Wow – three firsts – first Pope to take the name Francis, first Jesuit, first pope from the Southern Hemisphere (or the Global South to use the current term). Of course, he’s of Italian parents. I don’t know what’s more interesting. Maybe the idea that the first Jesuit pope took the name Francis instead of Ignatius?
This certainly seems like the easiest way to open to the Global South – choose someone who might even be a native speaker of Italian! That will assuage some national pride there – and if the agenda for the next papacy includes tangling with the bureaucracy (and everyone seems to think it does) one must be able to speak the language of the back stairs.
Tonight our Center for Global Education held an information session for Spring ’14 programs – so at least some of the students who met with us* tonight will be with us in Rome this time next year! In fact, given how things usually go, we’ll be getting ready to leave for Naples . . . .
Time to launch a new category – HWS Rome 2014!
*this time I will be co-directing with Professor Christine Chin, who teaches and practices new media approaches to photo and video. This will be her first trip to Rome and her first time to lead a program abroad – though she’s worked with student groups on trips since she was in college herself.
Second book of the year. I just finished Iliaria Dagnini Brey, The Venus Fixers: the Remarkable Story of the Allied Soldiers who Saved Italy’s Art during World War II. This is the third book or so I’ve read about the assorted art historians, archaeologists, and architects who were tasked with keeping historical monuments from collapsing and trying to return looted art to its previous homes. Brey’s version is all Italy – and it suffers from that. Indeed, it suffers from altogether too much Florence. I’ll admit that I am a contrarian on the subject of Florence – but if Hobart and William Smith’s program in Italy had been based in Florence rather than Rome, I might not have stayed long enough to become tenure track. Brey has lots of fun anecdotes — she’s best on Frederick Hartt. I wouldn’t recommend it as highly as Robert Edsel’s The Monuments Men. Really, lots of stuff was stolen from all across Europe, and the German side of the story is quite interesting, too.
When Pompeii shows up in my news feed the pictures are almost never good.
Last week I was talking to the colleagues who are leading the Rome program this spring about Herculaneum vs. Pompeii. This kind of mess is part of what helped me decide to take the 2011 crew to Herculaneum. Pompeii is too big to take care of properly.
I’ve really enjoyed my first little visit to Arezzo. I saw Piero della Francesca’s Invention of the True Cross Cycle, a Cimabue Crucifix, some Luca Signorelli paintings, and more Vasari than you can shake a stick at (he’s a native son). The food is splendid and MUCH cheaper than Rome or Milan (though still not really a deal – but comparison makes it seem so).
Arezzo is pretty bustling, but even here there are signs of The Crisis. Milan was worse. The piazza in front of the Stazione Centrale is still unfinished, though it’s further along than last year. Most times I passed there were a grand total of 3 workmen active working on laying the pavement for that enormous square. And there were lots of vacant store-fronts. That’s a noticeable element here in Arezzo.
The contrast with Germany couldn’t be more stark. Something’s going to give – and I hope it doesn’t turn ugly.
I’m not sure if this is an iPad + WordPress thing, or a Flickr thing, or what – but I’m having troubles. Go to my Flickr account and look at the Isola Bella pictures. I promise I’ve tried all sorts of ways to post them here!
I had 2 very pleasant days in Padua — the Arena/Scrovegni Chapel the first evening (they weren’t overbooked – I went in with a party of 15, when 25 is the usual size). I museumed and duomoed and visited the Shrine of St. Anthony. My. That’s really something. I didn’t bother with Venice. My foot was hurting too much (damned gout – I have ibuprofened it into submission).
Today is Monday, and all the other museums would have been closed anyway, so I turned this into a travel day and ended up in Arezzo — hometown of Piero della Francesca, Aretino, and Vasari (at least). I was lucky, because it also rained all day (at least after I got to the Padua train station). Trenitalia did one of those very annoying track changes TWICE – both in Padua and in Bologna I had to change platforms at the last minute. I brought too much luggage. I bought some souvenirs in Padua, but they’re quite light (Father Baker, I bought you THE tackiest St Anthony object ever, but it was not part of the problem). Then I watched it pour from inside a nice train seat.
In Arezzo, the hotel loaned me an umbrella and I had my windbreaker. Lucky for me! As I started up the hill to San Francesco (and the Invention of the True Coss) the heavens opened. POURing rain. Hail! Really! I huddled in a church porch for about 20 minutes.
Eventually I continued up the hill and saw the frescoes. YOW. Giotto on Satuday and Piero on Monday. Visual living doesn’t get a lot better!
So just as I get to Milan my right knee starts to hurt. Milan is a city with nothing stone-paved piazze, too.
And the pope gets here Friday. Mob scene!
My colleagues and I are brainstorming course development for 5th courses–that is the course our Italian partner delivers. Fun!
Back to Geneva from Kalamazoo – need to call Mother – need to do laundry – need to re-pack for 3 weeks in Europe. There’s a whole lot of “what was I thinking?” going on right now.
further: and that was before I found out this afternoon (see, - need to call Mother - )that my father’s only brother died Saturday. Now add – get to and from West Tennessee before departure for Rome - to the mix.
Just seeing how well this works. I’m about to make a short trip to Italy and perhaps Germany, and I’d like to make the trip with only the iPad!
So – how about keyboard cut and paste? Yes, here’s the link for our Center for Global Education.
Gesture cut and paste? Ok:
The mission of the Center for Global Education is to provide students with academically challenging study abroad experiences that foster an in-depth understanding of another culture, with the aim of encouraging them to embrace the concept of global citizenship. Being a responsible, effective citizen of the world involves assuming an active role in one’s own community and in the larger world; it requires an understanding of the relationship between actions made locally and globally and a commitment to the betterment of people’s lives everywhere. Through our rigorous study abroad programs and innovative on-campus predeparture and reentry programming, the Center for Global Education strives to provide students with a transformative learning experience that inspires them to live lives of consequence.
The thing that annoys me most about trying to WORK with the iPad is the impossibility of sending an attachment from inside the Mail app. I’m sure there’s a better solution than the workarounds I’ve seen out there!