Sunday, January 1, 2012

Teaching Presentations, Piazza della Signoria Performance!


Coming back from Poggio a Caiano, we had a brief break and then met for the first round of teaching presentations. One of the girls working on her Master's in art history at SJSU, presented a brief lecture on La Bella at the Pitti Palace. It wasn't very fun walking all the way across town in the heat, but it was lovely to see the Pitti one more time!

From the Pitti, we went to the Uffizzi, where students (including me!) gave presentations. Whichever person was presenting got to don the microphone so that everyone else could hear within the Uffizzi cacophony.

It was a lot of fun to strategically sneak through the security area (you need a special reservation for large groups), to tour the museum hearing everyone's thoughts and discoveries and to see my favorite paintings one more time.  To remain respectful and quiet we clapped for each person hearing-impaired style- waving both hands like beauty pageant contestants. It was fun and funny!

Except for the occasional slacker (we had several), the presentations were really, really good! All of my roommates rocked it! :)

Afterward, I went walking with friends to get my favorite Grom gelato and then went home to work on my paper (it's due tomorrow)!


After finishing writing, I went with a friend to see a concert in the Piazza della Signoria. A stage has been built just in front of the Loggia and Palazzo Vecchio and I read in the Florentine that tonight there was going to be a free dance performance in the piazza!

Leaving the hostel we first stopped by a nearby Asian take-out place that I have walked by several times. I ordered a chicken egg roll. Chicken egg rolls in FLR = alright! Mine had spiced ground chicken which was a bit weird, but tasty nonetheless!

At this point, I am getting desperate for Asian food. Earlier in the day a new friend said "oooh tie!" and for a second I thought she meant, "ooh Thai food!" My heart immediately sank at the realization that no, the excitement in her voice was for a fancy shop selling Florentine silk ties and not a yummy restaurant selling Pad Thai and Yellow Curry. ;P Alas, I am going to have to wait until I get back to CA to indulge in all my favorite non-pasta, non-pizza, non-kebab food! Can't wait! :)

Here are some pictures from the performance. There was such a big crowd that it was impossible to get near the stage to snap good pictures of the dancers :(

Teatro del Maggio is one of several theater venues in the city. I think that it is the largest.
This free performance seemed to be some kind of showcase.

The venue! How awesome is this for an outdoor theater setting!

The dancing was alright. I've certainly seen more exciting contemporary choreography, but the drama of seeing live performance in Florence, just outside the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizzi, is unrivaled. It elevates the emotion of the music, the costumes of the dancers and the excitement of the audience (me included)!

Just behind the dancers, you can see the entrance to the Uffizzi and a few of the Renaissance statues displayed in the Loggia -just behind the newly built stage!

After seeing a fair bit of the performance my friend and I decided to go walking around the city.

It's an entirely different experience than walking around Florence during the day. The tourists are home exhausted, and the Florentines are out and about. I like to think that each night, the natives take their city back from the hordes of foreign tourists who inevitably steal it back come morning.

Statue of Dante Aligheri outside Santa Croce

Passing by Santa Croce we headed in the general direction of where Refugio, one of the staff for CSU Summer Arts here in Florence, suggested would be some "cheap AND good food!" I still have a bucket list of Florentine delicacies I haven't tried and I'm damned and determined to get through as much of my list as I can! I asked my friend Tina if she wanted to grab something to eat; it was getting fairly late. She said yes, and I said that I was hunting for something with boar meat- a Tuscan and Florentine specialty my aunt and uncle recommended highly.

We found a place that served it very near our campus, in the predominantly working class and student neighborhood on Ghibellina street. It had exactly what I wanted and met my criteria of good restaurant choices: cheap, more Italians than tourists, bad English grammar on the menu (ha!), and clean plates!

It was called I Ghibellini -"The Ghibellines" (a Medieval/ Renaissance political party.)
Our meal was DELICIOUS!

This place was special for many reasons, including the funny spelling/grammar in the English language menu! My favorite "translations" include:

1. Pizza del Lordo- with "everythings" on it.
2. Lasagne- "I know that we say we Florentines invented all of us but we blame if it is true? Well you also have some Lasagna Florentine fact the origin of the sauce recipe as written by the Marquis du Bechamel resembles a lot our Renaissance biancomangiare, one of the many recipes that Catherine de' Medici brought with them overnight to become queen of France."
3. "Beens with olive oil extravercine"
4. L'Assagio di primi- You can choose from three of our own pasta but you must be at least two! (years old?)


We ordered the Pappardelle al Cinghiale- freshly made noodles with Wild Boar sauce!!! It is too die for! Why, oh why, did I not try this before now?!

The meat has a very unique, distinct and delicious flavor. Looking back on the picture = salivating!

To mix it up we also ordered grilled vegetables. If you get the chance, don't. Order more Cinghiale!

Walking home I snapped pictures of the city at night and some of the street art in the neighborhood.

 Wedding dresses

Summer Sales! 

Nightlife advert!

This mural is pretty dang awesome! It commemorates 150 years (1861-2011) since Italy became a united nation!

Cute, no? Ciao for now!

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