Venice Grand Canal night

Our Spring Gap Year students are looking back at the highlights of their 6-week course, remembering a wealth of art and architecture as well as experiences like climbing Vesuvius and learning to make a three-course Italian meal in Siena.  So we asked our tutors for their 5 favourites from Art History Abroad;

  • their favourite Italian city
  • piece of Italian art
  • piece of Italian architecture
  • Italian dish
  • and one of their most memorable AHA moments

Unsurprisingly, they found it hard to choose but here are Frankie, Joe and Fania‘s favourite things … at the moment!

Frankie’s top 5

Fave Italian City: a tough call between Rome and Verona. Sweet Verona for its plum stone, florid gothic and elegant inhabitants. Rome for its muscle and carbonara.

Piece of Italian art: without hesitation, I’d throw myself in front of Fra Angelico’s Annunciation at San Marco. Is it the glittery wings, tiny crack in the fence for the Holy Spirit, or Gabriel’s flushed face? I don’t know, but it’s the piece that gives me tingles every time.

Italian architectureCarlo Scarpa’s Brion Mausoleum. The clincher is the slight difference in sound and size of each step.

Italian dishFlorentine Steak, preferably at Mario’s. What is their secret?

Memorable AHA moment: sitting with our very own Fania on a hillside in Fiesole watching the sun set, listening to Tom P explain the mythologies of the world. Total joy and contentment.

Joe’s top 5

Fave Italian city: I always thought it would be Venice or Rome, which I absolutely love, but recently it must be Verona! Who can say no to some pink pavements! I am always excited to get back out there.

Piece of Italian art: Raphael’s Deposition in the Borghese Gallery– and most of the rest of the collection there too.

Italian architecture: Anything by Carlo Scarpa, he makes incredible museums, like the Castelvecchio in Verona, and the Brion Mausoleum. And all his works transcend anything that came before them and nothing has surpassed them since in originality or excitement.

Italian dish: I love too many different dishes, especially ones that incorporate Gorgonzola, but my favourite is the white chocolate and mascarpone cheese cake in Ristorante Perdincibacco by the Vatican in Rome. It is always gets me in the best mood for the Vatican museums. Unmissable restaurant in Rome, their lasagne is brilliant too.

Memorable moment on an AHA course: When I flew back after my graduation to Venice, to be with amazing friends and incredible art. I have never felt so jet-set in my life. Graduating in the morning and having aperitivo on the Grand Canal in the evening.

Fania’s top 5

Favourite Italian city: Florence, I love the combination of the hubbub of the streets and the peace of the skyline.

Piece of Italian art: any of Giovanni Bellini’s altarpieces – San Zaccaria, San Giobbe or his Baptism of Christ.

Italian architecture: The Doge’s Palace in Venice – before I went to Venice I had only ever seen the palace in black and white images, the discovery that it was pink gave me an excitement that has never dulled.

Italian dish: Gelato – I can’t get enough of it (I am sure the quantity of gelaterias in Florence is another reason for my love of the city).

Memorable moment on an AHA course: Sitting in Fiesole after a wonderful picnic, watching the sun go down over Florence – bliss!






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