When in Rome! Well, Florence... by Montana Soldatic
Week one and the adventure begins. After arriving at our accommodation Via Dei Benci 10 (an amazing old apartment building with huge wooden doors and a copious amount of stairs, like, a ridiculous amount of stairs) first stop is La Carriera, the gelato shop just outside our apartment. Can I get an amen!
This week has been a non-stop expedition of pizzerias and gelato shop hopping but with all those stairs, 110 to be exact, I don't even feel bad...
Our first visit to IED Firenze (Instituto Europeo di Design) is our orientation and with so much excitement as well as anticipation, we get lost down the winding cobble streets and take the longest route possible to the school.
Once we finally arrive at our school for the next four weeks, we are greeted by our charming and incredibly European chic professors who discuss our syllabus and requirements with us over the next month. And let me tell you, they did not waste any time at all.
Over the next month we will not just be helping plan an event for My Vintage Academy, a Florentine brand inspiring designers, artists and anyone for whom creativity and the know-how of craftsmanship matters in a fun way, but we will also be helping the company bridge the gap between luxury and craftsmanship through our acquired knowledge in fashion communication and branding.
I could tell we were all very enlivened to be gaining a more hands-on approach rather than theoretically based one. This would be a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure for MVA and promote Florentine cultures and lifestyle in an exciting and interactive way.
This week also involved two phenomenal museum visits, Salvatore Ferragamo and the Gucci Museum, of course.
The Salvatore Ferragamo museum was truly something else. Our tour started to a wall of about TEN THOUSAND beautifully handcrafted ladies shoes, the same shoe display that Salvatore Ferragamo himself used to work off and bring back inspiration from.
In front of the shoe wall was three different styles of platform shoes. One pair, a rainbow wedge that Ferragamo had created for the one and only Judy Garland for a performance of somewhere over the rainbow, another with the wedge created by glass mosaics motivated from the inspiration of a teapot, and the last heel was influenced by the textiles of a Japanese kimono. It was through just these three examples we could sample a taste of Salvatore Ferragamo's evolution as a designer, as it was Ferragamo who was the first designer to create the wedge heel.
After the war, metal was not a successful resource as it had been in past years. After many ladies were complaining about broken heels, Ferragamo came up with the idea to implement cork into the heel of the shoe because of its accessibility at the time, as well as its firm stature and light material bearings.
The museum itself is situated in the original building purchased by Ferragamo in 1938. It is not just a museum that houses Ferragamo's famous creations, but it is also the headquarters of the company, almost 80 years later.
As Florentine heritage was so important to Ferragamo, the building was restored in 2000 and showcases to the public Florentine art and frescoes by Bernardino Poccetti. This highlights such inspirations Ferragamo found from the leading artists of his day when he handcrafted his iconic masterpieces.
This weekend, my roomie and I decided to take a day trip to beautiful Cinque Terre, and yes, the 5.30am wake up was totally worth it. The town was incredible. It was immersed with the Italian culture from handmade jewelry, soaps, and of course, pasta. As we walked down to the beach at Monterosso, apart from watching tourists do the awkward hobble on the hot pebble beaches to get to the water, the water was so crystal clear, you could imagine the bruises on the bottoms of their feet were totally worth it.
But don't just take it from me, see for yourself...
"This experience changed me. The course served as a very hands-on introduction to both International Relations and International Security. The experience really ignited my passion for the topic of International Security and gave me an unquenchable thirst for adventure, culture, and for involvement in anything that might take me back abroad."