Friday, November 25, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Soon after the discussing about the piazza, the weather got the best of us. Gathered under the arch, we had no choice but to buy umbrellas from the street vendors. Our next stop was one of the buildings I was waiting to see this whole trip, The Pantheon. I had seen it before we arrive in Urbino, but it was amazing to see it in the rain. It was also dark, which made it a memorable experience. I walked in only to see the center blocked off due to the rain falling down from the oculus. I saw The Pantheon when it was sunny outside, which was amazing, but its a whole other experience when its raining. The building itself is massive, once you walk in, you can't help but walk around with your jaw to the ground.The second day, we started the day off at the Roman Forum to do some sketching. I had seen this area from the outside, and walking in to see all this ruins was something else. Everywhere you look, there is something to see; a fragment of a cornice, a Corinthian capital, pieces of buildings, etc. After about an hour or so sketching and exploring the Forum, the highlight of day was a couple minutes away. From a distance, it over powers everything around it, its height soars over the surrounding context, and its history is conveyed through its material. The Colosseum is one amazing feat, illustrating one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering.The interior of the Colosseum is a whole other story, it conveys the feeling of hearing thousands of Romans screaming and cheering overlooking the event that was occuring. As I walked around, I was confused and at the same time amazed on how they achieved the construction of this building. The center of the Colosseum shows about one-third of what the stage would look like back in the Roman times. Knowing that this building has survived from the time it was completed in 80 A.D. is just mind blowing! A magnificent work of architecture and a must see building when in Rome.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Our first class trip took us south to the region of Tuscany where we visited Siena, Florence, Pienza, and Montepulciano. Here we had the great fortune to stay just a few blocks away from the Piazza del Campo in Siena. I would like to extend our gratitude to our hosts, Eugenia and Mierco, who were able to book us these accommodations as many places would hang up at the mere mention of American students.
Now I'm no connoisseur but I will be so bold as to say that the food in Siena was without a doubt the best I've had in my life. Make sure to try the steaks at any restaurant here and the gellateria next to the Piazza del Campo.
Of the numerous buildings we visited in Siena it was the Cathedral of Siena that made my jaw hit the floor. The scale, the decor, the atmosphere, everything about it is breath-taking.
Even if you're afraid of heights I would strongly encourage you to climb up the Torre del Mangia next to the Piazza del Campo where you'll be rewarded with a view far beyond the extent of the city.
Forewarned by Professor Alexander and Eugenia we hung on tight to our wallets and passports as we toured Florence, a gorgeous city even considering it's recent decline. Of the buildings toured here my personal favorite was Michelangelo's Med
The Cathedral of Florence, bigger than Siena's by far. I was unable to go inside due to time constraints but those who did highly recommended it and even climbed up to the dome.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
We have now been in
The town of
One of the first places we visited was the ducal
We visited a winery the second weekend here which was even more fun than the beach! We started the day by helping harvest red grapes from the vineyard, and then we watched as our tractor load was rapidly pressed into grape juice and sent to storage vessels. After all of our work was done we sat down to a charming lunch on a covered patio overlooking the widespread vine covered surroundings while tasting resident wines.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Welcome, everyone, to the inaugural UTSA CoA study abroad in Urbino, Italy! I trust your transatlantic transfer went reasonably well in spite of the scheduled transportation strike. I know that you all will have an immensely rewarding experience over the next 12 weeks. I hope that you will take advantage of posting to the blog site, and keep your loved ones informed about your positive experiences on this trip. I know that you will represent UTSA well, and that you will create your own personal Italian history. Learn, enjoy, eat and experience.