Closer Look At Pitti Palace/Boboli Gardens

One of my favorite places to go in Florence is Pitti Palace and its Boboli Gardens. The palace had begun being built in the FIFTEENTH CENTURY, and many affluent Florentine families have lived in it, each leaving behind a little bit more history and wealth. It’s now a museum with tons of famous paintings and artworks. Behind it is the gardens, designed by the same guy who designed the Gardens of Versailles. The gardens are overwhelmingly beautiful and there is so much space to see. Everywhere you go is a little treasure, like a Renaissance sculpture or a mesmerizing fountain.

For us FIT/Polimoda students, it’s free entrance, so there’s nothing better than taking advantage of this place. Here are some photos from my visits:

Evolution of European Fashion: Les Art Decoratifs, Paris

One of the activities we did in Paris during our academic field trip a few weeks ago was a visit to Les Art Decoratifs. It’s one of the better known museums in Paris, and there are always amazing exhibits going on there. We got a guided tour to Fashioning Fashion: Deux Siècles de Mode Européenne, 1700-1915, which showed the evolution of traditional European fashion from the beginning of the 18th Century until now. We lucked out with the best tour guide we could have asked for, who was enthusiastic and meticulously informative.

It was inspiring to see the way fashion has changed over the past couple of centuries for men and women. They certainly did not dress for comfort, and can you believe it took hours to get dressed each day?

Check it out!

Update… Happy New Year!

Hello readers!!

We are so excited to have begun our second semester here in Florence. It’s been a great holiday break. We are all well-rested and ready to go. Some of us went home to see our families and friends, while some of us stayed (I personally stayed and had my family come visit me–why not?). We’ve had to say goodbye to some of our classmates who only stayed for one semester, and have welcomed some new students into the program for the Spring 2013 session. Anyhow, classes have commenced and we couldn’t be happier to get right back into things.

This semester looks promising for me. I have two classes in the lovely Villa Favard, both in the Sala Rosa, pictured below. It has magnificent frescoes on the ceiling and the walls are colored with a cute pink. It’s easy to zone out and get lost in the allegorical beauty shown on the ceiling, above the dangling chandelier. It’s quite a picturesque room to casually attend class in.

Another one of my classes is located in the French Institute of Florence. Since there is so much going on at Polimoda, we had to relocate in order to meet all of our classroom needs, which is fine by us. The Institute is right next to the Arno River, and our room has a window view overlooking the picturesque scene. It’s quite nice…

In other news, we’ve now completed a full week of classes and are looking forward to future classes and opportunities to come. We’ve seen better weather, but that’s expected during the winter season here in Florence. At least our school is looking mighty pretty. Please see the main entrance of Villa Favard, pictured below.

Expect some exciting posts in the near future–we took a class trip to Pitti Filatti, a textile tradeshow that bi-annually takes place here in Florence, and we are anxiously awaiting our academic trip to Paris this coming month.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, may 2013 be filled with good health and happiness!

Until next time,

I’m Zach, FMM 3rd year…. Ciao!

Get in the zone with some good music and a little motivation!

I apologize for my lack of posting! I’ve been very busy, I can assure you, here in Florence. The semester is coming to an end (we have only three weeks left), so right now is crunch time! It’s time to focus, get down to our study grind, and obviously make the most of the last few weeks of 2012!

Some people, like me, need a little extra something to get going. My #1 motivation is good music: without it, I will just sit around like a sloth (which is nice too).

Here are some of the jams coming out of my iPod. Take a listen, have a glass of wine, and get to work!

  1. Backseat(Rimer London Remix) – Staygold; Rimer London is an English electronic group I recently discovered. They usually stick with catchy female vocals, deep synthetic sounds, and a pop-beat.
  2. Beta Love – Ra Ra Riot; This band is one of my favorite, and they’ve come back with a great new single. I can’t help but to sing along with it everytime I hear. ** I will find a betttaaaa love! **
  3. Stayin’ Alive(K Theory & TYR Remix) – The Bee Gee’s; It’s nice to have an oldies throwback to get us all nostalgic. This is a remix that will have you’re feet tappin and your pencil snappin! (If that made any sense)
  4. Lifeline – Angels & Airwaves; a song from the Twilight Breaking Dawn Pt. II album, which was very well done with indie artists.
  5. Slow Motion(Dr. Luke/Benny Blanco Remix) ft. Three 6 Mafia – Ke$ha; An unreleased gem by none other than KESH – there is no such thing as a fashion student who does not like her.
  6. Sun – Two Door Cinema Club; Another one of my favorite bands, who’s in it to win it. Great song for any time of the day.
  7. Play Cards to Your Heart – Groove Armada; a song that gives me memories of my favorite television series, Skins. This is chill music for studying, or for pensively pretending like you’re studying.
  8. Numb ft. Eminem – Rihanna; From her new album, Unapologetic. So good, Her voice is divine and Em’s rap is swagalicious.
  9. Devil’s Tears – Angus & Julia Stone; This song makes me happy and sad at the same time. It’s essentially just a beautiful song, and is not too distracting to listen to while you multi-task.
  10. Ivory Road – King Charles; Lyrically genius, this song makes you think about your life and what you’re doing with it. It takes a few listens to get into it because it’s so quirky, but give it a chance and let your musical sense be tickled :)

In conclusion, now is the time to snuggle up with a cup of tea and get working on our endless amounts of projects, essays, exams and presentations that are due in no time at all. Let’s rock the rest of the year with good music and straight A’s!

Bacini a tutti!!!!

-(DJ) Zachary R :D

Blonde Ambition

A couple of weeks ago, my classmates and I were graced with the presence of Nita Tucker. She’s a writer, journalist, relationship-expert, consultant, and the founder of The Florentine — Florence’s only newspaper written in completely English. She is truly an inspirational woman, and if you don’t believe me, ask Oprah, who featured Nita on her show some years ago. One of our wonderful professors happens to be good friends with Nita, and thankfully she was in town and was able to stop by to share some of her wisdom. She shared a lot about her life and what she’s been through. At the age of 50, she realized that she had never lived in Europe (a dream of hers), and felt that it was “now or never.” Having been in love with Italy and particularly Florence, she made a decision to drop everything and come to Firenze with minimal cash and few people to call a friend. This, my friends, is cold, hard, precarious chancery. Her husband was not as supportive as he could have been, and her children were young, but she had a feeling in her gut that this was the right move. She told us about her struggles, and about her triumphs. She experienced things significant enough to write a couple of books about. Eventually, Nita took it upon herself to begin a newspaper in English—a brilliant idea, considering the second most common language spoken in Florence is English, after Italian, naturally. It was a huge risk, and certainly required guts on her end. She sacrificed a lot in order for the Florentine to work out, but today it’s read by English speakers and Italians alike. She told us that some English professors in Florence use articles from it to help teach their students English. Not only are their issues all over town, but they are present online, with an easy to navigate website. Evidently, things worked out for Nita, and this brought her to a socialite-status in Florence. She spoke about being friends with the Ferragamos, and on her website you’ll find photos of her posing in beautiful gardens, looking intellectual at book-readings, and speaking with Ted Kennedy. Nita is not your average American-turned-Italian.

When it all boils down, Nita is just an ambitious, curious, sweetheart. She’s got strong intuition, lofty goals, and an incredible drive. She’s got insight like you’ve never seen, and this has been displayed in her speeches and in her books (she’s published about 5). She was kind enough to inform us of her favorite hot-spots in Florence, which was definitely helpful for us students. Aside from all of this, she gave us some great, unforgettable advice.

Here are some things that stuck in my mind:

  • “If you see an open door, go inside. You never know what you’ll see or who you’ll meet.” We were told that people here are generally open-minded and inviting. If you receive an opportunity of any kind, take it! What’s the worst that could happen?
  • “Try to be interested, not necessarily interesting.” This reminds me to show people that you care about them and what they have to say, as opposed to superimposing your supposed “greatness,” and being selfish.
  • Florence is definitely not the place for shy/timid people. Everybody here is very outgoing and charismatic.
  • Italians are all about establishing relationships, through which people are overtly amiable and helpful. There is not so much customer service as there is kindness and personal relationships. If you’re nice, people will reciprocate. If you enter a store and simply say hello, you will be well respected.
Hearing Nita speak definitely opened Florence up to me, and explained a lot of the traditions and customs that I have seen but not quite understood.