This week our school took a fantastic academic field trip to Paris. During the trip, FITSA organized an activity to take a boat cruise on the River Seine. While the weather was quite cold, the sights were fantastic. Everything from the Eiffel Tower, to the historic Notre Dame was visible from the boat. This was all experienced with a fantastic Nutella crepe in hand, provided by the on-board cafe. Everyone had a great time.
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!
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.
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.
When I stepped on the streets of Venice I looked around expecting to see a little brown brindle cairn terrier, named Toto, appear so I could tell him I didn’t think we were in Florence anymore. In Venice there isn’t a car in sight and the closest thing to ‘American hospitality’ was a McDonald’s that didn’t have a single picture of the famous golden arches. Walking the streets of Venice at night is a magical thing. The city becomes nearly deserted, hardly any boats are running and the best thing I heard was… pure silence. I have yet to find a city that can come close to the majestic allure of Venice.
As a young girl I dreamt of living in the era of corsets, petticoats, powder wigs and handmade lace. I guess you could say I almost lived that dream. Cannaregio 2590 is home to Nicolao Atelier. From the front it looks like a small everyday costume shop but once through the doors, it turns into a wonderland of Rococo and Baroque decor.
All The Fashion Design Students we taught about 17th – 18th century attire by Stefano Nicolao (the owner and designer) who chose one lucky young student to model a corset and petticoat for us. Mr. Nicolao’s costumes have been seen in Casanova and Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few movies and have been in many theatrical performances. We were able to see his studio and costume inventory. It seemed like the costumes ran on for miles. As a hopeful future fashion designer, it was better than waking up on Christmas morning to presents under the tree. I could have spent a good day at Nicolao Atelier, but we soon had to rush away from trying on tri-corner hats and masks to go take a trip on a gondola. I would have never been able to see such amazing textiles or costumes if it hadn’t been for The Fashion Institute of Technology’s Study Abroad Program. Thank you F.I.T.