Friday, 8 May 2009

Ciao Italia!

Today is our last day in Italy and I am having a hard time saying goodbye to all the people and experiences here. It seems that the Italians get so much more connected to each other and us. I have had a great time getting to know the people here, K-Staters and Italians. Anyway, I will be traveling with Steph, Sam, and Steph's sister to Basel, Dusseldorf, Brussels, London, and Paris over the next 2 weeks. Look for my arrival stateside on the 24th of May. Ciao!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Spring in Tivoli

Because spring has arrived and no one wants to be inside longer than is definitely necessary, my favorite class outing this semester was our recent trip to Tivoli. We saw the Roman ruins of Hadrian's Villa and the Renaissance Villa d'Este. Below are the ruins of the Canopis at Hadrian's Villa, a scenic lake created for the Emperor.

I loved the amazing sky against the crumbling columns and vaults. An incredible day for pictures.

Here I am in Villa d'Este with the cat we named Beverly who just jumped on my lap. I miss my Spinner!

I took some pictures of the flowers. This was probably the first time we have been in a garden when things have been in bloom.

The fountains in this villa were incredible but this one was definitely my favorite. It was huge and when I tried to get close to it take a picture, I got soaked by the spray.

Here is one final picture of tulips, my favorite flower. We were right on time to see a bunch of different kinds of tulips in bloom in the garden. Well, that is enough for now. Ciao!


Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Under the Tuscan Sun

Here are some pictures from the last few weeks of field trips, etc. We have stayed mostly around Orvieto, traveling to Tuscany and the area. Below is a picture from Civita di Bagnoregio, a tiny town (population 20) in the middle of a canyon. Essentially, the town hasn't been touched for several hundred years so it looks very much like it would have in the height of it's power.

Just to show the drama of the landscape. There are no cars on the cliff, so everyone must approach it across a pedestrian bridge. The inhabitants have to make a steep 20 minute trek to Bagnoregio to get groceries.

I had to take the obligatory pictures with the leaning tower. The tower complex was very beautiful with all it's white buildings, but that is pretty much all there is to see in the city. I suppose one could say that about Orvieto as well.

Ahh, Siena. Siena was beautiful. It probably didn't hurt that the weather was awesome that day. We spent about an hour soaking up the sun in the Campo gazing at the tower and the Italian highschoolers running around.

Awesome colors in Siena. I did this picture for one of my required "beautiful drawings" for class. It turned out alright, but probably not as beautiful as in person.

And finally, something I have spent a lot of time doing lately: enjoying gelato. Pretty much amazing. This is the best place in Florence for real, not touristy gelato. I love it.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Gardens... for my mother.

What a great way to start out this post, eh? These pictures are, again, out of order from what I intended. On our last field trip we visited Bomarzo and the "Park of the Monsters," an anomaly among gardens. Surprisingly, this one was created in the 1500s. There were a collection of unusual monster statues throughout this wild garden.

Of course, I felt the need to climb, or 'parkour,' up a tree while we sat around in the next park. We had about 2 hours to spare and we used it to goof around like true college students.

This garden was in the Villa Lante in Bagnaia (oh, I love all the vowels). This was also a renaissance garden. It was ordered beautifully with water features and very intricately patterned hedgerows.

Here is the last photo from that garden showing my favorite water feature. It was a fountain that followed the steps down in a chain link pattern. The movement was fantastic. Enjoy Mom!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Spring Break

Here are some pictures from my glorious spring break. We saw a lot of cool things, ate some fantastic food, and had some interesting adventures. These are just a few pictures that I thought captured the moment. Unfortunately, being an architecture student, I took surprisingly few pictures with people in them. Alas, my mother will be disappointed.
This is a photo from Prague. I loved Prague as it was very colorful and romantic. We caught up with some friends from K-State here that showed us around. A fantastic way to end our journey (the pictures are in reverse order).

This was taken in Budapest while walking around at night. There were tons of memorials in these cities, especially in Budapest and Prague, to the victims of communist and nazi occupation. I learned many interesting things about these cities pasts while travelling.

In Vienna, we toured the Spanish Horseriding School which was an excellent change of pace. Apparently there is quite the history of horsemanship in the city that I didn't know about. I thought these statues were beautiful and rather appropriate.

This photo was taken in Verona after we spent the day touring a Carlos Scarpa museum (pretty cool and don't worry because I didn't know who he was before this trip either), eating gelato, and hanging out in the sun. Verona is now one of my favorite Italian cities because it had all the things I needed: cool architecture, good gelato, and parks to relax in.

And finally, the piece de resistance, Venice. I have wanted to come to Italy, and mostly Venice, since I was probably 10. Luckily, Venice did not disappoint. Our Italian history and culture professor Marco made sure that we saw all the important parts of the city and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Caio from Italy

I just wanted to send out a small post to whoever may read it saying that I am back in Italy. I just spent 2 wonderful weeks touring Venice, Verona, Vienna, Budapest, and Prague but I am glad to be back in Orvieto. Upon return, Italy seems more like home although nothing can replace my beloved hOmaha. It is much warmer in Italy now and it is beginning to really look like spring. The trees and flowers are starting to bud and the breeze feels warmer on my face. Through all of this I am still looking forward to coming home at the end of the semester. I am looking forward to good internet access, convenient shop hours, and spending time with my family. But I will miss the food and the laid back lifestyle here, so I may have to bring these home with me. Arrivederci for now, or ci vediamo (I'll see you later) and enjoy some American culture for me!

Friday, 6 March 2009

More Southern Italy

I am back with more picture of the south of Italy. Above is a photo from Pompeii, the ancient Roman city that has ironically been preserved by the very eruption that brought destruction to it's inhabitants. Vesuvius looms in the background, threatening to erupt at any time... only not really because it is heavily protected.

Here we are at the Villa San Michele on the Island of Capri. This was beautiful villa with gardens and arcades framing views out to the blue sea and sky.

Steph and I on the ferry to Capri. We had a moderately exciting ride to the island with a team of Italian soccer players. They provided another kind of scenery for the ladies on the ferry.

My mom will be happy to hear that we hiked to this natural arch on Capri. Again, the colors here are amazing and made it worth all of the stairs that we had to climb up and down to get here. Ahh, just another beautiful day in Italy!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Southern Italy

This picture shows a little bit of the architecture that we saw in the area. There was a strong Islamic influence in the South of Italy and it shows in the arches in this courtyard. Many of the villas that we visited had similar patterned archways and palm trees.

The landscape in the Amalfi coast is fantastic. The mountains plunge into the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean. The sky and sea are the main events in the landscape. This picture was taken on a hike that a group of friends and I took down the mountain. By hike I mean that it was about 1000 stairs down to the beach.

This is Sam, Steph, and I in front of our hotel, that's right, in front of our hotel. Again, the scenery was simply breathtaking. Even though it was the South, it really wasn't that warm, we did wear our coats most of the day but the sun was gorgeous.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Florence pictures have arrived! These are pictures taken during the aforementioned Valentine's Day weekend spent in Florence. This is the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge over the Arno River. Both sides of the bridge are bordered by jewelry shops where we oggled jewels and dreamt about what we wanted to buy some day.

These pictures are a little out of order, so you will have to forgive me. We snoozed in the Boboli Gardens for a while in the afternoon. It was delightful to sit in the sun. Below is are Wendy, Carrie, and Sam basking in the sun around a fountain.

We also found a cat in the gardens. We seem to find cats all over Italy. I am gathering a collection of photos of Italain cats which I plan on showing my dad as soon as I arrive at home. Carrie and this cat, whom we dubbed Latte (or milk), bonded as you can see. They both seem to be in a state of dreamland in this picture.

I really like this picture. It shows the reflection of the sky in the pond around a fountain. The perfect illustration of a beautiful day!

This picture is for my mom. She took so many pictures of English gardens this summer in London that I had to show her a glimpse of what gardens are like in Italy, i.e. lots of statues and oddly pruned trees, but beautiful.

We climbed to the top of the dome of the Duomo in Florence, and it was totally worth it! The view and experience were amazing. It was sunny up here too, so we hung around for a while and warmed up. This is Steph and I overlooking the city and, I believe, the Palazzo Vecchio is in the background.
And finally, a sunny view of the Duomo in Florence. It was even cooler, on the outside, than I imagined it. The inside is pretty sparse, except for the dome interior because they have moved all the artwork to the duomo museum. Once I get good at watercoloring, I might try my hand at this one.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

St. Valentine's in Florence

I spent the best Valentine's Day, ever, in Florence this year. Although in reality I really don't have any too compare it too, I imagine that this year's day will live on in my mind for years to come.
The six of us, including me, Steph, Sam, Carrie, Christie, and Wendy, took our time exploring the city in the morning. We ventured into an English bookstore where I purchased A Room With A View, which I am enjoying quite a bit. We also stopped by Zecchi's, a prolific art supply store, and Grom, the best gelateria in Florence. After lunch at an authentic Italian eatery, we toured the Boboli Gardens at the Pitti Palace. They were beautiful! We sat, read, sketched, and basked in the sun for about an hour by a beautiful fountain. We lounged in a cafe for a while, waiting for the best pizzeria in Florence to open for dinner. The night was capped off with a romantic dessert of chocolate and champagne in our hostel room. I am so thankful for great friends and opportunity to spend time with them here!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

When in Rome...

I thought it was about time for some more pictures. My fans, i.e. my mom, are eager to get a taste of what I've been experiencing here in Italy. So here is an antipasto of our recent trips to Rome.

For those of you who are architecturally inclined, or at least wish to be, here is one for you. This is the dome of a baroque church by Borromini, I believe. I was pretty pumped to go inside this one as I remembered it from history class. We have seen a lot of churches so far, but this one is my favorite, for now.

More recognizable is the remains of the Colosseum. It was pretty cool to see this one as well. The weather was great this day which contrasted our viewing of it the night before in the rain.

Steph and I in front of the Pantheon, that image of the magnificence of Roman design and engineering. Unfortunately for the Romans, this picture was quickly followed by the statement "Pantheon Shmantheon. I need a granita!" The Piazza Rotonda is also famous because of the location of another majestic invention: frozen espresso mixed with frozen whipped cream. A delight and more sugar than I've ever had in one cup!

Ahh, the Trevi Fountain. C'e bella! Sam enlightened us with the suggestion that we each through 2 coins into the fountain, one for a wish to come true and the other to wish to return to the spot again. How romantic.

And finally, a photo to prove to you that I am enjoying myself. Here are Steph, me, Carrie, and Sam on the Spanish steps. I hope that this will assuage my viewers for little while longer. Prego!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Citta di Orvieto

The city of Orvieto sits on a "precipitous tuffa craig," or for those of us who don't speak geology a cliff of volcanic rock. In the mornings and sometimes in the evenings the valley will fill with a haze and when the sun bursts out of the clouds the view is spectacular. This is a photo looking out from the battlements of the medieval city.
The icon of Orvieto is definitely this church, il duomo. I wish I could remember the name of this church as that would be more impressive, but everyone calls it "the duomo" so that will have to do. The sky was a magnificent shade of blue in the evening and the duomo begged to be photographed. That's all the pictures for today, the internet is pretty spotty in this cafe.

Thursday, 29 January 2009


I thought I would explain to you how much food the ladies in my house and I have eaten in the past week. To expand on my last post, I think what I've heard is correct: the male students that visit Italy loose 10lbs. and the female students gain 10lbs. The ladies of my house, Stephanie, Carrie, Christie, Sam, and I have eaten a lot of food this week! We tried to count it out and it looks like we have consumed 5 loaves of bread, an entire wheel of cheese, a bottle of olive oil, 3 bags of crostini, 5 bags of pasta, and about 7 bottles of wine. Monumental to say the least. Well, I need to go, we're off to go purchase more food for dinner!

Monday, 26 January 2009


Well, I am sitting in the "blue bar" in Orvieto using the internet on Christie's computer. I just enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate that was more like a chocolate pudding. All the food here is so delicious, but I think I won't gain any weight, mom, because of all the walking I have done today. Anyway, the pictures are from my cooking class. The first is with the restaurant's cat, Mio. Spinner should be jealous because this cat lives in the courtyard of the Zeppelin and gets fed pasta and salumi. It was so cute and jumped on my lap when I started petting it.

This is the "squadro pane" with our creations. Brad and Ryan are fellow architecture students and we had a great time learning to make the bread.

Here I am kneading the dough. The chef that helped us told me I was a natural and that he knew a few "artisan bread makers" who could take a lesson from me. I guess I have a backup if I can't find a summer job!

This is a picture from the market in the Palazzo Popolo. They sell dried goods at this vendor and they let us taste a lot of things because we were with the chef from the Zeppelin.