Being in a Italian family, I have a strong family connection. As I had said before in my blog, my mother is one of six children. And I myself am one of 15 grandchildren.
But I am also lucky enough to have a different part of my family. Through the foreign exchange program, which my aunt Karen is very involved with I have many “cousins” from all over the world. Many of them are from various parts of Italy and through getting to know them I have experienced and learned many things about the Italian culture and world from people who live there. These are lessons you wont find in a textbook or from an article online. A great thing about the social media age we live in is I get to keep up with them long after they go back home. We skype and facebook and I get to see Italy through an Italians eyes.
I have always loved sports and had a lot of respect for athletes. When I first think of sports in Italy, I automatically think of soccer. I figured I could write this blog about some sports in Italy to see what other sports are popular and maybe find out why most people think of soccer when first thinking of Italian sports. In America, we would say soccer, but in Italy, soccer is called “football” or “futsal” (which is basically just indoor soccer). The reason I think of soccer when thinking of Italian sports is because it really is the most popular sport of the country. Italy actually practices a lot of the same sports that we do in America. Water sports are also very popular. These sports include water polo, swimming, and diving. Italians also play water polo, basketball, volleyball, rugby, and tennis. They wrestle and cycle also. Another activity that is played in Italy that I would only know about through attending multiple Italian festivals is bocce. My mom told me that the name bocce refers to the Italian word for kiss, which is “bacio” (to kiss is “baciare”). This is because in the game, you are supposed to let each ball “kiss” each other. Sports are a good way to learn more about an area’s culture of the past and of the present. I enjoyed researching for this blog because I learned how alike our two countries are, but also how they’re different.
Amerighi da Caravaggio, the talented artist, was born in Milan, Italy in 1571. While his more famous works depict anything from everyday people (The Musicians) to Christian motifs (Nativity) to still life work (Basket of Fruit), they all embody a sense of passion in their intense colour choices and depth created with desirably soft edges and textures.
The portraits figuratively pulse with their models’ spirits as Caravaggio captures them mid-sentence as if he had walked into the room, shouted, “Surprise!” and snapped a picture as the faces paused to look.
My favourite painting of Caravaggio’s is the above portrait titled “Cardsharps”. Similar to his other paintings, this scene is done in oil on canvas. In particular, this work of art uses neutral colours to create intense lighting and shadow, thus bringing a wonderful depth to such a whimsical scene. Unlike a lot of his paintings, these subjects are not looking toward the viewer, which allows any living person to feel as if they are a part of the rigged card game. The faces themselves add to the reality on the canvas. The unsuspecting card player looks innocently at his hand while a shady middle man looks at said hand and signals the dealer. The dealer then, feigning innocence himself, places a necessary card in the back of his ensemble and has thus rigged the game.
While van Gogh, Noel Fielding, and Salvador Dalí are my top three artists, Caravaggio falls onto my top five at number four. Anyone who has such exquisite talent and enough technical mastery to make a feather in a cap look so real deserves high praise and admiration.
Michelangelo was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, and poet made an impact on the world. By doing so he influenced his contemporaries on European art such as the Renaissance. He created a movement in art through is mannerism based on Michelangelo’s style. Michelangelo’s movement has inspired people by his complex movement of figures. In my opinion he is extremely inspirational by exploring his range of movement and expression in every medium he uses. This is something that came to me naturally as an artist by exploring, experimenting, and expressing no matter what it is. In addition, he continuously wanted to challenge himself no matter what the subject was. When he challenges himself he uses several layers of meaning behind his art including mythology, religion, and other subjects. Michelangelo had a journey similar to Leonardo by growing up in Florence traveling to Rome. One remarkable thing was Michelangelo was surrounded by masterpieces by his best teachers, ancient Greek and Roman statuary, paintings, sculpture and architecture of early Renaissance. Most of all Michelangelo never gave up continued to challenge himself no matter what even though his father disapproved his talent, he trusted himself.
As I stated in my last blog which talked about my family, I decided to read into the region we are from, which is Abruzzo. Abruzzo broke off from the former settlement known as Aprutium, which today is the province of Teramo. According to the legend, after the Trojan war, both sides (the Trojans and Achaeans) were wandering around the sea for quite a long time. They ended up establishing many settlements on the Apennine Peninusla. Now King Aeneas, who fought on the Trojan side, wandered around the Mediterranean for many months after the Battle of Troy. He came about to the city of Lazio and ended up marrying the King’s daughter Lavinia. These descendants would later found Rome. As for Abruzzo, many cities were founded here by the heros of the Trojan War. King Argos Diomedes who fought with the Greeks, established many towns in Puglia and Vasto, which is considered one of the most beauitiful cities in Abruzzo.
Fast-forward to today. What is the region like now? Abruzzo has always had its own characteristics and still holds its rich cultural heritage. Part of this is due to its inaccessibility because of the mountainous terrain. The cool thing about Abruzzo is that the people living there today take great care in the historical monuments as well as ancient traditions. This makes sightseeing around the cities and areas one of the most beautiful experience of Abruzzo.
As an Education major, I am very interested in the different education systems around the world. I wanted to see what the education system was like in Italy. It turns out it is very similar to what we have here in the United States.
There is five phases in Italy’s education system; Kindergarten, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, and College/ University. Children can also go to preschools before kindergarten, just like children in here do. Primary schooling starts at age six, and this would be like their elementary school. Primary schools go up to sixth grade. Lower secondary would be their middle school, and upper secondary is high school. They study all of the subject Americans study, but the one thing that surprised me was they all study English. They start in primary school with their english course, so they are almost fluent by the time they to secondary school.
It was interesting to see how similar our two education systems really are. They go to school for the same amount of time, and they study the same subjects. It is nice to see that education is the same world wide.
Through out my life I have been to many exciting places and experiences, and I treasure the memories of all of them. It’s a shame though that I have been to one of the most amazing cities on this earth and I barely remember a thing!
When I was 7 years old, my family was asked by my grandfather’s family in Rome to come to Rome to celebrate my grandparent’s 50th Wedding anniversary. My grandparents were married in Rome and wanted to renew their vows in the Church they got married. My whole family, including all my cousins, aunts, and uncles, went to Rome for a week to celebrate our grandparents, our family, and our Italian culture. That week in Rome we saw it all including the Coliseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trevi Fountain, Sicily, and even a glimpse of the Pope John Paul II from a far! Unfortunately I was too young to appreciate and remember it all, and I only remember bits and pieces. This makes me so mad because I highly appreciate these things now and I absolutely dream of revisiting Rome some day.
Out of all the things I saw in Rome and don’t remember, I am most mad about not remembering barely anything about St. Peter’s Basilica. Being a devout Catholic, it is more than a dream for me to go and admire St. Peter’s beauty and history. Going to St. Peter’s and attending mass with the Pope as the celebrant is on top of my “bucket list”.
St. Peter’s remarkable history can be traced back hundreds of years. St. Peter himself is buried 20ft directly under the main alter of the Basilica. I personally think this is really cool for “Peter” means “rock”, Jesus told Peter, “on this rock you will build my Church, and St. Peter not only did lead the Catholic Church as the first Pope but they literally built the main Catholic Church of the world on him. St. Peter’s is where the Pope lives and guides the Church, and it is also where they have elected the Popes processors for hundreds of years. Along with its unique history, St. Peter’s is also famous for containing some of the most remarkable pieces of art and human artifacts that ever was. Michelangelo had the greatest art influence on the Basilica and some of his famous pieces include architecting the exterior and interior, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Dome of St. Peter’s, his beautiful sculpture of Mary and Jesus called “Pietà”, and many more genius works of art. Because St. Peter’s is a sacred place – tourist are forbidden from taking pictures – Basilica guards will literally take your camera from you. The only pictures we have are from those that were granted special permission and through paintings. It is such a remarkable human masterpiece that even a photo can’t capture its beauty and one has to experience for their selves.