Clique pictures at Pisa

In the past two weeks we have been able to explore around Lucca, Pisa, and Carrara. All of these places are in close proximity so it has been nice seeing the architecture overlap at our different sites. These cities were once all Roman towns making the architecture very similar. One of the architects that had works in Pisa and Lucca was Alexander II. He designed many cathedrals in Lucca and also the Cattederale di Pisa. Unlike other cathedrals we have seen, Alexander II designed his cathedral facades to be flat instead of extended with loggias but still had a cruciform plan. I’m happy to say that we survived 257 steps to the top of the Tower of Pisa, which was a lot easier than expected. We assumed all the walking around Genoa and climbing steps helped us a lot! The most exciting part of the trip to Pisa though was in Carrara where we saw an old railroad track turned into a marble mine. All of us really liked learning about how the marble is cut hand the procedure it takes to make it perfect. It makes a lot more sense now why marble and countertops are so expensive! The procedure is very tedious and precise, however they make sure to use all the scraps…its even used in make up. Find new things out everyday. Over 60% of the marble is exported, the US being one of their major customers. Everyone was able to knock out some gifts here, who wouldn’t like original marble goods?

“OMG, I love pictures, I’m the selfie queen”

After being in Italy for over a month now are finally beginning to understand some importance characteristics of this culture. One of these features is the significance of meals during the day. Eating in Italy is a family affair. You sit down at the same time every day and have your meals, surrounded with your family. But meals are not the only thing important. Coffee breaks are spent meeting friends, catching up, and seeing one another. This weekend as we watched football and countless movies, we has a Villa family cooked some amazing dinners. Saturday night our professor cooked out as some students played with his son, Holden. Then Sunday night Grayson cooked phenomenal enchiladas, it was a slice from home! Being able to relax and enjoy meals, not rushing to finish things or get back work, is a nice change of pass. Its extra nice being able to relieve some stress playing tag and soccer with Holden. Its safe to say it was a good weekend, especially with a Tiger win.

Best dinner EVER!

Go Tigers!

Venice, Vicenza, Verona

Long Trip #1:


Venice, Italy

For the past month or so we have finally been able to adjust to school life in the Villa and also studying abroad in Italy. Accomplishing this task has not been easy, especially when you are traveling non-stop. But we are all loving the cities we are traveling to and the places we are able to experience by being apart of this program. We just finished our first 10-day trip traveling to Venice, Vicenza, and Verona. As a class, I can say that we are happy that our long trips focus on quality over quantity in that it helps us create fluid concepts throughout the different cities and have more time too enjoy all the places we are touring. Traveling to all these cities and being able to see the many different architectural works has been an awesome experience. In each place visited we have been able to learn about the past, present, and sometimes future of the structure. The 10-day trip focused specifically on Andrea Palladio and the fundamentals he contributed to architecture. All the cathedrals, villas, and museums we visited were either influenced by Palladio or were works of his own. Understanding the way he produced different plans in order to efficiently illustrate perspective, symmetry, light, and so many other elements has been very inspiring. Palladio’s ability to make a piece of architecture and its surroundings one fluid piece of art, through adding loggias and porticos or using a cruciform design, shows the need for cohesiveness between landscape and architecture. Seeing these fundamentals carried out by Carlo Scarpa, “the most Palladian of architects”, was just as invigorating. Scarpa took all of the fundamentals Palladio executed and was able to modernize them. Scarpa especially focused on creating a fluid experience from entering to leaving his works. He also was able to create a signature for himself with the use of brass and detailed joints in all of his designs. Learning about these two architects and then seeing their projects was a very beneficial experience and I’m glad they were chosen to be the focus for this part of the semester.


Villa Emo
Vicenza, Italy

Last group travel

After diving into the design of our buildings and having pretty busy weeks, everyone was about ready to take a break with our last group travel. Not only was this an exciting time for us it made us all realize that this semester is coming to an end pretty quick. To block that small detail from our minds, we focused on all the places we were going to be traveling to that week. This long trip was very different from our first group trip in the way that we would be traveling a lot more. In this trip we traveled to Vienna, Graz, Palladian villas, Venice, Padova, Verona and Vicenza. We left Friday night around 8 PM to take an overnight train to Vienna. Everyone was pretty excited to experience an overnight train. We had pretty tight rooms, 6 people to tiny little cabins that had bunk beds that pulled out from the walls. It was interesting trying to move around in such a small space, not to mention all of our luggage also in the cabin with us. Not very many people, if any, got much sleep on the overnight train. It was a very rough ride and the beds were extremely uncomfortable. We all woke up to an amazing view of the country side of Vienna. Once we made it to Vienna, we dropped our luggage off at the hotel and headed out to experience the city. We spent the majority of the day in the city center where we saw buildings designed by Hans Hollein, Adolf Loos, Otto Wagner and Paolo Piva. We all enjoyed Vienna and we got to see so much of the city with Giuditta and were able to experience all the different areas Vienna had to offer. After spending 3 days in Vienna we left for Graz. Graz was similar to Vienna but it didn’t feel as high end as Vienna did. Graz had some really cool architecture which everyone enjoyed seeing. The first building we went and saw was Kunsthaus Graz which looked like an alien or something landed on top of an existing building. It was really cool to see. The next building was just down the street from Kunsthaus Graz and was located in the river. It was called Grazer Murinsel which is used as a cafe area for people to get drinks, food and enjoy the weather. We were only in Graz for one full day, the next day we left and headed toward Venice. We first stopped to meet Wilma, our tour guide, for the Palladian villas. She was the perfect tour guide because she idols Palladio and she had all the information needed to educate us about each Palladian building. After viewing the villas we went to the Brion cemetery where Carlo Scarpa designed a memorial plot in the cemetery. We all enjoyed experiencing this memorial. It was very interesting and also very big. We then got back on the bus and headed towards Venice. The bus dropped us off at a ferry stop where we had to then take a boat to get to the island of Venice. Our hotel was located just over a canal so it was a really pretty view. Our first day in Venice, we spent most of our time in Piazza San Marco where Basilica di San Marco is located. We also saw another building that Scarpa designed which was Negozio Olivetti. The whole time walking around Venice everyone was taking pictures and just in awe by everything we were seeing. We also got to ride in a gondola. We were all thinking it would be a ride down the canal but it turns out we just rode it right across the canal so it turned into a 3 second gondola ride. At least we can all say that we rode a gondola while in Venice. After having an awesome two days in Venice, we went o Padova to go see the Renzo Piano show. There we were able to see all the different projects done by Renzo Piano. He showed some of his early works to his most recent works. Everyone enjoyed reading about all the different projects done. We then went to Vicenza where we went to see Villa la Rotonda. We were able to experience the grounds that surrounded the Rotonda and also the inside of the Rotonda. Everyone just relaxed around the Rotonda and did sketches. The next day we went to Verona to visit Museo di Castel Vecchio which was also done by Scarpa. The experience through the museum was amazing. No one really paid attention to the artwork we were more interested in the little architectural details. We then headed back to Vicenza to meet up with Wilma again to go see some more Palladian buildings. After about an hour and half tour we gathered all our luggage and got on a train to come back to Genoa. Overall, everyone really enjoyed this trip. We were all worn out from all the traveling and we were happy to be back in Genoa.

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No hot water

This past weekend, no one did any traveling, we all stayed in the villa. Friday morning, before the undergraduates class started we were informed that there was a landslide in the mountains just above Genoa that broke one of the natural gas lines. With that said, we were told that we would not have any hot water over the weekend. A few of us endured a freezing cold shower while others just decided to wait it out. We all had a pretty relaxing weekend. There were a lot of movies being watched Friday and Saturday. Sunday a lot of us decided to get started on our papers that are due in the middle of April. Luckily, Sunday, we recieved good news that we had hot water again. Once that news spread, everyone was taking showers enjoying the hot water again. This upcoming week is going to be pretty busy trying to get as much as we can get done on our projects before we all leave for our last week long trip. So it was nice having a real relaxing weekend not doing anything because now we need to kick it into gear with our projects and papers we need to complete.

Back to work

Everyone made it back from their independent travel week. We all had very early flights Monday morning in order to make it back to the villa before studio. Everyone was pretty exhausted from their long travels but we were all glad to be back together. We all enjoyed a fantastic lunch when we all arrived. Christina made heart shaped ravioli to welcome us back which everyone was excited for. After lunch, we all had to jump back into the routine of working hard because we have a project due on Friday and not much time to get it all done. So we all made a few cups of coffee to get us started in making our models. Tuesday we had a short field studies with Giuditta. We went to the Genoa cemetery which was a pretty interesting place to go. The cemetery was pretty close to the design of a park. It was really pretty there. We all felt weird being there at first but after walking around we all enjoyed being there. While we were there, they were rearranging the graves to make more room to add more graves which was really strange. We made it back to the villa in time for lunch which everyone was excited about. We had pesto for lunch too which made it even better. After lunch, we all went straight to making our models again. Wednesday, Luca arranged us to go down to the port to look at our site from the water in order to help us get another important perspective on our site. When we got there we were all excited to look at the beautiful ocean and all the huge yachts that surrounded us. Everyone was choosing which yacht was theirs. We then went and bought our soccer tickets to go to the big Genoa soccer game this upcoming Sunday. Overall, this week has been pretty good. We have all been busy but have been about to split that time into some relaxing and fun moments.


Fashion-Party-Cook out-Soccer

This week has been really good for all the students. Thursday, we went to Milan for our field studies class where it turned out to be fashion week in Milan. We saw a ton of interesting people. They were all dressed up pretty crazy but it must have been fashionable to someone. In one of the museums we went to was holding a fashion show inside so some of the students saw the models getting ready for the fashion show. When we were done walking around in the museum, we hung out around the front door where we saw all these camera men taking pictures of people walking in. We all came to the conclusion that the people who were dressed up the most ridiculous were the important people. Friday we had our villa party so we all had to help out with cleaning the villa and organizing everything before the guests arrived. The party started at 8:30 pm and people started showing up right on time. During the night, we all took shifts in pairs to bar tend and watch the door. Everyone seemed to have a good time bar tending. Apparently we all have really heavy hands when pouring drinks. By 10:30 pm we were all out of vodka and gin but most people got wine. Overall, the villa party was a ton of fun. Everyone enjoyed the food, drinks and of course the dancing that took place at the end of the night. The next day, was an extremely pretty day. Everyone made their way outside into the garden and we spent a couple of hours just hanging out outside eating and playing games. That night we decided to have a cookout where we invited Silvia and her son David. We had cheese burgers, chips and leftovers from the villa party. It turned out really good. Sunday we all decided to go to our first Genoa soccer game. We left the villa at noon and headed to the store to buy our soccer tickets. Then we went and grabbed lunch and headed to the stadium. We arrived about 30 minutes early to make sure we could find our seats and get situated. The game was a lot of fun, everyone had a good time. The team we were going for did lose though but it was a really good game and we plan to go to another game. Overall, we all had a very relaxing, fun weekend and the weather was perfect!


villa undergrad

Florence, Naples, Pompeii and Rome

Last week was our first travel week as a group. We left early Saturday morning to head to the train station. While everyone was making sure they had everything they needed for the week and making sure we all made it to the bus stop in time to make it for our train, two people were left behind in all the chaos. The group noticed we were missing two people while riding on the bus. We then proceeded to call the villa in hopes of waking them up but there was no pick up. When we arrived at the train station and made it to the correct platform, we called Silva so she could go to the villa and get the two boys to the train station on time. Not too long after we called  Silva, we saw the two boys running down the hall toward our platform. They made it just in time for the train. So after that little panic situation everyone was able to relax on our 3 hour train ride to Florence. When we arrived at the Florence train station, we walked down to our hotel which was only a few blocks away. We checked in and dropped all our luggage off to begin our first day in Florence. The first thing we did was walk down to the Duomo. Luca talked to us about the design of the Duomo for a little while and then we got to walk up 500 stairs to the very top of the dome to get a 360 view of Florence.Image

Also, while in Florence, Luca took us all the really good lunches each day. He knew all the places to go to show us all what good food really tastes like. We went to one restaurant that made their own pasta and it was probably one of the best pastas any of us have had. Everyone really enjoyed all the places Luca took us to eat. He would ask us everyday if we wanted him to make us all reservations and of course everyone would say yes with excitement. Everyone loved Luca as a tour guide, he would talk to us a little bit about a place and then let us go off and explore the place for ourselves. Luca also made a little game where whoever did the best sketch of something he would buy them a hot chocolate and whoever made it to a place somewhere first he would buy them a hot chocolate and etc. At the end of the day he bought us all a hot chocolate which everyone enjoyed. Florence is known for their hot chocolate. It was pretty much just melted chocolate in a coffee cup.  


Also, while in Florence we were given some down time in order to get some shopping done. Florence is known for their leather so just about everyone in the group went out to buy a leather jacket. Which the majority of us got really good deals on our leather jackets so everyone was happy with their purchase. After Florence, we headed to Naples. We arrived in Naples in the evening so we checked into our hotel and unpacked a little bit but not too much because we were only staying a night in Naples. That evening everyone was on their own to get dinner. A little group of us went to dinner with Nick and Megan to get pizza because Naples is known for their pizza. The restaurant we went to was fabulous and everyone really enjoyed their pizza. The next morning we all got ready for our big day in Pompeii. Our tour guide met us at the hotel and we then headed to a museum to see artifacts that had been found in Pompeii. It was really interesting to see all the artwork that was found and preserved from Pompeii. After the museum we went to lunch to get pizza, of course. Once everyone was done enjoying their pizza we were finally off to Pompeii. Everyone was pretty excited to walk through Pompeii. We all learned so much as we walked around and everyone had a wonderful time even if the weather was not the best. 


After Pompeii, we were off to Rome. We arrived in Rome late that evening. We checked into our hotel and unpacked and were able to relax from the first 6 days we had already had. The next morning we met Giuditta in the hotel lobby to begin our first day in Rome. We went to the Colosseum which everyone was extremely excited about seeing. We spent about an hour or so just walking around the Colosseum and experiencing it for ourselves. A lot of peoples sketches of the Colosseum turned out really well too. After the Colosseum we headed to the Ancient Ruins. There we spent about 2 and half hours just walking around. That place was huge. I do not think anyone saw everything there was to see there but what we did see was unbelievable. The weather was also fantastic! Everybody was in a good mood and having a wonderful time in Rome. We visited so many churches, we saw the Pantheon, and the Vatican. When we were leaving the Vatican, we were able to see the Pope! The Pope came out of his window and gave a speech to everyone and he blessed us all. It was an amazing experience and everyone in our group were so excited that we were able to experience this. Overall, we all had a wonderful trip.