Buongiorno!

I'm writing to you, dearest Blog-readers, from the studio campus of Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy. While I arrived in Florence exactly one week ago, I just began my classes today. I'm easing into things, and while I'm a little nervous to be with actual art majors, I'm generally excited to get started. I'm not excited about the pricetags for my supplies, but such is life. As a pre-class get together, we went up into the Tuscan countryside to the house of the program director, Rebecca, to learn to cook, take some photos, and drink some wine.

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We started off with an early busride, meeting at 8:30AM. This might not seem so bad, but Italian schedules generally run an hour or two, if not more, later than American ones. Plus, as many people at Olin know, I am not a morning person. The ride was about an hour and a half, taking us up many winding roads. We had to trek the final few minutes, as the bus couldn't go down the final gravel road. Awaiting us was a table full of breakfast food, which, of course, featured Nutella. Forget pasta or pizza; this is EVERYWHERE in Florence.

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After we finished eating, it was on to the main topic at hand: making more food. While Italians generally eat pretty light, it seems, this day was about having a feast. It started off with some traditional spinach and ricotta ravioli, made from scratch. One of Rebecca's neighbors demonstrated, letting us help.

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While the ravioli dried, we set to work making the sauce. I learned the beauty of the mezzaluna, a wonderful chopping device. Even though the onions made me cry, I had fun chopping up the flavorings for the sauce (onion, garlic, sage, and rosemary- the latter two of which were picked from the garden).

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A little simmering and stirring later, I was allowed to wander around. I talked, played with Miles (Rebecca's dog), and took more photos.

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The final item left to cook was the meat. We had quite the spread, including two kinds of sausages, pheasant, chicken, and rabbit, all cooked over a fire and flavored with freshly-picked herbs from the garden.

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With that, we ate. There was bread, wine, caprese, arugula salads, pears, cheese, and finally dessert. I was so full, I didn't eat another meal until dinner the next day. We waddled back to the bus soon after and napped as the bus swung around curve after curve. If you want to see more pictures, you can look at the album I put up on Facebook.

Expect more pictures of the city and updates on how broke I am soon!

Ciao,

Jessi

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