Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Falling Behind; Catching Up

Well, it's certainly been a few days since my last blog post. Things just picked up so quickly, once again. However, this time I have less of a realization and more so some photos. On Friday my parents and their good friends Kathy and George came out to visit. They are taking a little trip through Italy and stopped into Firenze for two days.

So, I spent all of Friday with them which turned out to be a really great day! We went to a little local restaurant for lunch, which was spectacular. This little place opens at 12, closes at 5:30, takes no reservations, and is literally packed by 5 minutes after opening. While waiting for a spot to open up for the five of us, we visited the indoor market right across the street. Really quite an interesting place; here's a few shots from there.

After the market and lunch, which turned out to be some of the most amazing food I've had here yet, we took a tour of the villa and then later went to dinner at Il Latini. Let me say this first: I wasn't aware food could taste so amazing. Il Latini served their food in the traditional Italian sense; the waiter comes up to you and rattles a few names of food off and seconds later, the table in front of you is filled with two or tree plates of various foods. This pattern now continues on for approximately five to seven times. I lost track, but I'm pretty sure we stopped at our sixth course. Regardless of numbers, the food was out of this world; easily some of the best food I've ever eaten in my entire life. On that note, we said our goodbyes and I was back to being on my own once again. Quick shout out to my mom, dad, George and Kathy: Thanks for the great night!

Last night my friend Cristina and I walked around town after dinner; I took it as a photo opportunity. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to shoot, but I try to keep an open mind going into these kinds of situations so I can see different things as I go. We ended up at Piazza Republica, somewhere I've been wanting to take pictures for quite some time. This goes back to my "digging under the skin of firenze" theory. I like exploring the same parts of the town at different points in the day or night to see how the crowd changes, how the activity changes, and how the overall atmosphere changes. There were some street musicians, as always. however, at this time of night, their music really sets the mood. In my case, it even affects my thinking patterns; I found myself continuously at a loss of words in mid conversatio, distracted by the music.

Lastly, here's a photo, one of my favorites at that, to finish off the post. Compared to the busy photos I've taken near the duomo, this one shows the difference of the night life vs the day time here in firenze. Also, it's one of my favorite photos I've taken here in Italy.

As always, all of these photos can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mloiacono/. Also, if you are on facebook, please Like my page. I'm trying to reach out to as many people as I can with my photography!



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Journey to Find Firenze's Voice

Now that I've been her for nearly a month, I've gotten past the "honey-moon" stage and I'm beginning to see more of the real Italy. Don't take this the wrong way though. The more I find out the more fascinated I am. The viewpoint of locals, their attitude towards any given situation, their mannerism; it is all interesting on so many levels. The more I find out the more I desire to know. As a photographer, I've been wondering "How can I show Italy from a different viewpoint?" Part of being a photographer is being able to get a point across via an image, even if that point is not what one would think of without the photo to aid them.

Rather than looking at Italy from the typical beautified tourist perspective, I want to dig down deep under its skin and find out what really lives behind this fortified wall that I've been looking at for the past few weeks. Every place has its own unique voice and attitude. It's now become my desire to find out what Italy's, or at least firenze's voice is. I've taken a new approach with my photography, as I was trying to say before. I've been looking at the little details that most people are overlooking. Let me present these photos that I took today:

Here's one to start with. What do you see? Why of course, it's a seemingly beautiful and extravagant shop with a intricate looking fa├žade. However, behind it you will see graffiti. Such a stark contrast exists between the shop and the door, only a few feet (well meters, since I should probably comply with the European standard) apart. It's not as if this is a rare occurrence though.

Now, here we have just another street artist. In the background you will see some magnificent sculptures as well as people passing by with nothing more than a glance at either the sculpture or the artist. These people that occupy the frame are, for the most part, not locals but tourists of some sort. However, many of these street artists are locals, Florentines. It's these men and women that speak with the voice of firenze that I'm searching for. They speak the language, as well as understand it.

I'm not yet exactly sure where all of this is leading to yet, but I'm currently on a path towards this near impossible goal: to discover what it is to be a Florentine, in a matter of (let me count quick) 85 days. There's much to be discovered and uncovered. As time goes on, I assume I'll learn more and hopefully get even 10% closer to my goal. After all, that 10% is more than I would've had otherwise.


Monday, September 19, 2011

No Time for Photos!

As the days go on, I'm finding I have less time to take photos that I'd like to. That huge gap of 6 hours I have between classes seemed like so much, now it's just enough... between laundry, reading, and catching up on my homework, photos are having a hard time finding space in the mix.

Today started like a pretty typical day. Alarm rang at 7:45AM, ate breakfast, then went to art history class. Afterwards, we got sandwiches from this little deli right up the street. Two words: too delicious. I got a sandwich with provolone, panchetta, and mortadella. Such a simple yet fantastic combination. I've a new-found love for such simple pleasures. After indulging myself, I eventually headed to photo class.

Our photo teacher just gave us actual pinhole cameras to work with for photo class! I've worked with homemade pinholes in high school photo class, but I've never worked with a real one. For those of you who don't know, a pinhole camera is essentially a camera without a lens. It's simply a box with a tiny tiny hole that the light goes through which will cast an image onto film of the other side of the box. The most basic form of a camera. I'll be out shooting with that soon, so hopefully I'll get some photos up here and maybe I'll even be able upload the film images from the pinhole camera!

Tonight, we went to see an Italian film. At first it was a bit of a pain with the captions and what not, but soon enough, I found that I was watching it like any other film. We also met one of the actresses from the film which was pretty interesting.

Despite how busy I've been, at the end of each day when I decide it's time to write my blog I always think "Well... what did I do today?" Just an interesting point. Probably because so much happens in such a short amount of time, it's hard to recollect every single detail.

Off to bed for now, I'll be back soon with photos!



Saturday, September 17, 2011

On to Fiesole

Today turned out to be more exciting than I had planned on. After getting to bed late last night, I woke up around 1pm today (which certainly was welcomed). I then had to finish reading my novel for writing class. Finished reading at 4pm, and I certainly didn't want to waste the rest of my day.

So, I hopped on the bus and I was on my way to Fiesole. This public Transportation is really beginning to grown on me. When I realized the bus was climbing up the mountain, I knew I was going to like Fiesole. As soon as I got off of the bus, I could feel an immense difference compared to firenze. Less tourists, higher elevation, and much more quaint. Also, the majority of people I saw were higher up the age bracket as well as the financial bracket. I definitely wasn't in the "bad part of town". What this meant to me? I felt much more safe walking around there alone compared to firenze, even though I feel relatively safe most of the time.

I ventured up every road which took me to a higher elevation, looking for the best view I could find. Then, I found this:

I highly suggest you check out that photo in the super high resolution it deserves to be seen in. It will take long to load since it is such a large image, but click here to see the full resolution.

Here's another view from up there:

And lastly, this photo needs a little background story. As I was walking towards the bus stop, I heard all of these air horns blasting off. As I followed the sound, I heard music and people cheering. I peered around the corner and what was it but a wedding! How great it must be to have a wedding in Italy! Everyone was so happy, cheerful, and full of energy. What I found interesting though, was the little boy peering over the edge as if he's overlooking the entire celebration. There's just so much going on in the photo that I ended up being able to pick out numerous things in the photo that I didn't even notice in person!

I sat down and watched their celebration for a little bit, then I hopped on the bus and was back on my way home (it's weird calling it home, but it is starting to feel right). The rest of the day was relatively uneventful. I edited the pics you are seeing here, and that's about it. Tomorrow I'll have to finish up my homework, then back to class for a few days.

If you haven't already looked, check out my flickr to see all of my photos since I don't always post every photo here.

Hope you enjoyed reading and check back again!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Nighttime Shooting!

I've talked about it a lot, but I finally got around to doing some night time photography. We headed down to the Arno River around 7pm and I took some photos down there. I took a few more of Santa Croce, but I forgot to focus (I know...) and they are all slightly out of focus. So, I'll have to re-shoot those one of these days. 

Anyway, back onto the topic. Here's some new photos for all of you to admire. First, let's start with the road that goes along the Arno River:

And here's two shots looking down the Arno:

Today we visited a church which had an amazing view over the town. It killed me that I forgot my camera, but I'll surely be revisiting that site sooner or later.

As always, check back soon and thanks for reading!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Something Different

Today I had a lot of free time. Too much almost. But, it's certainly not a bad thing. I'm, for once, ahead on my homework. I'm writing my post now since I won't have time tonight most likely. I've been reading almost all day, finished my photo project, and finished one of the videos I took here. Tonight, we are going to watch an Italian Film for one of the NYU courses.

Now, let me explain the title. Usually I post photos, as I'm sure you're aware. Well, I have a video for you guys today. Nothing incredibly artistic, but rather than taking photos, I thought I'd take a video (since I figured no one else would be). On Saturday we celebrated Alex and Taaj's birthday, we got them a cake and everything. They were totally surprised! Anyways, here's a short little video I put together:


Sorry, I can't directly embed it into the blog for some reason (probably because Yahoo and Google are basically arch enemies).

In addition to this, I'll be modifying my blog for probably the next few days. I'm still trying to decide on a look I want. I got tired of the photo for the background, I prefer a more minimalistic approach.

Well, that's about it for today. Hopefully next time I'll be back with photos!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Warped Speed

Now that we are all settled in, time is certainly started to move at a much quicker rate. When I first got here, the days seemed to go by at a very moderate pace. Today, I had to second guess myself when I saw that today was the 12th! So, I have a bit of catching up to do.

I had planed on doing a blog post yesterday, but there was a rather large change of plans. If you remember, I said that I was going to Lucca yesterday. Well, I'm not much of a morning person, if you were unaware. I got to bed at what I recall being 3-4am Sunday morning, and we were supposed to be leaving by 9am. I had planed to just tough it out, but when my alarm went off at 8am, there was no getting me up. So much for the Lucca trip. Although, on a more positive note, I think it was to my benefit. I was able to get all of my extra work finished up, sort through photos, and, more or less, knock a ton of things off of the to-do list.

And that now leads us to today. I was experimenting with a new photo technique (at least new to me) called free-lensing. In simple terms, you unscrew the lens from the camera and move it around until what you want is in focus. It yields some interesting results, but I don't have any proper shots worth posting yet. In between my morning class and afternoon photo class, I snapped a few shots and not too much more. I really need to do some night shooting rather than this mid day shooting. I also need to go shopping for clothes... Ok, back on track.

I've wanted to do this shot every time I walked by the duomo, so today I finally had a chance.

Also, here's yet another view of the duomo (sorry if you're getting tired of it, but I'm always hovering around it and it always looks so good!)

And a shot I forgot to post from the Villa La Pietra Garden... just one of the many sculptures there

And that just about warps it up for today's post. Hope you enjoyed reading!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Recharge Day

Today was a pretty calm day. We ended up getting to bed around 3am I believe, so I spent a good portion of the morning just trying to regain my energy. Other than that, I caught up on reading and homework. Sorry, but no exciting story for today. Although, I must say, sitting out around the villa reading is incredibly relaxing. This is such an amazing campus to be staying at.

As promised, here are some more shots. These are left overs from yesterday, in the sense that I didn't have time to edit them. There are some more shots I have left, so expect some additional photos! 

Here's a nice view from the garden behind Villa La Pietra:

And here's one photo from the garden:

As always, check http://www.flickr.com/mloiacono for more photos! I only post a handful of my photos on the blog, but all of them can be found on my flickr!

Tomorrow we are going to visit Lucca, so I'll have to find some time in between the trip, going out, and homework to finish editing pics and write my blog post.

Have a great day and hope you enjoyed reading! Please, pass the word around and spread my blog with all of your friends and family!


Friday, September 9, 2011

First Week of Classes Complete!

And it went pretty well at that. I like all my professors thus far, the classes are interesting, and there is certainly no shortage of fun throughout the week. We are going out soon, so I won't be writing a big post tonight. However, I didn't want to go the day without posting some new photos at least. I spent a little less than three hours walking all over firenze with my camera, just looking for any photo opportunities. I then spent some time in the garden behind Villa La Pietra. Lighting wasn't nearly as good as I had hoped it would be, but there are shots nonetheless. For now, I'm just going to show a few I took while walking through town, then more will follow up tomorrow. 

I've bee getting a bit bored of doing the usual shots of buildings, so I thought I'd put a little spin on the idea.

I've been looking since last week to do a shot like this, finally found the right spot:

And yet another shot of the Duomo. It really never gets old taking pictures of it. It's just such a marvelous building.

Well, that's all for now. Sorry for the short post, but there will be more coming soon!


Official 2nd Week in Firenze

Well, time's already starting to fly. Yesterday has been one week since I said goodbye to my family and hello to firenze. I was going to make this the topic of my blog post yesterday, but one thing led to the next and I ended up not having enough time to make my post or even edit pictures. Pretty typical day yesterday; ate breakfast, went to classes, handled photos from the late 1800's. Yes sir, quite a normal day.

Actually, quite the opposite. Most of the day was quite "normal". However, my photo class got to see the archives of Villa La Pietra. For those of you who have no idea what this means (me being one of them until yesterday), let me fill you in. Villa La Pietra, formerly owned by Sir Harold Acton. There is an archive within the Villa of photos gathered from within the Villa and bought from various other places. These are photos that exist no where else in the entire world. Pictures dating back to the lat 1800's. Photo albums put together by Sir Harold Acton's daughter herself. Now are you getting it? This is an incredible opportunity we were given, to handle these photos and see them for ourselves. Some of these photos were even taken in the garden behind the Villa. I'll be going to shoot there tonight, so you can see it for yourself soon enough!

After spending about two hours in the archive and then touring the garden, I went to Italian class, ate dinner, and went to finish up some homework. After that, then some other kids and I went out into town for a bit. Like usual, that little bit of time always ends up turning into a late night. Needless to say, going to bed really late did not make getting up for my 9am class any easier, nor did the slight cold I seem to have at the moment.

I'll have more photos either tonight or tomorrow, but here's some random shots. There was a gorgeous sunset last night, so, naturally, I had to take a photo of that:

Then I quick took a shot for Aarti and Freddie in front of it:

Here's the street that goes right along the Villa we are staying at:

And, one last one. I love this guy, he's always there playing classic Italian music. I got some videos of him, so I'm hoping to compile a video at some point during the semester.

Well, I'll be back today or tomorrow with some more photos. Check back soon!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tourists: An Unnecessary Necessity

As much as I like to think of myself as a local now that I've been living here for a total of about one week, I know that I'm not. However, the tourists are already get on my nerves. Each street you walk down, every corner you turn, there's either a group of people covering the entire walkway/street or a person taking a photo (with their flash turned on in clear day light...), completely oblivious to the world around them and the people trying to walk by.

As part of my Renaissance Art History class, we do site visits once a week. We essentially transform the historical sites into our classroom. Admittedly, I did feel a bit like a tourist. However, it wasn't so bad. My professor is incredibly knowledgeable about these works of art. We saw some of Donatello's sculptures (well, copies of them), a copy of Michelangelo's David (we are seeing the real thing at some point during the semester), and a few other sculptures. It was also nice to get the background story behind some of the incredible buildings around Piazza della Signoria.

After class, I ran some errands with a few friends and stopped by the book store. Just like Taaj, Aarti keeps the excitement levels way up, even when we aren't doing the most exciting tasks:

Coincidentally, I turned around and saw this nice photo opportunity just sitting in front of me.

Then, to the right of where I was standing when I took the above photo, I saw this nice little fruit and vegetable stand:

I then split from the group to get back to the dorm so I could catch up on some homework and reading. At some point today (I think it was before we left to go to the site visit in the morning), I also took this photo outside the front of Villa Natalia:

Finished up with classes, ate a big dinner, then went out into town for a little bit. Also, on a complely random note, I wish I would've had a forewarning (in my defense, the sign was much too small) that the washer/dryer shut off at 11pm. I put a load in around 9pm when we went out, and I got back at 11:30pm to a load of wash (all of my clothes with the exception of one outfit)  that was soaked and unable to be dried. No problem though, I'm drying my clothes the Florentine way; all of the clothes are now hanging in various spots throughout the room.

Enough with the nonsense and rambling. Yesterday I mentioned about a visit to the Villa la Pietra archives. I mixed up the days, turns out that visit is actually tomorrow. So, I should have an update on that in my blog entry for tomorrow.

Only two more days of classes for the week, then a fun weekend ahead! Tomorrow night we are going to a little event along the Arno river, then Sunday we are going to visit the little town of Luca. Packed weekend ahead! Now, my next goal is to get to bed before 1am... 12:57am here, goodnight!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Work vs. Play Time

These first two days of the week have been more of an adjustment than anything else. When I arrived here on Thursday, the majority of the day was free time with various orientations or meetings sprinkled throughout the day. That continued until yesterday, the first day of real college classes.

Today was easier than yesterday, in certain ways at least. After my morning English class, I took the bus into town to take care of some things I've been pushing off since day one. I finally managed to get my SIM card for my phone (if only the story ended there... more on that in a little bit), picked up some notebooks, and finally got myself a day planner. The day planner made a world of difference. Everything was a bit overwhelming until I bought the day planner, now I can keep track of all these dates that keep getting thrown in my direction.

Afterwards, I went back to the dorm to activate my phone. Something went wrong with the unlock PIN number for my phone, so I ended up with an expensive paperweight for over an hour while attempting to get an answer out of AT&T. I eventually settled that, finished up some left over reading from yesterday, and went onto Italian class.

Nothing terribly earth-shattering took place today. I was trying to think think of a picture for today's post. After all, this is a photo blog. I didn't have my camera on me today, so I didn't have any nice pictures from town. Rather than the typical town pictures, I thought I'd try something a little different. This is where I spent most of my time today:

Well, tomorrow hopefully I'll have a more interesting blog entry. We are going to visit some sort of historical site in town (the name escapes me at the moment) and in my photo class, we are going to see some historical photography that is at Villa La Pietra. I'm pretty excited for both of these, but I do have to finish up some more reading and write a small prompt for English tomorrow.

On a more exciting note, I'm not posting this at 1:30am this time! Time management is really key. So much truth behind that statement. I even get to sleep in a little tomorrow, although I'll probably end up reading before my trip in the morning. Regardless, I'll be back soon with yet another update.


Monday, September 5, 2011

First Day of Classes!

Well, today was a  bit of a crazy day. First day of classes, and college classes at that. Woke up at 7:45am (that wasn't too fun), got breakfast, then headed over to my first class, Renaissance Art History. After that, I had a 4 hour break until my next class. We hopped on the bus into town. I've talked about going into town a lot, but I might as well show the central hub we basically revolve around. The bus we take from the campus into town (bus 25, not that there's any specific reason you need to know that) takes us to here, and we pick it up here to take it back to he campus. This is Piazza San Marco:

Once we got into town, the group wanted to grab a slice of pizza (despite what everyone says, the pizza here is amazing) Rather than eating, I figured I'd do some shooting while waiting for the rest of the guys to eat. First of all, here is where we were eating:

I've eaten there once before. It's not cheap, but it is oh-so delicious. It also just so happens to be right next to the famous Duomo that you've seen in numerous shots. If you don't remember, this is the Duomo:

However, what you probably haven't seen is the absurd amount of tourists that are in this area every day.

Finally, the group finished up eating and we were now headed off to the book store to get our books. Even when getting books, Taaj (a fellow F&M classmate studying abroad with us) manages to keep the enthusiasm levels through the roof.

We got our books (at a discount since some were used), then everyone else headed back to the dorms while I stayed in town waiting for 2:30pm to roll around. There I was, all on my own for the first time. Usually, that kind of situation doesn't bother me, but considering I'm thousands of miles away from my home in a very foreign country, it's excusable. Armed with my trusty Canon, three lenses, and a map of the town, I was ready to take on firenze. 

I ventured to the address I was given for my photo class, getting lost numerous times on the way. However, getting lost does have its benefits; I found new photo opportunities and a nice little cafe. I bought an espresso, sat down at the cafe, and watched the people walk by for a few minutes and eventually had to uproot from my newly found haven, eventually making my way to the photo studio. Once I arrived at the studio, I walked around a bit more (since I still had time to kill) and found yet another beautiful street (I'm beginning to even wonder if there is a street that isn't beautiful):

I finally made it to photo class and met my fellow photographer classmates. I also met with my professor, who was incredibly interesting to speak with, got a tour of the studio, and went over the class details. I'm very excited for some of the upcoming events in my photo class, but I'll save those for another date (don't worry, I'll definitely be explaining those in detail at a later date). Afterwards, I went back to the campus for my Italian class.

If you are reading this, Mr. Laduca, I just want to say thank you for teaching me Italian over the summer. It was so helpful knowing some Italian going into the course, especially when the professor spoke Italian 90% of the time. I'm really considering following up on my Italian at Franklin and Marshall.

The rest of the night wasn't nearly as interesting, so I'm going to cut the blog entry off soon. Needless to say, now that classes started, things are getting much busier and time isn't as free as it was last week. It's 1:35am, yet I found that I was unable to go to bed without posting my blog entry first. This blogging is turning into an addiction.

As always, check out the rest of my photos at http://www.flickr.com/mloiacono and hopefully I won't be as tight on time tomorrow. Let's see what tomorrow brings!

Buono Notte!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Shooting Pics Around Campus

Because of how distraught I was at the fact that I didn't shoot at all today, I took some alone time walking around the campus to get a few more shots. It's really amazing at this campus how I can walk around 5 times and each time, I can see the potential for so many more photos. It's so great to just be able to step outside and shoot amazing pictures, let alone live 10 mins from the heart of firenze! Here's some shots to make up for the lack of shots in my last post.

This is a side view of the villa we are staying in.

Here's the walkway which leads to the villa (if you could mentally map it out, I was standing about 25 feet to the left hand side of the picture above when I took this following picture)

Lastly, here's one of my favorite little known spots on campus. I feel as if it's incredibly underrated. There are plenty of nice tables to sit that are placed around the villas, but this are is tucked nicely away from the villas, under the shade, with an amazing view of Villa la Pietra. My first day here, this is where I had my first lunch. It's a great place to go and sit down and relax, and the shade is more than welcomed when we have these 96 degree days!

For those of you who aren't aware, I host all of my photos on my flickr. I encourage you to go there and check out my photos as I will be only posting some of them here on the blog. Not to mention, the photos can be viewed in high resolution on flickr!


Day #3

I didn't get to make a blog entry yesterday, it was a crazy day. To summarize it, we were out all day either shopping, eating, or just walking around admiring firenze. After that, we ate dinner then went out, returning in the wee hours of the morning.

However, today I do have time to make an entry. Today was a relatively relaxing day, especially considering we didn't have any mandatory orientations or other types of meetings scheduled. We woke up around 11am, hung out at the villa until noon, then hopped on the bus to go into town for the day. During this relaxing day, I learned two things.

Lesson #1: If you are going to be in Italy during this time of the year, pack enough shorts. Advice to anyone else who plans to come to Italy this time of the  year, do bring shorts. I thought it would be cooling down by the time I got here, but how wrong I was. With four jeans and only one pair of shorts, the days can become even hotter than they need to be. It's manageable, but certainly not desirable.

Lesson #2: If you have a camera, keep it on you at all times. Do I ever regret not bringing my camera with me today. I though to myself before we left, "Oh, I don't need my camera. We are just going out for a bit, coming back, then going back out tonight when I can take some pictures." Turns out, we stayed in town later than planned and we are staying at the villa for the rest of the night. Walking around town today, I can't even begin to count how many times I said or thought "I wish I had my camera right now..." So, I will apologize in advance for the lack of photos in this blog post... Tomorrow I'm going to try and go shoot if it doesn't rain. Maybe even tonight I'll mange to get out and take some shots.

Regardless of these small hindrances, today was yet another successful day. I finally made it down to see the Arno river today. We also stopped at this little cafe to get some iced coffees. I'm now re-evaluating my idea of what an iced coffee is. It was almost like a coffee milkshake, if that makes any sense. Afterwards, we walked through the USA equivalent of a "farmers market", hit some shops, then headed back. That's about it for tonight. We are going to eat dinner, I'll hopefully take some night photos (I just thought of doing that as I was typing this, I really like that idea now actually), and probably just watch some Italian TV after that.

I'll have another post tonight. If not, tomorrow most likely. Classes are starting on Monday, so my daily schedule will be changing up a bit.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

First Day in Firenze

After orientation and lunch, we had the rest of the day to ourselves. Naturally, we all wanted to go down into firenze and explore a little bit. We got off the bus and began just walking in every which direction. Really, the alleys just lend themselves to beautiful photos.

The building in the second picture is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, aka a very intricately built cathedral. Between the excellent blue sky and the lines of the architecture, it looked great from nearly every angle. Moving around front, the view was marvelous...

After that, we stopped at a little cafe and got some pizza. Delicious, needless to say. Afterwards, I walked around the Villa and took some pictures. More of them can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/mloiacono, as always. Here's a great view of Villa La Pietra:

Bring on day number two!


Traveling Day Complete!

Well, after a long day of traveling (I'm still not sure of what day it is at the moment), I've arrived in firenze! I'm much more jet-lagged than I had expected to be. I went to bed around 5AM Wednesday, woke up at 8AM, flew to Munich at about 6PM and eventually reached Florence at 10:30AM Thursday (Florence Time Zone, 4:30AM EST).

Most of the traveling seems like a haze at this point, I feel like I just woke up, said goodbye to my family, then, in the blink of an eye, I was standing outside of the firenze airport attempting to find a taxi to take me to the Ville.

Overall, the traveling went relatively smooth though. After reaching Ville Natalia, I had my first two hours of orientation at the Odeon Theatre in firenze. Then we took a very brief tour of the campus and called it a day. Later tonight I'm hoping to go outside and shoot some pictures. If not tonight, then soon.

Keep checking back for more updates!