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  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

Northern Italy: Much More To See

Planner's in Burano
Planners in Northern Italy, minus Cheryl Kuo, who was taking the picture.
A crowded Venice.
A crowded Venice.

Italian cities offer a collection of unique designs and identities. Rarely will one Italian city look similar to another, and this concept is something that prevails the planners’ Northern Italy trip to Bologna, Verona, Padova, and Venice.

Bologna is a city of porticoes, boasting nearly 40km in length. Verona identified by its ancient amphitheater, which is seated at the center of the city. Padova is decorated with arcaded streets and is commonly known for the Cathedral containing frescos by Giolitti. And, last but not least, Venice: the iconic Italian city saturated with canals.

Our trip was overfilled with constant activities, from sketching to site visits, to climbing towers with over 100 steps and to a number of well-known churches of all sizes. While these activities were both fun and educational, some of the most meaningful experiences for us planners were when we had free time to roam around in the cities that we visit (naturally so).

When we had free time in Venice, many of the planners took the opportunity to adventure in Murano, known as being the glass island with its glass factory, museum, and of course, glass products. This opportunity to intimately wander around a space uninterrupted and discover what it has to offer emotionally, aesthetically, and pragmatically, is an exciting and authentic experience.

While we were in Venice, the city was in the midst of celebrating Carnevale, a popular Italian festival that begins 40 days before lent. This feast is characterised by its hedonistic features—in antiquity, an escape from social norms—and features a range of costumes and masks. In a city of only 60,000 residents, nearly 200,000 visitors find their way to Venice on this occasion to celebrate this long-standing traditions and overfill the island with a foray of colours.

Given the constraints of the academic calendar, we only had a week to explore these major Italian cities, which was not nearly enough. I cannot speak for others, but I am confident that I will return to these cities again in the future—either while I am still in Rome or at another date.

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