Palazzo Rucellai

Palazzo Rucellai

Official Website:

I have to say that one of the main reasons I got so excited about attending Palazzo Rucellai was the actual building itself. It’s not every day that a student takes her classes in a building once owned by a powerful banking family of Florence. There’s plenty of controversy in regards to the actual architect of the building, as the style indicates one while its essence bleeds another, but the structure oozes a sense of dignity and status regardless of its creator. To think, the second floor of the building was once a grand ballroom, now converted into classrooms. I’ll be learning Italian underneath a frescoed ceiling, thanks very much. The Ivy Leagues might boast old age, but Palazzo Rucellai was around to see the Renaissance, the peak of the Medici family’s power, German occupation during WWII. Really makes Harvard seem like a bumbling toddler.

Incredulous awe aside, I’ll be taking six classes during my fall semester, amounting to 17 credits. I’m still dubious whenever I hear someone say that 17 credits is a lot, having taken in excess of 18 my entire college career, and I’d also like to point out that study abroad classes aren’t exactly like regular classes. I hate to break the truth to you, but kids don’t really study during study abroad. That being said, I really am looking forward to the courses I’ve picked out (and yes, I will study).

2) VARTS 261: Introduction to Photography: Portfolio of Florence

Reading the syllabus, there says something about an excursion. YES. If you’ve seen “Under the Tuscan Sun,” “Letters to Juliet,” or any other movie featuring Tuscany as a setting, you’d be excited too. Basic requirements include a DSLR camera and Photoshop, the necessaries of an aspiring photographer, and they’ve already been put to good use this summer. I love my camera. (Nikon 3100, thanks for the recommendation, Uncle Frank!)

3) VARTS 383: The Art of Buon Fresco

Gonna learn how to Fresco. In Florence. What else is there to say but YES? YES? I only wonder how I’m going to get the finished product back home. Not easy bringing slabs of concrete overseas, I’ll have you know. We do meet six hours every week, though, so I’m wondering how this is going to conflict with the other classes. We’ll see.

4) HUM 306: The History and Culture of Food: A Comparative Analysis

Are you drooling? I am. Every time I think of this class, my stomach growls. Doesn’t matter if I’ve just eaten, it still makes me hungry. “Examine the evolution of Italian food culture” is what the website says. Oh man. That means influences from other countries and the emergence of the Mediterranean diet. And a field trip. I’m hungry.

5) ITAL 101: The Florence Experience: Beginning Italian I

Since I know next to no Italian, I’m naturally in the beginner’s level class. Of course, taking an Italian course at Palazzo Rucellai is mandatory, so it’s good to know that they’re interested in keeping us relatively informed while we’re there. Hopefully I’ll be fluent by the time I come home in a year.

6) ENG 430: Dante’s World: The Pilgrimage from Florence to the Holy Jerusalem

I loved the Divine Comedy when I read it in my second semester freshman year Human Event class. It’s definitely an interesting take on the afterlife and experiencing everything Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven has to offer. An entire class devoted to it? I’m so in.

This is still a tentative list, though they’re all classes that I want to take. Of course, they depend on scheduling, which I couldn’t tell since the class times weren’t offered when I signed up. I’ll be updating this page once I know my schedule for certain. Though after looking through the list of courses, it wouldn’t be a terrible thing to pick something else . . . maybe. Besides, there’s always spring semester.


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