Fine artwork and dining

It’s beginning to hit me that I’m living in Florence.

What I thought would be a tiring Tuesday — my longest day of classes — turned into a festa of Italian culture and surprises. I was prepared for a lecture in my three-hour documentary-making class, but my professor took us to a mosaic workshop called I Mosaici di Lastrucci. The Lastrucci father and son make mosaics using techniques from the 16th century. The artwork and techniques were some of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.

Iacopo and Bruno Lastrucci travel all over Europe to find stones for their work. They choose stones specifically for their color because each artwork is made from the natural colors of the rocks. Every piece is cut with a simple saw made of a tree branch bent in the form of a bow with an iron wire stretched from end to end; the pieces are then glued together with a mixture of wax and pine resin.

Bruno said he completes about one square centimeter PER DAY. It takes one to two years to finish an artwork. I can’t even imagine having the patience for that.

I’m glad the Lastrucci are blessed with that virtue, however, because every piece I saw was stunning. They looked like paintings.

I put together a quick video about the visit. Bear with me — this was my first time editing video on my laptop!

I was also blown away because this workshop is just a few blocks from my apartment, and I never would have known had it not been for my class. Glenn said it best in the video: what an amazing hidden gem.

I also made a short video about my first cooking class — taught by an Italian chef!

We learned how to make pasta, sauce, eggplant cakes and tiramisu completely from scratch. We actually made dough and cut it into noodles. I didn’t even know that was possible. I thought noodles came from Italian voodoo or something else I’d been too naïve to think about.

The eggplant cakes and sauce had all sorts of vegetables I would have picked around at home, but since I made it, I ate it. It was the most amazing Italian dish I’ve ever tasted.

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