Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I'm not sure what's going on in this last photo, but I thought it was so funny! It was actually a bigger picture of everyone at the pool, but when I saw it looked like Michelle was jumping into the pool, I had to zoom in a crop! Click on the picture to make it bigger and check it out! It's funny!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Today we had class with Tess and Noah. We learned a lot about working organizations and different conferences in the field of art crime. We also got to talk a little bit about our dissertations that we will all be working on this fall and resources that will be available to us in the future. It's all so very exciting! Then, we were surprised with a brief pseudo graduation ceremony. We got certificates that state the completion of 300 hours of graduate level classes, and once we finish our dissertations (assuming they meet the standards) we will receive our diplomas via mail. Next summer, they will have the ARCA conference on Forgery and Deception (as we had to replace that course because of Travis McDade's unavailability) so that we can return for the conference and even maybe present papers ourselves and have a more formal graduation ceremony then.
One really awesome thing about ARCA is that we are able to attend any class in the program for the rest of our lives (or the life of ARCA) free of charge! This means if they have new subjects, new teachers, or I just want a refresher course, I can always come back and check it out without a hefty expense. YAY! So if anyone wants to come to Italy with me next July, start saving now!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
We have started Museum Security classes with Anthony Amore of the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum (where the biggest heist of the last century has taken place) and it's wonderful! He's such a fun character and very laid back, but extremely professional and knowledgeable. I'm really enjoying his class and getting to know him on a more personal level.
Because of the last minute change in schedule, we luckily get Sunday off (YAY!) as well as next Wednesday, which would have been the very last day of the program. This is wonderful because my brother gets in that morning, so we have the whole day to do whatever we like! We will leave the next morning for Venice, hitting up Bologna and Padua briefly along the way. After a couple days staying on the beaches in Venice-Lido, it's off to a fancy (yet affordable!) hotel in Rome, from which we will take day excursions to Naples and Pompeii (fingers crossed!).
Then on the 31st it's back to the States! I'm so excited to come home. That day also happens to be my nephew Giovanni's first birthday! I can't wait to celebrate and give him some Italian presents.
Once I get home, I will be very busy with the Miss Washington pageant where I will give up my title over Labor Day weekend, and then I'm holding a massive garage sale to get rid of much of my college stuff to make room for my new life down in San Rafael!! I can't wait to move back and into my apartment on the 16th of Sept! I'm also in the market for a job, so anyone who knows of someone within the art world hiring....please let me know!!!!! Actually, at this point, I'd be willing to take ANY job that will pay my rent.........
In other news, I have been spending a lot of time with Emilia since she has been back, and I've realized I will miss my Italian friends terribly! I'm so spoiled over here! I wasn't feeling well last night and I was completely taken care of! Then this morning I woke up to a delicious nutella croissant and a note for breakfast from Emilia and a friend Andrea, and as I stepped out the door, another friend Renzi was there with his car to offer me a ride to school! It's so wonderful having made these connections that I know will last a life time. I miss my Italian parents and brother though, who are no doubt having the most amazing time in Corsica. If only I could have gone too! :-(
Monday, August 17, 2009
Unlike the NY Times article, I actually don't sound like an idiot here. :-) Enjoy!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The timing, however, is great because I definitely needed today to sleep since last night was Notte Bianca (White Night) after some national holiday for the Virgin Mary. Basically, everything was closed all day until about 8:00 PM when all of the stores opened and there was a concert in every piazza and different outdoor taverns created specifically for the holiday were set up. The piazza my house is on which is usually a parking lot was turned into a restaurant/bar/concert stage with dancing!
From about 8:00 until midnight, all of Amelia is one big concert and dinner. Anywhere you go, there was live music and food (of course). And then once 12:00 hit, the whole town turned into a giant all-night rave! You could even buy glowing wands and devil horns or rabbit ears that lit up! Each piazza had a stage with a DJ and different techno-ish music, much of which could be recognizd from the early 90s in the States.
I spent the evening out with my Italian friends, whom I feel more at home with than the other American students. By 4:30 I was completely exhausted but forced to remain on the dance floor until the party ended at 5:00, after which I was dragged back up the hill to a little bar where we were able to get fresh croissants with nutella and cappucinos for breakfast. I didn't actually get to bed until 7:00 AM, but it was well worth it. A great way to spend my last night out in Amelia!
Below are some pictures of my Italian friends and me at Notte Bianca:
On the 26th, my big brother Cody will be coming to Italy for the final 5 days of my journey here. We will attend the farewell dinner and then leave early the next morning for Venice! Important stops on our journey include the Lamborghini factory, Padua, the beaches of Venice-Lido, then down to Roma, with a journey to Napoli and Pompeii! We rented a car to make sure we'll be able to do everything we want before we have to go home on the 31st.
Then it's back to real life! I don't know if I'm ready for it yet, but I'm definitely ready to not have homework and papers and tests for a while!! I will be so busy upon my return to the States: Labor Day weekend I have the NAM Miss Washington pageant where I will be giving up my title, and then the following weekend I am having a massive garage sale to get rid of all the junk I don't need anymore in anticipation for my move back to California on Sept 16th! I already have a nice little apartment in San Rafael ready and waiting for me!
See everyone so soon!!!!!!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Any of you who have subscribed to The Provenance Network may notice the drama going on with the Museum Security Network played out to a point where the original administrator of the MSN will continue running it as opposed to closing it down, as was the previous decision. Therefore, The Provenance Network will be closing this week and encourages those interested to subscribe there.
Our teacher for this session, Dick Ellis--former Scotland Yard art crimes detective--and his family spent much time with me and my Italian family over the past few days. His wife and daughter are truly amazing people as well, and I have been very fortunate to become friends with them. I plan on visiting their home outside London in the near future. Dick will also be my advisor for my dissertation. I am very excited to work with him further. He is a great inspiration.
Amelia and the surrounding towns are full of life as Medieval festivals are taking hold on the summer season. Many nights I have been to plays, parades, regional dinners, modern dance performances, African and gypsy concerts, and local artisans selling their handmade crafts. My family should expect wonderful Italian presents! I love supporting the local Italians that spend so much time creating beautiful arts and crafts and everyday products, even if it costs just a little more. I've spent much time in the neighboring towns of Giove, Porchiano, and Tuscania. I have a few random pictures from here and there, and I'll see what I can do to upload them and give you a peek.
I have spent many days at a friend of Isa's villa, swimming, sunbathing, and eating fresh green grapes straight from the vine. It's truly a paradise! We had a few more days off, so I spent some time working on final papers for classes we took in the beginning of the summer. I can't believe I only have one month left! I've really grown to love this place. I hope to own a villa one day in the countryside of Umbria. Maybe when I get insanely rich?!?!
I've also made a great friend through Emilia named Eleonora and she is absolutely adorable. Next weekend she will take me to Viterbo to go shopping. We both love shoes! :-) Italian folk music has grown on me, as has popular Italian music on MTV. My playlist is slowly evolving into a mix heavily peppered with Italian lyrics!
When I think of something more meaningful to share, I'll be sure to blog. Until then, ciao from Amelia!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Provenance Network is an independent service that gathers news and information relating to provenance in the realms of art and cultural heritage, disseminating it to museums, cultural heritage professionals, private collectors, law enforcement agencies, archaeologists, scholars and journalists.
This group is run by Tom Flynn, one of our fantastic professors I had the pleasure of learning from in the ARCA program. Please pass the word along of this wonderful new network that has been made available to us!
Here you may see a sample of what The Provenance Network has to offer.
The Provenance Network
You can either sign up to receive emails or simply check in from time to time and read the latest news about cultural heritage online! Enjoy. :-)
Friday, July 24, 2009
Chronicles of Narni
Silvia Marchetti goes underground for a fascinating tour
Narni, an easy hour’s drive north from
Beneath a 14th century Dominican church, called Santa Maria Maggiore, is an extraordinary site—the best-preserved of the Catholic church’s Holy Inquisition secret courts in
It was unearthed one night, when a local student, Roberto Nini, with some friends, decided to explore an open crock in the wall of a neighbor’s house [side note: this is different than the information the tour guide provided]. Below, they saw the eyes of an angel surrounded by a star-blue sky, staring at them in the torchlight. They had discovered the ruins of a medieval chapel frescoed with angels. Built to worship St. Michael the
The discover began a lifetime’s work for Nini. In his bid to recover and reconstruct the history of this court, and its victims, he has been inside the
In April 2005, days before the death of Pope John Paul II, Nini wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) when he was still head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the former Holy Inquisition Office, asking permission to visit the Congregation’s secret archives. After a month the new Pope granted him a special pass. Here he found a list of victims’ names.
Nini, now 50, is an archaeologist and still in charge of the tours to the Inquisitions rooms, the frescoed chapel and a Roman aqueduct. The money from these tours helps preserve the site, but there’s a lot of work to be done and Narni hold other “hidden treasures” still to be unearthed.
The tours through the spooky halls, torture rooms (racks, ropes and other instruments are displayed) and cells are an evocative reminder of a terrifying past. These cells were used for more than 200 years (1650 to 1860) and thousands were held and tried here, accused of polygamy, blasphemy and other “crimes”—such as eating meat on forbidden days. Women were accused of witchcraft and adultery. The church considered them all heretics, and friends of the devil.
The pain endured by the detainees in the “Room of Torments” is almost tangible. One of the cells is covered in esoteric codes, prayers alchemic formulae, religious and Masonic symbols, signed in 1759 by Sir Andrea Giuseppe Lombardini, a guardian of Spoleto’s Inquisition jails who was accused of freeing another prisoner. He carved suns, moons, triangles, ladders to paradise, Jesuit and cabalistic images and the word “innocent”—later erased by his jailers. In one corner, the bed bears the imprint of a body’s head and sweat. In this cell, I felt a man’s personal drama, unwavering spiritual faith and desire to communicate his innocence to future generations. Lombardini, however, was lucky—condemned to the pillory in 1763 he begged forgiveness and was freed.
Every town and even small villages in
For more information and to book visits by email: www.narnisotterranea.it. Narni Underground is open until October 31.
I think it is most effective to describe my trip to Narni with pictures and descriptions, some of which I have kidnapped from Narni Sotterranea's (Narni Underground) website, that you can go to for extra information and many more beautiful photographs.
Google translation in English:
In the town square. We started our trip with a little tour around the town to see all of the beautiful medieval structures.
The picture at the top of this blog with me by the lion (Aslan!!) was taken at the entrance of the museum and is a testament to Narni's embrace of pop culture and the relationship to the Chronicles of Narnia, much like how Forks, WA has embraced the Twilight series and flourished.
We had a museum guide explain to us about the various parts of the piece, all while a track of modern music played in the background by a group who was inspired by this piece and played a song using only the instruments depicted here. Very cool!
One thing we did was visit Narni Sotterranea, or Narni Underground, where the convent of San Domenico had a secret underground premises including a church with beautiful frescoes and a prison complete with torture chambers for those accused of crimes like blasphemy or eating meat on Friday during the Inquisition. It was discovered in 1979 by boys who were digging in a garden looking for "treasure" per request of an old man. You can now take tours and go into all of these places, which is SUPER awesome. Here are some of the robes in the beginning of the tour. Scary dudes!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Even though the parts pulled from my interview sort of make me sound even more like an idiot, I still got quoted! And you can KIND OF see me in the back of the picture included. :-) Kind of cool, no?
On Wednesday I headed to the airport in Rome to pick up Todd who was kind enough to come visit me for a week! :-) We got a hotel room at the Hotel Champagne Palace, a 4 star establishment near Termini Station with tiny bathrooms decorated with a repulsive amount of red marble and free breakfast consisting of the most generic pastries, cereals, and "juices" you can imagine. But hey, it's complimentary, right?
Here you see what we dubbed as the "Generi-berry Croissant," a croissant stuffed with the most generic red fruity-ish filling imaginable. But to be fully honest, they sometimes had a chocolate equivelant that was rather delicious.
Probably my favorite part of the trip was the FOOD!! Oh my, did I eat some excellent food last week, with the exception of the first night (Weds). We were dying of hunger and went to the first restaurant that looked decent after being turned away from a sold out showing of the new Harry Potter and found ourselves in the Bar Washington eating tortellini that tasted like it was made by Chef Boyardee himself, all for a whopping 10 euors a plate. To compensate, we attempted to try some gelato but were severely disappointed by the low quality in the gelateria we chose. Not a great start to a Roman Holiday, that's for sure.
Thursday was VERY hot and we spent the early morning visiting the Galleria Borghese (2nd time for me, 1st time for him). I wanted to spend more time with a personal favorite painting of mine that I had more or less been hurried past during my first visit, Raphael's La Fornarina. That is one amazing painting, and reproductions do not do it justice in any way. It is supposedly a painting of Raphael's mistress--one he uses as a model for many of his Madonnas. If you are interested in historical fiction, the book The Ruby Ring by Diane Haeger is an interesting read.
La Fornarina by Raphael, 1518-20
The highlight of Friday's excursions included an originally disappointing attempt at a fancy date night. We had read in a guide book of a nice restaurant near the Vatican that we decided to try out. It was near my favorite gelato place, which was a plus! So we got dressed up and took a shady taxi (one of those ones that's really just some guy with a car who hustles you on the street and ends up being cheaper than a legitimate taxi but could also drive you into the middle of nowhere and harvest your organs for sale on the black market) and were dropped off at the correct address only to find it had recently been converted into a cheap Mexican restaurant instead. Overdressed and not in the mood for an Italian's attempt at enchiladas, we wandered (in heels, mind you) to find another restaurant and stumbled upon my gelato place...which was already closed. An excellent evening quickly turned into a miserable disaster.
After a change into the flip flops I brilliantly brought along and a few stops on the Metro, we made our way to the area around the Fontana di Trevi and picked a random restaurant whose menu looked good. And suddenly the night became a fantastic success! We decided to splurge on the chateaubriand for two garnished with vegetables and potatoes, with red wine to follow the complimentary champagne and some of the most delicious bread ever! Too stuffed for dessert, we ended with the complimentary limoncello and decided to walk back to our hotel and enjoy the night air and stumble on random monuments along the way. This was one of my favorite nights in Rome!
Being my usual feisty self
Good heavens! What a silly thing it ended up being! This "experience" was much like a low budget attempt at the Star Tours ride at Disneyland, only focusing on Rome's history. We were secured in the same kind of moving seats, only there were 3 screens and they weren't large enough or convincing enough to create the illusion that we were actually flying over Rome or fighting gladiators. It instead created a very real motion sickness in many of the tourists. The movements also were not necessarily in sync with the screen, and I think this whole 5-D claim had something to do with the wind and rain and rats attacking our feets (fans, water from the ceiling, and air shooting at our ankles) and I'm sure would have been more effective if they had been timed correctly. Some were very delayed to the point of not making any sense because you forgot what they were supposed to represent. But overall it was a cute idea and young children would probably really like it.
After our interesting adventure on the Time Elevator, Todd and I decided we had to make up for it with as giant of a gelato as we could find! We found an excellent and crowded gelateria that definitely overcharged significantly, but oh man, was it delicious! And fancily presented as well! I thought it sort of looked like a unicorn, with the colors and the cones, etc.
Sunday we met up with Lauren who had been in Rome as well with her dog Tulip and we headed back to Amelia. I had to show Todd our favorite restaurant in Amelia, Porcelli, and of course Tropicana which I can now safely say has the best gelato I have found in all of my Italian travels. And I have eaten a LOT of gelato. Usually at least once a day! :-) I was thinking I should maybe write a book rating all of the gelatos and recommending flavors and venues.
Monday was a lazy day and I took Todd to little Amelian sites, like the Duomo, the park, and to see the view from the top of the hill, and told him a little about the history of Amelia and its walls. My Italian sister Emilia came home from her own trip to Rome that night and made us a fantastic homecooked dinner that I will definitely be recreating on my return to the states. And she had Todd try some of Isa's homemade limoncello, which is by FAR the best limoncello in existence.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and Todd left on the 6:25 bus this morning to catch his flight in Rome and head home to San Francisco. I didn't have too much time to be sad though because my class headed out for a day trip to Narni in the morning. We had much fun touring the town and seeing some of the more famous sites, and I will be writing a whole new blog about those adventures very soon! Keep an eye out, but for now, ciao from Amelia!