Hats were a sign of status or a job, aristocracy wore the ultimate fashions and fanciest designs, it was a sign of success and wealth. It was disrespectful to walk outside of the house not wearing one, it used to be the completion of the outfit, it was almost as necessary as wearing a corset during the eighteen hundreds.
Visiting Memar Millinery was a remarkable experience, to see the entire process of different types of hats being made. The Memar Millinery is one of the last 3 factories left in Italy that has the means to have production in house. This company has a long history and prestige, as hats have been a tradition in Italy from centuries. The factory started in 1903, it is a family owned business that has been passed down from generation to generation. Memar has vendors, all over the world. They have worked with Macys, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and many more.
The factory has kept itself going by sourcing new materials, coming up with new techniques and collaborations with high-end designers. This way not only the quality of the materials and production is something to admire but the enthusiasm and spirit of competition.
We had a tour around the millinery facilities. Witnessing the work it takes for a straw fedora to be sewn and the shaping of felt and straw hats. Most of the raw goods come from Italian land but other sources are also used.
At last, we got to be hands on and decorated a hat of our choice.
I am a big fan of accessories but specially hats, after this visit I have learned to have a better appreciation of the craft and skills required for this labor. Memar millinery not only has years of quality and experience, but also passion and heritage.
In one of the first FITSA events of the new semester, we planned a trip to go to the city of Fiesole. The catch was, not only were we going to the city, we were going to hike to the top of the mountain the city sits in the middle off.
The hike started off simply merely walking the streets of Fiesole up gently sloping hills. However, in time the “hills” became mountainous and the paths became dirt.
After hiking for two hours we finally reached the top of the mountain. Arriving at the summit gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. The view from the top was fantastic and we could see all around the surrounding valleys.
In retrospect, while I was very tired, I enjoyed the hike immensely. I was also able to take some fantastic panoramas of Firenze from the mountain!
Scenic view of Firenze from Fiesole
Me overlooking the view of Firenze
FITSA Group on the hiking trail
In the spirit of the holidays, FITSA (FIT Student Activities), decided to throw a program wide Christmas party at the Hard Rock Café in Florence. This was an excellent opportunity for us to celebrate the Christmas holidays together, as well as say goodbye to those semester students in our program, who are returning to FIT in New York for the spring semester.
Our group was seated in the best part of the restaurant, which was right in front of the stage. Since originally the Hard Rock was a movie theatre for the people of Florence, the stage featured a large silver screen which was playing rock and roll music videos. The entire building was decorated beautifully.
After socializing for a bit, it was time for the meal. The menu was fantastic. It featured all of the “American” delicacies we had been missing; ranging from Burgers, to New York Strip Steak. I decided to indulge in the messiest of all choices, and chose the “BBQ Baby Back Ribs”. They were exceptional, and it was made better by the traditional American ice-cream Sunday topped with a cherry, to conclude the feast.
We concluded the party by taking pictures together and reminiscing about the fun times we had during the semester. It was a bitter-sweet moment for everyone, yet everyone still had a blast.
Me in the Christmas Spirit
FIT in Florence Professor and Students
Hard Rock Cafe Christmas Party Menu
One of the wonderful undertakings that every study abroad student needs to undertake in when arriving in Florence is the acquisition of their Permesso Di Soggiorno (PDS) or “Permit of Stay”. While this can be a tedious and sometimes painfull process it is a necessary item for all foreign nationals to obtain upon arrival in Italy. Yesterday, after waiting for nearly two months for it to be ready, my PDS card was finally ready for pickup, concluding the PDS process.
The first step in me picking up my PDS card was a trip to the Questure building. This is the HQ for the State Police in Firenze and also contains the Ufficio di Immigrazione, which is the large room where you pick up your PDS.
When I arrived the next challenge was getting a ticket so that I could reserve a place in line to wait to see an agent to give me my PDS card. After asking
several security guards for what felt like twenty minutes, me and about five other confused students were finally directed to a booth where we received our tickets to wait for a PDS agent. My place in line was 226.
To my enjoyment, I found that me arriving a half-hour early to my appointment was rewarded. The agents were already on number 126 so there were only 100 other people ahead of me in line.
Finally, after waiting for 2 hours they finally called my number. I handed them my passport and my PDS receipt (obtained when you first apply for your PDS at the Questure), and was handed my card. The whole process took about 30 seconds. While examining my card, I was shocked at how much effort went into obtaining the little piece of plastic.
Line Place 226 at Questure!
PDS Card Holder