FLORENCE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP INFO & HANDBOOK

"City As Studio: Florence"
June 2-30, 2014

Images from the 1997 workshop
Images from the 1998 workshop
Images from the 2000 workshop
Images from the 2001 workshop
Images from the 2003 workshop
Images from the 2005 workshop
Images from the 2007 workshop
Images from the 2009 workshop




The workshop will focus on day trips in and around the city, exploring the people and the places we find. Classes will be held four days a week with photo opportunities planned for each day. The workshop is based at the Santa Reparta Inernational School of Art, a world class facility in the heart of Florence. The class will allow students to work with both film and digitally based images. The workshop will be strictly limited to 12 students on a first come first serve basis with no preference given to Washington University students. In the past, the class is a mixture of ages and backgrounds, but everyone is interested in exploring Florence with their cameras. The 2005 photo workshop was full by December. For official info on the next workshop in 2014 summer program, call 314 935 4643 ask for the summer study abroad coordinator, Belinda Lee.


Professor Stan Strembicki will be the instructor this year. Stan started the Washington University program in Florence and this is his thirteenth summer workshop. He knows all the best places to photograph and where to find the best gelato in Florence! All classes will be taught in English, with the exception of dinner. This is a great time to explore one of the most visually and culturally rich countries in the world. The class will do day trips to Siena, Lucca, and Pisa amoung other places.

Link for registration information

Tuition for the 2014 Summer program is (call 314 935 6500 for info). The tuition will include all classroom instruction, museum entry fee's for those sites visited as part of class activities and internet access at the workshop. Students are responsible for all film, paper, and other photographic supplies. Students will also be responsible for any hardware needed during the workshop, i.e. tripods, lens, camera bodies, flash unites etc. Students must make their own arrangements for transportation to and from the workshop. Trips not part of classes and other incidental expenses are also the responsibilities of the student. A (call 314 935 4643for info) deposit is due by March 1, 2014, and is non-refundable after May 16. Tuition balance of (call 314 935 4643) is due on April 30, 2014. A deposit for housing, (call 314 935 4643 for info) is due March 16, 2014.




HOUSING: For students wishing private accommodations or apartment sharing, the workshop will provide all students with an excellent housing broker experienced with coordinating students enrolled in summer programs in Florence. Fully furnished apartments which accommodate 2 to 5 persons near the workshop can be arranged. The average cost of an apartment in 2013 was (call 314 935 6500 for info) per person. Prices do vary according to location, altitude (which floor you are on or if there is an elevator), and size. A (call 314 935 6500 for info) housing deposit is required by March 16 th to enable our broker to reserve an apartment for you. Students may also elect to arrange their own housing. All apartments are within walking distance of the workshop.


GETTING THERE: You must have a valid passport, and with recent changes, you will need a visa for Italy or other European countries. The rule is you can be in Italy 90 days for business or tourism without a visa. There is a thing called a Permisso di Soggiorno if your in Italy for more than 8 days on business. You get this from the local police in Florence. We're looking into this to see if you, as students, need one. It usually takes 3-6 weeks for a passport to be processed. The consulate in Chicago at 312 467 1550 or FAX your request to 312 467 1335. Call the College of Art for visa information, 314 935 4643.

 

DO NOT LEAVE THIS TO THE LAST MINUTE


TRAINS AND PLANES: It is the responsibility of each student to make their own travel arrangements to and from the workshop. A good travel agent is very valuable.

The first decision you must make is what airline you will fly. Whatever airline you choose, remember that when comparing costs vs other airlines, that you need to get from either Milan or Rome to Florence at the end of a long flight. Some European airlines will connect you to Florence at little or no extra cost. If you use a on-line broker, most of them post their cheapest flights on Monday, then take them off on Tuesday until the next Monday.

In 1994, 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2002 I flew Alitalia and had the best flight ever, super service and on time connections, all Alitaia flights offer free connections by air to the Florence Airport. We flew Alitalia in 2001 for the ease of getting to Florence by air. It is way easier to fly into Florence, but be warned, the Florence airport has a terrible reputation for misdirecting luggage. This year, 2014, Alitalia is nearly out of business and the service has fallen off. I have flown through both Boston, Chicago, Newark & JFK and prefer Chicago as changes are easier. Chicago is still a very busy airport and delays happen, give yourself time to make changes. I have yet to make the change at JFK without something going wrong and Newark was recently named worst in the USA. On the other end I have flown into both Rome and Milan and prefer Rome, although its a much larger airport. The flight is 8-9 hours and the airline does matter. The airport at Milan has been rebuilt recently, its better, but the connections from the airport to the main train station are still not ideal. Milan also looses a lot of luggage. You might also try Sabena Airlines for good rates. They fly into Florence 4 times a day. Alitalia just announced service from Cincinnati to Rome, this might be a good option. Last trip for me, 2011, I flew United Airlines STL to Germany, then directly to Florence, this will eliminate one of the connections. Less connections mean less security checks, less chances to loose your luggage. No direct flights to Rome from STL as direct flights has been discontinued-to anywhere it seems, and American is the now the new TWA in my book.

A new issue for air travelers is luggage limitations. Recently, some airlines are charging for excess weight and extra bags. Delta is the cheapest with $40.00 per additional bag, and American and Continental are the highest with $80.00 for the extra bag or if the bag exceeds 71 lbs or is oversized (63-115 linear inches total). Be sure to check with your airline before you show up at the airport and have to pay for heavy or oversized bags. Most airlines have a carry on limit of 40 lbs. Planning ahead saves a lot of trouble and stress at the airport. No airline will allow a bag over 99 pounds. Something you might try is a trick my German friends Knute and Doritay use. Save up all your almost worn out clothes over the year, and bring them as your travel clothes. As you wear them, toss them out at the end of the month, more room to take stuff home.

For those like me, flying into Rome (Da Vinci Airport, Fiumecino) you will find the buses that traveled to Rome have been replaced by the new METRO system. It can be a little intimidating and the METRO station nearest to the train station is a little over a block, requiring you follow a number of tunnels from the METRO station to the train station, all underground, in addition to the walk, there are some elevation changes. A folding baggage cart is a lifesaver in this situation. Look for the stop that says "Roma Termini".

From the Milan airport you will need to take the new train from the airport to the City Center, but it does not go to the central train station, so you'll need to take a taxi or bus from there to the Termini. You can also take a taxi into the city for about €75.00-90.00. In every case people traveling together can save money by sharing taxi rides. There is also an airport bus that goes to the train station, we took it in 2000 and although it was hectic, it worked after a fashion and is better than the train.

In many airports there are un metered cabs at the terminal. We DO NOT RECOMMEND THE USE OF UN-METERED CABS, EVEN IF THE DRIVERS TELL YOU THE RATE IS THE SAME. Been to N.Y.C. lately? The airports in Milan and Rome are about 45 minutes from the city center. If you wish to proceed directly to Florence take the bus to the train station where you can check with the information counter "informazione" to get the English schedule for the timetable and ticket prices.

Charter flights are often available to Ciampino Airport, but the airport is poorly organized. Take these flights only if you really need the savings on the flight and are willing to put up with additional hassles. With connections and an 8 to 10 hour flight, you can always expect delays and problems, be prepared and it won't ruin your day. An airline is only as good as your last really bad flight. On my first trip to Italy (on TWA), my luggage went to Germany, I to Rome. It took two day for it to catch up with me. A student in 2001 waited 6 days for her luggage, and it really stressed her out. Bring extra underwear and required prescriptions in your carry on in case. I strongly suggest you carry on your primary camera gear, this year 2014, I am using a THINK TANK roller that holds the gear I can not live without. THINK TANK makes a well thought out system for carrying your gear, camera bags, computer bags, rollers.


TAXI: A friend of mine says that the first thing she learns in a foreign language is how to call a taxi. For most this can be an expensive proposition. As a last resort, try the taxi. They are efficient and quick, but not very cheap. To get one, you can not hail one, but must call for one from a pay phone (or cell phone), most pay phones in Florence have the number listed on them. You call, tell them where you want to go, wait a minute, and the dispatcher tells you the wait time. They are usually on time. Most dispatchers speak English, many cab drivers do as well or pretend to. Expect to pay more if you have luggage. I usually get a taxi from the train station or the airport to the workshop when I arrive, it's too far to walk with all my baggage. From the train station its like a Euro 10 trip from the airport its closer to 25 euros, remember you'll pay extra for bags. When returning, typically you begin you flight early in the morning, and you can cal the Taxi the night before and make a reservation.

DO NOT USE UN-METERED CABS.




BUSES: There are two types of buses, the local busses, in Florence called ATFA buses(big orange buses) and the inter-city buses called SITA buses (blue buses) which we'll take to Siena. Both require that you purchase the ticket before hand. The local city bus tickets can be purchased at local tobacco shops, or at coffee bars and occasionally at machines. In 2013 the cost of a ticket was 1.20 Euro for 90 min of travel. The system works the same as the St. Louis METROLINK system, as you must cancel the ticket, but here you must do it as you enter the bus. Failure to cancel the ticket results in being thrown off the bus and fine of 50 times the fare. You have the choice of buying a 90 min. ticket, or 24 hours of travel for Euro 5. The bus is cheap and well run in Florence, I'll use it often and always carry an extra 90 min ticket in my shooting vest. There is also an express bus from the airport in Florence to the train station for Euro 6 and you can buy the ticket on the bus.

Everyone kept warning me about professional pickpockets on the Rome city buses and how blatant they are. They are also less concerned with canceled buss tickets in Rome, but I did it anyway. Rome also has a small subway system with two lines that seemed to work well and were a lot less confusing than the bus routes.



TRAINS: In most Italian train stations there are posted large yellow and white timetables, located along or at the end of the platforms. One will be the Partenze (departures) and the other Arrivi (arrivals). At the left of the timetable you will see the times of departures and arrivals of the various trains. You will then read across to see when and where the train will stop. Also included: Binario (Bin, this is the track number); a small sign for a bed indicates that there is sleeping facilities, 1-2 means first and second class service, a knife and fork indicates that there is a dining car. Tickets are best purchased at the station, if you purchase your ticket on the train, or upgrade to another class, expect to pay a surcharge or Supplimento. You can also purchase train tickets at some travel agency's in Florence and at American Express, but only with an AMEX card.

Remember that in Europe, all trains run on a 24 hour clock or military time, for example 2:00 pm is 14:00 and 12:30 am is :30. Reading down the chart all of the trains leaving will be listed chronologically at the left. Trains marked in red are fast trains.


There are various kinds of trains in Italy: Rapido (RAP) first class, with very few stops, about double the normal price but worth it; reservations only. TEE trains, or Trans Europe Express, are the best you will find, there is often a surcharge for short trips, but the service is always very good. EXPRESS, normal, first and second class service, making several stops; DD (direttissamo), or very direct, actually not very direct at all, makes a lot of stops. The fastest train is the ETR or the Pendalino, which is one of the very high speed trains. I love the EuroStar trains and take them when ever possible, very comfortable, fast, always air conditioned and great service. Having said all that, I have seen, in some instances that its actually quicker to take the cheaper Intercity train than the Eurostar, check the schedule at the station and you could save some money and time. This is Italy after all.

If you are traveling with a group and want a compartment, you can get a reservation, (it cost extra) and you can not get a reservation on the day you travel. Check outside the compartment when you get on the train to see if it reserved to avoid a grumpy conductor. In the many train trips I have taken in Italy, I have yet to get a conductor who admits speaking English. Second class seats are not a bad idea for the budget minded and are not the cow cars some make them out to be, and can be less crowded. On a few trips, there were so many tourists in first class, I could only find room in the second class cars.


D (direct) trains are the slow trains and should be avoided. LOCALE (local), as the name imply, is the milk run, which should only be taken if you are going to a small location not served by larger trains. Many locations, are only served my LOCALE trains, but if its a short trip,they are fine (like to Pisa or Viareggio). Almost all LOCALE trains are second class and rarely air conditioned, and very inexpensive. One way to Pisa via a LOCAL 2 nd class is only $7.00 from Florence.

On both the Rapido and TEE trains, you can check your bags with the train porter on the platform. On other trains you must store everything in the compartment with you, so travel light! Many train stations have places to store luggage, Bagaglio a mano, these are safe, with the obvious exception of cameras and purses.

Short distances do not normally have a restaurant car but vendors often pass through the cars with overpriced drinks and coffee. The Rome-Florence Express train often has a pleasant buffet and restaurant car, a full meal is available, but must be ordered in advance, a waiter will pass through the car about an hour before, if you don't request it then, forget it. Bringing your own fruit, sandwiches, and drinks is not a bad idea either and no one will object, plan ahead. Its a very southern thing to do.

Please note, that with the decline in the value of the $ vs the euro all these prices are estimated.

Some people may wish to purchase a Eurail pass for the European rail system. These are good for one or two months are good for unlimited travel in any European country, with the exception of England. The passes are not much of a bargain unless you take more than two long trips, but if you will be traveling a lot before or after the workshop they will save you a great deal. For students (under 26) the last figures for 2011 were about $320.00 for five days of travel over 15 days. All Eurail tickets must be purchased in this country thru a travel agent. Three years ago I bought a Eurail Flexipass, which was 5 days of travel over 15 days, which I used to travel to Rome and later to Germany. In any case, your ticket must be validated the first time you use it at the station.

Also available in Italy is a Flexipass ticket, which is like an Italian Eurail pass that allows you to ride all Italian trains at very reasonable rates. For those older students like me, without a student discount, the Italian 21 day pass is $396.00 first class. The 15 day ticket is $341.00 first class adults or $228. second class. Another option is 12 days of travel over 30 for $389.00 first class and $259.00 second class. These rates have actually gone down from last year. There are student rates for Italian rail tickets that are similar to Eurail tickets.

Kilometric passes have been discontinued and replaced with the new Trenitalia Pass. Call Italian State Railways at 1-800-248-8687, or check out the Italia State Railways Site. You can check prices and timetables at this site.

You can even get an iPhone or Android app for Trenitalia and book tickets on your phone, although you have to download it from the Italian iTunes Store.




MONEY/LIRE/EUROS:

By 2002 most of Europe has switched over to the EURO, including Italy, this is now the common currency for the 12 Euro countries. The Euro is not nearly as cool as the Lire, after all how neat is a currency that had pictures of artists and teachers on it. The Euro is Euro PC correct with only images of windows and doorways. For us, the Euro is easier to understand, a Euro is worth about .75 US thanks to the great job President Bush did with the US economy, so a Euro is a little less than a dollar (it used to be €1 Euro = $1.10 US, but the democrats where running things then). To the Italians however, this is a major change where $1.00 was worth 2,225. Lire. Euros come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 200 and rarely seen, 500 notes. The coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent (yes they are called cents), and a 1 and 2 Euro coin as well. Many shop keepers are still in the Lire mode and will show prices in both Lire and Euros, and will often figure the price in Lire then translate it in Euros. Some places, like the STANDA (a supermarket in Florence) do not use the 1 or 2 cent coins and just round out the bill.

Traveler's checks used to be the best method of carrying money, but not anymore. American Express, Visa, and Mastercard can be used in many places and if your card has a "PIN" number, most banks that offer "cash machines" 24 hours a day for amounts less than $250.00. There are numerous cambinos or exchanges for money in Florence where you can cash travelers checks. Banks that offer favorable exchange rate often have maximum limits of $500.00 which you may exchange, check first. American money can also be exchanged at these locations. We do not recommend exchanging money at hotels if it can be avoided because they invariably give a low exchange rate. I now recommend the use of ATM machine.

It is very wise to exchange some money before arriving, usually $50.00-75.00 for use in train stations or for taxis and a meal or two while in transit. The rate in the U.S. will however not be the most favorable. (the Cook money exchange carts at JFK are a rip off) If you should arrive in Florence on Saturday when the banks are closed, the only place to exchange money is the train station, and the lines are often long. Remember that many exchanges and banks charge commissions based on either a set amount or a percentage of the dollars exchanged, this ultimately affects the exchange rate you get. Cash advances are very convenient from VISA cash machines but the rate is applied to your account when the bank later charges your US bank. I have also used my CIRRUS bank card in Florence at many ATM's. Few stores will except US dollars and those that do offer a very poor exchange rate. Banking hours are a mystery to everyone but the Italians, most open at 8:30 am and close around 1:20 pm then reopen from 3:00 until 3:45 pm, got that? You will need your passport to exchange money. Many banks have limits on the amount you can exchange at a time, a hassle when you have to pay the rent. Most banking is done around the Pl. Della Republica, but there is one near the workshop that has had good rates. Check out the current rate at the currency converter below.



The Universal Currency Converter




GETTING SICK:

You might wish to check with your insurance company to ascertain weather it covers expenses incurred in Europe. In Florence there are emergency rooms at all hospitals which often do not charge for minor emergencies. There is a list of English speaking doctors available from the U.S. consulate. There is also a paid medical service that even makes house calls with english speaking doctors. People requiring special medication should make arrangements with their own doctor before leaving. There are drug stores open 24 hours in each section of the city. Many prescription drugs in the U.S. are can be purchased over the counter in Italy, antibiotics, for example and some pain killers.



COMMUNICATIONS

The studio is aware that the most convenient place for most people to receive calls is at the studio. And we expect that few if any apartments will have telephones (although recently, many apartments have pre paid cell phones in them). We strongly recommend that you get a one month rental of a European cell phone, for both safety and the convenience of having a phone. Even if your current USA phone works in Europe, the Europena roaming charges are very high.

To call the workshop, call:

+39 055 462 7374

example: To direct dial Florence from US phones dial 011+39+55+ XXX XXX

Italian pay phones can not receive calls, and the phone system at best is somewhat "irregular". MCI does have service to Italy. ATT has better connections. Get yourself a calling card for calls home. You can buy these everywhere in Florence, and you buy a card with a set amount of calling time. They are super cheap, compared to calling direct or collect. You use them like similar calling cards you buy in the USA, the cheapest ones only give directions in Italian. The best way to call home is to purchase a phone card from any Newspaper vendor, but these long distance cards are not all alike, so ask for the best one to the the USA and ask if the instructions are in English.

There is a new type of pay phone in Italy, called a telefono a scheda, which is a telephone utilizing an electronic telephone debit card. You buy these from vending machines for 5 or 10 Euros. I always buy one off the plane for calling a taxis. There are fewer payphones in Italy these days as most people have cell phones. Almost no pay phones in Italy take coins anymore.

For those who want to looking like every other Italian, you can rent a cell phone for as short a time as a month. Cell phones are much cheaper than in the USA, and you don't pay for calls you receive, only those you send, and pre-pay your cell time. In past years, many student have done this and they work just about everywhere in Western Europe. If you do get a cell phone, you'll have to learn this phrase fast, as there are so many cell phones in Italy that numbers get turn quickly. "Scusi, Ha Sbagliato Numero!". I have my own Italian cell phone, and I'll be giving all my students the number, and can be reached for emergencies.

Here's a great site for ordering a cell phone to use in Italy: www.piccellwireless.com, its the cell company I'll use this year. This year there is a special Picell site for WU students: piccellwireless.com/wustlflorence



GETTING AROUND-GOOD STUFF TO KNOW

It has been said that if you try to see Florence in a day you will probably come away disappointed with what you see; if you visit for a week you will be an enthusiastic devotee for the rest of your life. This is true in part because Florence is made up of imposing stone buildings which look inward. The Renaissance palace does not have large exterior balconies, but interior courtyards. The medieval streets twist and turn in a bewildering maze, and the most unprepossessing portal might lead to a fabulous cloister or a hidden piazza. Scattered around the city in random fashion are the wondrous monuments that make Florence the greatest repository of Renaissance art in the western world. It is within this world that we will explore with our cameras. Comfortable shoes will be the order of the day. I'll bring two pair. Florence is a city best explored on foot.

By June, the weather should be warm but not terribly hot. There will probably be some cool nights so a light sweater might be useful. Italians dress well but often dress casually, so leave most of your fancy cloths at home. Please note that many better restaurants do require proper dress during dinner and many churches do not allow shorts, tank tops or other similar garb. For women, sleeveless tops are always a problem in visiting churches. Above all travel light and enjoy the luxury of getting on and off trains with only carry on bags. Don't overload yourself with more hardware that you'll need for working under these conditions in the street. Medium format and 35 mm equipment will be the order of the day. Lightweight field 4x5 might also work if you are experienced in packing that format around. Last year I brought a tripod along and never used it, a small table top one would have been better. Bring cloths and equipment you feel most comfortable in and are most familiar with. It can rain, an often does, bring a poncho or rain coat, it rained on and off for a week in 2011. There is a laundry service near the studio, but such service is expensive by American standards. You should plan your attire around clothes you can wash out in your apartments. If you are lucky enough to get an apartment with a washing machine, do not leave it unattended as most leak a little but wash the hell out of your clothes. Clothes do come out really clean. Italy is unaware of the invention of the clothes dryer.

For Americans used to standardized schedules the Italian system will seem a bit confusing at first. The business hours of most commercial establishments are regulated by law, but vary according to different business sectors. Generally, very generally, most stores open at 8:00am or 9:00am to 12:30 pm, followed by a repose of three hours, reopening from 3:30 to 7:30pm. The exceptions are grocery stores and banks. ALL GROCERY STORES ARE CLOSED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOONS.

Other sectors have idiosyncrasies as well: ie, hardware stores (mesticherie) which also sell a variety of household goods as usually open Saturday morning, but close Saturday afternoon and Monday morning.

Restaurants open for lunch at about 12:30 and finish serving at 2:30 and reopen at 7:30 till 9:30 or so. All restaurants close one night a week,usually the night you want to go.

If all this seems too complicated to be real, just keep in mind that you would probably not be interested in traveling if everything was the same as home. You get used to it quickly and even appreciate some of the old world ways. Remember, the Italians have had a lot of practice with this system and like it, you are not going to change anything by getting bent out of shape or frustrated by it.




FIELD TRIPS

There will be daily field trips in and around the city the first and second week. We will be traveling to Sienna, where we will visit the Palazzo Publico, the Cathedral (to check out the head of St. Catherine) and the Cathedral Museum and have a guide give the group a walking Art History tour of Sienna. Travel cost, museum entry fee's and the guide are included in the tuition for the workshop. The afternoon will be spent at the famous medieval town of 11 towers, San Gimignano, then return to Florence for dinner via SITA bus. The other day trips planned will be to Pisa by train, a visit to the museum and then by city bus to the cathedral and the Leaning Tower. A optional weekend trip to Cinque Terra, which are five small villages perched on cliffs by the sea or an optional trip to Rome are also possible for those wishing to travel within Italy. These trips will depend on special events and time constraints. Three day weekends are built into the schedule to allow independent travel for those inclined. For the 1998 workshop, a trip to Rome was run, in 2005 and 2007 we organized a weekend trip to Venice as a group. This year, 2014 Igor and I are talking about a trip to Rome, more info on that later. (TBA).



FOOD/EATS

Except for special splurge meals, it should not be difficult to keep a budget of $25-20.00 a day for food. A full meal at a medium priced restaurant or trattoria will be 10 to 25 Euros. Students in the past have found some very inexpensive places that they found were comparable to the more moderately priced ones. Keep in mind that food in Italy is so wonderful because people take the business of eating there so seriously. The average person has a knowledge and instinct about most food that most American find impressive. Tuscan food in particular relies not on exotic sauces or complicated culinary wizardry, but on "freshness, genuineness, and high quality of ingredients; an abhorrence of heaviness, over richness, or excessive use of fat", to quote G. Bugialli, a leading expert on Italian food. Here is just a short list of some of my favorite places.

Most students at the workshop in the past years have preferred a simple lunch of sandwiches, cheese, fruit, and wine. Any of the small grocery stores in the area will make a sandwich to order for the cost of ingredients, and two blocks from the workshop is the central market where one can buy virtually anything to eat. Especially inviting is the fruit and veggie section upstairs. Most food stores close on Wednesday afternoon. The closest supermarket in central Florence is on Via Masaccio, but I prefer to shop the smaller markets.

Here's the addresses of some of the Supermarkets and larger stores I have used:
Standa-Via Pietrapiana #42; Essalunga-Via Massacio #224; Coop-Via Nazionale 32R

Here's some Italina words for food stores you'll find around the city:
Forno: Baked goods and bread
Latteria: Dairy products
Macelleria: Butcher shop
Ortofrutta/Primizie: Fruits and Vegtables
Pasticceria: Bakery and pastry shop
Alimentari/Pizzichera/Gastronomia: Delicatessen

Breakfast: If you are the basic Midwest two eggs, ham, home fry's, and white toast type, plan on giving yourself a rest. The traditional workshop breakfast is cafe Latte and a pastry. I like to stop by the fruit stand near the workshop on the way in for a pesca (peach) or some pompelmo (grapefruit) as a light beginning of the day.

Lunch: Down the street is the outdoor market near San Lorenzo that has numerous small sandwich and pizza shops. Pizza is sold by the slice and the cost is figured by the weight. The weight is a portion of a Kilo or an "Ette" or tenth of a Kilo. There are two or three along via de Pucci and elsewhere near the outdoor stands across from the Church. My favorite is a pizza al taglia called Lo Spuntino right off San Lorenzo.

Dinner: I ate out almost every night and didn't have a bad meal in Florence the whole month I was there last. Part of the fun is finding a new place with great food and low-moderate prices. I like to select from one of the "Set Menu's" or "Menu Turistico" which is an all inclusive price. It will usually have soup, meat, pasta, vegetables and desert as well as bottled water or Vino Localle (local wine). All charges including tip are supposed to be included, but I like to give the waiter something extra for good service, if appropriate. The set menu is sometimes the special of the day and often different from the tourist menu, these are also a good deal and some interesting food. Many of the specials or set menus do not include service of wine so be sure to ask if they do to avoid confusion. Most places charge a cover or pano e coperto which is unavoidable, this is in the range of 1 to 3 euros. A good multi course meal can take several hours and it can be the highlight of the day, learn to enjoy this very distinctive lifestyle. Here are a few of my favorites:

Ristorante da Mimmo, Via San Gallo 57R, tel 055481 030 (closed Sunday)
Trattoria Ben Venutos, Via del Neri, 47r (closed Wed. & Sun.)
Aqua Al 2, Via Vegna Vecchia, 40r
Cibreo, Via del Macci, 118r
Trattoria de Giorgio
Cafaggi, via Guelfa #35R
Osteria Natalino, Borgo Albizi #17
Trattoria San Zanobi, Via San Zanobi 33r
Trattoria L'che C'eC'e, Via de Mangalotti 11r
Accademia, P.za S. Marco 7R

There is very little fast food in Florence (they only allowed the first McDonalds a few years ago) and the concept is generally seen as uncivilized!

Another good place near the workshop that I have eaten at many times and is as near to take out as you'll get is the local rosticceria a block away from the workshop. It is kind of like the Florence version of bar b que take out, only its real food. Food in Italy is one of the special aspects of the country, take advantage of it, and don't expect it in other countries, like Germany, where most of the food is white.

Desert: If you have a weakness for desert, you can die here. The pastry and other confections are an art form. My favorite that I always watch the menu for is tiramisu. (ask if its home made "Fabbrica en casa?) One place in particular specializes in Italian ice cream or gellato. The most famous in all of Florence is Vivoli, on Via Isola Della Stinche. One student on the last workshop managed to work her way here at least twice a day for most of the workshop. I have been seen here on occasion as well.

Many students will choose to eat in, all apartments will have completely equipped kitchens. Many students keep cost down and try out Italian specialties using local ingredients not normally found in the USA. Group meals with other workshop students are fun and inexpensive ways to sample the wonderful range of foods.



CRIME

My experience is that there is very little violent crime in Italy directed at tourist or students. Shootings, murders or the usual mayhem found in American cites like New Orleans are rare. Petty theft, pickpockets, bag snatching, etc., however, is almost an art form. Lots of people will warn you about the gypsies, who can be a problem, but are easy to spot. One student last year, however, saw a gypsy mother with child combo, and still knowing she was trouble, got too close and lost 200 euros in a flash. The one's that get you are the local pro's. Another student last summer lost her backpack in the public laundry. Keep a Xerox copy of you passport to assist you in getting a replacement from the American Consulate if it gets ripped off or lost. You can not re-enter the United States without it! You should also keep a list of camera serial numbers and a photo copy of your airline ticket. You do need your passport to exchange money and when checking into hotels, but I never carry mine when I am in Florence. Many people use one of those money pouches you carry under your shirt and hang around your neck. People's bags have been stolen with passports from the workshop the day before they left Florence and I can not tell you what an ordeal that was.


There are three type of police in Italy; the Carabiniere are like state police, wear uniforms designed by Gucci and carry machine guns; the city cops-Vigili Urbani, who aren't particularly smart and are mostly concerned with traffic; and the Questura who are the paper work people who write police reports, deal with visa and immigration issues, and aren't very efficient or in much of a hurry. Don't mess with any of these guys if you don't need the hassle. In thirteen trips I have yet to find a city cop who admits to speaking English.




STUFF I WILL TELL YOU YOU SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT BUT YOU FORGOT: Alarm clock, battery or wind up type. A good power converter and plug adapter kit. Lots of AA batteries if you have a device that uses them. A good folding luggage cart. Good soft luggage, hard luggage is a hassle. A good pair of sunglasses, ($75.00 Ray bans are $150.00 in Italy). English language paperbacks to read, the one English bookstore in Florence gets $9.00 for English language paperback (I'm bringing an iPad with digital books this year). A cheap calculator to figure exchange rates.




PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP SUPPLY LIST

Make sure your camera and other gear is in good condition, replace meter and drive batteries and if you can borrow one, bring a back up body. There are no spares at the workshop and a lost or crashed body will put a crimp in your photo experiences. I have used lead foil bags to transport film through airport security in the past, but with new security measures, the machines can cook your film, so now I FEDEX it to the workshop. I have used the bags made by SIMA, model XPF, if you can't find them at you local camera store, check out their WWW site: http://simacorp.com/photo.html these are supposed to work with the latest in Airport Scanner Technology for carry on stuff, you can also ask for a hand inspection (be sure to ask nice). Remember that radiation is cumulative and film is most sensitive after it's been exposed. Color negative film is most sensitive, then black and white negative. Color slides are least sensitive. With increased international airport security, traveling with film is a hassle and I buy all mine in Italy. I have also been recomending the use of THINK TANK camera bags and in particular, their new roller case that you can carry on for use in international flights. Their gear is top notch and well designed and they have an educational discount program. I suggest you carry on the airplane your primary camera and lens.

For 2014, we have an open format for the class, this will affect the supplies you'll need. SRISA has only a basict "digital darkroom" with few film scanner and limited output. You can get color negative film processed very cheaply in Florence. The workshop does has a state of the art black and white darkroom for film processing and prints of most formats. The black and white film dakroom can handle formats up to 4x5.

If you have one, bring your digital camera along even if you decide to shoot film. If you do decide to go all digital, you may want to bring along a "disco rigido esterno" or external hard drive to store your work on. Last year of the 9 students that took along external pocket drives, three Western Digital Passport drives failed. I will be supplying all students that bring their own laptops a copy of LIGHTROOM 5, the primary software we'll be using in the class. The lab is an all Mac lab, but we do have a wireless network so if you bring your own laptop, you can easily connect to the network. The closest professional camera store is Fontani on Vl.f Strozzi 18/20/20A, they have all the latest film and keep their pro film in a cooler. Not a bad place to buy used hardware either. The service is a little rude at times, but the prices are good.




2011 (not yet updated for 2014) MUSEUMS & GALLERY INFORMATION
Name or LocationWeekdaysHolidays & SundayEntrance Fee
Medici Chapel9:00-2:009:00-2:00 10,
Pitti Palace9:00-2:009:00-2:00 4-8,
Uffizi9:00-7:009:00-2:00 12,
Galleria dell'Accademia9:00-5:009;00-2:00 12,
Bargello Museum9:00-2:009:00-2:00 8,
San Marco Museum9:00-2:009:00-2:00 8,
Museo Archelogico8:30-2:008:30-1:00 8,
Palazzo Vecchio9:00-7:008:00-1:00 8,
Duomo Dome10:00-2:00closed 5,
Duomo Museum9:00-19:30closed 5,
(all the above CLOSED ON MONDAY)


CHURCH INFORMATION

Name of ChurchWeekdaysSunday/Holiday
Battistero13:00-18:009:00-13:00
Santa Croce8:00-18:308:00-12:30 & 15:00-18:30
San Lorenzo7:00-12:00 & 15:30-17:307:00-12:00 & 15:30-17:30
San Marco7:00-12:30 & 16:00-20:007:00-12:00
Santa Maria Novella7:00-11:30 & 15:30-18:007:00-11:30
San Miniato al Monte8:00-12:00 & 14:00-19:008:00-12:00
Santa Spirit(closed Wed. PM) 8:00-12:00 & 16:00-19:008:00-12:00 & 16:00-18:00
Santa Trinita7:00-12:00 & 16:00-19:007:00-12:00 & 16:00-19:00

All times and entrance fee's were as of 5/09. Please check for new times and fee increases. Tourist office at Via Cavour #1r is a good place to start.


Electricity Abroad

If you are going to use electrical appliances abroad, you need to know what type of electrical voltage is used in the country you're traveling to and what type of adapter or plug is needed to plug your appliances into the outlet. Most U.S. made electrical appliances work at 110 volts. While most of North and South America, the Caribbean and Japan also use 110-voltage electricity, most countries in Europe have 220-volt electrical outlets.

You can buy voltage converters that will convert 110-volt appliances to 220, however, to complicate matters there are different types of converters for different types of appliances. Small electronics, razors and non-heating appliances will need a 50-watt converter. Heating appliances such as dryers, irons, coffee makers and other high-power electrical appliances need a 1600-watt converter. You can also purchase combination converters for both types. Check the label on your electrical appliance to find its wattage. To further complicate matters, some electronics such as TV's, VCR's and computers are designed for 60 cycles-per-second electricity and cannot tolerate the 50 cycles-per-second electricity found in many countries. Even if you have the right converter you run the risk of blowing a fuse in your hotel or burning out your electrical appliances. Another issue is that the line voltage often surges.

Given the complexities of safely using your electrical appliances overseas, you may want to consider some alternatives. If you plan on staying in one country for awhile, you might want to buy a hair dryer or electric razor there. Battery operated appliances are another option if you don't mind constantly replacing the batteries. Or, you can do as many experienced travelers do and leave all the electrical appliances at home.

If you must take some electrical appliances with you abroad, your best bet is to buy travel-size dual-voltage appliances that can run on both 110 and 220 currents. Make sure the switch is on the proper voltage for the country you are in before using the appliance. You will also need to carry adapter plugs with you to fit the outlets in the countries you're visiting. Almost every computer power supply and digital camera battery charger works on Italian power with a simple adpater. Apple sells a plug converter kit if you want the slick set up.

ADAPTER PLUGS

An adapter will allow you only to plug your appliance into another type of outlet. It will not change the electrical voltage. There are five main types of electrical plugs that are used about 95% of the time around the world. In the chart below, these five types of plugs are labeled 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Travelers will only need to carry four adapters with them (2-5), if they are using U.S. appliances.

WHERE TO BUY ADAPTERS AND CONVERTERS

Converters and sets of adapter plugs are available at travel & luggage stores and at Radio Shack. A set of adapter plugs costs around $10 and in some stores you can buy an individual adapter for only a couple of dollars. If you are having trouble locating the converter or adapter that you need, try calling Magellan's at (800) 962-4943, or call Franzus at (203) 723-6664 and ask them for a distributor near you. If you need more information about electricity in the country you are visiting, you can try asking Magellan's or you can order a comprehensive guide to electric current abroad from the U.S. Department of Commerce (for $9.95 plus $3 shipping) by calling (703) 487-4650.


This handbook copyright Stan Strembicki reproduction limited to students and faculty. Commercial use prohibited. This is not the offical site of the College of Art summer program and all information subject to change & the the whims of an aged professor. If your the parent of a student and a lawyer, go to the official College of Art site for information you can actually file a legal brief on. This site is intended as an informational site only.


Created: 10/16/95, jlnovak
Last Modified: 9/16/13, sjstremb