produced through translation rather than so called “creativity”. To him, drawing is not a method of representation, but a tool to “build architecture” because drawings communicate architectural narratives.

Beniamino Servino and Luca Galofaro

Beniamino Servino and Luca Galofaro

13
Feb

In Vino Veritas—Wine Tasting with AAP

Italy is home to some of the best and most unique wine regions in Europe. While many of the Architecture, Art and Planning students in Rome had already sampled some of the huge variety of wines available in grocery stores and specialty shops, we were all in for a treat when we went for a wine tasting and sommelier lesson at Ristorante Renato e Luisa on February 6th.

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Architecture, Art, and Planning students gathered for a wine tasting and dinner at Ristorante Renato e Luisa. Photo: Winnie Lu

 

Renato was a charismatic teacher and demonstrated everything from the correct way to store wine (horizontally or slightly inverted so the cork doesn’t dry out), to whom to serve first when hosting a dinner party featuring the pope, the queen of England, and the mayor of New York City (first members of the clergy, then the eldest woman present at the table), to how to judge the alcohol content simply by swirling the wine around a glass (wines with higher alcohol contents are more viscous and have greater body). Through demonstrating the proper techniques for opening bottles of sparkling wine without causing undue amounts of noise or injuring spectators, describing the intricacies of Italian and French winemaking traditions, and explaining the logic of food and wine pairings, the mood of the evening alternated between exuberant dinner party and instructive Cornell-style lecture.

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Planning student, Emma Spotte-Smith learns to properly open a bottle of wine with Chef Renato. Photo: Winnie Lu

 

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Architecture student, Christine Ansalone, masters the art of opening champagne. Photo: Winnie Lu

 

Beginning with a sparkling wine paired with a delicious selection of warm bread and antipasti, the aspiring artists, planners, and architects toasted another successful week of classes. Next, we moved onto a full-bodied white wine combined with a more substantial selection of cheeses, meats, and stuffed squash blossom appetizer. The official enology and sommelier lecture drew to a close as students jotted down their last notes between sips and bites. At last the main course arrived along with the most remarkable wine of the evening—a velvety red respite with the flavors of frutti di bosco, or wild forest berries. It was paired with a pasta dish that matched the richness of the wine with a tomato and meat sauce or—for the vegetarians in the room—an exquisite truffle oil and porcini dressing. If this couldn’t be topped, the dessert was stunning. An outstandingly creamy chocolate cake with homemade cream finished off the meal and another magical night in Rome.

 

Architecture students toast with sparkling Prosecco. Photo: Winnie Lu

Architecture students toast with sparkling Prosecco. Photo: Winnie Lu

05
Feb

Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este—An Adventure in Tivoli

A view of the hillside town of Tivoli. Photo: Melody Stein

A view of the hillside town of Tivoli. Photo: Melody Stein

Connected to Rome by the famous Via Tiburtina, the town of Tivoli dates back to antiquity and is famous not only for its beautiful ruins and classical architecture, but also for its place as a producer of extremely fine olive oil.  Indeed, our first glimpse of Tivoli was from between the branches of the ancient olive trees that line the roads and lead up to sweeping hillside orchards.  During our day trip, we visited two important villas in this charming area. Our first stop was Villa Adriana—or in English—Hadrian’s Villa.

Hadrian began restructuring an existing estate on the land that soon became one of the largest imperial villas. Gaining a reputation as the most philhellenic of Rome’s emperors, he traveled greatly through the Mediterranean, introducing many Greek statues to Rome over his 20-year reign. Reflecting his love of Greece and Egypt, Hadrian named many parts of his villa after places he visited and commissioned many sculptures and other artworks inspired by Greek designs. Hadrian’s Villa differs from many other villas built at the time in that it was not only intended as a place of leisure but also as an important administrative center. While the ruins surrounding the villa date as far back as the second century, most of the vegetation present at this site was restored and dates to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Moving from Hadrian Villa’s to the Villa d’Este emphasized the influence antique architecture had on later approaches to space, garden design, and imagery. In fact, this deep love of ancient art forms and styles of construction is especially evident throughout the elaborate wall paintings and grotto facades at Villa d’Este. The sense of wandering through an ancient cave is evoked through the use the pumice stone on the ceilings and walls of many of the passageways on the lowest level. This is contrasted with more typical renaissance paintings upstairs as well as trompe l’oeil marble details, strong Greek and Egyptian influences, and biblical illustrations.

Ceiling detail at Villa d'Este showing pumice stone decorations. Photo: Melody Stein

Ceiling detail at Villa d’Este showing pumice stone decorations. Photo: Melody Stein

A common thread throughout our afternoon at both Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este was the role of water. Whether in fountains, formal ponds, or bathhouses, the sense of light, color, and movement inspired by these water features was a powerful design element and allowed us to imagine the courtyards and gardens of these once powerful estates rich with life and activity. Another facet of both sites was the alternation between open and closed spaces and thus the rhythm of movement through the residences, dining rooms, and courtyards. An important note particularly pertinent to Hadrian’s Villa was the lack of decoration present. Originally ornately detailed with colorful floors, walls, sculptures and marble facades, today Hadrian’s Villa stands stripped and pillaged of its former symbols of grandeur. Indeed the only remaining evidence of the facades is the series of holes piercing the brick walls and indicating the layout of the once attached marble coatings.

Water feature at Villa d'Este. Photo: Melody Stein

Water feature at Villa d’Este. Photo: Melody Stein

Despite the overcast January weather, our visit to these two remarkable sites in Tivoli was illuminating, thought provoking, and inspiring.

22
Dec

Final Days in Rome

There is an elegance and comfort in this city that I don’t think I could ever encompass in a single blog post. I’m realizing now that even a lifetime in Rome wouldn’t be long enough to experience all that it has to offer, but I’m so lucky to have been able to experience this much over the course of our semester.

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Our studio space in Rome, all cleaned up at the end of the semester. Photograph by Anna Orlando.

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Photograph by Anna Orlando.

The winter weather here has started to modestly emerge, and it is really something spectacular. The rich colors and textures that adorn the walls and streets of the city, the well-dressed people with garments flowing sublimely in the wind, and the evenings that flourish with lively outdoor restaurants and – all of these emotionally rich entities converse in such poetry, and each day in Rome provides an absolute abundance of inspiration.

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Photograph by Anna Orlando.

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Photograph by Anna Orlando.

All of our courses here have also had such deep connections with the Roman City, and my experiences have been so multidimensional. We have all visited so many renowned architectural works in Rome, and we have seen an uncountable number of exquisite artworks… ancient and modern. I have managed to fill three sketchbooks with ideas on architecture, art, and fashion this semester, and I am so excited to bring all the new thoughts and ideas I have developed here back to campus in Ithaca.

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Photograph by Anna Orlando.

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Photograph by Anna Orlando.

I am so glad to have taken a semester of Italian here too. The course was so much fun, and being simultaneously immersed in the Roman City and Italian culture made it so dynamic and rich. My confidence while speaking rose immensely, and so I was able to have many modest, but fluid, conversations with people like shopkeepers and waiters. These interactions were small and short, but many of them are quite memorable to me – I can’t quite describe it, but I have experienced a cordial formality and friendliness with the Italian language and conversations here. Whether you are making a purchase, ordering food, or even just asking someone for directions, there is a certain gregariousness in dialect that seemingly transcends any language barriers. There is really something special about the air of language and conversation in this city.

Photograph by Anna Orlando.

The nights here are spectacular. Photograph by Anna Orlando.

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Bridge over the Tiber. Photograph by Anna Orlando.

Today is actually my last day in Rome – I’ll be leaving for my flight home in just a few hours. The weather is perfect as usual, and I’m truly starting to realize just how fast this semester went by. I’ll miss a lot of things here, but I am excited knowing that I’ve grown from this experience and have learned so much in the past five months.

Thank you, Roma, for all the great experiences and memories.

03
Dec

Small delights

Amidst our crazy schedules and  weekend field trips, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the city whether it be just for the day or a few hours. Here are some of my favorites from the past few weeks:

Ravioli/Fettuccine Night!

This was much like our first pasta night where we learned how to make gnocchi (except this was obviously with ravioli and fettuccine). Everyone loved helping out from making the dough to stuffing the pasta with spinach and ricotta cheese. Personally, my favorite part is trying all the different sauces Anna Rita makes for us (bolognese, butter with sage, salmon, and much more).

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A Night At the Orchestra!

Last Monday night, our class was able to see the orchestra play at the Santa Cecilia Concert Hall (designed by Renzo Piano). Between the beautiful setting and the peaceful music, it was an extremely relaxing way to spend the evening. It was also fun to dress up and take a break from classes.

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Soccer Game!

On Sunday night, Todd, Takuma, Braydn, and I all went to see Rome’s soccer team play against Milan. The stadium was filled with enthusiastic fans, colorful waving flags, and lots of singing. The atmosphere was thrilling and Rome won the game!

photo soccer game photo2

 

 

19
Nov

On The Mediterranean!

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From November 7th until the 9th, the class went on our last overnight field trip of the semester. The trip also happened to fall on my birthday, so I was especially excited for the weekend.

On the first day, we stopped briefly to see the Certosa di San Lorenzo, an old charter house in Padula. Walking through the old rooms was extremely peaceful as we were the only group visiting and the sound of the rain from outside carried through the halls.

At the top of the famous spiral staircase in the charter house

At the top of the famous spiral staircase in the charter house

View of inner courtyard

View of inner courtyard

Todd overlooking the same staircase

Todd overlooking the same staircase

We spent the rest of the day in Paestum where we saw Greek temples and ruins. We stayed the night at Hotel Calypso, which was extremely unique in its design and atmosphere. After dinner the whole class hung out on the beach that was just a two-minute walk from the hotel. We waded into the Mediterranean, had a bonfire, chatted, and listened to music. This was definitely my favorite part of the trip (and not just because it was the night of my birthday).

Greek Temple behind, Cristina, Pamela, and Cassidy

Greek Temple behind, Cristina, Pamela, and Cassidy

Hotel Calypso

Hotel Calypso

Hotel lobby

Hotel lobby

21!!!

21!!!

The next day the group met our history professor Jan Gadeyne in Herculaneum, where we learned about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and its effects on the Bay of Naples. Herculaneum, like Pompeii, was destroyed by the eruption, but it was preserved the best out of all the towns in the area. We were able to walk through the town itself, into homes, and bath complexes. It was pretty cool and eerie at the same time!

Old storage units for the shoreline where over 200 bodies were found during the town's excavations!

Old storage units for the shoreline where over 200 bodies were found during the town’s excavations!

Remnants of paintings inside one of the surviving homes

Remnants of paintings inside one of the surviving homes

Napoli, which I was especially excited to see as my grandfather is a descendent from there, was the final stop on the trip. Between the evening on Saturday and the morning on Sunday, we went to the National Archaeological Museum, went on a walking tour of the city, and saw a charter house much like the one in Padula. I was most amazed by the view of the bay and Mount Vesuvius (and also the extremely cheap and delicious pizza!).

Arnold, Takuma, and John looking at an artifact in the National Archaeological Museum

Arnold, Takuma, and John looking at an artifact in the National Archaeological Museum

Jan teaching us about a statue of Aphrodite in the archaeological museum

Jan teaching us about a statue of Aphrodite in the archaeological museum

The largest nativity scene I haver ever seen! (Naples is famous for these)

The largest nativity scene I haver ever seen! (Naples is famous for these)

Pizzeria Lombardi!

Pizzeria Lombardi!

I ate the whole thing....no shame here.

I ate the whole thing….no shame here.

Gelato from the oldest chocolate shop in the city!

Gelato from the oldest chocolate shop in the city!

All in all, the trip was short but sweet, and I’m glad that I got to spend my birthday while traveling in a beautiful area with my crazy yet lovable archie family!

Overlooking Mount Vesuvius at the charter house in Naples

Overlooking Mount Vesuvius at the charter house in Naples

It's not a field trip without a family picture!

It’s not a field trip without a family picture!

 

07
Nov

Lecture by Gianni Dessì

On the evening of October 22, Gianni Dessì gave a public lecture at the Cornell in Rome Palazzo Lecture Hall. Dessì studied art at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma and received a degree in scenography. His work spans a variety of mediums, but he has always maintained a close relationship with theater. Some of his pieces have even been shown at the Venice Biennale (1984, 1986 1993) and at the Quadriennale di Roma (1986, 1996). Dessì’s artnet profile can be found here.

Dessì began his lecture by emphasizing the time and culture in which he was born, and he explained how this context propelled him to become the artist that he is now. He stated, clearly and confidently, that he was “born in the middle of the last century.” After asking us how old we all were, he proceeded to recollect his world at the age of 20 – it would be three years before he would hold his first solo exhibition.

Dessì’s work has transformed quite a bit over the years, and he passionately narrated how he developed as an artist and grew to produce the works he currently does.

His work was presented through a projection in the Cornell in Rome Lecture Hall.

Dessì’s work was presented through a projection in the Cornell in Rome Lecture Hall. Photograph by Erin Soygenis.

Gianni Dessi presents one of his first installation & sculpture works. Photograph by Erin Soygenis.

Gianni Dessì presents one of his first installation & sculpture works. Photograph by Erin Soygenis.

Dessì also spoke intently about individual pieces. He described how they were sited in gallery spaces, the process through which they were constructed, and what propelled him to create each work. He had a way of describing each work modestly and simply, and I appreciated his effort in doing so, for it allowed us to gather our own interpretations of his art.

Dessi shows us an installation work he developed relating to perspective and color.

Gianni Dessì shows us an installation work he developed relating to perspective and color. Photograph by Erin Soygenis.

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Here Dessì speaks about his working process and how this particular piece was composed. Photograph by Erin Soygenis.

Dessì’s words and images generated a lot of discussion during our drawing course, and although we could not see his works in person, his descriptions were quite vivid and memorable. With an artistic background in theater and scenography, he concluded this lecture of his development as an artist with a simple and very inspirational line: That was my part in the comedy.

06
Nov

Tuscany!

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From Roma to Montepulciano to Pienza to Siena to Pistoia to Lucca to Pisa and then back to Roma! During the last weekend of October, our class traveled to Tuscany for a four-day trip-our schedule was clearly packed, but extremely memorable. Each of the cities were unique in their own way, and all of them were a refreshing change of scenery from the busy streets of Roma.

In Montepulciano, we got to enjoy cappuccinos and pastries from a famous bakery and enjoy the sun while laying in the field of the San Biago church. Being able to see the Tuscan landscape from the tower of the town’s main piazza was also a great way to start off the morning (The photo above and the first one below were taken from the bell tower in Montepulciano).

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In Pienza, we explored and the town and stopped for lunch at small but crowded restaurant. Pienza is famous for its Pecorino cheese, so there were many great shops to buy cheeses, wine, and other goods.

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Siena was the largest of the six towns we visited. It had much to see from its winding shopping streets to its cathedral and civic complexes. Personally, I enjoyed walking through the streets at night and the great pastries from the famous bakery Nannini the most.

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We spent the night in Lucca before heading to Pisa. Lucca was very quaint and quite similar to Siena. The streets were small but bustling and the culture was very vibrant. I really enjoyed walking on top of the city wall, which surrounds the entire town and has ever since its construction in 1645.  It was beautiful seeing the town lit up at night and to be able to get some fresh air and exercise amidst all the traveling.

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The top of the city wall

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In Pisa, we visited the Cathedral Complex for the first half of the day (yes, this included the famous leaning tower). Believe it or not, Pisa felt more touristy than Rome. It is a very tiny and congested town where nearly everything felt like a tourist trap. The Camposanto (image below) was a great escape from the craziness. There, we sketched for some time and got to see art work being restored that was destroyed during World War II.

Samuel sketching in Camposanto

Samuel sketching in Camposanto

Danica walking inside the Camposanto

Danica walking inside the Camposanto

Classic tourist shot of me holding up the tower :)

Classic tourist shot of me holding up the tower :)

The last stop of the trip was a private tour at Rocca di Frassinello at Gavorrano (designed by Renzo Piano). Between the drive through the valley and the view from the rooftop of the wine estate, I couldn’t believe how breathtaking the scenery was. After the tour, we got to taste a few of the wines and were able to see the sun set before heading home. By the end of the trip, we were all exhausted after seeing so many sites and ready to get back to Roma. I always find it funny how field trips change my perspective on Roma; in the beginning, I can’t wait to get out of the city and take a break from all the craziness, but by the end, I feel like my apartment is my home away from home, and I am instantly welcomed by loud sirens and familiar activities.

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where the wine is stored

where the wine is stored

on the roof

on the roof

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view from the roof

view from the roof