Annotated Bib. #2

The Maestro of Murano- 2/11/11

This past weekend, we had the amazing opportunity to visit one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, Venice. One of the main attractions, for me, was our morning trip to the small island of Murano. It wasn’t until this past weekend when I came to understand the great history behind Murano glass. Prior to then, I had only a small understanding of what this tiny island had to offer. Dating back all the way until before the first millennium, Murano glass has survived history’s ups and downs, from economic achievements to depressions, and cheap reproductions of  produced by many different countries. ( November 2, 2011). The history of Murano glass is impressive, and the pieces of art derived from it are even more impressive.

Walking into the glass blowing room, I noticed nothing special; in fact it seemed a little run down with broken pieces of glass peppered throughout the room, and a huge furnace aged, not so gracefully, with time. There was an old man sitting in the corner, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, the best way to describe him was simply…simple. It wasn’t until a few minutes later, when I learned of his incredible talents and abilities achieved by dedicating his entire life to glass blowing. I would never have imagined such a modest old man, making such elaborate and ornate pieces of art that sell for thousands of Euros. I found it amazing, and almost magical, to see the Maestro so effortlessly pull  the shape of a horse out of the molten glass right in front of my eyes. He fashioned and twisted the glass so gracefully, and within minutes a perfect figure of a reared up horse sat before me. What is even more mind-blowing for me was that this little sculpture was elementary for the Maestro, it didn’t even compare to the marvelous pieces of art we would soon see. ( November 2, 2011).

Murano Island is unique, in that it is both historic and contemporary; the types of characteristics filmmakers look for when creating a movie and finding a site to shoot. It is a historically rich location, surviving over the centuries it has matured with age. As opposed to other locations which contain only history, Murano differs, in that it can also be considered contemporary because of the modern day artists it contains.The Maestro of Murano, despite his humble appearance, he is an artistic genius; one who we are able to see, and observe in his own environment. After experiencing firsthand the workings of Murano, I found it contains many of the qualities necessary


Annotated Bib 2 -Catie

Old Appian Way. Bike tour. 2 Novembre 2011

On November 1, which in Italy is recognized as “The Day of the Dead,” our group was led on a bike tour down the Old Appian Way by Dinilo.  We rented bikes from a small local company and trucked our way down the old, cobblestone roadway.  Most businesses are closed for the day in remembrance of those who have passed.  Being that the Old Appian Way is home to beautiful scenery consisting of remnants of what used to be large houses of wealthy Italians.  This meant that the road was filled with Italians enjoying their day off of work.  Many people were having picnics, riding bikes, walking their dogs, or letting their children run the famous road until they were worn out.  As we rode down the road Danilo would stop to point out interesting pieces of history which still stand today.  We passed many grave sites of some of the wealthy people that used to live on that land.  Dinilo explained to us how that in the days of these ancient Romans, the slaves would eventually be freed, although it was usually through their death that they were freed, and would inherit the last name of their owners.  This made them a part of the family.    We also saw the grave site of a well known man who once had been a slave, was freed and then once he died was buried with the others of his “new” family.  I thought it was interesting that in all of the statues, his was placed in the middle, with his new family members on his sides. To me, this showed that during this time, although Rome was still was relatively new; the idea of family was much different than in even Modern day America.

 The Old Appian Way was the first road to ever lead into Rome.  Just the simple fact that so many people chose that location to spend their day off really showed me how much history is appreciated in the Italian culture.  As I mentioned, the Old Appian Way has many grave sites running along its sides, so it made a great place to commemorate the dead for the holiday.  Many people, instead of sleeping their day away, as many Americans may do, were walking down the most historical road of their country and reading aged tombstone readings.   Not only is this road historically enjoyable, but the view of nature is absolutely beautiful from almost any angle along the path.  In particular, we took advantage of a tall hill that we found which had an old military guard post upon it.  We climbed to the top and as luck had it, a herd of sheep were being directed down a path which ran perpendicular to the Old Appian Way by two sheepdogs and a shepherd.  It was a beautiful sight! Trees lined the road and kept a nice shade in the heat of the day.  Many people were sitting beneath the trees, eyes closed, just soaking in the beauty of their surroundings.  I tried to imagine a time when I saw an American take the time out of their day to just breathe and enjoy life for what it is. I know that I am one of few that do this. To me, this showed the appreciation for nature which helps to characterize Italians.  I was able to see that connecting with nature and taking time to reflect on their history is a critical part of an Italians’ life.  In more than one way, I felt the sense of family present along the Old Appian Way.   The road was flooded with small families spending their free day enjoying the outdoors.  It is quite usual to see all people in a family to spend the day together.  I considered this to speak about the importance of family to Italians.  This is because my experience with many American families is that they are too busy doing their own thing to spend much family time together.  Dinilo also showed us many places where each family had a special burial place and all members of that family were buried in that location.  Also, like I said before, when slaves died in ancient Rome, they were freed and became part of the family they previously were owned by.  This really had an impact on me.  I just thought that spoke so much for the Italian view on family. Family did not appear to be only blood relatives to these ancient Italians. In our Sex in the City project, it will be important to display history, culture, and family. All of these, I believe were seen and felt throughout our journey along the Old Appian Way.


Wine Tasting 2/11/11

                Today we went up to Castel Gandolfo to go to a wine tasting program.  We met the ‘Master’ of wine tasting, and it was a very interesting and educational experience for me.  He tried his hardest to speak as much English that he possibly could to teach us his extensive knowledge of wine. He taught us the many different parts of what the proper procedure to this fine art of wine tasting.  He tried teaching us the different types of wines, the different descriptions, the different aromas, and the multitude of tastes that wine is able to have.  He went through several different grapes, and why white wines are white and red wines are red.  He proceeded to give us cookies and even offer us some freshly cut ham before leaving his little shop.  The experience, in my opinion, was one to remember.  He had so much passion and knowledge for this subject area and he was able to achieve a lifestyle and a career that was completely focused around this admiration he has for wine and the beauty behind it. 

                I thought this attitude he had really centered on the mentality that many Italians have for their professions.  They take their passions and they bring them to life, whether it is a pizza shop, a glass blowing business, or a little wine shop at the top of the hill in Castel Gandolfo.  I think it is a gift to be able to spend your life truly committed to your profession and love every minute of it, making it more like a hobby than a job, something that you look forward to as opposed to something you dread waking up on the morning for, something you strive to become the best at as opposed to something you are satisfied with skimming through by being mediocre.  The hard work and the determination is something I admire most about many Italians, their willingness to put their whole life into their profession and serve those around them cheerfully is a beautiful thing and should be a characteristic implanted in us all.  In the sex and the city skit, we are trying to focus on the true beauty of Italy through the personal ties and the heart Italians have for what they do, who they are, and where they live.  The passion they have for what they do in their professional careers fits in well with this idea, they do not do things half way, they become true ‘masters’ in their lives.


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1 Response to Annotated Bib. #2

  1. I see your proposal to the Sex and City Romans taking shape – and traveling to Venice is certainly a way to do this – ya’ll might want to think about the importance of craftsmanship in this project as well…

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