By Nick Weiss
Saluti da Firenze!
Ciao! My name is Nick Weiss and I am a senior in Photography, double minoring in Fine Arts and Art History. I am currently studying at the Studio Art Centers International – Florence (SACI) for the month of July. My studies here are focused on advanced black and white darkroom techniques as well as printmaking in the areas of intaglio and lithography.
Arriving in Florence was such an overwhelming experience. Wait, let’s back that up a few steps. I flew out from Pittsburgh (my hometown) to New York City. Let’s put this on the record: that was the FIRST flight I’ve ever been on. After an enjoyable day in the Big Apple, I embarked on a seven-and-a-half-hour overnight flight to Frankfurt, Germany, and then finally to Florence, Italy.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the housing director of SACI who gave us our apartment keys and orientation packets for the next day. She hailed taxis for all of the students and sent us off to our apartments where we met our roommates and got settled in after a long day of travel.
After throwing down our luggage, we set off for our first dinner in Firenze to have some traditional and, most importantly, AUTHENTIC Italian food! Sorry, my friends, Olive Garden just doesn’t compare.
The atmosphere of Florence is amazing and extremely welcoming. I arrived knowing very, very little Italian and only three days later, I can completely place my gelato order in Italian. I’ve learned that a little goes a long way—just by starting a conversation with a pleasant Italian greeting, most understand your English just fine and are happy to converse.
The day after arriving was orientation for all SACI students. It was a great experience to hear from our school dean about life in Florence, some general do’s and don’ts, and recommendations on good food. After a thorough orientation that morning, we were given tours of Florence and reconvened later in the evening for a welcome dinner.
We started classes this past Friday, on which day I only have an afternoon printmaking class. The instructor is an amazing artist and a great teacher. He has a lot to share and I am very excited to learn from him and gain his knowledge. We spent the afternoon obtaining supplies from one of the most well-respected art stores in Florence and then spread out across the city in search of sketches for our first assignment.
My roommates have quickly become some of my best friends here. We have explored so much of Florence and seen so many wonderful sights. Today (Sunday) was particularly great. We went to see the Chiesa di Ognissanti, a beautiful cathedral in Florence where the late Botticelli rests. Upon our arrival to the cathedral, a car pulled up and a bride-to-be stepped out of the vehicle followed by her bridesmaids. It was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen. Hearing the organ tune “Here Comes the Bride” echoing through the entrance of the church was breathtaking and tear jerking.
This week sparks a whole new adventure of fully immersing in my classes and getting a feel for the school. I’m excited to see what this term has in store and I’m excited to learn and experience as much as possible!
Whether for a few weeks or a full semester, CCAD students are studying off campus across the nation and around the world. Read about their experiences here.