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giovedì 27 febbraio 2014

MARCH 2014 at ISTITUTO EUROPEO: Schedule of Activities

Carnival in Florence
March 2014 (March 3rd 28st)

 Mon  3    9:00 am        Written and oral placement test
               7:30 pm       Welcome dinner € 30
Tue   4    2:00 pm       Presentation about cultural activities in Florence in March
Wed  5    12:30 pm     Lunch (tastings of typical Tuscan cuisine) € 20
Thu   6    2:00 pm       Movie: “Amarcord” by F. Fellini
Fri     7    7:00 pm       Dinner in trattoria € 30
               11:30 pm     Night out at the disco
Sat    8    7:30 am       Hiking in Chianti with lunch and wine tasting € 45
Sun   9    8:00 am       Day tour to Pisa, Siena & S. Gimignano with lunch € 50

Mon  10  1:30 pm       The Director meets the students of Istituto Europeo
Tue   11  3:00 pm       Visit to a Florentine workshop: Lastrucci’s mosaics
Wed  12  12:30 pm     Lunch (typical tastings of Tuscan cuisine) € 20
Thu   13  2:00 pm       Movie: “I soliti ignoti” by M. Monicelli
Fri     14  7:00 pm       Dinner in trattoria € 30
Sat    15  9:00 am       Day tour to Pisa € 25
Sun   16  8:00 am       Day tour to Verona & Garda Lake € 65

Mon  17  2:00 pm      Visit to Alinari Museum € 9
Tue   18  2:00 pm      Movie: “Il Divo” , by P. Sorrentino
Wed  19 12:30 pm      Lunch (typical tastings of Tuscan cuisine) € 20
Thu   20  2:00 pm      Conference: “Dante and his Time
Fri     21  7:00 pm      Dinner in trattoria30
               11:30 pm     Night out at the disco
Sat    22  8:45 am      Day tour to S. Gimignano, Siena & Chianti with lunch € 45
Dom  23  8:00 am      Day tour to Montepulciano, Pienza & Montalcino with lunch € 69

Mon  24  2:00 pm      Visit to Ferragamo Museum € 5
Tue   25  2:30 pm      Day tour to Monteriggioni & Castellina in Chianti € 30
Wed  26                      Movie: “Il nome della rosa” by J. Jacques Annaud

Thu   27 5:00 pm       Concert provided by the artists of Istituto Europeo
               7:00 pm       Farewell dinner € 30
               11:30 pm     Farewell party at the disco
Fri     28  12:30 pm     Farewell party. Awarding of attendance certificates/diplomas


mercoledì 19 febbraio 2014

Interview with Cristina Reinecke, owner of Mama’s Bakery in Florence

by Louisa Loring

How was this bakery born here in Florence?

It was born from an idea my husband, Matt, mostly had, who is American.  We had worked for many years in business but then wanted to change direction and open Mama’s Bakery because there was nothing else like this that had bagels in Florence.

Did you two always have this dream or was it something that just came to you one day?

No, it was never a dream that we had beforehand.  It was something that actually started suddenly.

So was it hard to change the type of work you were doing all of a sudden?

Actually, at that point we had already left our old jobs and were looking for a substantial alternative to the typical, daily work we were doing beforehand.  And this was the decision we decided to make.

And where does the name Mama’s Bakery come from?

We chose the name because it is very easy to remember and a name rather known in the United States.  I had never seen any place in any part of Italy called by a name such as this so I thought it was perfect but mostly, because it is easy to remember.  Mama is a word that also makes you think of family and of the home and that is what we have tried to create, a homely feeling.  At this point, we have been open for about five and a half years.

Bacon bagel
The types of things you offer here such as bagels are not at all easy to make.  How did you learn to make these types of things?

To learn about bagels, Matt took a bagel course in the United States and then he took another course in Italy to learn how to make other types of breads.  Thus, he has used both techniques and that which he learned over the years but also, he has learned various secrets throughout the way. 

What is the hardest part of this type of work here? And the part most rewarding?

The schedule and hours that are needed for the bread making.  It is early; we could say even the night so for that, it can be difficult.  I would say the management part can be hard, working with our customers I mean.  The most rewarding part is at the same time working with our customers.  It is nice interacting with them and seeing them come in and leave happy because they don’t always come in so sure of what they will find.  New clients often come in a bit unsure of what they are getting into but they always leave with a smile on their face, which is nice to see.

Would you say your customer base is mostly American or Italian?

By now they are mostly Italian.  They probably make up about 60% of our customers.  Many of them are also American students who are studying in Florence for a year and want to come to a place where they are reminded of home. 

And would you say there was a moment in which this changed, the switch from mostly Americans to mostly Italians?

Yes, at first, our clients were mostly only American but then slowly, we tried to break into the Italian market and it worked. 

Do you try to combine American and Italian flavors together by reinventing a traditional American sandwich by adding an Italian twist?

In a way yes because there are typical Italian flavors and ingredients such as prosciutto crudo but rather than trying to bring Italian cooking into the mix we aim to add a more international element.  That is what we really try and focus on.

What is the best selling item on your menu?

Definitely the bagel with lox and cream cheese and the club sandwich mainly because they are hard to find in Florence, especially done well and here, they are very good. 

Do you have future plans for the Bakery? Maybe intentions to open another location?

We would consider opening another bakery but for now, we are very happy where we are and with what we are doing.  We have plenty to keep us busy here!

To end, do you have a piece of advice for someone who wants to open a bakery for the first time?

You need to be very strong and courageous, and have a lot of patience. You cannot be rushed and need to wait to see results because it is not instant. Like I said earlier, this idea was born quite suddenly but it was important for us not to improvise things but to learn to do things well, such as making bagels because it needs to be long lastly and of good quality because if not, people will not return.


martedì 18 febbraio 2014

The Hands Statue in Yerevan, Armenia

by Gayani Simonyan

The original white marble The Hands Statue was brought to Armenia from an Italian city Carrara representing the friendship between the two twinned cities- Yerevan, the capital of Armenia and Carrara, Italy. This sculpture was put in the park located on the corner of Moskovyan and Teryan streets neighboring “Yeritasardakan” (Youth) metro station and symbolizing the friendship between Armenian and Italian people. This is the story known to the majority of people living in Armenia.

As a respond Yerevan sent the people of Carrara a model of memorial fountain made of tufa, and decorated with national motifs, the replica of which is placed in Yerevan not far from “The hands of friendship” sculpture. This memorial was made by well-known Armenian sculptor Ara Harutyunyan and arcitect Rafael Israelyan.

The bilateral donation was done in 1967. This year was an abundant year for opening new statues. It was in 1967 that Mother Armenia Statue in Yerevan came to replace a monumental statue of Joseph Stalin and was put in Victory park, then the statue of Mesrop Mashtots (the inventor of Armenian alphabet) was  opened in front of Matenedaran (repository  of ancient manuscripts).
In addition to this, a memorable medal and a book were awarded to Yerevan by Carrara, as a symbol of friendship, which are kept in the Yerevan History Museum and displayed with the other exhibits associated with the Sister Cities. 
Ruzan Khachatryan, an Armenian skilled journalist, is taking the track, going deeper on this issue and making a short film that brings forward many interesting things about the history of this Hands Statue.
In 60th when the two cities were opposed to be sister cities:  Yerevan as a city of tufa stone known to the world, and Carrara also as a city of stone known for its marble.  So these two cities were proclaimed to be sister cities.
In 1965 the sculptor Ara Harutyunyan with his Adolescence statue took part in biennial of Carrara. During these 10 days they managed to visit the marble quarry that the Italian famous architects including architect, sculptor, painter Michelangelo were using.
Coming back to Armenia Ara Harutyunyan is telling Grigor Hasratyan, the head of the executive committee of Yerevan City Council, about a statue that he had seen in the quarry. The same year Grigor Hasratyan with his delegation is visiting the quarry of marble in Carrara and making a contract to transfer the hands statue to Yerevan and give the memorial fountain instead. In 1967 the memorial is transferred to Carrara with the sign on it: “In segno di fraternità Erevan Carrara”. 

Now about the unknown mystery that has been undiscovered for ages.
What statue did Armenians see in Carrara marble quarry?
According to Aram Harutyunyan (son of sculptor Ara Harutyunyan), his father notices in quarry some parts of a big statue thinking that it’s Jesus Christ’s statue not collected yet: his head with long hair, 2 hands- the right one symbolizing trinity. He is being told that the statue won’t be collected anymore because the sponsor refuses to pay, the author doesn’t want to continue his work and thus the fragments are left in this quarry. His father realizes that they can’t transfer Jesus Christ’s head, so he decides to take the hands.
Ruben Hasratyan, son of Grigor Hasratyan, agrees on the hands being part of Jesus Christ’s statue.
It would be dangerous to take Jesus Christ’s head to Armenia at that time as during Soviet period the rejection of belief of existence of deities was propagated.
So the mystery of the Hands was known only to a few people and only some could guest that the right hand is symbolizing trinity.
Aram Harutyunyan, judging by the size of hands, says that the statue is supposed to be around 15- 20 meters.

There’s a similarity of hands and sizes of this statue with the “Christ of Havana” that Jilma Madera, a well-know sculptor created. The statue is about 20 meters composed of 67 pieces that were brought from Italy and put in Cuba’s capital, Havana. It was inaugurated on December 24, 1958 before the hands could be put in Yerevan.
Just fifteen days after its inauguration, on January 8, 1959, Fidel Castro entered Havana during the Cuban Revolution. The same day the statue was hit by lightning and its head was destroyed. But it was subsequently repaired.

Media was silent about what happened with the hands of the statue but it was written in American News journal in 1963 the testimony of Raul Mendoza, an architect who ran from Cuba by ship and repaired the head of the statue. He said that Fidel Castro’s government took the lightening conductor out of the statue’s head in order it wouldn’t be safe of lightening and to show that God is a myth and his statue - defenseless. Should the architect speak about it, he would be sentence immediately.
Armenian architects are excluding any connection between the statues in Havana and the one in Armenia. Both the author and the complete sculpture, where the Hands statue derives from, remain unknown.

martedì 11 febbraio 2014

Why interning in Florence? 10 good reasons

1. Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, full of history and art. There is a masterpiece at every corner and you can literally breathe and live the Renaissance.

2. Florentines are friendly and warm, they will make you feel at home.

3. Florence is romantic. Romance is everywhere here, even in the air.

4. Florence is full of high qualified companies where you can have the best internship experience – not only architecture, fashion design, sports and culinary, but also medicine, business and much more.

5. Florence is the capital city of Tuscany, one of the more beautiful regions of Italy, that offers every kind of landscape: nice hills, snowy mountains, sunny beaches and beautiful islands.

6. In Florence the food is excellent. Besides Italian well-known specialties, Florence and its surroundings offer irresistible dishes and some of the best Italian wines.

7. If your interest is also learning Italian, Florence is the best place to do it. The Italian language was born here with Dante Alighieri and Italian descends directly from the Florentine dialect.

8. Florence is in the heart of Italy, close to many other beautiful cities like Pisa, Siena, S.Gimignano and the capital Rome and only 3 hours away from other beauties such as Venice, Verona and Naples.

9. Florence is in an excellent position to visit Europe. In a few hours and with few Euros you can get to Paris, London, Barcelona, Vienna or wherever you wish to go.

10. You will never forget the view from the top of the Duomo or from Piazzale Michelangelo at twilight…