La Quinta Arts Foundation visual arts scholar Alexa Gomez is studying architecture at California Polytechnic University of Pomona. We are delighted to share her update of her year studying abroad in Italy:

Inspiration and Admiration

“Architecture is regarded as the most public of all art forms, and design has a way of affecting lives. Everyone in society, low income or high, is all allowed to admire its beauty. All of these reasons
have inspired me towards studying architecture. After three years of studying architecture at the California Polytechnic University of Pomona, I decided that I would love to study abroad in Italy for my fourth year. Currently, it has been four months of studying and living here in Florence. Not only have I been taking architecture studio courses but also, I have been learning the Italian language. Furthermore, I have been taking many courses on the history of Italy’s well known artists and architects, who influenced what Italy looks like today.

Alexa Gomez

Architectural Masterpieces

Although Florence is mostly known as “the cradle of the Renaissance,” it is interesting to see the presence of medieval, baroque, neoclassical and modern architecture throughout the city.
One of my favorite things about living in the center of Italy is that I live only ten minutes from the “Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore,” most significantly known as the Dome of Florence. Arnolfo di Cambio, Francesco Talenti, and the brilliant Filippo Brunelleschi built the cathedral in the 13th century. While many architects at that time could not figure out the construction and engineering of the octagonal dome, Brunelleschi took on the challenge successfully. He was able to make Florence proud due to his mathematical education and merchant skills. I feel so fortunate to be living here. Architectural masterpieces surround me, such as many churches and palaces including Santa Maria Novella, Uffizi, Santa Croce, and Palazzo Vecchio.

The Dome of Florence

Developing Independence

Every day, the walk to school is about fifteen minutes, yet it’s as if I am walking through history! All the architecture I once saw and learned from books now appear right in front of me. Not only am I expanding my education, but also I am taking in a new culture and communicating with Italian residents. Being someone who never traveled before and is very close to her family, I feel myself personally developing into a more independent person. I am making new lifelong friends. I have visited many beautiful cities in Italy. In addition, I have already traveled to other countries such as Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium. Living and being a student here in Florence has been one of the best experiences. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the school year here has to offer.”

Mt. Vesuvius, Naples