“Already at 16, my mind was a battlefield: my love of pagan beauty, the male nude, at war with my religious faith. A polarity of themes and forms – one spiritual, the other earthly.”        Michelangelo

Can anyone else identify with Michelangelo?  I do.  Not about the male nude, exactly (though after seeing Michelangelo’s David it’s a tough call) – I meant about having conflicted feelings about the relationship of the physical world to the spiritual world, around us and also within ourselves.   On a smaller scale, I have this conflict with money.  How am I supposed to deal with money?  Money is so important in our world, and how you view\use it can reflect where your values (quite literally) lie.  I’m a big guilt-shopper.  I over-think every purchase and second-guess it before, during, and after.  Living as a college student in Europe, I question my spending even MORE.  Leather jacket, gelato, the more expensive menu item, museums…my question always seems to be: Is it worth it?  Usually you don’t know until you go ahead and spend it, but I wasn’t raised by parents who subscribed to the YOLO philosophy, so it’s not always possible for me to be so carefree.  Going back to Michelangelo, I struggle with balance; can I invest in material\”pagan” things without sacrificing my faith which was modeled after a man who did the opposite?  And also, do I give money too much power by worrying about these things or is that power deserved? It’s a doozy of a question that nobody has a straight answer to so I digress… also I don’t have the luxury of writing about this as much as I want because a pile of homework is staring at me.  Either way, I’ve kept this quote in mind as I walk through streets in a country dotted with just as many churches as high-end stores, and the beauty all around which seems to unite both polar forms.


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I woke up at 5am after a restless sleep to meet a few boys at the Ottavio station in Prati at 6am. I ran the dark and chilly stretch to the Vatican and creeped a businesswoman out with my quick footsteps as I passed by. We made it to the metro and Rome Termini station, where I sniped pics of our happy travelers grabbin breakfast before our 7:28 train ride.

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My friend Chandra and some Westville-ian scenery that was underwhelming until the last two hours travelling through Tuscany. Bellissima!

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First view of the Duomo (a.k.a. Florence Cathedral) LOOMING in the distance. I wanted to capture this moment because I reacted so strongly to it initially.

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Chandra, me and Ashley in front of the duomo

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delicious and cheap lunch place. we got there right before the rush.

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doesn’t look like much, but it was FRESH and deceptively flavorful despite the no sauce

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our group of 12 walking through the streets lined with leather goods shops

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Hello Kitty in the cobblestone!

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midway to the top of the Duomo

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indoor roof of the top of the Duomo

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we are on a wraparound pathway high up in the church

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atop the duomo – Behold – FLORENCE

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Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Baptistery doors, “Gates of Paradise”

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Amazing gelato from Grom after our climb up the duomo. Dark chocolate and ricotta – YUM. Our whole group sitting back to back on a bench by the duomo

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The outdoor patio of our hostel. The cafeteria is to the left behind the statue and our room is the window on the left. My expectations are going to be way too high for other hostels after this one!


2 responses »

  1. Mom says:

    You are beautiful…inside and out!
    On another topic…what is it about that David?! I loved it, too. I dug up my journal and it reads: ‘… in Florence we visited the Uffizi and the Academia-where we saw the David and other works by Michelangelo. – I thought the David was fantastic. We spent 1/2 hour milling around and gazing at it….’
    Now, I can’t think of another piece of artwork that I’ve even spent more than 5 minutes looking at….ever!

    • gracere421 says:

      YES, JOURNAL COMPARISONS! I decided against going into the Uffizi Gallery…don’t know why, I just wasn’t into it. Did you like it? I think maybe it was because it would have been underwhelming after seeing David. Michelangelo’s David, that is..not fat David haha

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