At the end of April, I went with my “Renaissance and its Classical Heritage” class to Florence for a day long field study. My professor, Prof. Racioppi, is an amazing professor and is very knowledgeable on art history. Before coming to Rome, I had never taken an art history course and, even though I appreciated art and the value of art, I had never really been able to fully appreciate the most famous works. Thus, coming to Rome, I knew I needed to take an art history class so that I could understand and appreciate all of the amazing pieces of art that I was fortunate enough to see.
To start our trip off, we first went to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. This was a beautiful church that housed multiple works that we had previously studied in class, one of the most famous being Crucifix by Giotto. Here, we saw other paintings we had studied and then two students gave presentations on other pieces of art that we were currently studying. We then went to the Galleria Accademia where we saw The David by Michelangelo as well as the Slaves also by Michelangelo. Seeing these works of sculpture in person was so surreal. No matter how many pictures of The David that I’ve seen, none of them prepared me for the enormity and masterfulness of one of Michelangelo’s most famous works. The Slaves were something that I hadn’t even heard about (if you're an art history major I apologize) before coming to Rome, but they were as impressive if not more impressive than The David. The amount of detail and thought that Michelangelo put into his work is absolutely breathtaking and can only be truly appreciated, in my opinion, in person.
After the Galleria Accademia, we had a couple hours of free time to have lunch and explore Florence. A couple of my friends and I went to a restaurant called Osteria Santo Spirito. I highly recommend going here if you ever have the opportunity to visit Florence. Their speciality was the “Gnocchi Gratinati Al Formaggi Morbidi al Profumo Di Tartufo.” It was the best gnocchi that I’ve ever had and I wish that I could go back to Florence to have that gnocchi just one more time. During the free time, I was also able to go into a leather shop to get a new wallet. Florence is famous for their leather and I really wanted to get a nice leather wallet for when I come back home to the states. The wallets are also pretty cheap and very high quality.
Once our free time was over, we went to the Uffizi, one of the most famous museums in the world that houses masterpieces from both da Vinci and Raphael among many other artists. What was amazing about going into the Uffizi was that there were so many pieces of art that I would normally just walk by but, after taking this course, I was simply fascinated by them. If you're able to study abroad, and especially in Rome or Italy in general, I highly recommend taking at least one art history course. It gives you such a greater appreciation for the city and country and their history. We were able to see works such as Primavera, The Birth of Venus, The Calumny of Apelles (all by Raphael), The Annunciation by da Vinci, and many many others.
After the Uffizi, we had to head back to Rome, however, some students decided to stay in Florence for the night. The next day I would be traveling to Dublin to see one of my favorite Irish bands, The High Kings, so I was heading back to Rome with my professor. Overall, it was an incredible trip and I definitely was able to gain a lot of knowledge about Italian culture, history, and art. It also gave me much more insight into the art world and a greater appreciation for the masterpieces of the Renaissance period.
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<p>My name is Josh Marrs and I am a junior from Rice University in Houston, Texas! I'm majoring in Sociology with a major interest in social inequality. My passions are playing tennis, basketball, ping pong, and any other sport I can get my hands on. Visiting Rome has been one of the biggest dreams of my life thus far and I will be fulfilling that dream by studying in Rome during the Spring of 2016. This will be my first time experiencing another country and I can't wait to share my experiences and reflections.</p>