Select Study Abroad June 2015: Week 2 (cooking, gardening, jewelry-ing galore!)

Week two was jam-packed people. We started with a visit to the stunning and not-to-be-missed Medici Chapel, designed and sculpted by none other than Michelangelo. We explored, tested, and perhaps purchased some of the amazing products from one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, Farmacia Santa Maria Novella (in existence for almost 800 years and open to the public for over 400 years!). Then we had back-to-back cooking classes where our budding students made chicken cacciatore, spinach and ricotta gnudi, and olive oil cookies (all gluten free and heart healthy!). We spent the afternoon with one of our favorite artisans, the amazing jewelry maker Giuliano Ricchi. We had a fantastic tasting where we tried several different kinds of Tuscan olive oil and balsamic vinegar along with several traditional Tuscan meats. Finally, our fabulous Alpha Phi ladies spent their first afternoon at the awesome Orto Dipinti (a community run and managed garden in the center of Florence) where we watered and pruned and learned about the gardens amazing herbal salt combinations (packing a tasty punch so cooking requires much less salt) and paper seed coins. As if we haven’t done enough already, next up: Venice!
The Medici Chapel
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Jewelry Making Demonstration in Florence

Jewelry_demonstrationBy far one of my favorite activities we enjoy during the summer is a visit to the gorgeous studio of Paolo Penko, a goldsmith in Florence. Paolo still uses the old Renaissance techniques and is inspired by traditional Renaissance designs – some drawn directly from famous works of Renaissance art. Along with jewels in gold and religious icons worked in silver, he also knows a thing or two about making the famous florin (florino d’oro), Florence’s original currency, a gold coin first struck in 1252. Paolo introduces us to the tools, the trade, and the tradition while immersed in the beautiful works of art found in every imaginable corner of his gorgeous studio.Artist_desk Continue reading…

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