I’ve chosen to fix on the syllabus the fieldtrip in Vicenza last Saturday not for a coincidence. In these days Venice is in the full of Carnevale, it is so crowded, invaded by a big wave of people coming from every side of the world; in particular, during the week ends, it is literaly “assaulted” by people coming from the Venetian Mainland crowding in every “calle”, “campo”, “campiello”, typical local bar, pastry, Caffè, searching for every kind of typical Venetian food and beverage. As a native Venetian, in these days I don’t recognized my loved city: she feels like losing her identity while almost collapsing in a Carneval dress too heavy and shining for her strength. It was the right time for a break, a time-out far from the Dominant. So on a sunny Saturday morning, while the “wave” from the Mainland was arriving in Santa Lucia Venice Station, we left for a quite an relaxing journey to Vicenza. The style and way of living in Vicenza is so different from the lagoon way of life and so beautiful and relaxing at the same time, full of Palladian austerity: last week, in fact, we studied in class the typical architecture of the Teatro all’Italiana in Venice, with the goal to compare it with the Palladian Theater architecture in Vicenza and to see with our eyes an authentical little jewel: The Olimpic Theater of Andrea Palladio and Vicenzo Scamozzi. In this context, I would avoid to describe my impression when entering inside because I simply hope to read here the impression of Sarah, Adara, Anica, Leroy, Fernanda, Amber, and Abby: the feeling of astonishment and surprise written in the face of all of them, when inside the theater, it doesn’t need me to add further words.
FVCC Visiting Professor
I love walking through the streets here, even if I’m not really going anywhere there’s something about getting lost or finding some new shop or view or even just the peacefulness in the morning. This is weird for me because I’m not usually a fan of the claustrophobia of cities and the lack of any green grass to walk on. For some reason, the tight walkways don’t seem daunting or restricting, and there is still a park on the island that has grass and trees. It’s a completely different story in the afternoon though, there are so many people right now, it is not uncommon to have to stop completely and wait for the crowd to start moving again.
We have traveled to a few other cities in Italy so far: Padua, Florence and on Friday we went to Vicenza. Vicenza is essentially Venice’s sister city on the mainland because it was heavily influenced by Venice back in the day. It didn’t have any canals or anything, but there are lions of Saint Mark everywhere and there are even a pair of pillars that resemble those of San Marco square with the winged lion on one and Saint Theodore on the other.
I am happy we are getting to see other parts of Italy; the whole country is so beautiful, but in my opinion, none of them compare to Venice. I love mountains and open skies but Venice is so unique that it doesn’t have to have those things and still be one of my most favorite cities I’ve ever been to.
Ciao! Come Stai, i Miei Amici?
I’ve decided I’m not going to sugar coat, this week was honestly one of the most stressful and disenchanting weeks ever. So very busy. We have major exams coming up for Italian class tomorrow, and there is a lot to know and remember. We have all been overwhelmed in class! When I think about it too much, I get freaked out so I try not to think about it. But, when I think about it less, I feel like I should be thinking about it more so I don’t fail! Eh, it’s a bit of a mental battle. The other thing is that tourists are running rampant because of Carnivale, and so there is this chaotic buzz throughout the streets. Which could mean more pick-pockets or crowded places or frustrated, impatient locals!
In spite of the chaos, I have slowly figured out a systematic way for me to study. I love to journal, so today I wrote for several hours, solo in Italiano, (only in Italian) and had my dear friend, Francesca, correct it with me! I changed my phone settings to Italian as well. Every day I have been reading an Italian children’s bible before bed, and have been trying to watch my usual soap operas on Netflix with Italian subtitles. I attempt conversation with strangers, and I have been listening to Italian children’s songs like the “Days of the week song” or “the weather” song. I am breathing in the language. There is no way I will get better unless I am uncomfortable for a little while. Discomfort, I accept you!
One very awesome thing that happened this week was our trip to Vicenzia to see un teatro! (a theater) We went to this famous theater called the “Teatro Olimpico.” This theater was gorgeous and I could have layed back and gazed at it all day. It was created to look like it was made outdoors! There was a sky painted on the ceiling and vanishing streets on the stage that seemed to go on forever. My brain was having a crazy time figuring it out! It was timeless, constructed way back in the late fifteen hundred, and still holds theater productions today. Oh, how I would love to see that! “Grazie mile” to Anna for taking us there!
This week sprung forth lots of growth, but I am glad it’s over and a new one has begun. Can’t wait to tell you people about the long anticipated “Carnivale” next blog! I can tell it’s going to be wild!
This was a week…. a week of stress, excitement, adventures, hardships and fun! Sometimes there seems to not be enough time in the day to do everything that I want to do or needs to be done, or enough energy in my body to achieve all I needed to accomplish. It turns a little crazy when you throw studying for midterms into the mix, that’s for sure!
I must say, being totally honest that living in Venice is amazing and even becoming instinctual, but it follows that there are hardships as well, like people, people are hard sometimes. There just so happens to be a lot of people residing in Venice, especially this week because, even though Carnivale started last weekend, it is even bigger right now. There was the descent of the Angel from the Bell tower this Sunday, an affair of grandeur, excitement, and a ton of people packed like so many sardines in Piazza San Marco. She traveled downward on a wire, floating above the crowd, dressed in a brightly colored purple, orange, red and other colored full ball gown, throwing, or releasing, hand fulls of confetti down on the avidly waiting crowd below. It was a beautiful, and very strange affair to have the opportunity to participate in.
During class this week the group of us had a couple of tours, one being in Giovanni o Paolo’s Church with Stephania. We visited a ‘Music room’ where the people of Venice (generally the wealthy) would go to listen to the music played and sung by young girls who were taught music in the Hospidale by Giovanni. and the other was a trip to Vincenzia with Anna. We visited the Teatro Olimpico, a beautiful theater set up in an amazing way. The organization of the seats is based a little on Greece’s original structures for a theater, but there is also Roman influence within. It is decorated like the sky full of clouds with all of the different shades of blues and purples, it is painted all the way back to the end of the permanent set existing as a true part of the theater. The set is comprised of the stage, out front with nothing on it, and three archways, each having a different vanishing point and set at angles that would look like the claw of a bird from the aerial view. Within each of the three prongs there is the view of a street with full triple story structures of any buildings or houses that you would find in Venice or even Vicenzia. The center prong is the widest of the three, it seems to be the main ‘strada’ and the other two to be alley ways or just smaller walkways. Sitting on the steeply sloped steps that make up the seats was such an amazing feeling. The whole building was quite cold but it was almost not unnoticeable because the real focus your mind followed was taking in the stage and the sets, not even allowing for recognition of the cold. There was a sense of history in the way the breeze traveled through the giant room that could seat a few hundred people. All of the structure inside that was part of the set or the statues was made to look like marble, but was truly made of plaster, a play or trick on the eyes before any of the theater even began.
The whole trip to Vincenzia was a pretty great blast. After our tour of the theater the group split apart a little and went out to explore. During this time Amber, Leroy and I went for an expedition around a small part of Vicenzia. On a strange adventure filled with secrets, giggles and fun!
The taste of the city was different from Venice, probably due to the fact that there was a lot of green everywhere and also many vehicles. It is kind of a shock to be on Venice and then travel to a city filled with cars and motor bikes, or even just good old fashioned human powered bikes. You’re not used to it, every time you cross the street you have to remind yourself to look both ways and not step out in front of a moving vehicle. It is always amazing to look at each place you visit and see the similarities and differences from the places you’ve come from.
This last week has been crazy! Carnivale is in full swing and everything is sooo crowded.
We have our Italian language midterm tomorrow and I’m nervous, I’ve been studying a lot but still. My head is so full of Italian grammar and conjugations and verbs, mamma mia!
Saturday, Anna took us to Vicenza on the train for our class. We went to see the Teatro Olimpico, and wow the place was breathtakingly beautiful. Afterwards we had lunch at a pizzeria and did a little shopping before catching the train back to Venize.
Today I went and saw the Volo di Angelo in Saint Marks square, it was pretty neat. They had a woman in traditional Carnivale dress jump from the bell tower and float down to the ground. The place was packed! It is hard to get around with all the extra tourists and I will be glad when the crowd thins out this coming week.
Back to studying, ciao!
Another week has flown by here in Venice. The Carnivale has really started to pick up and the city is flooded with tourists. It’s a challenge to walk in the alleys now without being held up by a mob of slow moving people. However, the costumes, masks, and confetti that are filling the streets to totally make up for it. The weather has finally been get warmer and a sunny day here is magical. This week we have been studying Italian like madmen for our test this Monday. It’s kind of awesome getting to walk around and actually understand some of the conversations people are having. On Saturday, our theater class made a trip to Vicenza to visit the old Teatro Olympia. To say it was incredible would be an understatement. The history here still continues to blow me away. I’ve been so lucky to take in all the old palaces, museums, buildings, hospitals, and so much more. It is crazy to me how much of a different world it is here than the States. I think I found my favorite coffee shop in Venice. While I was walking to school one morning, I took a random alley that led me to the cutest corner cafe. It has wood pallet benches covered in pillows and blankets with tall glass windows. They make a mean espresso that pairs amazing with a chocolate croissant. I’ve gone there a few times now, and it only gets better. Today (Sunday), I tried to get away from the tourist traps of the city and made my way to the couple parks on Venice for a little taste of home. I was revived to see green grass and trees while I read in the park. I wouldn’t say I’m homesick. But I do miss my family very much (shoutout to mom, Bob, Sammy, and Dad). I am thankful for everything this trip has brought me, too, and I am enjoying every moment. It really is going by too fast. This week I’m excited for more Carnivale festivities and some sun in the forecast! Talk to you soon.
Seven more incredible days on this side of the world. We are in the Carnivale week and, because of that, Venice is receiving a high number of tourists. It has been common to see people wearing mask or even totally dressed up looking as if out of the 16th century.
We had our mid-terms for our theater and music classes last Monday. The days after our exam we did different activities, including watching a movie. We watched “Shakespeare in love”, winner of the Academy Award for best picture in 1999, to analyze how the theaters were in the Elizabethan era. Besides that, we talked about the evolution of comedy and its characters throughout the years and how the theater started becoming a business and being an actor/actress became a profession.
We also visited the Teatro Olimpico, which was the first “inside theater” of Northern Italy. Located in Vicenza, the theater was created by members of the Accademia: a place where aristocrats conversed about culture. The Accademia purchased a building and hired an architect, Andrea Palladio, to build a theater inside it. That is the reason the Teatro Olimpico is not enormous, but that doesn’t mean it is any less beautiful. The theater is breathtaking and there are so many details that we could have spent a whole day observing them all. There are numerous sculptures in the upper circumference of the theater and the stage seems to be part of a city, because it expands into three beautifully built alleys.
In the music class, we talked about Baldassare Galuppi and how he ended the important Venetians composers period that started with Giovanni Gabrielli. We visited the old Ospedaletto: one of the four female orphanages of Venice and one of the few places in Italy that taught music back in the 18th century. The Ospedaletto has the spectacular Music Room which we were able to visit. The whole room is painted with the technique of Trompe-l’oeil that makes the paint to look as real sculptures (the same technique that impressed me during my first week in Venice at the Museum Correr). The room also provides incredible acoustic which must have been important because that was the place where the girls, from the Ospedaletto, performed during the 18th century. Nowadays, the building isn’t used as an orphanage anymore.
I am looking forward to the week coming because we will go to the opera and visit one of the most important theaters in Venice: La Fenice. I haven’t ever watched an opera, so it will be a remarkable experience to do for the first time in my life, specially here, in Venice. I will be back next Sunday to write about it. Enjoy your week!
The days are blurring together, Tuesdays feeling like Thursdays and Saturdays feeling like Wednesdays… of course Mondays always feel like Mondays. Like every week thus far, the last seven days have consisted of lots of photos, lots of walking, and lots of studying. Carnivale has brought thousands of people to Venice and I find myself slightly annoyed with all the tourists, as if I’m not technically one of them, haha! I still haven’t grown tired of pizza, which is funny because just this week a Venetian told me that, “anywhere in the world has better pizza than Venice!” HA! No. I don’t think she has ever tried a Pizza Hut or Dominos, but the pizza here kicks both those places to the curb. One thing I haven’t grown use to is the fact that the dogs here can’t understand me. That probably sounds funny, but as most girls do, whenever I see a dog I have the tendency to say, “puppy!” in a total baby voice and then try to pet them. Well needless to say, the dogs here have no idea what the word “puppy” is and their owners find me twice as weird as the dogs find me so I try to keep my distance.
Saturday, we went to see the Teatro Olympico in Vicenza, and I must say that it was the most breathtaking thing I have seen in regards to theatre. The stage was literally 3-D, have 3 separate breakaways so the actors were literally walking down streets as they performed. The ceiling was painted in blue with hues of white in the forms of clouds and it felt as real as if you were outside. I could have sat on those wooden benches staring at its magnificence all day; perfect place to take a date if you ever happen to be in Vicenza, performance or not, the theater is brilliant.
After taking in the genius of the theater, we all went and explored a bit, the game of geocaching taking us down the road, past another Roman theater, over the bridges, though a park and to places we would have never gone. The beauty of each new place we go is captivating and couldn’t ever grow old it seems.