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Major(s): Painting & Drawing
Program: Temple University
When: Spring 2008
Favorite Course: Advanced Painting
Highlight: Trionfale market
Best Excursion: High Renaissance class excursion to Florence
Favorite Dish: Cacio e pepe
Least Favorite Dish: Pizza with sardines
What was a typical day like for you while abroad?
A typical day for me in Rome began when my eyes peeled open upon hearing the monophonic beep of the alarm on my eight-year-old Italian cell phone. I tumbled out from the bottom-bunk and crept out onto the balcony—we had two, in our apartment in the Residence—to inquire about the weather that day. I looked down at all the European cars dangerously passing each other and incessantly honking their horns in the morning commute. I got myself ready for the day and started off for the lovely, half-hour trek to school, usually stopping at a fruit stand and buying a couple of Sicilian blood oranges. If I was running a few minutes ahead of schedule that day, I took Via Giulio Cesare, a street lined with cafes and trendy shops. If it happened to be raining, I took the metro to school, or I came down the hill to Piazza degli Eroi where I waited for the 495 bus, which never, in my experience, arrived in a timely fashion.
I fumbled for my keys to Temple’s gate. Entering the premises, I found the coffee machine and pushed the button for a cappuccino before climbing the stairs to painting class where I tried to reflect in my work all the wonderful imagery that I saw around me. After painting, I sat in my studio and irresponsibly scribbled out my Italian homework in the half hour before class. When I arrived, the professor, with her glasses at the end of her nose, looked at us all in the eye and educated us about grammar and the folly that was the Italian government. After class and the exaggerated news of impending Fascism, I was free to run along to get something to eat. I usually met up with classmates to get nice panino or a pizza rossa (if it was the end of the month this was all I could afford, at 80 centesimi each) and a 33 cl bottle of Peroni. We sat on the steps surrounding the obelisk at Piazza del Popolo and people-watched. There was always something great to see-- street performers, like the golden King Tut; fat tourists bogged down by kids, Wal-Mart attire, and backpacks; beautifully dressed Italians scurrying about in their tailored suits. I tried to sketch down and immortalize as many of these peculiarities as I could.
After lunch I usually had another drawing class or art history, where I would slump back in my chair in the cool, dark room and look at slides of Renaissance art, all of which predated the founding of my country but casually existed thereabout in Italy. At the end of the day, I sometimes walked to my new fellow’s apartment, halfway between school and the Residence, where (lucky me) I was on the receiving end of his absolutely wonderful Italian cooking that tasted just like my Nonna's. If I walked back to the Residence, that night I would cook up some pasta with fresh sauce, do a little bit of homework and drink some Moltipulciano D'Abruzzo wine, which was good quality and as cheap as water. When I was ready to turn in, I went out on my balcony and said “buona notte” to the city, and crouched back into my bottom-bunk, and went to sleep.
Who will you remember most from your study abroad experience and why?
The person I will remember most from my study abroad experience is Paolo Carloni, professor of the High Renaissance art history class. As a painting major, part of my core curriculum requires that I complete four art history classes, two of which are taken as a freshman. It was an incredible opportunity and an immense pleasure to take an art history and spend time with the actual paintings and architecture rather than reproductions of the images. Paolo was an extremely animated, thorough, and passionate professor who taught the course with a gusto I had simply never seen in an art history class. He explained pieces of art in a historical and emotional context and he brought the students of art and non-art alike to a level where we, as viewers, examined a piece in a sophisticated way. I was captivated by his quirks and his way of referring to things in his perfect, Italian-accented English. He encouraged the class to be friendly with each other, and because of this, I made a lot of good friends. A perfect embodiment of Italian attitude and culture, Professor Carloni was a great glimpse into the Italian mind.