Ashley Moreno: Grand Tour 2022


This project is an in-depth exploration of select neighborhoods in Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Venice through several themes that are relevant to us today. In this text, I will examine my experiences in Italy through the framework of my life as a young woman living in Miami, making connections to important topics as I reflect on each city.

RomA: Trastevere

Economy vs. Environment
Gate of Porta Portese in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Every Sunday, a renowned flea market opens at the historic gate of Porta Portese and spans along the road for miles, turning a regular street into a hub of commerce. On an early Sunday afternoon, I crossed over the Tiber river and walked through this ancient gate to shop at the market before it closed.

Porta Portese Flea Market in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Clear bright skies made way for a searing summer sun to show its face; its heat was bearing down onto the earth, reflecting off the street and white tarps of the market. These tarps lined the road on either side, stretching as far as the eye can see into the horizon. I walked through the crowd on this seemingly endless street, observing sights and sounds of this bustling market. Some vendors insistently shouted for my attention as I passed, while others quietly organized their stands in the aftermath of people browsing. There were tables stacked with clothing, jewelry, vintage objects, souvenirs, household items, and more. I managed to successfully haggle with sellers when something caught my eye, beginning to understand the careful dance of negotiation that occurs between customers and vendors in the market. As I took part in the lively scene of the market in the summer heat, I didn’t feel so far from the familiar chaos of Miami. Unfortunately, I was soon reminded of the more negative aspects of my city as well.

Porta Portese Flea Market in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

As I trekked back down the market to return to the gate, I quickly learned how vendors typically closed their shops: many packed their stands into a van and carelessly left piles of plastic bags, paper, and even discarded items on the ground before driving off. The wind swept up this trash and scattered it across the street. It wasn’t hard for me to imagine the wasteland of garbage that is repeatedly left in the remains of each Sunday market. I’m suddenly reminded of my neighborhood back home, where there is a stretch of grass by a house along the road that is often treated like a dumping site by passing drivers, who singlehandedly turn the grass patch into a small field of plastic trash.

Both instances of pollution—in Trastevere and my neighborhood in Miami—are displays of environmental negligence: not a corporation, not by a foreign entity, but by people on their own land. As evidenced by the towering ruins of aqueducts still standing today, ancient Romans knew (over two thousand years ago) not to drink from where they dumped their garbage. And there I stood, in that very city, stepping over trash needlessly left by locals on the streets of their own country.

I understand now that Rome, despite its unique history and old age, is still a modern city with its own setbacks in progress towards a better world. Vendors prioritizing their businesses and time over the proper disposal of their trash is a microcosm of what happens everyday in the world when we prioritize economic interests and convenience over the preservation of our environment.

FIRENZE: SAnt’Ambrogio & San Marco

Sant’Ambrogio: Cultural dissonance
Florence in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Our housing in Florence was situated in the neighborhood of Sant’Ambrogio, so the day we arrived in Florence, I rushed into the apartment and swung the windows open. From one window, I had a perfect view of Brunelleschi’s famous dome. From the other one, there was a full view of the dome of Tempio Maggiore, an immense synagogue and museum. Standing before the gorgeous view of this historic city, I felt as though I had drifted into a dream.

Sant’Ambrogio was a lively neighborhood that, at a glance, seemed to have a larger young adult population than the previous neighborhood in Rome, and the atmosphere was a good kind of different. On a Tuesday night, I went out at 11PM to pick up a pizza order (down the block from the housing) and I was astonished at what I saw when I came out from the apartment building. I was expecting the all-too-familiar experience of quickly walking down the sidewalk with my head on a swivel for anyone following me, but instead, I was met with something else as I walked down the street: the block was calmly bustling with people going out for the night, groups getting dinner, a couple laughing and riding a bike together passing by me, and even a mother walking alone with her baby in a stroller. This scene is enhanced by the fact that pedestrian traffic is the main traffic in this area, so everyone occupies the full width of the road without worrying about getting hit by a car.

I felt, for the first time in my life, full culture shock. The newfound inconvenience of having to dress modest in Italy paled in comparison to this difference. I felt safe at night, alone. It was a confusion that permeated and rattled in my head; my skull was being rang like a bell. Maybe it was a sense of false security. Or maybe Florence has its good nights, and I happen to have caught one. But it made me reevaluate my life in Miami and the amount of time I have spent in survival mode because of what happens to people just walking on the street. On that night, I felt as though a fist uncurled in my chest, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Safety is a human need for well-being, but its presence is often a privilege to many.

San Marco: Ideas of Perfection
Michelangelo’s David in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Florence was the city I had been looking forward to the most due to its rich history with the Renaissance; more specifically, because it is the home of Michelangelo’s David. So when I realized that the Accademia Gallery is in San Marco, I was more than happy to write about this; Michelangelo’s art and ideas greatly intrigue me. What strikes me the most about him is how he reached the epitome of artistic perfection so early in his life and then became enamored with the idea of imperfection in his last years. He was commissioned to make the David statue at the age of 26 (1), which many consider to be his best work, but it was in his old age that he found beauty in leaving his sculptures unfinished. This is a juxtaposition that can be seen in very layout of this museum, where there is a corridor of imperfect Michelangelo sculptures leading up to the perfect David standing as the centerpiece of the museum. This statue is a pure celebration of the human anatomy, completely disregarding that David in the biblical story is an adolescent that wouldn’t be naked (or uncircumcised, since he is Jewish), and taking the liberty of depicting him before the battle with Goliath, which had never been done before (1). Although I respect the concept of beauty in imperfection that the artist was aiming for with his later unfinished sculptures, nothing represents the humanism and bold audacity of the Renaissance like Michelangelo’s David. Perhaps in his big-headed aim to represent physical perfection on a scale larger than his legs can support, David himself reveals more about humanity’s idealism and foolish ambition than what an imperfectly rough piece of marble could abstractly portray.

Venezia:San Marco

A sapling of hope
Human Safety Net collaborative activity in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

The aquatic city of Venice is famously home to the historic Piazza San Marco, where a winged lion (usually with a couple of unruly birds perched on its head) stands on a column and overlooks crowds of people touring the plaza. This plaza, which is slowly sinking into the sea, is a centerpiece of Venice that holds several gems around it: the Basilica of San Marco, a Renaissance tower with a delayed mechanical clock, a pointed bell tower, the Correr museum, and the Doge’s Palace.

In this same plaza, there is a lesser known building called the Procuratie Vecchie. This building was established by procurators (government officials) of San Marco, and it is now the host of a non-profit humanitarian organization called the Human Safety Net, after five hundred years of the building being closed to the public (3). I visited the Procuratie Vecchie and went through the Human Safety Net’s interactive museum that informed me about the history of Venice, invited me to explore my strengths and weaknesses, and showed me how I can make a difference in other people’s lives on my own and through the organization. Many parts of the exhibit were challenging group activities, novel explorations of creativity, and interactive educational content. At the end of the visit, the museum donated half of my ticket to humanitarian aid in a country of my choice. I felt as though I had experienced something new and exciting rise from the ashes of a government building; it’s like finding a plant sapling growing between the cracks of a barren sidewalk.

Art installation at Venice in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

That’s how I felt about other things in Venice; I visited a free contemporary art gallery in front of Canal Grande and felt a world of passionate, inventive, relevant modern art open up to me after being inundated in old classical art. Art that I could see myself in. I felt the same emotions when I saw the plaque commemorating the first woman to get a Bachelor’s degree just down the street from that gallery: a sense of pride and wonder.

I see the entire island of Venice as a sapling that managed to grow into a tree through the cracks of the sidewalk, because who else would be crazy enough to make an island out of pine and stone? It’s this inventiveness and sheer will that has kept Venice alive, despite its doomed fate to sink into the water. I see that in its ability to stay interesting and impactful to any newcomer willing to experience it.

Cinque terre: Monterosso

Nature and Mortality
Monterosso in 2022. Photo by Pauline Marek / CC BY 4.0

Our stay in Cinque Terre was in the village of Monterosso al Mare. On our first morning in the village, we started a hike on a trail that spanned through all five villages, from Monterosso to Riomaggiore. I soon learned that these trails are all UNESCO world heritage sites—which means they are legally protected—and the locals have also resisted the lucrative option of selling their land to the tourism industry, which is why Cinque Terre has had these picturesque villages preserved since the Medieval times. The dense forest surrounding me was a welcome change from the narrow streets of the previous cities, so I was glad to hear that it’s all owed to purposeful preservation. I imagined how hotels and buildings would otherwise spread across the mountains and ruin the landscape like an uninhibited bacteria culture growing over the walls of its petri dish.

Chapel at Monterosso in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

As we traveled down the mountain, we came across a few small chapels along the path that served as religious waypoints for Christians on their pilgrimages. The first one I saw, now abandoned and dilapidated, had a simple beauty about it. Although it no longer served its original purpose, its faded peach walls, cracked columns, and a roof overtaken by flowers was a captivating display of the weathering of time. I’ve never been a religious person, but after weeks of seeing opulent cathedrals, the sight of this tiny broken church oddly touched me. The loss of this building’s original purpose gave it an entirely new meaning: life goes on, and regardless of the structures we impose on the world around us, nature will inevitably take it back.

My mind wandered to many things as I looked up to the silhouette of the chapel’s cross in the forest canopy. Much of the rise of humanity has been a battle of dominance over the earth: using resources to build bigger, wielding technology to defy the elements, molding the land we have to serve us. We push and grow, but nature pushes and grows back: we use herbicides to keep weeds from growing, we fill cracks in walls with plaster, but when we stop pushing, when we die, the earth overtakes it all in the end. I looked at this chapel in disrepair and found that to be a comforting constant in a world of unknowns. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the only gentle reminder of our mortality that I found in Monterosso.

Capuchin church plaque at Monterosso in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

I was exploring the village days later when I climbed up a path to find a Capuchin convent and church. This plaque was by the church on a concrete wall, and it gave me more insight about the church than I anticipated. When I tried to translate it online, I was surprised to find that it was in Corsican, not Italian. Corsican is an endangered language related to Italian that is mostly spoken in the island of Corsica, which resides across from Cinque Terre in the Mediterranean sea (2). The plaque translates to “we went to the Monterosso friars and the Capuchin friars’ convent for 400 years together.”

Cemetery at Monterosso in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

After visiting the church, I continued my ascent up into a cemetery on the top of the small mountain, not knowing what to expect; I’ve only ever visited a cemetery once before in my life. I was greeted by a statue kneeled in prayer. The lower levels of the cemetery had tombs that dated back to as far as the late 1800’s. There were family mausoleums, tombs of priests, and many, many black-and-white portraits. As I climbed up more sets of stairs, the death dates grew more recent and the portraits grew more colorful until I reached the top.

Cemetery at Monterosso in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

This peak was the end, where a staircase led to a grassy burial site. I sat on a wooden bench under the shade of a large tree and took it all in. I heard the birds chirping, felt the wind passing through my hair, and saw the mountains beyond the cemetery. I felt as though my fear of death was carried away with the sea breeze and replaced with acceptance. Every photo on a tombstone reminded me that each person in this cemetery was once like me—alive and breathing, having memories, missing loved ones—and that this experience is only temporary. I felt that it was a more helpful reminder of my limited time on earth than the visceral horror of seeing those stacked skulls in Rome’s Capuchin Crypt, because it showed me what really happens: you’re laid to rest in the ground and the world outside of you goes on. The grass grows over the fresh dirt above you. Your loved ones give the world something to remember you by. And if you’re as lucky as a woman that I saw in that cemetery, someone who really loves you will plant a garden of succulents on top of your grave.

Punta Mesco in 2022. Photo by John W. Bailly / CC BY 4.0

Later that day, we hiked up to Punta Mesco, where we found the ruins of a monastery built by Saint Antonio del Mesco. Past these ruins, we climbed to the outmost peak of the rocky cliffside and to get a panoramic view of all five villages lining the coast. We saw Cinque Terre in all its rare glory, with endless ocean stretching beyond it. Once I stood on those rocks and stared out into the coastline, the overwhelming feeling of awe made me fully understand why its residents have stood their ground on preserving it for this long.



Ashley Moreno: Italia America 2022

The Evolution of Angels: Italian renaissance to american culture

What is an angel?

Angels are spiritual beings from Christianity that are God’s divine messengers, often serving as protectors. The name angel is derived from the Greek word angelos, which means “messenger” (“Angel Definition & Meaning”). Many types of angels exist under this umbrella term; according to the most widely used system of organizing types of angels—called the Pseudo-Dionysius angelic hierarchy—there are nine choirs of angels with their own unique roles in serving God. In order to examine the evolution of the angel as a religious symbol throughout history, we need to understand the biblical origins, the lasting influence of the Italian Renaissance on religious art, and how these ideas persist in American society today.

All roads lead to Rome: A brief progression of the first angel in art

First Roman depiction
Fig. 1. Annunciation, c. 300 A.D.

The oldest known artistic depiction of an angel is from the third century, and it lies in Rome. Inside the Catacombs of Priscilla, there are numerous wall paintings in a chamber of the Annunciation; this is the event from the Bible when Gabriel the angel came to Mary to inform her that she will be pregnant with Jesus (Richman-Abduo). As shown above, the wall painting that depicts Mary and Gabriel is a very simplistic illustration on the center of the ceiling. Without any context, no one could guess that the figure on the right is a depiction of an angel, since the artist made the choice to paint Gabriel in what seems to be a mortal form.

Italian Renaissance
Fig. 2. Angelico, Fra. The Annunciation, 1433-1434.

The scene of Annunciation became a reoccurring religious painting as time progressed, showing how artistic portrayals of angels changed through the centuries. Nearly twelve centuries later, an early renaissance friar, Fra Angelico, painted this scene with both figures framed in golden light and clothing to show the holiness of both Gabriel and Mary. It is a moment of connection through words and expression. Most importantly, Gabriel bears a more familiar angelic appearance: his wings, halo, and rays of light fit into a more well-known idea of what an angel is.

Modern America
Fig. 3. Rosales, Harmonia. The Annunciation, 2018.

Around six centuries later in 2018, Afro-Cuban American painter Harmonia Rosales subverts the traditional Eurocentric portrayal of the Annunciation (Rosales, “The Artist”). While still preserving the major elements of what makes the Annunciation what it traditionally became to be in the Renaissance, she replaces the European subjects of Gabriel and Mary with Africans. Gabriel is still recognizable as a Christian angel with wings and a halo, despite the Egyptian imagery of the Ankh in his hand, and Mary is shown as a holy woman wearing a halo, despite lying naked. It is important to mention this art piece because it shows how the imagery established by the renaissance is common enough in the modern era to be subverted (yet still recognizable) and represented for other cultures.

Now that we’ve seen an example of how Italian Renaissance art influences American depictions of an angelic biblical event, we will go into specifically how Italian culture developed the blueprint for the modern angel. To explore the progression of angelic imagery and how it changed in the Renaissance, we will be primarily delving into the depiction of two types of high-ranking angels: Cherubim and Seraphim.


Biblical Description

In the book of Ezekiel, cherubim are described as having four wings, calves’ feet, and four different faces: a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. They are as bright as fire, flash like lightning, and have bodies surrounded by wheels with multiple eyes on the rims (The Holy Bible, Ezek. 1.5-18). In Genesis, they guard the Garden of Eden with flaming swords to protect the tree of life (Genesis 3.24).

Italian Renaissance
Fig. 4. Raphael. The Saint Madonna, 1515.

This Madonna painting by the famous Italian artist, Rafael, has a plethora of cherub imagery: besides the pair of cherubs at the bottom of the painting, the entire backdrop is faintly filled with cherub faces! However, it is not hard to notice that these soft winged babies are a far cry from the biblical description of these fierce angels. What happened?

Eros, Cupid, and Putti

An important piece of context to understand the portrayal of cherubim in the Renaissance is the influence of romantic imagery from Roman mythology. To begin with, Eros is a god in Greek mythology whose name means “love” in Greek: he is known as the god of love and desire. The Romans adopted this god in their own mythology as Cupid, whose name came from cupio, which means “to desire” in Latin (Greenberg). Cupid is often portrayed as a young boy or baby with wings and a bow and arrow. Donatello and Raphael were two Renaissance artists that were at the forefront of depicting cherubs as playful cupid-like figures during their time. This portrayal of nude babies with wings is called “putti,” which is derived from the Latin word for boy: putus (Hopler, “What Are the Details of the Artistic Depictions of Angels of Love?”). That is how cherubim imagery and cupid imagery became practically one and the same, because of this Renaissance practice of portraying angels in the same light as love gods in the form of flying babies.


Biblical Description

As stated in book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, seraphim are angels with six wings that surround God’s throne. Each of the three pairs of wings has a purpose: one pair covers their faces in humility, the other covers their feet in respect, and the final pair allows them to fly. In the passage, one seraph is said to have burned the sin off the lips of Isaiah with a coal it took from God’s throne (The Holy Bible, Isaiah 6.2-17). It is not explicitly clear what their form is beyond this description, but they are associated with fire due to their name meaning “fiery ones” (in Hebrew) and the actions of one of them burning the sin from Isaiah’s lips.

Italian Renaissance

Fig. 4. Bernini, Gian Lorenzo. The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, 1647–1652.
(Photo by Livioandronico2013, CC BY-SA 4.0)

This is a marble sculpture by Italian sculptor Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, a man known for defining the Baroque style of sculpture in his era (Mormando). This sculpture depicts a vision described by a Spanish mystic, Teresa of Avila, in which she is stabbed by a beautiful Seraph with a long golden spear. Her description of the event is arguably erotic: she describes herself as being thrusted in the heart repeatedly by the spear, left “on fire with a wondrous love for God” and moaning with a pain that is exceedingly sweet (“The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa”). Teresa followed the practice of bridal mysticism, a form of Christianity that places the worshipper in a spiritual marriage with God (“The Problem with Bridal Theology”). This form of bridal worship is a more romantic take on God’s love, and Bernini’s dramatic depiction of the vision is not afraid to portray this perspective. Teresa is sculpted with a face of unadulterated pleasure, and the seraph is a young man with wings holding a spear that looks more akin to an arrow than the “long” spear that is described by Teresa.

Bernini’s portrayal of the seraph is closer in appearance and action to Cupid than to the original biblical description of these angels, which is similar to how cherubim were transformed into young angelic figures. Cupid is often seen as a baby or a young man with a pair of wings and two types of arrows; one of them is an arrow with a golden tip that fulfills the purpose of inflaming the heart with love (World History Edu, “Cupid”); this is exactly what is happening in this sculpture (except, in this case, God is the subject of this love).

This version of seraphim in the Baroque period, just like the child-like versions of cherubim, shows the role of Roman mythology and Italian artistry in influencing the development of Christian religious imagery; the line between cupid and angel blurs as Roman mythology and Christianity are married together to depict them.

Angel Imagery in America

Angels as guidance and protection
Fig. 5. Makelessnoise. “Angel’s On High.” December 24, 2008.

During Christmas, is a widespread tradition in America to adorn the tip of Christmas trees with an angel or a star tree topper. The use of angel imagery on Christmas trees symbolizes the role of angels appearing to announce Jesus’s birth, and in some cases, the angels were placed with the purpose of warding off evil from homes.

These angels are often simple in design; they are usually boiled down to the elements of a human shaped doll with wings and a halo. This makes them an easily recognizable symbol of guidance and protection to this day.

Fig. 6. Disney. “Kronk’s Shoulder Angel and Devil.” Emperor’s New Groove, 2000.

Just like the image above, a shoulder angel is a common symbol in animated stories that personifies the character’s conscience, or “good” side (“Shoulder Angel”). As the opposite of the shoulder devil, this imagery of the traditional winged angel giving advice to the character plays into the idea of angels serving as guidance or protection.

Angels as symbols of beauty
Fig. 7. Thayer, Abbot Handerson. Stevenson Memorial, 1903.

Abbot H. Taylor is an American Renaissance-inspired painter that focused primarily on angels as the subject of his art. He dedicated himself to depicting “pictures of the highest human soul beauty.” (“A Painter of Angels Became the Father of Camouflage”). This art piece is the painter’s tribute to a dead writer; even in the angel’s solemn expression, he paints her as a beauty bathed in golden highlights amidst a sea of darkness on the canvas.

Fig. 8 & 9. Getty Images & AP Photo. Victoria’s Secret Angels. 2013 & 2002

Victoria’s secret angels are the most popular example of angelic imagery being used to portray an almost supernatural form of beauty. By using this imagery, the brand achieves the effect of elevating models to a higher status of beauty by creating a tier of models called “Angels” and adorning them with grandiose wings on the runway.

These two examples show how the angel as a symbol of beauty is self-contradictory: it is simultaneously a symbol for pure spiritual beauty and sexual beauty in the American cultural zeitgeist.

Los Angeles Angel Wings
Fig. 11. Couple posing in front of Angel Wings wall mural, 2019.

In one final example of angel imagery in American culture, a quote from a modern angel wing artist perfectly encapsulates the various themes that angelic symbols hold. The artist, Colette Miller, spoke in an article about her motives behind scattering these murals across the city of Los Angeles:

“I kept thinking that in these times of so much darkness and negativity, the image of wings as enlightenment, hope, freedom, purity, and flight would be a good thing for people to see and be a part of.” (Fuentes).


Fig. 10. u/binky779. “DO NOT BE AFRAID.”2020

It is hard to imagine how these otherworldly spiritual beings became such a unanimously recognizable piece of religious imagery, but we have created numerous meanings for ourselves, simultaneously reinventing and reinforcing the idea of what it means to look “angelic” over the centuries. A glimpse at the progression of art history shows how our views and portrayal of angels in our culture are forever changed by the Italian influences of Renaissance art and Roman mythology.

Works cited

“A Painter of Angels Became the Father of Camouflage.”, Smithsonian Institution, 1 Apr. 1999,

“Angel Definition & Meaning.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster,

Angelico, Fra. The Annunciation, 1433-1434. Museo Diocesano, Cortona, Italy.

Annunciation, c. 300 A.D. Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome.

Bernini, Gian Lorenzo. The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. 1647–1652, Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. Photo: Livioandronico2013, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Couple posing in front of Angel Wings wall mural, 2019.

Fuentes, Ed. “Angel’s Wings Roam the Streets of Los Angeles.” KCET, 1 Jan. 2017,

Getty Images & AP Photo. Victoria’s Secret Angels. 2013 & 2002, Vogue.

Greenberg, Mike. “Is Eros Cupid?” MythologySource, 6 July 2021,

Hopler, Whitney. “Why Are Angels Placed on Top of Christmas Trees?” Learn Religions, Learn Religions, 25 June 2019,

Hopler, Whitney. “What Are the Details of the Artistic Depictions of Angels of Love?” Learn Religions, Learn Religions, 17 Apr. 2018,

“Kronk’s Shoulder Angel and Devil.” Emperor’s New Groove, 2000,

Makelessnoise. “Angel’s On High.” December 24, 2008, Flickr.

Mormando, Franco. “Bernini: His Life and His Rome.” University of Chicago Press, 1 Oct. 2011,

Raphael. The Saint Madonna. 1515, Dresden, Gemaldegalerie.                       prod/350/0/350661.jpg

Richman-Abduo, Kelly. “Exploring the Heavenly History of Angels in Art.” My Modern Met, 18 May 2021,

Rosales, Harmonia. The Annunciation, 2018.

Rosales, Harmonia. “The Artist: Harmonia Rosales.”,

“Shoulder Angel.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Mar. 2022,

Thayer, Abbot Handerson. Stevenson Memorial, 1903.

“The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.” ARAS, 2021,

The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments. Trinitarian Bible Society, 2010.

“The Problem with Bridal Theology.” Reflections, 25 Oct. 2019,

U/binky779. “DO NOT BE AFRAID.”2020, Reddit,

World History Edu. “Cupid in Roman Mythology: Birth Story, Symbols, Powers and Abilities.” World History Edu, 15 Dec. 2021,

Ashley Moreno: Italia as Text 2022

Photo by John W. Bailly / CC BY 4.0

Ashley Moreno is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences in the FIU Honors College. She holds a great interest in ecology and the arts, and she has a desire to improve how we communicate these subjects to the general public. Ashley is currently a studio assistant at the Deering Estate with Professor John Bailly, as well as working as a research assistant that surveys Florida tree snail and New Guinea flatworm population densities, and also leading her own honors research thesis about dual-enrollment student experiences.

She believes in the importance of understanding and preserving the nature and history around us, and enjoys expressing this through her art and writing. The reflections below explore her perspective of Italy through her photography and poetry inspired by each location. Enjoy!

Roma as text

“Curious contradictions”

by Ashley Moreno of FIU in Rome

Rome in 2022. Photos by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Pompeii as text

“Scorched flower”

by Ashley Moreno of FIU at Pompeii

Pompeii in 2022. Photos by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Assisi as Text

“Stories of a saint”

by Ashley Moreno of FIU at Assisi

Assisi in 2022. Photos by Ashley Moreno and John W. Bailly/ CC BY 4.0

Florence as Text

“Unpolished marble”

by Ashley Moreno of FIU at Florence

Florence in 2022. Photos by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Siena as Text

“Siena’s humanity”

by Ashley Moreno of FIU Siena

Siena in 2022. Photos by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Cinque Terre as Text

“Nature’s music”

by Ashley Moreno of FIU at Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre in 2022. Photos by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Venice as Text

“Venice is Venus”

by Ashley Moreno of FIU at Venice

Venice in 2022. Photos by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Ashley Moreno: Miami as Text 2022

Photograph taken by Mae Camacho / CC by 4.0

Ashley Moreno is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences in the FIU Honors College. She holds a great interest in ecology and the arts, and she has a desire to improve how we communicate these subjects to the general public. Ashley is currently a studio assistant at the Deering Estate with Professor John Bailly, as well as working as a research assistant that surveys Florida tree snail and New Guinea flatworm population densities, and also leading her own honors research thesis about dual-enrollment student experiences.

She believes in the importance of understanding and preserving the nature and history around us, and enjoys expressing this through her art and writing. The reflections below explore her perspective of Miami through original poetry inspired by each location. Enjoy!


Deering as Text

“The Shoulders We Stand On”

by Ashley Moreno of FIU at Deering Estat

Cutler Burial Mound Boardwalk in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Vizcaya as Text


by Ashley Moreno of FIU at Vizcaya

Dancing Faun statue in Vizcaya in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Miami as Text

“Slices and Peels”

by Ashley Moreno of FIU at Downtown Miami

Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels at Downtown Miami in 2022.
Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

South Beach as Text


by Ashley Moreno of FIU at South Beach

South Beach in 2022. Photo by Ashley Moreno / CC BY 4.0

Ashley Moreno’s Tip Jar:

Spare change?


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