Skip to main content

Via Fiorentina

On an otherwise dark and dreary morning, 8th graders from Nancy Iannicelli’s Humanities class brightened the day with the presentation of their Via Fiorentina projects to a panel of judges in the Hume Library. The boys’ two week Italian Study Tour is fast approaching. I was honored to serve as a judge. Working in groups of five, the boys were asked to focus their research on a building of architectural distinction in Florence, map a route from our hotel to the building, identify a stop along the way worth visiting, produce a “detail” drawing or painting from the exterior or interior, and create an original reproduction of the facade using an art medium of choice. Boys took on the roles of scrittore, artista facciata, artista detaglio and cartografo. From the familiar, Il Duomo and Campanile to Santa Croce and Palazzo Rucellai the boys impressed.

One of my favorite buildings in Florence is the fifteenth-century Palazzo Rucellai in the Piazza de’ Rucellai. Designed by Alberti in the mid 1400s, its facade was one of the first to announce the new ideas of Renaissance architecture. The three stories of the facade articulate the classical orders, but with the Tuscan order at the base, Alberti's original in place of the Ionic order in the middle, and a simplified Corinthian order at the top level.  Connor S's painting, the third slide below, is a wonderful representation of the facade.

Combined with the Loggia de' Rucellai across the road to the left of the palace, and the open space between them, this Rucellai family home forms a spectacular example of Italian Renaissance architecture. I was impressed by the boys' presentation skills and the depth of their research. I was also happy that one group, at least, chose to study Palazzo Rucellai. A slide show of the art produced by the various groups is imbedded.


Popular posts from this blog

An Evening With Lidia Bastianich

On Tuesday evening, Lidia Bastianich, award-winning chef, restaurateur, television host and author, visited Saint David's to speak to the Saint David's Alumni Parent community and current Eighth Grade. Interviewed by Alumni Parent Dr. Joseph Haddad for our Alumni Parent Council Lecture, Lidia recounted her youth in Istria when the once Italian peninsula shifted to communist reign after World War II, her two years spent as a refugee in Trieste, and her experiences after her family immigrated to America when she was eleven years old. The boys were fascinated with her discussion about her family's escape from Istria and her life as a refugee and immigrant. She expressed her everlasting gratitude to the people who provided assistance to her family in Trieste and when they first arrived in New York. "I can't talk enough about the goodness of the people who helped us," she said. "I am where I am because of them." As a highly succe

NE Patriot Tom Brady at Saint David’s

Last night, Saint David’s was honored to have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, four time Superbowl champion and three-time MVP winner Tom Brady, as the guest speaker for our Alumni Parents Council Lecture Series. Tom, who is the father of one of our Saint David's boys, addressed a standing-room-only audience in Hyman Hall comprised of our eighth graders, alumni, alumni parents and faculty. Friendly, introspective, witty, and wise, he directed his talk to the delighted eighth graders in the front of the room, and focused on the topic of leadership. “You are the young men and leaders of Saint David’s,” he noted. Tom debunked the perception that leaders are born not made, and credited his leadership abilities to “standing up to and facing fears” and to “cultivating a mental strength,” which he cited as “more important than being physically strong.” He also stressed the importance of working hard, honoring teamwork, believing in oneself and being a good lis

Navy SEAL Bill Berrien '82 Gives Chapel on Service to Saint David's Boys

Former Navy SEAL and Saint David's Alumnus Bill Berrien '82 fascinated all during his Chapel Talk Tuesday morning to our seventh and eighth graders. A SEAL for nine years, Bill was a member of two platoons in South America as well as part of a Joint Special Operations unit. He shared his SEAL Trident with the boys, talked about the intensity of training, and noted he remains close to many with whom he served. Connecting his service to the values that Saint David's espouses, he encouraged the boys to always be students--curious throughout their lives, to find the best in everyone, appreciate setbacks, and to learn from failures. In the video above, he addresses the first. He closed by planting these "seeds" for our boys to consider: that life is a journey to be embraced broadly with openness to a variety of opportunities; being a service leader is of utmost importance; the unknown should be embraced; and, finally, that the boys be their own best frien