I’m going to warn you right now: this is going to be an aggressively boring post. But alas, here I am, gracing your timelines anyway.

I left you all with the blissful tones of my delving into the culture that is Bologna, but I didn’t exactly realize I’d be spending morning to night in a dimly-lit room, highlighting, scribbling, and drowning in notes of arches, frescoes, and, our good ol’ favorite, chiaroscuro. Other than stepping outside for a coffee (or two or three…or ten), my weekend was rather dull.

So how did I take a break from the monotony that is studying? By being my over-planning, organized (sometimes?) self and researching/choosing courses for next semester…two weeks in advance. No one has ever accused me of being uncreative in my procrastination techniques.

But here we go…my first senior (!!!) semester schedule, along with my year-long plan for my final year. Boy am I not prepared…

Is it bad that I’m truly excited for all of these courses? I know my parents reading this will definitely say no (and everyone else, YES).

We had our written final Monday, and I was served with “La Calunnia” by Sandro Botticelli (or the “Calumny of Apelles”) and Il Chiostro of La Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pace a Roma (or The Monastery of The Church of Saint Mary of Peace in Rome). Peep these two beauties below.

For those of you who don’t know the premise of how this exam goes, each person is given two sheets of paper, both of which have one painting/sculpture/architecture piece (or two, possibly for comparison), about which we have to write everything we know….in Italian. It’s pretty scary to study hundreds of years of Italian art and have your grade be based on two random pictures. Frightening? Just a tad.

That night I went to dinner with Nina and Justyna for a little celebration for the end of Part I, and I had my first tagliatelle with ragu, FULL of gluten (sorry intestines).



Tuesday with our Cibo class, we went on a walk of the city to see the old (and new) marketplaces (of which we’re studying at the moment), and on the way we stopped by the church that holds one of the famous artworks we studied for our exam. It’s called the “Compianto sul Cristo Morto” by Niccolò dell’Arca (or the “Lamentation over the Dead Christ”). Pretty cool to see it in person (here’s a comparison).

The rest of Tuesday was just more studying (kinda) and early to bed for the exam, Part II.

Wednesday was the oral final and was done in a one-by-one fashion (the walk to our deaths…). We discussed our written final, presented a question of our own and answered it in full, then prepared for anything he could’ve asked us (and all in Italian…so even more intimidating). I spoke about Sienese paintings during the Gothic period, specifically the differences between the artists Duccio di Buoninsegna and Simone Martini. My question I received was about the painting “San Giorgio e il drago” by Paolo Uccello (or “St. George and the Dragon”), pictured below.


In the end, everything went great! I got a 28/30 as my final grade, which translates into an A- for the Notre Dame grading system (it’s not a direct grade, obviously…the scales are much different here). First class finished and couldn’t be more pumped!

Today is our last day of class before…Easter!!! Because we don’t have a spring break, we get two weeks off from our program classes, and a week off from our university classes (so…aka two weeks…hehe). I leave tomorrow to enjoy the vacation, and I CANNOT WAIT!

Where will I be going? Stay tuned to find out…




– Alex