Saturday, June 25, 2011

4 Euro Wine

Well friends about half way through our stay in Florence, the internet decided to stop working….cool. We did get our money back surprisingly but I haven’t been able to update the blog as much as I had hope anddddd as per usual, we’ve been crazy busy!

So! Last Saturday the 7 of us went on the horseback riding through Tuscany trip! It was quite the day! We met our guide by the train station, where we all hopped on a van and ventured to (while blasting rap and dance music…thru Tuscany mind you) about half way between Florence and Siena. Our guide was absolutely hilarious. We get to the stable and have a wonderful trot thru the Tuscan countryside….aka not real life! It was gorgeous! My horse’s name was Drake which was so funny since my brother’s lab is named Drake. He was super lazy though. He didn’t even want to bring me into the pin to walk around and then when we would try to go up hills he would walk as slow a possible and then run…very interesting, but I loved it! After about an hour on the horses, we returned to the stable where they offered us red and white from their vineyard. It was divine!

After our ride, we vanned it (music still blasting) to a beautiful hilltown with unbelievable views of the countryside and then arrived at a restaurant called White. It was situated at the edge of a beautiful lake with practically all outdoor seating and up the hill from the lake was the vineyard from which the wine served at the restaurant was grown! The meal was..I know you’re shocked….amazing.

Fun fact before I start my next story: Soccer was born in Piazza Santa Croce…nbd. I have full details if you want them later. But anyways, Florence is divided up into 4 areas and a team of 26 players is made. Once a year, they have a tournament to commemorate the way it was. I was the most insane sporting event I think I’ve ever been to. It’s basically like soccer and rugby combined with no rules. The field is all sand, the players wear jester-looking pants and are shirtless, and just beat each other to a pulp. The game lasted for may 45 min-1 hour and there were 5 men taken out on stretches, half of them were covered in bandages, one guy was bleeding from the head. Then, imagine a gillion Italian screaming all around you with the backdrop of white and green marbled Santa Croce church. I was insannnneeeeee.

Afterwards, we all went to Moyo, which had something called apertivo. You basically order a drink alcoholic/non, and you get unlimited appetizers. This week was crazy, crazy, crazy because it was our last week of classes and last week in Florence. In sewing, I made white asymmetrical skirt for myself and I wore it yesterday! I’m quite proud of myself! In illustration, we created a mood board, collection of 4 outfits (completely colored, shaded, detailed with background and fabric swatches), 1 flat drawing, and a customized t-shirt. It was all quite stressful but of course still loved it!!

Monday, we had a delicious dinner at a place called Casa Linga that was suggested by one of our guides. Delish of course but the waitress was super rude. Tuesday, we had a farewell apertivo provided by our program, which was the only thing we had to complain about with our program this entire trip. There was barely anything there, so we wandered nearby and found a hole in the wall restaurant that was legit. Wednesday, our group wanted to do a final, fancy, group dinner. We went to a place across the river called the Holy Drinker. It was unreal. The restaurant was sooooo beautiful and we had our own little room for the 7 of us. I got a soup with truffled scallops and some type of mint and pea puree (aka right up my alley) and then I got some type of raw fish with a bean/pea something and sage gelato….sounds freaking weird but it was great. Thennnn, cells and I both got a chocolate souflee with melted chocolate on the inside and apricot puree-ish underneath. It. Was. Sexual. (as Kelsey would say) haha!

Thursday, was just completely insane, Kirby and I were frantically trying to finish our project for illustration, it was five hundred degrees, I was sprinting around town trying to find the right colored pencils to colors my collection. Ridic. But all went well! After class we had a farewell dinner provided by, LdM (our school) that was actually pretty good. That night we all celebrated our last day of classes and went out and had some fun together.

Friday, my mom, sister, and aunt were arriving from Rome! I took them to Gusta Pizza across the river, which is supposed to have some of the best pizza in town…which it was! And just showed them all around my home J We perused the leather market with hopes to do some damage in the morning. We also went to Accademia to see Michaelangelo’s David. It was unreal. Ooo and I also introduced them to Grom, the best gelato in Italy I’d say! That night the fam and my friends all went to a restaurant Liza’s friend had suggested. It’s famous for it’s pear pasta so naturally that’s what I got. It sounds weird but was delish!! Friday was also St. John the Baptist Day which is kinda like their 4th of July so we watched a 45 yup 45 minute fireworks show on the bridge next to the Ponte Vecchio!

Liza, Hillary, and Morgan all had to leave this morning at 4 am for the program transport back to the Rome airport, so we stayed up all night with them and took them to the bus in the morning, cleaned and packed, and slept for approximately an hour and a half! Kirb and I met the fam at the leather market and dominated. Then we made it on our train to Venice at 1:30. About 15 minutes in, something happened with the train and I broke down in the middle of the tunnel and we sat….in the tunnel…with no air conditioning….for over two hours…running on 1.5 hours of sleep. It was rough. But we finnnnally made it here and we’re in a beautiful hotel on Lido (the island between Venice and the Adriatic! Can’t wait for Venice round 2 tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

That Joseph and The David

Ciao bella!

Sorry it’s been forevvvver. Our internet decided to stop working after a massive storm the night we got back from Capri so updating has been quite difficult….combined with the fact that we’ve been psycho busy!! I’ll try to remember as best I can! Some moments are more memorable than others haha! Let’s see…well the week after Capri was very busy with classes and events! In fashion illustration, we took a trip to the Salvatore Ferrangamo museum which was AMAZING! His craftsmanship was out of this world. We took a tour of the museum and then sketched our favs. Then, we were to design three outfits inspired by one of his shoes! That week we went on a Florence by night tour with our program with a ballin tour guide and free gelato at the end. It was wonderful! By the end of the week, Kirb and I were stressed to finish our designs so Venice couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

Our program took us that weekend to Venice and Verona. We left bright and early on Friday after approximately 3 hours of sleep and went straight into Venice. After a tour with a soso tour guide, we were able to explore! We found an epic pizza place for lunch and then a gondola ride! Venice is so beautiful and we were just dumbfounded by all of the culture and experience the city has to offer. Not to mention there are NO CARS, MOPEDS, OR BIKES to run us over haha. Everything’s by boat (which is fun) and I love just walking throughout the streets. During an hour of down time at the hotel I caught up with Rick and tried to find some good places for dinner since Venice is known for overpriced, bad food. The first place we arrived was absolutely adorable and we had a wonderful meal J

The next day we got up early to explore, and of course, got caught in a massive rainstorm. Thankfully it let up by the time our actually activities were planned. We first went to Murano, which is famous for blown glass. We watched a mindblowing…glassblowing demonstration and then attacked with souvenirs. Then we ventured to Burano, which is famous for lace and almond cookies. Yum! Because Rick did so well the first night we figured we’d try another one of his favs.

We arrive and of course you have to have a reservation, but the owner tells us to hold on…runs to the back…comes back and asks if we could wait 30 min and they’ll have a table. He offers all 7 of us a glass of the their house white while we’re waiting…it’s fine we’re VIPs. The meal was wonderful…maybe the best meal I’ve ever had wonderful and the wine and tiramisu was amazing as well. We pretty much become besties with the owner and the waiters and long story short we hung out with them 2 hours after the restaurant had closed and they gave us tonsssss of free stuff. It was quite the epic night.

Sunday, we ventured to Verona, which was so beautiful as well. Tuesday, we had free vouchers to one of our program leader’s favorite pizza joints. It was undoubtedly the best pizza I’ve ever had…and it was free.

Wednesday, our fashion illustration class went to Pitti Uomo! Pitti Uomo is the biggest men’s fashion trade show in Italy and possibly the world. IT WAS UNREAL. I worked at one of the women’s trade shows while working for Joe’s last year and it blew NY out of the water. The fashion, display, everything was absolutely…well it made me speechless pretty much. I was dying…dyyyyying. We had heard there would be lots of events on the main fashion street in Florence that night so we thought we’d scope it out. We did manage to just waltz into a private party that was for Estee Lauder’s 100 anniversary, got a glass of Chardonnay and some cheese and mingled haha.

Then on Thursday (for fashion illustration), we toured the Pitti Palace which has a costume museum which has clothing dated back to the Medici family. We sketched our favs there and for our final project will sketch a collection inspired by one of the costumes! So excited! We switched things up and went to a yummy Mexican restaurant that night for dinner and finished the night with karaoke at Red Garter!

Friday, it took approximately 6 hours to get to Volterra and 1.5 to get back….Celery and the Gang’s great adventures….inside joke. Anyways, it was still beautiful and where parts of New Moon were filmed so it was pretty legit. We had a delish dinner with crappy service but were too excited about horseback riding in Tuscany the following day to even care!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Not real life

There’s always an adventure here in Italy! I guess I’ll go backwards. Today started with a wonderful run through Cascine Park. The sky was fairly cloudy but I hoped the rain would hold off. It sprinkled but I made it home dry this time… Sewing class was amazing today! We learned the blind hand stitching and using the serger or as Guido called it “the surgery machine” haha! I made it to the Italian conversation class at noon they offer at API and was the only one there! Private lesson! I headed to the market for some fresh produce, olive bread, and lunch at a tiny place we discovered on the first day! Kirby and I made it back from illustration through the pouring rain which involved me trying to barter with the Indian man for an umbrella he was trying to sell me for 5 euro…wasn’t gonna happen.

Yesterday, Kirby and I went to the fashion department for class at 9 am and besides 15 minutes for lunch we were there until 7 pm… butttt we were working on collages for our illustration class on customer profiles which was stressful at times but fun in the end! Of course on our way to find something to eat we get attacked by Snookie...hola! I mean Ciao Italia! Soooooo annoying. She’s a complete idiot. Anywaysss, during illustration, we ventured to the Salvadore Ferregamo museum. Where we took a tour and then sketched a bunch of the shoes that will be inspiration for our midterm dress sketches! The craftsmanship and inspiration behind each shoe is truly remarkable.

After class, we went on a boat ride down the Arno river that runs through Florence on a tiny gondola-type boat. It was unbelievable and the sunset was breathtaking. My roomies and I were loving it and feeling very Italian so we splurged and went to an amazzzzzing restaurant that overlooked the river. While we were waiting on the benches when we first arrived, they brought us each a glass of champagne to pass the time. Ok what? VIP? Then for dinner, I chose the spaghetti with lobster.. need I say more? We ordered a bottle of their house red and it was probably the best red I’ve ever had. So we ordered a second bottle and tiramisu for dessert…. Unreal. We loved our server and our server loved us. Throughout the night he brought us a pan of focaccia bread, lemoncello, and a bottle of the house white= FREE. As you can tell we did it big.

This weekend was our bus to alps trip to the Amalfi Coast! IT WAS GREAT. (well besides the super-annoying, immature, disrespectful girl who were also on the trip…can you tell we liked them?) Friday, we took a ferry to Capri and switched to small boats to take a 2 hour tour around the island. During the tour, we experienced the Blue Grotto. The four girls of my apartment loaded the tiniest little boat with the biggest boatman. The boat could only fit the four of us and we had to sit on the floor….and then laydown as he pulled us through an opening the size of a backboard of a bball hoop into a tiny cave. The way the sun reflected off the water made it electric/neon blue. It was truly beautiful. (its one of the natural wonders of the world). Afterwards, we trekked up to the center of Capri town and then up to AnniCapri (aka the very top of Capri) and into Augustus’s Garden which looked, not only out into the remarkably blue sea, but to the entirety of Capri town as well. It was, again, breathtaking. The four of us walked from the top to the very bottom with beautiful views and shaky legs (ha). Once we made it to the bottom, we enjoyed just an hour or so of time on the beach! That night we had an amazing dinner and ventured to an outdoor beer garden that was really cool and fun.

Saturday, we took the bus to Positano. Positano is a tiny town on the Amalfi Coast with black sand beaches. It was gorrrrrgeous! Not real life. We were tanning and swimming of the shore of Italy. What? Side note: we went to this tiny Panini place for lunch and had the best sandwich I think I’ve had in my entire life. About half way through the day, we boarded a boat to go CLIFF JUMPING AND CAVE SWIMMING. I know right. Not real life. IT WAS AMAZING! I jumped off an 8 foot and…are you ready…. A 35 FOOT CLIFF! So cool! We swam through a cave where we could see straight to the bottom through the sparkling blue waters of course. After those minor adventures, we passed out on the beach J

Sunday, we visited the only preserved Roman city that still is in pretty legit condition today: Pompeii. Unfortunately, it was raining but the architecture, thought, layout, everything of that city was remarkable. Before the bus ride back to Florence I had the pizza I’ve been waiting for. It was delish!!

Gotta go. pics later :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vita a Firenze

It has been quite an exciting week yet again! Monday, I already told you about my sewing class and that afternoon I had my first fashion illustration class! We did a little info sheet about ourselves, fashion, and style and had to sketch ourselves....joke. I erased like 10 times haha. Then we went to the art store here to get all of our supplies! So fun! Afterwards, we met our big group to go to a cooking class! We made bruschetta, gnocchi with tomato sauce, and panna cotta! It was sooooooo good!

Tuesday, during our sewing class, we went around town to pick up thread and scissors and he showed us various places to get supplies, some famous stores, tips, etc. We returned to class where he taught us ordinary, jeans, french, and shirt seam. That afternoon, Kirby and I went to the leather market and haggled for some exquisite leather purses! At our illustration class, we began our first sketches of three different figures. I enjoyed how precise everything was and she didn't simply say okay go...haha. I was quite proud of my first sketches!

After class, my best friend Lauren was actually in Florence on a trip with her school! We were so happy we were able to meet up and we all went out as a big group to a club called Twice...unfortunately the entire cast of Jersey Shore was there. Camera crews everywhere; people were freaking. Thankfully, Lauren and I don't give two bips about them so we were able to meet a lot of new people including some nice people from Florence! I didn't get much sleep and was extremely tired the next day. Sewing was great though because we had the chance to really practice the 4 seams he had taught us the previous day. At illustration, we attempted 6 more figures. With the exhaustion creeping in, I didn't do as well with these sketches and became pretty frustrated. When I returned home, I had dinner with the girls and literally went straight to bed....15 hours later I woke up. It was probably the best sleep I've ever had, haha.

Today we crossed the bridge to the other side of Florence. We stopped at a gelato shop that we had noticed previously and decided to give it a try. It was DEFINITELY the best gelato we've had to date. I got some type of mixture with vanilla, sesame, fudge deliciousness that tasted a bit like butter finger and also dark chocolate...need I say more. The other girls got a kind called "muffin" which was also amazing. We then trekked up a million steps to piazza del michaelangelo..sp? which had a panoramic view of Florence. It was truly breathtaking.

Now, we are just getting ready to leave for the Amalfi Coast (aka Capri, Sorrento, Pompeii). We are SOOOOOOO excited! Not bringing my computer on this little excursion so I'll be able to fill everyone in on our amazing trip when we return! Ciao!