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A Parade of High Fashion

Published: April 17, 2016

A Parade of High Fashion

Five Days in Florence

Daily posts and photos from ACM faculty and consortial staff during the site visit to the ACM Florence program.
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An exhibit in the Galleria del Costume featuring artist and textile designer Susan Nevelson.

Day 4: Friday, April 15, 2016

Posted by Tom Halverson, DeWitt Wallace Professor and Chair of the Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science Department, Macalester College

Another gorgeous day in Florence, sunny and 72F, with a lovely Italian breeze.

Our day began in the Linguaviva classroom with a lecture by Professor Susan Wolverton on creating a Florentine identity through dress. Historically an important center of textile production, Florence is experiencing a renaissance as a fashion incubator; designers are returning to display their work in the galleries of the Medici.

 

Burial wardrobe of Cosimo Medici

 

Rebecca Tucker leading students

  Burial wardrobe of Cosimo Medici the 1st (top) and Rebecca Tucker leading students in the Gallery Palatina.

We walked as a group across Ponte Santa Trinita to Oltrarno (the other side of the Arno river) and the Pitti Palace. Here, Professor Wolverton led us through an exhibit in the Galleria del Costume, where we experienced a parade of high fashion from the burial wardrobe of Cosimo Medici the 1st to Italian haute couture of the 20th century.

After a break for coffee, Professor Rebecca Tucker brought us through the palace's Gallery Palatina, which has a vast art collection: works by masters such as Fra Lippo Lippi, Botticelli, Raphael, and Titian hung one above another in an historic arrangement.

In Cosimo's private room, Professor Tucker led us in an exercise on display systems and "seeing."  As we left, we passed through the salons acting the roles of a French ambassador, an artist, a young aristocrat, and a papal envoy.

Then we said goodbye to the students, who were off on a weekend of play, travel, relaxation, (and study). The faculty used their free afternoon to explore Florence, including sites such as the Baptistry of San Giovanni, the Duomo and its crypt, a climb to the top of Giotto's Campanile (bell tower), Pallazo Vecchio, and, of course, gelato.

View from Giotto's Campanile

View from Giotto's Campanile.

In the late afternoon, we regrouped for espresso and tea and a wrap-up meeting on the terrace of our hotel, a beautiful spot where we returned later for a night cap. From there, we walked across the city center to a magnificent feast at Gastone. It was a classic 3-hour Italian dinner: just when we thought it was over, another course came.

We said our goodbyes and thanks to Jodie and Rosita for their extraordinary hospitality. The students of this program are enormously fortunate to have them as their guides.

Photos courtesy of Tom Halverson.


Five Days in Florence

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