Quattordicesimo Giorno: The Last Supper…Literally…Well Almost

Today was somewhat bittersweet.  For a few of us it marks our last full day in Genoa, a motivating factor that had us all up early and ready to go.  After enjoying espresso from our soon to be missed instant espresso machine and filling our tummies with focaccia bread we split into groups and made our way down the hill.  Some of us visited the travelling market while others gravitated toward the oriental food market and Zara.  Both groups would arrive back with last minute mementos (mostly clothes) and ready to eat one of Christina’s delicious meals.  Today it would consist of pesto pasta, roast beef, salad and a very, very tasty apple crostata.  If anything we have been well fed these last two weeks, but I have been promised by Lindsay Lee that come fall we will make pesto (and maybe try and conquer crostatas too, pretty please?).

Our afternoon was devoted to finishing up our documentation and piazza projects.  Paint sample locations were noted in AutoCAD, piazza descriptions were written, and 3Dimentional cutout/representations of our piazzas were created.   We also made our way downtown one last time as a group to visit the last piazza belonging to Brittany and Lindsay.  This piazza was actually once home to one of the most noteworthy Genovese families, the Embriacis, and has the sole remaining tower from Genoa’s medieval period.  After their lovely tour and a stop at a nearby church, we made our way to our new favorite gelato shop where Kelly and I discovered a new flavor of gelato, Roger, which combines coffee, macadamia nut, and chocolate.

To finish our evening we decided to make a smorgasbord of leftovers.  We cooked the remaining pastas and risottos purchased from the Carrefour just down the street and created salads and appetizers from cheeses, crackers, olives and veggies.   Last we convened on the sun room for a final movie night and watched Genoa with Colin Firth.

It was another long day, but nevertheless, one that I would be happy to relive.

Buona Notte


Pictures from today!!

Tredicesimo Giorno: Rolli Days and Al Fresco Kebabs

As the trip is winding down our group is attempting to visit any sites or shops that we have missed along the way. Today we headed downtown to visit Rolli Days. Rolli Days is an event in Genoa that allows visitors to enter sites on the Rolli di Genova. Created in 1576, the Rolli di Genova is an official list of public lodging palaces that hosted travelers who entered a public lottery. The palaces became prominent stops for those taking The Grand Tour. In 2006, 42 of the 80 palazzi on the Rolli were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Most of the palazzi are located along Via Garibaldi and currently house a variety of institutions from museums to banks. During Rolli Days, the palazzi are open to the public and some provide guided tours or feature contemporary art installations. We began our tour with two palazzi that currently house academic buildings of the University of Genoa.  After our first tour we walked out to find another exciting event, the Vespa Parade! This event had been scheduled for Saturday, but due to the bad weather it was rescheduled for today and we were lucky enough to see the action. Between tours we made a quick kebab stop and enjoyed the activity around San Lorenzo. After lunch and more touring we headed back up to the villa where most of us spent the afternoon chatting in the garden or reading. We each prepared a quick dinner and have spent the rest of the evening completing our piazza descriptions and experimenting with the cutting machine. Tomorrow is part of our group’s last full day in Genoa and we will be spending the day soaking up as much of this beautiful city as possible!



Check out our photos from today on Flickr!

Dodicesimo Giorno: “Anyone Can Cook!”

Today was a cold, dreary day in Genoa.  Our response was to catch up on much needed sleep, relax, and prepare for our final days in this beautiful city.  After leisurely breakfasts, everyone went their separate ways.  Kendy went downtown for a short expedition, Frances visited several palazzos, and the rest of us trekked to the local Carrefour for groceries.  Late afternoon rolled around and everyone was back at the villa, so the group decided to grab blankets and snacks for an evening at the movies.  The villa sunroom provided us the best place to watch the exciting lineup of Ratatouille, Argo, and Friday Night Lights.

As our lazy day comes to a close, I am confident that we are all ready to experience all that Genova has to offer us in the next three days.

Buona Notte!



Undicesimo Giorno: Carvaggio! Van Dyke! Art History Yay!

My inner Gardner’s Art Through the Ages heart was soaring today! The morning started off beautifully; sunshine, birds chirping, and a good nights sleep after yesterday’s lengthy adventure. After my always delightful breakfast of fresh melon with prosciutto, tea, and warm focaccia bread with mixed berry jam, most of us lounged around for the majority of the morning. We worked on finishing up AutoCad projects, researching and test-executing our piazza projects and working on the blog. At exactly 1:12 (not that I’m counting) Christina rang the bell for lunch. The smell of rosted tomatoes, onions, and fish had been daunting us for hours so we were dying with anticipation to see what she had created for us today. Lunch consisted of an amazing fish stew with huge chunks of potatoes, tomatoes, onions, olives and herbs. Served alongside was a wonderful light pasta with pomodoro sauce and salad as always.

After our lengthy lunch (we usually linger around the table for at least an hour or so) and some sneaky stolen pieces of Kavan’s leftover birthday crostada, we headed to the two most popular and well known museums here in Genoa. The Palazzo Rosso (the Red Palace) and the Palazzo Bianco (White Palace) are located essentially across the street from each other on the ritzy Via Ghirabaldi. While the Palazzo Rosso was built between 1671 and 1677, and the Palazzo Bianco was built between 1530 and 1540, both act as fine art galleries for some of the most prominent artists between the 12th and 17th centuries. As an art history major, I was excited to see pieces by Carvaggio, Reubens, and Ven Dyke oh my!

Following the museum tours we headed to Piazza San Luca to hear more about the Piazza assigned to Kelly and Melissa. We discussed the way the piazza is used, who uses it, what it’s comprised of etc. Soon after our tummy’s began to rumble so we set off in search of one thing I had seriously missed since my last jaunt in Italy: KEBABS! Following the kebabs, and my constant need to balance my food ratios (salty to sweet/meat to potatoes) we went and found an amazing gelato place that gave you a huge amount with not the average flavors for only 2.50 euros! We spent the next few hours walking the streets just trying to experience the city on a Friday night (it was just as busy as you’d imagine) and then headed back up to the villa to turn in. The weather has turned on us once again so hopefully tomorrow won’t be as bad as the forecast is predicting (55 and raining, yuck) otherwise we’ll just have to play some cards and look into watching Ratatouille.

I hope you all are enjoying the warmth back home and are having a great and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

Baci e Abbracci (kisses and hugs)!


Come check out our photos from today!!

Decimo Giorno: Cinque Terre and the Journey to get our Feet in the Mediterranean

Cinque terre: we came, we saw, it was beautiful, we’re exhausted!! What a fantastic, picture-perfect day to be out on the Italian Riviera! Cinque terre is an Italian National Park consisting of five historic villages nestled along the cliffs and terraces of Italy’s northern coastline, the famed Italian Riviera. Until recently, all five villages were connected by a series of hiking trails; however a massive flood in October 2012 caused landslides, which washed away parts of the trail system. The regional train system still connects them, and runs regularly, so it is relatively easy to train hop and see all of them in one day. And, we did!

We started at the southern-most town of Riomaggiore and made our way north, after a slight snafu with the trains. All five villages are similar but unique in their own ways. They definitely cater to the tourists, offering a plethora of shopping, wine bars, and restaurants. Of course, we sampled some of the offerings in each town. Of note are delicious cones of fried seafood and carafes of local wine. We had the opportunity to put our feet in the Mediterranean in Vernazza and climbed through the olive and grape orchards on the hillside above Manarola. Oh, did I mention the postcard perfect setting for flawless photography? There are no bad pictures from this crew!

We wrapped up our day with a great dinner at a lovely little take away restaurant tucked away in the winding side streets of Monterosso al Mare. The proprietor and his wife were very friendly offering us extra pasta on top of generous servings. We then caught the train back to Genoa and crawled to our beds. What a great day!



Check out our photos from today on Flickr!

Nono Giorno: Skipping, Smiles and Sunshine

This is my first chance to contribute to the blog and I must say that this trip has been a wonderful one for me so far due in large part to the cooperative spirit and enthusiasm of the students, thank you Kendy, Brittany, Melissa, Megan, Kavin, Will, Lindsay and Kelly.

We awoke this morning to a beautiful day in Genoa, blue sky’s, less wind and warmer. The students printed preliminary CAD drawings so that I could plot out the most advantageous paint sample locations.  I took a few samples which have already reveled past finishes history in some locations. A small exposure in our main studio confirmed my earlier suspicion of an early ochre colored Venetian plaster in this room. All of the samples taken on this trip will be processed this summer and we will then have a more complete idea of the finishes history in the villa.

After another wonderful meal prepared by Cristina we all headed downtown to the Museo di Sant’ Agostino which is located in a restored monastery and displays works by famous artists from Genoa and the Liguria region. The highlights being sculpture by Giovanni Pisano and paintings and frescos from the 16th century. An added bonus was the interactive exhibit of models of machines designed by Leonardo di Vinci.

Afterwards we began our piazza presentations, first visiting Erbe and then Scuole Pie, very different spaces in use and feel both presented well by team Kaven and Kendy, and Megan and Will. To celebrate a successful afternoon, gelato was in order even though it was past 6:00 pm.

Dinner of pasta and caprese finished off the evening with much conversation around the dinner table. Now the anticipation grows for tomorrow’s adventure to The Cinque Terre. We anticipate the best weather day of our trip so far, clear sky’s, no chance of rain and temperatures in the low 70′s.


Check out our Flickr set from today!

Ottavo Giorno: A Beautiful Day for a Birthday in Italy!

It’s my birthday and I’ll nap if I want to.

Today was my (Kavan) birthday.  It was a slow start to the day for many of us, after our night experiencing Piazza della Erbe, but there was work to be done so we woke up and got right to it.  Dan gave us a quick tutorial on how to use a fancy cutting printer, which we will use for part two of our field studies here in Genoa.  We all finished up our autoCAD drawings in preparation for paint sampling tomorrow.

The afternoon called for a quick round of naps and then a treck through the Parco delle Mura.  What a great way to spend a birthday in Italy!  Unfortunately, the castles were all locked up tight so we couldn’t fully explore them.  However, the views from the top of the park were beautiful.  Some of us continued on hiking for a little while and just as Megan was saying that all the view was missing was sheep roaming around, we happened upon a flock of sheep.

To end the day we had a group supper at Ristorante Montallegro.  We rode the funiculare, a small train the takes you up to the top of Genoa, to get there.  The restaurant had an amazing view of the city, and we got a window seat!  The food was delicious and very reasonably priced.  I can definitely say that this will be a birthday to remember.



Settimo Giorno: AutoCad and Foccacia, Focaccia and AutoCad

It was another beautiful day here in Genoa. In the morning, many of us revisited our piazzas. The rest stayed behind at the villa and worked on Autocad. After visiting the piazzas, many of us decided to further explore the city. Some visited a traveling market, while others explored further up the hill. Lunch, as always, was excellent. Lunch consisted of tortellini, turkey in gravy, and a salad.

After lunch, many of us went up the hill in search of Gelato. Unable to find a gelateria, they instead had pastries from a bakery in San Nicola. Others stayed at the villa and continued to work on autocad. Dinner tonight consisted of left over tortellini, salad and garlic bread prepared by Kelly, Kavan, and Megan. After dinner, we will be visiting Piazza della Erbe (Kendy and Kavan’s piazza) to check out the local nightlife.



Sesto Giorno: Portofino – Home of the 35 Euro Bellini

Portofino. Our first day outing. This morning we awoke with anticipation of a day spent outside of Genoa. Frances’ plan was to take us via train to Santa Margherita from where we started our short hike to Portofino. My knowledge of this small tourist spot was limited to the view I had seen when an Italian woman on my train from Rome pointed it out to me through the window and my anticipation was heightened by our circuitous walk along the coast of the Mediterranean. We all brought lunches of crackers, cheese, jam, focaccia bread and fruit, and about halfway to our destination we stopped to enjoy our lunch seaside. Our chosen eating spot was a small vista that projected over the water and provided views of Santa Margherita and the Mediterranean Sea. Continuing our walk we spotted many houses and castles of which we all longed to see more, imagining that one of us might one day own one as a vacation spot of which we could all make use of.

After walking and walking (which we seem to do a lot of around here) we made the turn around the last little inlet and were finally able to see our destination. The harbor was dotted with sailboats and the coast was lined with houses all painted in pastel colors. Our walk would still require us to pass various private beaches and covetable houses before we reached the harbor with its many shops and restaurants. From there we decided to continue our trek up the hill to the Church of San Giorgio. Its location high above Portofino gave us the opportunity to take postcard perfect photos of the harbor. On the way back down we ventured into many of the local shops perusing the linen that Portofino is known for and making purchases of scarves and table linens for ourselves and those waiting at home.  Our trip was finalized with a stop at a snack bar where we shared olives and peanuts as well as various libations before boarding a bus back to the train station.

Arriving back at the villa, we decided to take the evening easy. Meals were created from the many leftover ingredients this week in Genoa has provided including pasta, arugula, chickpeas and gnocchi before we all decided to call it an early night.  After all, tomorrow is the beginning of a new week, one which I imagine will be full of as much documenting, eating and exploring as this last.



Quinto Giorno: Rain, Rain, Go Away!

There was no possibility of taking a walk today.

It was a rainy day at villa, and in order to make the most of time we decided that today would be the perfect day to stay in and do some work. For the majority of the day, most people concentrated on completing the bulk of their documentation work in AutoCAD. Other members of the group chose to read books, wash clothes, complete sporcle quizzes, and generally relax. Luckily, Frances decided to brave the weather and managed to find us an interesting exhibit of Leonardo DaVinci’s inventions. Deciding to turn today into a workday, also means that later we will have a sunnier day to go exploring around Genoa.

When late afternoon rolled around we were all tired, cold, and damp. Luckily, Lindsay, Brittany, and Melissa prepared us a tasty (and warm!) meal of creamy risotto and chickpea salad. The day ended with us watching Brave with Alex and Eva, the visiting professor’s daughters from Clemson who also live in the villa!

Hopefully, it will be sunny tomorrow as we journey to the beautiful seaside Italian town of Portofino!