While in Arezzo

The Naples Archeological Museum

*Two disclaimers before this blog post: A) the pictures just don’t do these monuments justice and B) I’m a huge Star Wars Nerd.*

X-Wing Fighter
Farnese Bull
Hercules Farnese
Jupiter Enthroned

By far and away my favorite Italian experience (thus far) has been visiting the National Archeological Museum of Naples. This was kind  of surprising for me, given my love offood (and the truly remarkable dinners we’ve had at the Monastery here in Arezzo). Dr. Kirk Duclaux, program director of OU in Arezzo, considers this to be one of the best archeological museum in the world. There was something truly incredible, and honestly indescribable, about being in the presence of these works of art. The presence, scale, and apparent power of the Roman sculpture shown (most notably Hercules Farnese and the Farnese Bull). These sculptures came from the Farnese collection, an enormous collection of sculptures that was was housed in the Farnese Palace in Roman during the Renaissance. They include some of the most impressive examples of Roman sculpture still in existence today. Besides these two obvious standouts, Jupiter Enthroned was, ironically, an amusing sculpture. But perhaps the best surprise of the museum were the scattered Star Wars replicas, consisting of an X-Wing with R2-D2, a Land Speeder, a Tuscan Raider hut, and a Worrt (the frog-like creature from outside Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi).



While in Arezzo

Italy: First Impressions

Now that I’ve actually travelled around Italy a bit (I’ve now been to Florence, Naples, Rome, and, naturally, Arezzo), I feel like it’s an appropriate time to jot down my first impressions of Italy and Italian culture. First, Italy is beautiful. The Apennines, which cut through the middle of Italy, are nearly always in view, lending a sense of majesty to the vistas. The Mediterranean Sea’s water is a clear, deep blue, very unlike most of the oceans one experiences around the U.S. Second, the food is amazing. Five days per week we have an amazing, home-cooked Italian meal at the monastery (yes, these are the highlights of my days). The sandwiches (which I generally have for lunch) taste fresh, and the bread out here is amazing. In my experience, we don’t really have bread like this in the States. And the pizza in Naples is not overrated; it’s definitely the best pizza I’ve had in Italy. Everything I’ve said thus far is positive, and Italy is really great. But if there’s one caveat to all of this (and truthfully, it’s the one thing I still think is kind of strange), there are no free refills on drinks. In fact, I think I’ve seen a grand total of *one* soda fountain since being here, and there were no free refills there. I miss free refills. But if I’m honest with myself, I really don’t need access to that much soda. So all told, I’m impressed with what I’ve seen of Italy thus far. And the key take away from this post: Italian food is fantastic!