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  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

From Ravenna to Venice – Field Trip Pt. 1

When we arrived in Stazione Termini for our second field trip, my friends and I were surprised by the small amount of people at our meeting spot. The 5 AM wakeup was arduous, but wow – everyone was tardy! We decided to go get a quick colazione while the rest trickled in. As we rounded the corner, we grimaced at the long McDonald’s line, only to realize that its makeup was 95% AAP. Mystery solved!

We hit four cities on just that first day. Starting in Rome, we made our way to Ravenna. What struck me most while traversing the streets was the stillness. Perhaps it was the subdued weather, but passersby seemed infrequent compared to other places. The cold, rainy streets set snugly against the warm tones of the buildings was a peculiar, beautiful sight to witness. Similarly, I found the mosaics in the various sites we visited to be odd but spectacular. Those in San Giovanni Evangelista depicted extremely simplistic depictions (reminiscent of my elementary school drawings) with extraordinarily high-level craftsmanship, which prevented them from coming across as sophomoric. They were straightforward and felt truthful.

Ravenna. Photo by Sabine Strauch.
Julia. Photo by Sabine Strauch.

That evening, we backtracked to Bologna for dinner and then took a train to Venice. Half the train slept while the other half played Heads Up, a game similar to charades. By the time we came screeching to a halt in Venice, everyone was awake and excited. I was delighted to learn that we’d be transported to our hotel in pure Venetian fashion – by boat. It was otherworldly. The colorful edifices, illuminated by lights along the canal, were reflected into the silently rippling water as we glided along, passing by many a bobbing gondola.

Venice. Photo by Sabine Strauch.
Venice. Photo by Sabine Strauch.

The next morning, we set out to explore, only to be greeted by torrential winds and rain! Luckily, it wasn’t blinding and we could still see the beautiful city through our umbrellas. First, we ascended the Basilica di San Marco, while mass was in progress. Viewing the unbelievable infrastructure, gold ceilings and art that filled the church while hearing the choir sing was an experience like no other.

Basilica exterior. Photo by Sabine Strauch.
Basilica interior. Photo by Sabine Strauch.

Although we visited many places, my favorite part of Venice was visiting the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The place is exquisite through and through, centered by a beautiful courtyard where she herself lies. In addition to her grave, we also saw that of her dogs! We originally thought they were family members, but their names were a little too eccentric – “Peacock,” “Gypsy,” “Hong Kong,” “Sir Herbert,” and so on. Certainly not names for my children!

Julia in Venice. Photo by Sabine Strauch.
Nellie at the Guggenheim Collection. Photo by Sabine Strauch.

Inside, we found ourselves in a whirlwind of spectacular art. From Pollock to Picasso, Giacometti, Ernst, De Chirico, and so forth, we moved from room to room in awe. Because of the small rooms and many corridors, the atmosphere is intimate and almost homey. The incredible collection of Marini sculptures was perhaps my favorite part of the museum.

Miss Nellie and a Marini. Photo by Sabine Strauch.


Visit the next post for pt. 2!


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