1. Hey everyone!  I’ve started another blog.  This one, called The Howland Farm Journal, is going to be all about cooking and baking.  My goal is to update once or twice a week with a recipe that I had made that week.  I’m hoping that it’ll both be fun and be good cooking practice for me.  So, if you’re on tumblr and you’re interested in reading, go follow!  And if you’re not on tumblr (you silly person you), feel free to bookmark.  If you have any recipe suggestions (or want to write a post yourself *cough*Howland/Patch relatives*cough*) please email me at ablakehowland@gmail.com.


  2. I have made it to Boston!


  3. Travel Update

    Hi Everyone!

    I just wanted to let you know that I am currently in Toronto, waiting for my flight to Boston.  I’m almost home!  Mom (& friend) are picking me up at the airport and we are all driving back up to Maine.  I will fill in more details about my trip later, but my flight is about to start boarding, so I need to go!

  4. Around Pisa-

    The Leaning Tower of Pisa (which is actually the cathedral bell-tower) and Pisa Cathedral.  The tower was constructed between 1173 and 1372, and began leaning almost immediately because the ground was too soft to properly hold the structure’s weight.  The cathedral itself was begun in the 11th century and was completed in the 14th, but a 16th century fire destroyed much of the interior, making way for rebuilding efforts to occur up until the 19th and even early 20th centuries. 

  5. The Day of Florence’s Churches: Part 3 (Santa Maria Novella)-

    Unfortunately, most of the churches in Florence don’t allow one to take pictures in them.  So although I visited 6 churches, this is my third and last post from Church Day.

    Santa Maria Novella is the primary Dominican church in Florence, and was designed as such.  The groundbreaking for the church was in 1279, and the church was completed in the late 14th century.  Therefore, it is done in a combination of Southern Gothic and Renaissance styles.  The original architects of the church were Dominican Friars, Fra Sisto Fiorentino and Fra Ristoro da Campi.  However, towards completion the commission was taken over by Leon Battista Alberti, who was already becoming noteworthy for both his writings on art and his own architectural designs.  Alberti did his best to combine the existing Gothic structural elements with new Renaissance decoration.  

  6. Tomb of Michelangelo Buonarroti-

    Michelangelo died in Rome in 1564, but this tomb is in Santa Croce in Florence.  The overall design of Michelangelo’s tomb was done by Vassari, the noted artist, designer, and critic (who was a right pain in my butt for this entire semester as he kept popping up in my classes).  The portrait bust of Michelangelo (last picture) was done by Battista Lorenzi, who also created one of the female figures.  Valerio Cioli and Iovanni Bandini did the other two.  Together, the three female figures are painting, sculpture, and architecture.  Michelangelo, in his own time and in the period right after his death, was revered as the best artist living or dead as he was the master of all three arts of design. 

  7. The Day of Florence’s Churches: Part 2 (Santa Croce)-

    The Basilica di Santa Croce is, I would say, one of the top three most famous churches in Florence (the other two being Santa Maria del Fiore [Florence Cathedral] and San Lorenzo).  Santa Croce is a Franciscan church, although it is also a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church.  What is particularly notable about Santa Croce is the number of important people who are buried there, frequently in very elaborate wall tombs.  Of particular note are Michelangelo (see tomorrow’s post), Galileo, Machiavelli, Leon Battista Alberti, Lorenzo Ghiberti, and Dante (who is actually buried in Ravenna, but there’s a monument to him in Santa Croce because they wanted his body (that sounded less creepy in my head)).

    Groundbreaking on the current church of Santa Croce occurred on May 12, 1294, and it was consecrated in 1442 by Pope Eugene IV.  The main cloister and chapter house were completed in the 1470s with substantial input from Filippo Brunelleschi, who also created the dome for Florence Cathedral.  In 1560 the choir screen was removed and the interior was rebuilt by Giorgio Vasari to support the Counter-Reformation. 

    The bell tower had to be replaced in 1842 as the old one was struck by lightening and the façade of the building dates from 1857-63, and was designed by Nicoló Matas.  The final changes to the Basilica are currently still occurring as the church was badly damaged in the famous 1966 flood of Florence. 


  8. irl-england:

    Spring time in London is kind of funny, it’s like everyone is so confused about what to wear. You start to see people with shorts or sun glasses on, but at the same time there’s a ton of people refusing to take off their winter coats. We’re so special

    Yep.  I totally couldn’t figure out what to wear today, so I ended up wearing a spring dress, but with winter-weight tights. At least it doesn’t look weird. :P

  9. The Day of Florence’s Churches: Part 1 (Santa Maria del Carmine)-

    Santa Maria del Carmine is best known for the Brancacci Chapel, which contains an amazing series of frescoes by Masaccio, Masolino da Panicale, and Filippino Lippi.  The church itself was begin in 1268 as part of a convent, but it was enlarged in 1328 and 1464, so little of the original structure remains.  In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was renovated to be in the Baroque Style, which was popular at the time, but it was badly damaged by a fire in 1771.  The second renovation occurred in 1782 and was done in the Rococo style.  However, this renovation did not alter the sacristy and the façade was left unfinished.

    The Brancacci Chapel was begun in 1425 by Masolino, but it was quickly taken over by his student, Masaccio.  Masaccio’s work is particularly important because they are an Early Renaissance example of depicting figures in believable space in fresco.  Filippino LIppi, another important Renaissance artist, finished the cycle.  Luckily, the Brancacci Chapel survived the fire of 1771.

  10. Up and Away from Florence-

    My second day in Florence I climbed a big hill.  On the top of the hill was Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte. The church is considered to be one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in Florence.  The first structure, a chapel, appeared on the site by the eighth century, and the present church was begun in 1013.  The church was endowed by Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, and was guided by Bishop Alibrando.  There is also a monastery on the site, which began as a Benedictine community, then became Clunaic, and, in 1373, became Olivetan.  As for the structure itself, it was begun in 1013, but the decorative pavement is from 1207, the large mosaic, Christ Between the Virgin and St. Minas, is from 1260, and Michelozzo’s Cappella del Crocefisso is from 1448.  As for the outside of the church, the marble façade was begun around 1090 and the campanile was replaced in 1523, after it collapsed in 1499.  Legend states that during the Siege of Florence (1530) Michelangelo wrapped said campanile in mattresses to protect it from being damaged.

    After visiting San Miniato I walked to the Piazzale Michelangelo, which is a noted place among tourists because it gives an amazing view of the city.  Finally, I walked to the Boboli Gardens, which are also popular with tourists because of their beauty.  They were very nice, but I was a bit underwhelmed with them.  I think this is mostly because I was at Versailles just last week.