Venice and Padua

Apologies to all of my fans. I said I would update more often. But you know…

Plus Rob got on my case this morning about that. Haha.

Anyways, things are going quite well. I’m really enjoying book arts, especially. I’m loving studying under Paul… I have a lot of respect for him. Heàs a super-fly character (he’s also a fly fisher). Honestly he’s kind of like an uncle or something… like, I have a lot of fun talking with him. So far, we’re just learning several different kinds of bookbinding techniques… mostly folding, cutting, and stitching so far. Tomorrow we will bust out the adhesives and learn those binding techniques.

Printmaking is something I’ll probably really enjoy by the end of the program, but I’m still getting acquainted with the processes for now. I wish it hadn’t been so long since I’ve done much drawing, But I think things will work out eventually.

P.S. Sarah and Sophie…. you two are going to learn some SUPER fun art stuff when I babysit you in seven weeks!!

I hope I have been taking sufficient care of my foot. Still not in any pain = AWESOME. Probly took pain meds 4 times, and the doctor said the first week would be the worst… heh. That rocks. There was a lot of bruising that developed, I noticed when I got here the first day. But I think that was just slow to come after the injury… it had only been 3 days when I notices it. But the bruising is now almost gone, so that’s a good sign. I still get swelling after long days such as last Friday’s day trip to Padova. But I iced it as soon as I got back, and the swelling was down within half an hour, and I went straight to sleep, and took it easy basically the whole day Saturday.

So Padova… we saw the Scrovegni chapel and the frescoes which were really amazing to see in person rather than just in a textbook. I didn’t realize that all of the architectural detail was actually painted on, as well as the marble panels. So if you google them, don’t be fooled by the columns and panels! They’re all painted by Giotto to look like ornate architecture.

… After that, the other 3 students left for Venice because, basically, they were too hung over to be interested in doing anything further. Yeah, no respect for that, I have…. So, Paul and I went to tour the University of Padova, which is home to the world’s first anatomy theatre. An anatomy theatre is a place where, in the Renaissance, a professor demonstrated the disection of a cadaver, or body, in front of as many as 300 students. It was so funny because I didn’t even remember that that theatre was in Padova, but I had taken a class on Renaissance Anatomy and Botany a couple of years ago and studied that very same genious of a structure. Basically my whole world just came full circle. (Exaggeration.) No, seriously, what surprised me the most about this thing was the scale. It was so small, I can’t imagine how 300 med students could fit in there. Then we would have gotten to see the classroom where Galileo taught, but there was a meeting being held in there at that time, so that unfortunately didn’t work out. But I’m really excited that I was able to see all of those things, despite a broken foot. SO GLAD. I’m a tough cookie. Hah.

When I get home I’m gonna search Ebay for a University of Padova t-shirt. And if there aren’t any, then I’m going to learn screen printing finally and make one myself.

Next weekend is the last weekend I will have to be on crutches, so I think I’ll save the traveling for later on, and stick around Venice next weekend. There are several other islands and museums and churches and sites I’d like to see around close to our apartments, so I can go home whenever, in case I get to feeling like I should just relax.

Speaking of churches, I attended mass at San Marco yesterday. San Marco is basically THE FIRST place tourists in Venice go, so it’s a pretty big deal. Can I just say it was absolutely beautiful?? First of all, the place is remarkable from the outside, but the inside, I think, is even more astounding. It is literally covered in gold tesserae mosaic pieces, and the place was HUGE. The moment the service began, I was in tears from the resounding pipe organ and choir, which I couldn’t see… they may have been hidden. Granted, the only word I understood the entire hour, basically, was Hallelujah. But you know, that’s pretty much the most important word anyways, so I got the jist of it.

Let’s talk about food. In my last e-mail I mentioned Pizza Vesuvio’s… SO GOOD. I had Pizza Carbonara, which is basically pizza with bacon, egg, ham, and cheese. It was amazing! Other notable pizza’s include a four-formaggio, or 4 cheese, pizza… also AMAZING, basically because cheese it Italy is incredible. Dad, you’ll be happy to know that my eating habits have starkly improved (although I will never give up pizza) because of all the fresh market produce and delicatessens. No pop so far. Hah. One other notable pizza I had last night… it was called Pizze Rustica, and it had spicy salami, sun-dried tomatoes, and radishes. It was awful. I thought I woul like sun-dried tomatoes just because I like tomatoes a lot. But I was way wrong. And the radishes were much too strong… the flavor was overwhelming for someone who doesn’t really like the flavors.

Another Italian thing to do guys… put bacon in your pasta. I was so excited to find yet another food to add bacon too. (I frequently put bacon on sandwiches, tomato soup, pizzas, etc.) I’ve also come to enjoy balsamic vinegar and corn in my salads. Oh, and the croutons here are really the only croutons Iàve ever liked. When I can walk, I’m going to go to the grocery and buy big, awkward foods to carry finally, so I can bake a lasagna and learn to cook Spaghetti Carbonara (spaghetti with egg and bacon). Except, we can’t bake anything until we get an oven rack… no oven rack… how random is that?

Speaking of cheese, Rachel, you might be getting a vaccum-sealed random gift at some point in the future.

And Kathy, the postal service is something I haven’t figured out yet… plus, I hear it is extremely unreliable in Italy… so I don’t know if you’ll get your postcard. However, I have something better in mind anyways….

Shout out to my brother Tom for getting into Pharmacy School!

That’s all I’ve got for today, friends….


Hannah Downey

UX Design Consultant at Salesforce focused on content & sustainability. I love information design, the art+science of text, guac, sweet potatoes, & amazing people.

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