Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Riscaldiamoci con Amore

This weekend's group field trip was meant to be to Parma, Vicenza, and Verona, but we had to cut out some different sites and add in some impromptu ones due to snow.  We detoured from Parma to Mantova and visited the Palazzo Te, whose fake moat was covered by a poorly assembled ice puzzle, giving you some idea as to how these Siberian winds have been affecting the region.

The next day we visited two Palladian villas in Vicenza, the Villas Rotonda and Valmarana, which shine with classicism and geometric symmetry, and also his fasciniating Teatro Olimpico, an indoor Roman theatre that challenges your perspectival view of the three-dimensional stage.

Back in Verona, where we spent both nights, the town had kicked off Valentine's Day early with the celebration of the Verona in Love festival.  It's a particularly romantic city, as Shakespeare himself noted when he made it the setting for Romeo and Juliet (even though the historic Juliet was actually from Siena and "her house" in Verona is a falsification).  There were various concerts and artisan fairs scattered around town, and I particularly enjoyed one Italian's soulful rendition of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," complete with lines like "feeling your heart buhleebing." 

That evening I got an aperitivo and dinner with some of the students, and several of us decided to try the local specialty, horse stew with polenta.  It's the sort of meat from which you don't know what to expect, but once you've tried it, you say, "Oh.  It tastes like horse."  All I know is I didn't have to worry about anemia that night.

The best thing about the city this weekend was that you could feel it radiating love.  I told the students to stop complaining about the cold, because we could just warm ourselves with love, and as corny as it was, they all fell for the town's magic and agreed with me.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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