So I started off the day yesterday meeting with Sari at the steps of the duomo and walking over to meet our Art History class at the fake David statue in front of Palazzo Vecchio in la Piazza della Signoria. We had a tour of the palace with our class. Each person paid their two euro entry fee and a guide met with us and took us on the tour. She was a french woman who now lives in Italy so her English was kind of all over the place, and kind of difficult to understand. The Palazzo Vecchio now functions as the city hall of Florence.
The palace used to be called Palazzo della Signoria, but in the 16th century, Cosimo I de’ Medici became the duke of Florence and lived in this palace, but then moved to Palazzo Pitti (where I visited last week), and changed the name of the palace to Palazzo Vecchio, the “old palace.” The first room we saw inside the palace was the Salone dei Cinquecento. It is an enormous room that was built in medieval style, but when Cosimo gained power, he commissioned Giorgio Vasari (famous Italian artist) to restyle and enlarge the room. The walls of the room are covered in enormous frescoes painted by Vasari. On the right side (facing toward the Duke’s seat and altar), the giant frescoes depict a battle scene of the Florentines conquering Sienna, and on the left side, the giant frescoes depict the Florentines conquering Pisa. These were important triumphs for the Florentines because Cosimo could expand his power into other regions. The second floor of the palace has a high balcony to overlook the entire Salone dei Cinquecentro. The ceilings of the room are ornately decorated with dozens of paintings and beautiful wooden framing.
After the tour of the palazzo, we went back to our classroom and had a short lecture. After Art History, I had my Pairing Food and Wine class. We learned what it means to have a “good pair” between food and wine. You want the wine to pair well with the food so that the wine and food actually make one another taste better. In class, we made pasta al ragù di tono (a pasta with tuna ragu), frittata porri e pancetta (leek and pancetta frittata), and frittelle (fried pieces of dough). My group was in charge of making the pasta. All the tastings were delicious as always. We had a dessert wine this class. It was called Negrino (little black one) and it was SO good! Super sweet.
Then I went back home and got ready for dinner. The nicest thing happened the other day. I’ll start with the back story. Last January (January 2011) I became friends with this girl named Brenna at an AEPhi convention (that I attended because I was president) that is an AEPhi at University of Texas. Her younger sister (Sydney) wanted to go to IU, so last year Brenna, Sydney, and their mom came to IU and I took them on a tour of AEPhi. Sydney ended up coming to IU this year and this past winter she rushed AEPhi and is now in AEPhi at IU. So the other day, Brenna texted me and told me that her mom was in Florence with her friends and that she wanted to take me out to dinner. SO nice! So her mom and I got in touch and she invited me to go to dinner with them last night. So I met Brenna and Sydney’s mom (Kimberly) and her friends at Hotel Lungarno over on the other side of the Ponte Vecchio at 7:00PM. The hotel was really nice! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Sara Smoler waiting there to meet them all for dinner too! Sara is a good friend of my cousin Jordan’s from Michigan. I have been friends with Sara so it was great that she was also coming to dinner. Turns out that Sara’s uncle is one of Kimberly’s friends’ brothers. So these were her aunts! Small small world.
We went out to eat at this amazing amazing restaurant called Trattoria Sostanza on Via della Porcellana. They are famous for their butter chicken. It was delicious. After we were done with dinner, I met up with my friend’s at Katie, Lauren, and Meghan’s apartment. We went out to Be Bop for Beatles night. Every Tuesday night, a Beatles cover band plays at Be Bop. It’s absolutely hilarious. It’s really fun to sing along to the Beatles in this tiny little bar. It was fun!
This morning, I woke up early and walked over to the Ponte Vecchio to meet Kimberly and her friends. I took them on a little walking tour of my “hood.” We first walked through the leather market to get to Mercato Centrale, the indoor food market. They loved it! It’s a really fun place to take people. After the markets, I took them to Massimo and they all bought leather coats and bags. Massimo was so happy that I brought them. I’m telling you, he loves me! I am planning on going back to buy this fab bag from him.
After Massimo, I walked them over to Galeria Acadmia on Ricasoli, where Michelangelo’s David is. They convinced me to come in with them. The museum is really small, but David was amazing! He is HUGE! It’s pretty breathtaking when you see him. I really enjoyed being there. It’s impossible to take a picture, they yelled at me the second they saw that I had my iPhone out ready to take a pic. But I managed to sneak one anyway!!!! I got a great shot, I’ll attach it.
Then I walked the moms over to the duomo and pointed them in the direction of their hotel. I walked over to Faenza to go to my Italian class. After Italian I had my miserable broadcasting history class then I came back home. Tonight, I had an interview for an internship on the phone. They called me on my Italian phone.
I spent the rest of the night looking up hotels and planning more spring break stuff. It’s all so stressful! Tomorrow I have an early morning. I am waking up and going to the Prada outlet outside of Florence with Kimberly and her friends. They invited Sara and I and told us to bring two friends. Liza Ruderman who is in AEPhi at IU with me, is going to come with us! Can’t wait to see all this Pradaaaaa!!!! I’m probably going to want to cry, but it’s going to be amazing amazing.