And the more important they are, the better. And he lets you know who he is friends with and that they'll be "lifelong"friends. He plays hard and , probably, works hard at home. Spends a lot of money frivolously (for example he wants the guys who are going on independent travel with him to split the cost of a boat to take them around the Mediterranean
. He told the boys that if they just pay him what htey would normally pay him for hotel rooms, he'll cover the rest). I am not real sure about his authenticity in anything, but he's ok to have around. He does take charge of certain projects and usually gets the job done. But man, he would drive my father nuts!!
So anyway, Clemson BEAT Florida State in a great game, though it got too close for comfort. This weekend we are going to be taking day trips in Italy and hopefully Saturday night Henrique will let us borrow the projector again and watch the CU vs VT game. It was fun.
So for the first time since we started school we are on a regular school week. Monday was spent doing schoolwork. We have a mid-term presentation in History on Wednesday. It's not a big deal. I have just learned to get by, do the work and get some sleep. I feel a little guilty for not putting my best effort in, but only six hours of sleep a night after a week gets to me. Need my eight (am getting so old ;) !
Today we went to Milan. I am not sure anyone was thrilled with the idea since when you fly into Milan and take the train to Milano Centrale you see the not-so-nice part of the city. In actuality, the city isn't the nice anyway. It's a mix of old European buildings with hard modern ones. And when I refer to "modern" I mean 50s and 60s straight boxes. (which on an architectural note can be interesting, IF they weren't all made of cold concrete and pollution stripes down the sides). I understand Le Corbusier and his forms were revolutionary with technology and a change in the decoration of buildings, but my are some of them just cold
. (on another note there, too, we had to do this book for history and give opinions on some European buildings. In my writing I have discovered what a bias I have toward anything that may be socialist, communist or fascist. In Italy Fascist architecture is actually a "style" though they don't refer to "styles" here. Guiditta told me that the main reason styles changed in Italy was due to political reasons, so they just refer to the style as the political influence. So anyway, not a fan of the cold, communist looking architecture that also reminds me of Germany.) The first stop in Milan was (after a 700am train ride- it's 1.5 train from Genova) was Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie (The Church of Saint Mary of/our Grace). This church is where The Last Supper is located in an obscure area that is part of the convent. We weren't able to see The Last Supper. Giuditta says that travel agencies book large groups at a time and therefore it is difficult to get larger numbers of tickets. But now that I know where it is and how to get there I will go on my own. I would like to see it. The church is siginificant because it is a turning point of Medieval architecture and Renaissance Architecture. Davinci and Brahmante both worked on the church.
I have to jump in here and mention that we saw a lot of churches. Churches that changed perspective in the Renaissance, churches that were built and added on to from the 4th century to Renaissance and churches that took 500 years to build. There are two guys primarily that bitch and moan the whole time about what we see. Wait, that's not totally fair. Ryan, the new grad student who can't stop telling us how good of an architect he is- but remember he just graduated from undergrad last year and has never worked full time in an office except perhaps in the summer- proceeds to not explore anything but sit in a corner while we explore the insides of churches
. While we are outside he, Gary and a couple other guys do nothing but talk about the attractive women that walk by (and I admit, Italian women are beautiful, but enough already!). Gary came home last night and moaned for an hour about our day - 15 hour day - taking up precious work time for class and that we don't even get credit for it. I finally stated, nicely, that he gets to explore Europe, why does he care if he gets class credit. For heaven's sake you won't get to do this when you are back in Clemson, so get out of bed and MOVE!! I am completely shocked at how much complaining my classmates do. Ryan moans all the time that the historical things we see have no relevance to architecture, but if we were to go see Frank Gehry's work it would be more applicable. He flat out complained last night that Palladio had no relevancy but Frank Gehry would. Funny. I have a feeling at one point in time even Frank Gehry used the an idea borrowed from Palladio, who's architecture has been repeated for hundreds of years and is still considered genius today. What an idiot. I can't stand his arrogance and his lack of respect for historical architects, architecture or anyone, including professors, who probably know more than him, but he doesn't think they do. But that's another long rant. I just wanted to share that I cannot understand how one can't see what fun is to be had, regardless of how tired we are. There is so much to see! Yes, Milan wasn't my favorite. But I learned something and saw something I have never seen before
So after the first church we went to the the church was was begun in the 4th century. There are parts of the original church still remaining, but it was very medieval at this point. What was interesting was the courtyard entrance that would have been different than what was typical. I am starting to realize, like in so many things in life, that it's not a single stroke of genius that creates the Eiffel Tower, or the plan of Washington DC or the Pantheon, but it's a collection of smaller epiphanies that finally get collaborated into one really great building. The courtard doesn't seem that amazing, but it was a deviation from the norm of basilica design which stemmed mainly because the monks had wanted a place outside of the city and they needed a public space that introduced the private space and because they needed protection from the outside. It was somewhat that simple, but altered future designs, presumably because it worked so well with human nature and the other functions of the space. The interior was nice, but not groundbreaking. It was a light space, but in the back of the church from somewhere hidden the monks were chanting and that was just the perfect experience for the church. Additionally they had the patron saint of Milan buried there, but like good Catholics he was buried in a glass casket fully dressed so you can pay homage to him. Giuditta went in to explain the Italian love of sacred relics.
After this church, we went to one of the most significant churches in Italy, the Milanese Duomo. What was kind of fun was we had the experience that we have read about in some of our books where architecture is designed with an element of surprise. You come around a little curve in the alley and bam! there is the duomo
. That happened to us, but all of a sudden the piazza exploded in front of us and here was this gothic cathedral made in pink and white marble. It was elegant and grotesque all at once. What was really amazing was that were were able to take the lift up to the top and walk around on the roof. I have a lot of pictures of it because it was such a wonderful experience! It was safe, but as Josh said as we were all laying on the top ridge beam of this massive duomo, even though we know the building has stood for five hundred years it felt as though it could come crashing down any minute. It was a very cool experience to see a gothic cathedral in all its detail up close. I really enjoyed it. We had lunch afterward, walked to a couple other places and found ourselves at another Brahmante church. This small chruch was originally a rectangle, but Brahmante wanted to see if you could architecturally fake perspective. At the time he was doing this he stole teh idea from Davinci and a couple other people playing with perspective in art. While Brahmante was actually an artist he became an architect. He changed the plan of hte church to a Latin Cross, so he added the "lower" end of the cross and faked the perspective of the apse to make it look as though the church extended more toward the front. What is amazing is that you would never have noticed until we walked in and sat at the right side of the apse and realized what he had done. Again, one element that someone thought to incorporate into architecture that has changed the course of architecture since. While we don't fake perspective in a whole lot of buildings, it has been the fact that perspective of space and volumes is considered now (since this point in the Renaissance) whereas before it wasn't. (don't tell me there isn't something to learn, Ryan!). The remainder of the things we saw were ok. THe last two buildings were somewhat interesting in that they were designed and built in the 50s but both, especially the second one, are still contemporary looking. The use of aluminum, which was what the companies the buildings were designed for specialized in, is still contemporary with the design of clean lines and I actually really liked the last building we saw.
The hard part about Milan is that it is a city city. Kind of dirty and fast paced. We did some some very fashionably dressed ladies and men (who wore the most handsome suits). We also got watch some models in a photo shoot in the main piazza, but their clothes were horrendous!! Perhaps they were students. Lots of skinny women around. Former models, we think.
We got home late last night and proceeded to book some upcoming travesl. I am headed to Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Greece, Istanbul and Prague. I think I am booked until December now. Late night, but got the work done and turned in. Will be loading up Milan photos now.
i think we have spent the last five days stuck in the villa working! Saturday was a bit of a wash. While I tried to get work done I was exhausted after the Villa party. Therefore, I gave myself leave to enjoy watching football "on the big screen" which was really just the game projected from my computer to the wall of the living room. But it was fun. We tailgated, Gary made us burgers, and then watched the game. Gary is a 48 year old (49 next month) undergrad in landsape architecture. He's a bit of a character. He's from Florence, has owned his own landscaping business for years and I think is secretly so unsure of himself that he is very outgoing and makes friends with