Entry 3: June 21, 2012
On our three travel breaks we went to three very different cities. The town that we spent the most amount of time in was Sansepolcro; it was a small Tuscan town. The first city we went to was Sorento; it was a small town on the cost of Italy. The second town we went to was Rome, which is a very large and fast paced town. The last town we went to was Venice, which was the in between town. There were so many differences in these towns that it was amazing.
To compare these towns to towns in the United States would just not make sense because we are not in the US, but comparing each amazing Italian town is interesting. The first town was Sorento; it did not have really any tourist attractions except that it was on the coast. This town was like what I expected, a small laid back town. Rome was the exact opposite, it was a very large very busy town that made sure we were on the move at all times. Rome was the town that you had to see while you were in Italy, it was the most famous. This was fun but it was more intense than we were expecting. Venice, the last town that we visited was right in between the two towns. It had the laid back beach town feel but it also had the bustling metropolis feel that comes with a bigger town. It had tourist attractions, like Rome, but it also had the laid back atmosphere that Sorento had. But, the town we spent the most time in was Sansepolcro, our home, it was not a busy town in the least bit but it had a charm that you could see the second that you arrived. There were so many different things in Sansepolcro from the main street that locals loved to walk on at night to the Gerasmos that was the coffee shop that would know your order by the time that you had been there for a few weeks.
My favorite town was Sorento, it was a town that I thought that I would visit when I got here, but it ended up being my favorite, besides Sansepolcro, of course. The laidback feel of the town and the fact that the beach was the only thing that Sorento really had going for it was perfect for us. Our group was worn out from the first few days of class; the beach was exactly what we needed. The fact that we got to relax and hang out for a few days was just was the doctor ordered. The first day that we went all we did was lay out at the beach and just hang out. The second day we got a boat and went to Capri which was still relaxing, there was no crazy crowds of people it was like an unknown gem of a town that I will recommend to any of my friends that are going to Italy.
The second town that we went to was Rome. This was nothing like Sorento. This town was like the energizer bunny. We thought we would relax and sleep like we did in Capri, not at all. I am glad that I went to Rome and saw the sights but, I don’t have any interest in going back. This town was like the New York of Italy, it was huge, busy, and a lot of people. I loved that we got to see all of the historic sites like the Pantheon and Palatine Hill but it was not really worth the trouble of getting on the bus systems or trying to ask the not so helpful locals where everything was. There was not really anything that was that great about Rome, it was just hot and dirty. The whole time we were saying, I just want to go back to Sorento.
The last town that we went to on our last travel break was Venice. This town was perfect; it had the laid back atmosphere along with the touristy attractions that we could go look at if we wanted to. The attractions that we went and saw were Morano Island, where they make all the glass, and St Mark’s Cathedral which was amazing. I wish we would have had one more day that we could have gone out to the beach but I guess that is a next trip thing. The only thing that I did not like about Venice was how hot it was and nowhere had air conditioning. I don’t know how people that take trips there in the summer can do it. Venice was the perfect mixture of cute shops, tourist, and at the same time had the just go with the flow atmosphere that I guess you had to have since all the streets are made of water.
My favorite town that we went to was Sansepolcro, our home. This town was like the town that I live in the United States. It was one of those towns that everyone knows your name. It was perfect for Meredith’s home away from home. There were so many wonderful people that were in Sansepolcro that welcomed us with open arms and made being there so great! Having a town that you know when you get back from a travel break that you know what you are going to do and where everything is makes this town so much like home. Knowing that if we need something that most people would do their very best to help us was great. There was one lady that worked at Gerasmos that would let me practice Italian, correcting most of the time, and one of our last days there I ordered a cappuccino and she looked smiled and just said bene. It made me feel so great, that I had at least accomplished one thing while I was there.
I don’t want to leave Italy, as I am writing this on the way to Switzerland it is making me so sad to think that this amazing trip is over, even though having my daddy carry my bag to the car when I get to the airport makes going home a little bit more exciting. I don’t know how every girl at Meredith doesn’t want to do this; it was an experience that I will cherish forever. All of the towns that we went to were amazing and I would love to do all of the trips all over again but, there are so many other towns that I want to see know that I didn’t know existed before I came on this trip. I will not be going back to Rome unless I have to but I will go back to Sorento and Sansepolcro. I love going to the places that people don’t go, the atmosphere of those towns are so great.
Entry 2: June 7, 2012
Since coming to Italy I have noticed what a big emphasis food is in this culture in comparison to America. Food in general is very different but socially food has a whole different meaning as well. From the first day here I have been amazed at how different Italians as a whole look at food in comparison to at home. I have also noticed how different even older Italians take their time to eat and use food as more of a social tool and not just do eat and dash. There are so many differences that I wish I could take home with me and share with the people in the US.
In psychology class we have taken two field trips to a day care and another to an elementary school. Each time that we went to the places the children were getting a meal for lunch and at least one snack that they provided for the children. In comparison, since I have worked at a daycare and volunteered at an elementary school, I have noticed how lunch is just a quick time to eat and go. American children get a sandwich, a fruit, chips, and sometimes a dessert. There isn’t really a long time devoted to lunch the children in America get about thirty minutes to eat whatever their parents packed for them. In Italy the children are provided lunch every day that is a vegetable, pasta, a meat, and fruit. They also get about an hour to eat and socialize with each other.
Also social eating has been carried over into adulthood as well, even with drinking. The first few times that we ate somewhere where we all had to sit down we all got really annoyed that they did not bring us a bill when we were done. In the US the waiters bring us the meal as soon as you are done and sometimes before you have even finished your meal! In Italy waiters think that if you eat there then you will have that table for a while if not all night. This is not in just the small towns either; they did it in Capri and Rome as well! Eating is not the only thing that they do slower here Italians also drink as a way to be social as well, which is not as common in the US.
The first day when we got to Sansepolcro Dr. Vitarbo said that Margarita had prepared a small meal for us for lunch, to me that meant that we were going to have like sandwiches or something that was not very big, on the contrary it was a very large and amazing meal! Thinking about the poor American children that have no idea what they are missing makes me laugh; I would like to know what they would think of the elaborate meals that are prepared for Italian children every day! Also the Italian children are eating so much healthier than the American children because the teachers said that they prepared everything depending on the seasons and everything that could be organic was. Most things that American children eat, for most meals, are processed foods. This could be why you don’t see many obese Italian children or adults. Ever since then I have been looking at food as a social thing and not just to eat and be done.
Like the children, Italians as a whole eat slower and healthier than Americans do. There are not many options around Sansepolcro like Chick Fil A and McDonalds, in America there is a fast food place on almost every road. Most eating places if they are fast then they are not food they are pastries. You cannot go get a cheeseburger and fries for dinner unless you make it yourself. Italians don’t eat like it is a race like people do in America; Italians stay put and savor their foods for the night. American culture you are in and out. If you take longer than they want you to the waiters will start cleaning off the tables or something to let you know they are ready for you to leave. I think that the waiters at around here think that we are so busy because we always eat then ask for the check as soon as we are done. I would like to, one night when we have time, to see how long it would take them to give us a check if we don’t ask for it! Food is always a big part of every culture but, Italy seems to have even more of a social aspect to eating that the US couldn’t ever have. They treat every day like we think of Thanksgiving! They also have lunch as the big meal which in the US the bigger meal is usually dinner. That took a little getting used to for me because at dinner I would be about to starve because I hadn’t eaten that much lunch. But, it does make sense that they would do this because the food has more time to digest and it gives you more energy for the rest of the day.
Drinking also seems to be purely for social purposes as well. People that are drunk when we go people watch during the pasagante are usually given a lot of dirty looks. In the U.S. people first don’t think that it is fun to walk up and down a street all night. Second they wouldn’t really think that much of it if someone was drunk walking around. Drinking in Italy is just a scene and be scene kind of thing, part of their constantly going movies that they are all staring in. They don’t seem to drink and walk around either, if they are going to drink they will usually sit somewhere and people will come talk to them. It is such a different social scene in Italy than in the US.
I think that the slower eating part of the culture will be something that I am going to try and take from the Italian culture back to the US. I love that here people take their time, compared to the US where everyone is rushed. I love that everyone is usually late without even apologizing or giving a reason. I also wish that I could explain to American people that have children in schools eating lunch need to take some tips from the Italians about feeding the children at lunch!
Entry 1: May 22, 2012
The museum that we went to today during our IDS class was very interesting. The most impressive and most know artist in the museum is Piero Franccesca, who is known as the son of Sansepolcro. Dr. Vitarbo said that he was the first artist of his time to try and create a three dimensional image on the canvas. The museum itself would be very easy to miss if you didn’t know what you were looking for, but the inside is amazing! The beautiful frescos and the statues in the basement were all so interesting to see how people in the different time periods viewed children.
When you go inside of the Museo Civico you see the way that Italians have learned how to perfectly blend the old buildings with the newest technology and styles. The simplistic way that the pictures are hung on the wall and there is like one or two on each wall, it was hard for me to understand what they were showing because most of the descriptions were in Italian. The statues in the basement areas were also very intriguing because they all looked very similar; a few of them had the same hand gestures. The locks and keys really amazed me they were so large! One of my favorite paintings was the Leandro Bassano which Dr. Vitarbo said was a picture of the birth of Jesus but they were all dressed in Middle Age clothing, it had a lot of beautiful colors and was very detailed. The frescos that were painted using plaster were very intriguing because they have survived for so long, probably longer than the buildings that housed them.
The children in most of the pictures that we viewed were not actually in correct proportion they looked more like young adults. In the Psychology class that I am taking it states that children were “considered adults when they reached age seven because it was the “age of reason”. In many places, during the Middle Ages, the children also wore dresses until age seven; however, when boys reached this age they were allowed to wear pants.” Rathus pg 7-8 One of the pictures in the museum that I saw that depicted they way children were viewed as young adults was the Agostino Ciampelli , you could also not tell what the sex of the young child. The other painting that I saw the child depicted in a very mature way was The Madonna: The Presentation in the Temple the child was all alone in the middle of the photo.
I haven’t ever thought about how children’s roles have changed and children were not always treated like children. In the Middle Ages and for a long time children went to work once they learned how to walk. It is a law in America that children cannot work until they are sixteen now but back then, children did some of the most dangerous work because they could fit inside the machinery. They also worked very long and exhausting days, but that is how the society was and it was considered normal. It has also made me think of how even today different people see children. In the past few days since coming to Italy I have seen many young children out and about with their families late into the night, in America people would frown upon this and would probably say something to that mother. In the Psychology class we are going to see an Italian day care and an elementary school and I will be very interested to compare and contrast the ways that they are treated here in comparison to the US.
The other thing in the museum that I found interesting was the way that they depicted God and Satan. God was depicted as very large in the some of the paintings the one that I remember the best was The Virgin Mary: The Nativity he was unseen by the people below him but he was looking over everyone. He had a long beard and he was brighter than the other people in the picture which made you see how the artist viewed God as a ruler that needed to be looked up to and praised. The other painting that I saw at the museum was the same way; God was up in the top of the painting observing what was going on under him. The picture of the last supper that depicted Judis as a devil was strange to me. I knew that Judis was viewed as evil but I hadn’t ever thought of him as a devil with slicked back hair and a pointy beard. Also he was looking a different way than the others in the class, he was hold a bag of something, he had a demon coming out from under his chair and was the only person at the table that did not have a halo on his head. The other picture of the last supper in the beginning of the tour did not depict Judis in the same way. He was holding a bag of something in his hand but that was the only similarity that I saw between the two paintings the first on that I saw was a lot darker than the other one and Jesus was the only one wearing a halo.
I thought that the museum would be different than it was is was very similar to the ones on the US. It was nice to see that what we learned about in Psychology was validated in the paintings of the children. I didn’t know that every person in that time period thought the same way about children. This makes me very interested to see if there is still a difference in the Italian culture in the way that they treat children or if it is the same as the US. The other interesting thing to me was that different people had different views and they did express them in the way that we saw the two different pictures of the last supper. I would like to go back after I have been here for a little while longer and see if I can see the similarities in the way that Italians think about things now and how they did then. The only difference that I have seen so far is only what I mentioned before being that the children stay out so much later at night time than American children would do. I can’t wait to go to the schools and see if the children are treated more mature than they are in America.