Art, Mafia, and No Polar Vortex

It’s hard to believe that I’m already wrapping up my second month in Florence. This month has been jam packed with fun experiences, and over the next couple weeks I am excited to add a few more experiences. In a week, I’m taking a trip to Sicily with my Sociology: History of the Mafia and the Media class, and I can’t wait to be on an island that is filled with so much history. Over the past couple months, we’ve been learning all about how the mafia was able to take power in Southern Italy, and how the people of Italy fought back and helped curb it’s power. On our trip to Sicily, I’ll be able to tour a farm that was once owned by the Mafia with a  guide who is a leader in the Anti-Mafia movement.

Last week, I took a trip to Pisa with my Art History class which was also super interesting. We toured churches that were over a thousand years old, and we learned about the history of Pisa and the role that it played during the middle ages. I think the most interesting thing I learned was that Italy wasn’t a unified country until the mid 1800’s, so throughout the middle ages, cities like Pisa, Florence, and Rome would battle each other to try and take control of trade routes and resources. I have never been too interested in art, but this class has given me a new level of appreciation because we are able to learn about the history behind it. Another interesting thing I have learned in this class, is that religions constantly stole art styles from each other when they would win battles. Christians and Muslims would raid each others churches and mosques during battles, realize that the opposing side had “cooler looking” artwork or architecture, and would then integrate that style into their own artwork when they returned home.

Overall, my February has been very interesting and eventful, and I am excited to get started on my third month abroad. Sometimes I miss the small things about being back in the US, like the food and convenience of stores like Target, but I’m glad I’ve been able to experience a different way of living and I hope I can integrate some of the positive aspects of European culture into my life back home. I hope March ends up being as eventful as February, and I can’t wait to update you all in month!

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