Italia Spring 2020 As Texts: Alejandro Ruiz-Paiz

Hello, everyone! My name is Alejandro Ruiz-Paiz and I am currently a sophomore in Florida International University’s Honors College. I am a local “Miami-an”, as one could say, as I was born and raised in the incredible city of Miami, Florida. Despite my great love for Miami, and the fact that I have lived here for 19 years, it is very possible that a tourist that comes to visit the city for a weekend could potentially explore more parts, and learn more of the history of Miami, than I have in my entire span of living here. For this reason, I am truly looking forward to exploring new parts of Miami during this upcoming semester, as I am taking part in the Italia Study Abroad course at Florida International University. Throughout this semester we will learn about much of Italy’s rich culture and history in order to prepare for the study abroad trip this upcoming summer. In this class we will also dive into the city of Miami and visit different landmarks that have Italian influence and analyze how the cultures of Miami and Italy both have many similarities and differences.

I am majoring in Accounting, and minoring in Business Analytics, and hope to soon attain my Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license as I head into the public accounting industry. Some hobbies of mine include playing sports, especially baseball and volleyball, and going to the beach. All in all, I am excited to begin to learn about the Italian influence on the culture of Miami, and I want to thank you for reading!

Vizcaya as Text

“Italy First Hand” by Alejandro Ruiz-Paiz of FIU at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

I have visited the incredible Vizcaya Museum & Gardens several times now, and I am truly always able to learn many new things about its rich history every time I attend. This past time that I visited Vizcaya was very different than the other times I had attended because of the fact that I was looking at everything in a new perspective. I was looking at everything knowing that I will soon be seeing the original forms of many of the incredible art works and styles of architecture that are located in Vizcaya, first hand in Italy. Knowing this, I truly did see many of the artifacts that are inspired by Italian works in a new light as I now had more excitement and curiosity to learn about their diverse history and meanings.

One of the main artworks that truly stood out to me during the visit was the sculpture of “The Spinario”, which is also known as the “Boy with Thorn.” “The Spinario” is located at the Uffizi Gallery in Rome, Italy and this is one of the potential art works that I may have the opportunity to see the original sculpture during my study abroad in Italy. I truly appreciated this sculpture because of its incredible historical meaning behind it. This sculpture is a representation of the incomparable love that roman citizens had for their country during the times of the Roman Empire. The boy with the thorn in his foot represents a boy who ran miles to warn his people about an approaching threat from an external army, and he didn’t stop to take out the thorn until he reached his destination and the task was complete. This is a symbol of how Roman citizens truly put the good of their country before themselves. Similarly, the painting of the city of Pompei truly was something that I found a great appreciation for because of the fact that I will be able to see this incredible city first hand. All in all, this was an incredible first experience in learning about how much influence Italy truly has on our culture as a whole, and I am excited to continue exploring more about the similarities that we share.

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