Juliana Gorina: Grand Tour 2022

Grand Tour Project

“Becoming a Local”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU in Italy

This past month in Italy, we as students experienced more art, history, and culture hands on then we had ever in our academic career. In our travels in Italy, we were able to explore the cities we were living in as well as the cities and towns we visited in this time. Italy is a tourist hotspot especially in the summer months; therefore, it could have been easy for us to fall into the more touristy attractions, areas, and restaurants. As part of our class assignments, we were assigned neighborhoods in each of the 4 cities that we stayed in. We were asked to explore these areas, observe, and speak to the locals, explore the food, the lesser-known sights, and overall attempt to experience what a local of the area might experience on a day-to-day basis. It was like this that we as students were encouraged to become locals of our own, through the observation of the lives of others in our neighborhoods. Each of my neighborhoods provided me with a different aura, as well as a different view of Italy and the people who live there, and their own unique cultures and traditions. My neighborhoods were as follows: The Jewish Ghetto of Rome, the Santa Croce area of Florence, the town of Manarola in Cinque Terre, and the neighborhood of Castello in Venice. Each of these areas was extraordinarily unique in its food, culture, size, and people, providing me with a wide array of experiences and views as to how Italian locals may live.

The Jewish Ghetto

Photos by Juliana Gorina cc by 4.0

Of all the neighborhoods in Rome that we crossed in our tours around the city, the Jewish Ghetto neighborhood was more than likely the smallest, and what I observed to be the most unique, rich in its cultural and traditional practices. The Jewish Ghetto is the oldest Jewish neighborhood in Europe and as soon as you step foot in the heart of the neighborhood you can feel the culture and comradery surround you. In my first visit to the Jewish Ghetto, I was greeted with the sounds of families, friends, and acquaintances sharing dinner, drinks, and conversation Exhausted from the long day of class I had just had, the shift in energy once I looked around was something I will never forget. I was looking for a light snack when I arrived, when Professor Bailly suggested I try traditional Jewish pastries from the bakery at the end of the street. This bakery, which did not even have a name, seemed to be a popular spot for locals who were in line buying bulk quantities of bread, pastries, cookies, and cakes. The pastries I tried were not too sweet, fluffy, and delicious. As I sat on a bench to eat our snacks and observe, I took note of the sense of community in this neighborhood. A kind elderly woman sitting next to me waved hello at multiple people passing by others were having stopping to have short conversations on the street. There were street performers playing music as passerby’s and patrons of the restaurant stopped to watch. It was a beautiful sight, with a neighborhood that seemed to be tight knit. On a second visit to the area, we visited on a Saturday evening. Attempting to get falafels, we soon realized many of the restaurants were closed. We were informed by a local that Saturday evenings are reserved for the Shabbat, which is the day of rest in Judaism. We then decided to eat at a one of the few restaurants that were open, and try the different styles of artichoke, including the traditional Jewish style. Overall, the Jewish Ghetto was the neighborhood that displayed the greatest sense of community, with a beautiful energy surrounding the locals and tourists alike.

Santa Croce

Photos by Juliana Gorina cc by 4.0

The most distinguishing aspect of the Santa Croce area of Florence is obviously the Church of Santa Croce, a beautiful white church with a statue of Dante standing in the front. Directly in front of this grand church was a large piazza, with locals selling knick knacks and souvenirs. The church of Santa Croce had lines of tourists outside, waiting to go inside and explore its art and beauty. The piazza was full of locals and tourists alike, surrounded by cafes and small restaurants waiting to welcome hungry tourists. During the day the piazza was full of life, with many people lounging. During a visit at night the plaza was not as busy, but not empty, with younger people lounging and walking through the area after a night out. The piazza was a perfect spot to stop and rest, at any point in the day, and the presence of locals and tourists brought a certain buzz to the air, with plenty of noise and movement. For me, the standout feature of this neighborhood was the Scuola del Cuoio, or the famous school of leather of Florence. Here we saw a much quieter side to Santa Croce compared to the areas surrounding the church and piazza. The school of leather was tucked away in a quiet street of Santa Croce, where you walk through the entrance of the school just to find yourself outside of the palace looking building. There you walk through to see the leather workshops and hands on classrooms. In the show rooms new bags, jackets and leather products are displayed, as well as older historic ones that are museum archives. Here we see a mix of tourism and historic Florentine artisanship, with leather workers diligently working on their projects as tourists stroll about the show rooms shopping. The Santa Croce area provided a more modern and youthful hub, where tourists, students, and locals could meet, shop, and explore an area outside the main attractions of Florence.


Photos by Juliana Gorina cc by 4.0

Manarola of Cinque Terre was an exhilarating experience. When entering the town from the mountains, it was quiet, with elderly locals sitting near churches and other building conversing or having a coffee. As you walk downhill towards the water Manarola becomes busier yet more touristy. For the most part, Cinque Terre was not overwhelmingly touristy with Americanized foods and products. What I saw here was more along the lines of small boutiques, lining the streets with summer dresses and bikinis. Once all the way downhill, you are met with the deep blue water and rocky shoreline that is Manarola. Here crowds of locals and tourists lay on the hot rocks, tanning in the sun, or swimming in the blue Mediterranean waters. Cliff jumping was a huge attraction here. As I swam in the cold water of Manarola, I watched a group of middle school aged boys joke around and do jumps and flips off a lower point on the rocks into the water. Higher up the rock, young adults dared to take the large jump into the deep water. Those participating in this cliff jumping seemed to be mostly foreigners, looking for a sense of adventure in this semi- sleepy town. The view of the water and beach area from the stairs above gave a picturesque look for Manarola, young and tan people swimming, jumping, lounging and conversing, even in the evening as the sun began lowering itself into the water. The town of Manarola itself was well kept, with residential homes higher up in the cliffs and mountains, locals hanging out of their windows putting clothes on drying racks, with a view of the mountains, ocean, and swarm of people below. Manarola had many small streets and alleyways that cut through the mountains, leading to small cafes and restaurants offering refreshments with a view of the ocean and mountains on their balconies. Manarola was clearly a tourist hit, especially for young people, but there was a strong local presence. The presence of foreigners was unable to overwhelm this small town because of its preserved architecture and the presence of family homes all throughout the mountainous town. Manarola provided excitement, sun, and cool ocean water to those searching for relaxation after a hike through the mountains.


Photo by Juliana Gorina cc by 4.0

In my stay in Venice I visited the Castello neighborhood, which is the largest neighborhood of the island, a few blocks away from the Rialto bridge. The neighborhood expands from just beyond the bridge all the way to the western edge of the island. The neighborhood is largely residential, homing Venetian families that go back decades. The neighborhood is also home to the stadium of Venice’s professional soccer team. After speaking with locals, I learned that the community is very tight knit, with families living within a few houses of each other. There is always activity in the neighborhood due to the schools in the area and peak activity is seen when there are soccer games at the stadium. One evening I took a gondola ride, where my gondolier informed me that he lives in Castello, his family going back generations all from the Castello area. He informed that his family is a historic family of Venice, being one of the renown families that build the gondolas; him being the first in his family to become a gondolier. At night I experienced the local night life with some of the young locals, where restaurants during the day are converted to bars at night where many young people come out to see their friends and lovers and share drinks.

Juliana Gorina: Italia America 2022

Imperialistic Ventures on the Italian Peninsula and how they have Influenced American Imperialistic Practices

By Juliana Gorina of FIU


Many of the most infamous names in the exploration of new trade routes and exploration of newly discovered lands, are of Italian descent. Though many of these Italian explorers and conquistadors like Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus are heavily studied on their impacts on trade routes and western colonization, the idea of Italian imperialism came long before them. Prior to the Silk Road and Columbian era imperialistic explorations by Italian explorers, the Romans were involved in one of the world’s largest imperialistic conquests, conquering the majority of western Europe as well as parts of western Asia and North Africa (Lee).

Post Columbian era, America, England, and France were the main participants in imperialistic adventures, but the influence of these missions, was impacted greatly by the imperialistic views of Romans and other Italian explorers. The idea of manifest destiny in America mirrors that of the Roman empire’s practice of extending their rule as far as possible. The “discovery” of America was taught in grade school as being the result of Christopher Columbus’s voyages. The name America was bestowed upon the Western Hemisphere’s continents because of Amerigo Vespucci’s exploration, map making, and concept that the newly discovered lands were of a different continent, America being the latinized version of Amerigo (Cohen). The expansion of “empires” and spheres of influence is not purely a Columbian era idea, and Italy, in all its rules and stages, has found itself influencing imperialistic attitudes and producing some of the most infamous players in navigation, exploration, and conquest.

Roman Imperialism

            The Roman Empire, which at its largest expanded from all of Italy, parts of northern Africa, modern day Greece, modern day Spain, modern day France, and portions of the middle east/ western Asia (Lee). What we know as the Roman Empire came after the Republic of Rome, largely as a result of the conquests of Julius Caesar (Milwaukee Public Museum), and just as the ideas that spawned during Rome’s republic area influenced American government practices and structures, the Imperial era of Rome influenced American attitudes on the need for spreading its influence and prosperity with lands and people seen as less prosperous.

Map of the Roman Empire. This image is public domain.

Avienus’s Descriptio orbis terrae is an example, in writing, of the imperialistic beliefs propagated by the Roman Empire. Avienus, a Roman poet and consul, wrote this “geographic” poem that describes Rome’s relationship with its surrounding environment, using these natural relationships as a justification for Rome’s imperial rule (Bélanger, p. 193). The poem Descriptio orbis terrae, details Roman geography and landscapes with underlying cultural biases, describing Roman lands as prosperous and life giving, with more critical descriptions of lands like India and Egypt, who were cultural rivals of Rome, and of Germania and Libya as rebellious territories in need of Roman guidance (Bélanger, p. 193).

            A key factor of Avienus’s Descriptio orbis terrae is his description of Rome’s natural prosperity because of the geographical and natural aspects of the land, but also how Roman influence on this land enhanced its prosperity. Avienus describes the land as succumbing to the will of humans, and in doing so gaining the greatest yield from the fertile land. On the flip side, Avienus describes the lands in Gaul as being infertile and inhospitable, even going as far as saying the Gauls “pass their lives in inhospitable lands” (Bélanger, p. 203). The difference in description of the natural aspects and yields of Roman land versus lands in Gaul was one of the political undertones of the poem. The contrast in the descriptions of the land, one as fertile and

the other as inhospitable, as well as the described contrasts in attitudes, one accepting the impotence of the land while the other demanding fruitfulness from it, was a literary tool used for the justification of imperial conquests of lands like Gaul. With this line of thought, Roman influence and agricultural superiority may spill over in Gaul with Roman presence. This justification could be used to garner support for past invasions and wars in Gaul as well as create support for future Roman endeavors in the territory. As this relates to influence on American imperialistic practices, the practice of manifest destiny followed a similar line of thought. Manifest Destiny was the belief that Americans had the right and duty to spread their influence and prosperity from ocean to ocean on the continent of North America. With this, settlers moved out west, claiming lands, starting gold mining operations, establishing farms, etc. under the guise that they were improving the western land. The mindset during the era of westward expansion was to inhabit and develop the “uninhabited” and “undeveloped” lands that fell west of the of the Mississippi river. The Roman and American mindsets on expansion mirrored one another. They viewed the other as not utilizing the available land to its fullest potential and had a sense of disregard for the other inhabitants of the desired land. Violence was often the tool used to clear and claim these western lands from Indigenous people who were inhabiting them. In a paper that described the similarities between the persecution and displacement of Irish Catholics and Native Americans, the use of “outright violence and displacement” were common practice, and the destruction of lifestyle, language, and culture with the goal of eliminating “savagery” (Donnan, p.6). Though not full out wars like Roman conquests of lands surrounding the Italian peninsula, violence, and the erasure of the other’s culture and replacing it with that of the conqueror are two aspects that Roman and American conquests share. Though the importance of Rome as a civilization cannot be understated, a sense of self- importance for Roman civilization is noted in Avienus’s writing, as the need for Roman rule is used as a qualifier for the success and prosperity of conquered lands.

            Roman conquests under Caesar were met with much controversy especially in the Senate. Rome was still a Republic at the time of Caesar’s conquests, and some of the consuls’ displeasures are historically depicted in series like HBO’s Rome and in literary works like Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Though met with controversy, Caesar and Cicero used security issues their provinces and allies faced to justify conflicts in Gaul.

Roman consuls in the senate. This image is public domain.

Assessing and intervening in unstable areas, both in and out of Rome’s immediate spheres of influence were justified as ethical by claiming they were attempting to bring stability and aid in these areas (Cornwell, p. 479). This sounds eerily similar to cold war tactics practiced by the United States and Russia. During the cold war, both global superpowers attempted to promote stability in regions with conflict by establishing a presence there. For example, in the Korean proxy wars, conflicts arose between communist North Korea and democratic South Korea. The U.S., allied with South Korea, and the Soviet Union allied with North Korea, established a presence in these regions by sending “aid”, military supplies, and troops to the area under the guise of promoting stability. These allied areas were even referred to as spheres of influence from their dominating ally.

The Red Iceberg, U.S. Cold War propaganda poster. This image is public domain.

We see similar American imperialistic practices in the cold war setting, because just like the Romans in Gaul, Americans asserted their influence in areas like Korea to protect their democratic, political, and economic interests, but used the guise of aid and stabilization to justify and gain support for the cause. Rhetoric by Rome’s public officials was vital tool used to give grounds for imperialistic wars and conflicts in distant lands. Lexicon that alluded to the freedom and autonomy enjoyed by romans was juxtaposed with the wrong doings of other governances, noting slavery, greed, and the need for materialism as shortcomings of these other rulers.  The juxtaposition in these writings painted Rome as having higher morality and stronger ethics that promote freedom and fairness, and therefore justified conflicts in other lands to promote these ideals and remove the oppressions set by the other. In contrast, writings from Cicero and Tacitus illustrate the disconnect between the rhetoric and the actual actions of rulers in Rome. Both governors wrote of the unjust practices set in conquered lands, giving the conquered peoples a “veneer of independence” (Cornwell, pp. 479, 480). Again, American imperialistic practices follow. On the mainland, American interactions with Native Americans via treaties, land partitioning, and autonomy of indigenous nations follow that of Rome’s “veneer of independence (Cornwell), as many of the treaties contained loopholes or were not honored, the lands designated as reserves were of poor agricultural and cultural quality, and managements practices often do not consider or override the recommendations made by indigenous nations. A personal example of the third is the learning of water management practices on Miccosukee reservations. In a lecture I attended led environmental scientists working for the Miccosukee tribe, the South Florida Water Management District’s water use practices and their effects on Miccosukee land were described. Two SFWMD storm water gates that lie on Miccosukee land remain closed; despite the negative effects this is having on Miccosukee land. Despite the recommendations by the Miccosukee nation and scientists involved with the tribe, SFWMD overrides these requests and continues current water practices, even with the storm water gates falling under Miccosukee land and jurisdiction. Governance in American territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam also follow a Roman empirical structure, giving these lands some benefits such as citizenship, while stripping them of others, such as the ability to vote. In America, actions such as these mirror Rome’s, where the portrayed sentiment is allowing conquered lands a sense of autonomy, when in practice the guise of freedom does not hold true.

Infamous Italian Explorers

The Roman Empire’s sheer expanse, longevity, and success has created a reputation that precedes itself. Even with this, there is an argument to be made about what has made a greater impact on America, and even the world. Not only did the continent of Italy produce one of the largest empires to ever exist, but it also produced some of the most infamous names in navigation and exploration. Amerigo Vespucci, Marco Polo, and Christopher Columbus are all names that ring a bell to most Americans who have passed through the school system.

Christopher Columbus

Despite what we may have learned in grade school, that Columbus “sailed the ocean blue in 1492” and discovered America, his four voyages under Spain’s monarchs brought him to what is deemed as the “West Indies”, in other words the islands of the Caribbean. His voyages though, set a precedent for future voyages, and the establishment of colonies in this area laid way for the era that was to come, the Columbian Exchange, where imperialism dominated both hemispheres, and goods, peoples, and ideas were exchanged from continent to continent. Though Columbus’s presence was not directly in the lands that would become the continental United States, his voyages laid way for the colonization that was to come and influenced America’s future imperialistic ventures.

Christopher Columbus’s early life is very obscure, with his birth year being estimated between 1435 and 1436, his lineage being unconfirmed, and his place of birth not known for a fact. What is known is that Christopher Columbus was a native of the city of Genoa, born to poor parents, his father working as a wool comber. His education was brief given the socioeconomic standing of his parents, and it is said he left the University of Pavia at a very young age to work in the same craft of his father. Living in a seafaring town like Genoa, and being described as having an adventurous spirit, he was drawn to navigation and naval exploration. Columbus’s son Fernando has described his father’s seafaring activities and navigation experience as starting from a very young age. It is said that the difficult experience of his youth is what created the resolution and aspiration that lead to his ideas of navigation going west and his resolve to get a voyage funded. After gaining some naval and captaining experience in Genoa, he took his efforts to Portugal and then Spain in hopes of a voyage being funded (Irving, pp. 10-13).

Though not a direct impact on the land that would become the United States, the success of Columbus’s voyages and the establishment of colonies in the West Indies segwayed into an era of colonization of the Western hemisphere. Columbus’s interactions with native peoples on the lands he colonized set a precedent for new arrivals, and this treatment of indigenous peoples carried over into American norms. The linkage of the Americas in the Columbian exchange laid a groundwork for trade, which carried over to the American colonies once the value of the newly settled lands was discovered. Trade establishments carried into future American imperialistic ventures, as movements of raw goods and luxury items became a modem for economic gain in America. Colonizing other lands with valuable market items led to many American imperialistic ventures in South and Central America, as well as in pacific islands.

Marco Polo

            Prior to Columbian era expeditions west, Italy produced another explorer that impacted the world of imperialism and trade. Marco Polo of Venice was an explorer and ambassador, who traveled east along the Silk Road to China. Throughout his travels, he documented new lands, people, and goods that he came across. Marco Polo also acted as an ambassador for Venice with the Mongols, and established diplomatic relations with these rulers, relations that often were built on the basis of trade. Polo is also said to have been able to communicate in languages such as Mongolian, Chinese, and Persian, and served as an auditor for Mongol leaders (Wolfe).

            Though Marco Polo’s presence did not even remotely reach the Western Hemisphere, his role in diplomatic relations for the Italian peninsula and their involvement in trade and imperialism cannot be understated. His exploration of lands East of Italy brought in new goods and ideas to the Italian peninsula. His diplomatic relations inspired the use of diplomacy in other newly discovered lands. Marco Polo was far from being the first ever diplomat, but his documentation of his presence and role in foreign nations laid groundwork for interactions among different nations, as it relates to prosperity and trade. In America, diplomacy and allyship with foreign nations is often what creates the strong base necessary to build trade relations with these nations. Marco Polo’s actions even before the formation of the United States, has globally affected how trade and diplomacy between nations is practiced.

Amerigo Vespucci

            Amerigo Vespucci, born in Florence on March 9th, 1451, comes from a long lineage of aristocrats involved in Florentine politics. Though his family was relatively poor, they were well connected traders. Amerigo himself was acquainted with Medici family members such as Lorenzo and Cosimo. Amerigo Vespucci was extremely well educated, Vespucci was also involved with western exploration in Spain, and was well acquainted with Christopher Columbus, and was even involved in the outfitting of ships used on Columbus’s voyages. Vespucci, during the years that Columbus was alive, was often overlooked for the latter, who had much glory with the success of his voyages. Vespucci has claimed, which is documented inwriting, that he also made voyages to the New World, with other explorers and navigators. Many of Vespucci’s critics at the time disputed this, claiming lack of documentation, even though some documentation shows that this was plausible. Vespucci also wrote extensively about his travels but failed to write much about himself or commanders on his voyage, which remove credibility from his claims (Ober).

Portrait of Amerigo Vespucci with a map. This image is public domain.

            There is controversy surrounding the naming of America after Vespucci, as many claimed he wrongfully stole the glory from Columbus. In Vespucci’s voyages to the New World, he explored unknown regions and even devised a system to calculate latitude and longitude of these regions. The later naming of the American continents after Vespucci was a blunder from scholars drawing the new world map (Cohen). Though Vespucci may not have been the first to reach the new world, his accomplishments in the documentation and mapping of newly explored regions build rapport for the namesake. Vespucci’s ties with the Medici, Spain, as well as his work in navigation, ship furnishing, and documentation of new lands make his name one of the most famous to emerge from Italy.

How Florence fits in

During the 16th century explorations of the new world, Spain became a global superpower. At this time, rulers of Spain began imposing their will upon autonomous regions like Florence. Hasburg, the ruling family in France had also been involved in some conflicts involving Florence. To combat this, the Medici family arranged for the marriage of Cosimo Medici with Eleonora de Toledo of the Spanish monarchy, with the wedding taking place in Florence. The wedding created a middle ground in Florence for the dealings with Spain and Hasburg, and the marriage secured Florence in an allyship with the Spanish monarchy. The marriage of the Medici and Toledo families also gave way for Florentine involvement in Spanish imperialist missions in the New World. Again, Florence stood as a middle ground for European imperialist powers to share ideas, trade goods, and information on current and potential voyages (Baker). Securing Florence as a neutral state, and the marriage of ruling families with money and military presence, allowed for the Medici family to continue exerting their rule on other parts of the Italian peninsula. Though not as large scale as Roman imperialistic ventures, or even imperialistic ventures of the time, the Medici family’s influence in Florence and other areas of Italy serve as imperialistic ventures. Where the differences lie in relation to American imperialism, is that American imperialism did not involve ruling families and marriage to monarchs. American imperialism was strongly based in governmental interests involving the economy and use of the land. American imperialism was also autonomous. The American government acted on many of these imperialist missions, though often lobbied or partnered with large corporations, American presences were established in foreign lands, whereas in Italy, imperialism was not autonomous to Italy. Roman imperialism requires the capture and establishment of provinces throughout the rest of the Italian peninsula. Florentine imperialism was focused more so in other regions of Italy, or in partnership with foreign nations, but city- states like Florence acted alone as there was still not Italian autonomy at the time.


            From the Italian peninsula have come many influences on the western world. Government, art, food, architecture, and of course imperialistic practices have all made their way into American culture and practice. Though not as glaring as government and architectural impacts, the presence of Italian explorers in the Western Hemisphere gave way for development of colonies in the Americas, which in turn led to the establishment of the United States. Discoveries and trades made by these Italian explorers would dictate the way exploration, colonization, and trade would be carried out int eh western world for decades to come. Roman imperialistic practices seem far removed from American culture, but many of the writings documenting Roman empire imperialism show striking similarities to American propaganda and conduct as the nation expanded west on its own continent, as well as establishing presences in territories like Puerto Rico, or involvement in conflicts like the Korean war. The methods used by Romans to expand, rule, and influence new lands has heavily carried over into America’s instrumentation of imperialism and influence over less developed nations. Italy’s impact on American ideas of exploration and expansion cannot be understated.


  Baker, Nicholas Scott. “Creating a Shared Past: The Representation of Medici–Habsburg Relations in the Wedding Celebrations for Eleonora de Toledo and Cosimo I de’ Medici.” Renaissance Studies, vol. 33, no. 3, Wiley Subscription Services, Inc, 2019, pp. 397–416, https://doi.org/10.1111/rest.12521.

  Bélanger, Caroline. “Echoes of Empire: Roman Imperialism in Avienus’s Descriptio Orbis Terrae.” Journal of Late Antiquity, vol. 13, no. 2, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020, pp. 193–219, https://doi.org/10.1353/jla.2020.0017.

Cohen, Jonathan. “The Naming of America: Fragments We’ve Shored Against Ourselves.” The Naming of America, https://www.jonathancohenweb.com/america.html.

  Cornwell, Hannah. “Roman Attitudes to Empire and Imperialism: The View from History.” Journal of Roman Archaeology, vol. 32, 2019, pp. 478–84, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1047759419000242.

  Donnan, Conor J. “Kindred Spirits and Sacred Bonds: Irish Catholics, Native Americans, and the Battle Against Anglo-Protestant Imperialism, 1840–1930.” U.S. Catholic Historian, vol. 38, no. 3, The Catholic University of America Press, 2020, pp. 1–23, https://doi.org/10.1353/cht.2020.0017.

  Irving, Washington, and Christopher. Columbus. A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. 1st [American] ed., G. & C. Carvill, 1828.

Lee, Timothy B. “40 Maps That Explain the Roman Empire.” Vox, Vox, 19 June 2018, https://www.vox.com/world/2018/6/19/17469176/roman-empire-maps-history-explained.

  Ober, Frederick A. (Frederick Albion). Amerigo Vespucci. Project Gutenberg, 2006.

“The Roman Empire: A Brief History.” Milwaukee Public Museum, https://www.mpm.edu/research-collections/anthropology/anthropology-collections-research/mediterranean-oil-lamps/roman-empire-brief-history#:~:text=The%20history%20of%20the%20Roman,31%20BC%20%E2%80%93%2n.d.%20476).

  Wolfe, Alexander C. “Marco Polo: Factotum, Auditor. Language and Political Culture in the Mongol World Empire.” Literature Compass, vol. 11, no. 7, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2014, pp. 409–22, https://doi.org/10.1111/lic3.12152.

Juliana Gorina: Italia as Text 2022

Juliana Gorina is a senior at Florida International University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on Natural Resources Sciences. She has always had a strong passion and interest in the environment and with this degree she hopes to create positive change for the environment, especially in South Florida where she has spent her whole life. She plans on going to law school and specializing in environmental law to make these changes through legal practice. She hopes that her Italy Grand Tour experience will help her gain global perspective and better understand the foundations of American law and policy.

Rome as Text

“Modern Ruins”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU in Rome, Italy

A collection of photos of Roman, Christian, and Egyptian structures throughout Rome. Photos by Juliana Gorina/ cc by 4.0

Rome, Italy is a city like no other. In the epicenter of Europe and western culture, the city is a mix of Roman ruins, medieval, renaissance, baroque, and modern buildings. Walking through the streets feels like walking through the set of a movie, with ruins casually being pointed out on an obscure street corner. The elegant, decadent catholic churches, covered in marble and gold juxtapose the crumbling Roman ruins that are mostly brick, cracked marble stone, and overrun with wildflowers and grasses.

Egyptian obelisks tower in piazzas around Rome, signifying the Romans imperialistic victories over other great civilizations. The Catholic churches take a similar approach, using ancient roman columns as grandiose decorations inside the churches, symbolic of Christianity’s victory over pagan rule. When you take note of these features, it is almost as if history is flashing right before your eyes. Rome is a giant juxtaposition of itself; ruins are meticulously cleaned, preserved, sectioned off, while modern buildings are riddled with graffiti, sidewalks littered with trash, an overall unkept look.

Modern day Italy also stands over its ancient buildings, as the ruins fall a few feet below Rome’s current soil levels. This contrast in height creates a beautiful imagery of what was and what is, a great city that has persevered, building on top of itself, with its notoriety remaining. This seems to be a recurring theme with Rome, with one group building on top of the other, in a struggle for power. Now what remains is a cultural epicenter, with ruins in restoration, and the modern in decay.

Pompeii as Text

“One man’s tragedy is history’s greatest gift”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU in Pompeii, Italy

A series of photos from Pompeii. Photos by Juliana Gorina/ cc by 4.0

Walking through Pompeii thrust us into ancient times. A city that was covered in ash preserved almost perfectly except for the wooden roofs and structures. This was the first real taste of ancient Rome since arriving in Italy. As we walked through the streets of the main city center of Pompeii, I could for the first time picture what ancient life would be like. The unique aspect of Pompeii is its frozenness in time. Even some of the citizens of Pompeii died with their city, frozen in agony.

Pompeii’s infrastructure was something that stood out the most to me. The elevated stone crosswalks with the pre-measured spaces between stones, and the grooves in the Roman roads for better vehicular travel are innovations that were a marvel to see in person. When we walk across a random crosswalk, we would not think that it was an ancient invention. We see in Pompeii that although they were not modern people, they employed many of the same pleasures and utilities as we do today. When you walk through the ruins, if you are not paying close attention, you may miss these small details. Holes in the sidewalk to tie up traveling animals, like street parking today; bars where hot food and wine are served and travelers can rest and converse, like any modern bar or tavern today. Pompeii is a place where as a modern human, we can step into the ancient world, see it for what is was, and even see how we now live as they did.

We try to remove ourselves from ancient people, with the rationalizations that we are no more technologically advanced, more intelligent, have greater perspective. Pompeii has taught me that we might not be as vastly different to ancient people as we think. Many of the comforts we do not think twice about, crosswalks, the orientation of our roads, how we describe the time of day, are all ancient inventions that we rely on heavily. Pompeii is a historical marvel, it allows us to step back in time, step in the shoes of ancient people, and bridges the gap between us and them.

Tivoli as Text

“A Step Away from Ancient Civilization”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU at Tivoli, Italy

The natural beauty of Tivoli. Photos by Juliana Gorina/ cc by 4.0

Much of the sight-seeing in Italy up until this point had been great feats of humankind. We had explored architectural wonders of the world, establishments of politics, religion, and war. At these historic sights and ruins, the only nature present were grasses and wildflowers that reclaimed the abandoned sights. Though made by humans, the structures are not natural to the eye. Tivoli was a step away from all the grandiose development and architecture. Here for the first time in our trip, we see the inclusion of nature in architecture, with a greater focus on greenery and natural aesthetics versus displays of sheer size and wealth.

Hadrian’s villa is the first emperor’s villa to be established outside of the city. Because of its removal from the cramped city area, the villa allowed for large expanses of greenery, ponds, moats, and scenic views of the surrounding mountains. Villa d’Este takes this scenery to a new level. Large fountains all throughout the villa feature greenery, creating a very clean, natural aesthetic when paired with the white stone home. In Villa d’Este, we see displays of wealth through landscaping and structures accentuating natural beauty instead of structures that focus on artistic design, art, gold, and marble.

Most impactful though, was the Valley of Hell and Neptune’s grotto. It was during this hike that we got the first taste of Italy’s natural beauty in its purest form. Villa Gregoriana is a perfect preservation of Italy’s greatness outside of human development. Though it is a villa, the hike of this area took us through a pristine landscape, with a large, roaring waterfall, a large expanse of greenery, and tunnels cutting through the mountains that gave us a glimpse of the opening to hell. Neptune’s grotto is a natural wonder that ties in with Roman beliefs of the underworld as they relate to nature. This trek through the mountains was a sudden change of pace compared to Rome and even the villas of Tivoli. Villa Gregoriana allowed us to see a different side of the Romans, one that is often shadowed by their great architectural feats. The only indication of Roman presence is the tunnels and walkways cut through the mountains, and the myths attached to the nature. With this seemingly untouched piece of natural beauty, comes the humanization of the Romans, a removal from their seemingly impossible societal accomplishments for their time. At Neptune’s grotto we take a step away from ancient civilization and reconnect with the natural roots of Italy.

Florence as Text

“Tyranny or Class”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU at Florence, Italy

Renaissance and Gothic art in Florence. Photos by Juliana Gorina cc by 4.0

The change of pace from Florence to Rome was a large one. From the hustle, bustle, and chaos of Rome, Florence shifted towards a classier, laid-back pace, the streets walkable and much cleaner. The artwork found in this city followed suit, with the city hosting the likes of Duccio, Botticelli, and a masterpiece by Michael Angelo. Whereas much of Rome’s key features were larger than life architectural feats often linked to conquer, Florence displayed two larger than life products of the Renaissance that encapsulated the class and will power of the city. None of these possible without the rule of the Medici family.

Brunelleschi’s loss to Ghiberti on the baptistry doors marked the beginning of the Florentine renaissance. Though this loss was a blow to his ego, Brunelleschi contributed to a much larger Florentine feat. The commission and creation of Brunelleschi’s duomo marked a great victory for Florence as a city. This was the largest dome created since the Pantheon, which was completed around 1,200 years earlier. The architectural victory that was the duomo pointed towards the innovation running rampant through Florence during the time of the renaissance. Present day, the duomo is still one of the most visible architectural structures all throughout the city, easily being pointed out. It was a sign of strength and wealth for the city, and the duomo is one of the great contributions to the arts by the Medici family.

The other larger than life artwork in Florence is less obvious than the duomo. On an unassuming street in an unassuming building, stands what is arguably Michael Angelo’s greatest sculpting work. The David stands about 17 feet high, a muscular male body, nude, and an expression of concern and bravery. Michael Angelo’s commission for the David marked the high renaissance in Florence, but more importantly it embodied the growing influence and strength of Florence as a city. The statue was made to face the rival of Florence, Rome, with the message being that though Florence was younger and smaller, they were mighty, powerful, and brave. The David solidified Florence’s place as a major power in Italy. In relation to the renaissance, the sculpture captures a very human moment and expression. The face of the David is something to behold, no photos doing it enough justice. Michael Angelo was able to capture the fear and determination of man, of a city, in a slab of marvel. This is starkly different from some of the gothic art seen across Florence, with flat facial expressions and depth in the body. The David illustrates in hyper detail, the human form, with depth in the body, legs, and especially the hands. The face contains physical depth, as well as emotional depth. The statue, was originally commissioned to be displayed at a cathedral, was displayed outside the civic center. Historical accuracy did not matter on this statue. The focus was clearly on beauty in physical form, and the message the statue and its emotion sent to the rest of Italy.

Like the David, many other renaissance works were loaded with sexual beauty and innuendo. Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is a beautiful example of this. Her nude body painted without an air of shame in her expression or body language. Renaissance art explored a new side to human sexuality. Nude women’s bodies were painted with sexual innuendo and without shame, a large difference from that of gothic paintings. The human form was explored during the renaissance, bringing the people and art back down to earth and to the physicality of their lives. As for the Medici, their involvements in the commissions and collecting of great gothic and renaissance works cannot be understated. Though future Medici generations turned towards hoarding wealth and art, and ruling with tyranny, Medici’s like Cosimo the Father and Lorenzo contributed largely to the creation of many renaissance masterpieces, and their well-kept collection of personal arts allows for us to see these shifts in art and humanism throughout the Florentine renaissance.

Pisa as Text

“Make Art Not War”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU at Pisa, Italy

Pisan Romanesque and fresco paintings in the Field of Miracles. Photos by Juliana Gorina cc by 4.0

The Field of Miracles in Pisa, Italy completely stood out from the rest of the city, and even from Italy in general. Throughout our Grand Tour, we have been asked to look at ruins and picture them completely laid in bright, shiny, white marble. The structures in the Field of Dreams are what I have pictured thus far. Yet these buildings and their history are much different, as they have been impacted by more recent historical events.

The Field of Miracles was the sight of a large battle during World War 2, mainly the United States troops fighting against German troops. Much of Europe had been decimated because of the war, but thanks to an American soldier, the Field of Miracles was able to be decently preserved. Removing bombing and battle from this area allowed for the structures like the leaning tower of Pisa, the baptistry, and the Camposanto. Removing battle from the area preserved the unique art and architecture of Pisa.

Pisa is known for its architectural style of Pisan Romanesque, which takes influence from Roman architecture with the inclusion of some gothic elements. Furthermore, the Camposanto is home to some of the greatest gothic and renaissance fresco artwork in Italy. Though structurally the architecture in the Field of miracles for the most part was left unscathed, hot lead from an explosion from a misfired American bomb damaged some of the fresco paintings. Dean Keller of the World War 2 monument men began restoration of these works mid-battle.

Though World War 2 brought much destruction to Europe, including Italy, the creation of organizations like the monument men allowed for great restoration and preservation of historic monuments throughout Europe. Compared to the rest of the city of Pisa, which was greatly impacted by this battle, the Field of Miracles area seems almost untouched, froze in time. The war taking place on Italian turf caused great damage to the homes and livelihoods of many, but it also contributed to the preservation of great artworks and monuments. Though the circumstances were extremely poor, the war pushed for cooperation between opposing sides to preserve something that all could enjoy, art. And though human lives were lost, not preserved by the violent war that waged on, humanism in art was preserved through projects such as the monument men. Art speaks to all, and agreements to preserve monuments has allowed future generations to understand and relate to past peoples. The rest of Pisa destroyed and rebuilt in the modern eye, the Field of Miracles survived this demolition and allows for us to see the artistry of gothic era Italy.

Cinque Terre as Text

“A Step Away”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU in Cinque Terre, Italy

Views from the mountains above Cinque Terre. Photos by Juliana Gorina cc by 4.0

Emerging from the train station in Monterosso, Cinque Terre was like stepping into a dream. Your eye does not know whether to turn to the brightly colored houses or to the Mediterranean Sea. In comparison to all the other cities we had visited, Cinque Terre lacked the grandiose, there were no large architectural feats, statues, cathedrals, etc. The simplicity of Cinque Terre added to its beauty.

Professor Bailly informed us that the locals of the five towns were all under the consensus that they must keep the town in its historic state, with the community collectively agreeing not to sell properties for the development of condos, hotels, and other tourist sights. Though Cinque Terre is a popular tourist site, and our time spent there was spent among other foreign visitors, the intactness of the towns did not let the tourism overwhelm and overrun its historic beauty. Despite the presence of visitors, one was still able to feel the authenticity of Cinque Terre and experience the culture of its locals.

Cinque Terre also offered us a step away from civilization and thrust us into a more rural and natural aspect. In the hikes in the mountains between towns, we got a taste of nature and rural living. On the hike we were able to see wine vineyards, a staple of Cinque Terre, isolated homes away from the towns, and some sections of the mountains were steep and isolated with only vegetation and the sound of birds present. Up on the mountains you can see the towns near the water below. These views allowed me to remove myself, and as was tradition on Grand Tour journeys of the 18th century (Grand tour), it allowed for self- reflection of the Roman, gothic, and renaissance works and culture we had just experienced.

What I was able to reflect on personally was my good fortune to be able to participate in a journey like this one. The Grand Tours of the 18th century were usually reserved for wealthy, white men (Grand tour). I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to experience something that was originally not intended for someone like me. Up until May 6th, 2022, when I first arrived in Rome, I had never set foot on the European continent. From that point until the mountainous hike through the towns of Cinque Terre, our schedule had been a never-ending flow of late nights to early mornings, experiencing some of the world’s greatest pieces of art, sculpture, and architecture in those long hours. This hike put me at a dead- halt, and the gravity of all I had experienced was able to hit me with full force. In the span of about three and a half weeks I had experienced more than anyone in my family had in their entire life. Coming from a family of immigrants, this realization filled me with a bittersweet sense of pride in the accomplishments of myself and my family, pride in allowing me to travel across the world for a month, sadness in my family not experiencing the lushness of Italy, yet. I was also able to reflect on the great experiences and friendships formed so quickly on the trip. Colombia, my first home away from home is now joined by Italy, a second home away from home. An incredible country that provided me with culture, education, and a sense of belonging.


“Grand Tour.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/topic/Grand-Tour.

Venice as Text


By Juliana Gorina of FIU in Venice, Italy

Views from along the canals. Photos by Juliana Gorina cc by 4.0

Venice is a world renown city because of one unique aspect, it was built entirely on water. As someone from Miami, a city so close to the ocean, swamp, etc., I thought I would be prepared for the conditions I would find myself in. Upon arrival I realized I was entirely wrong. The train station from which we arrived was the last point I saw any traditional modes of city transportation. In Florence, outsider cars were not allowed in the city center, making the city largely pedestrian. Similarly in Venice no cars are allowed in the city, but neither were Vespas, scooters, or any motorized vehicles other than the Vaporettos. I have referred to many experiences on this trip as having felt like a dream, and Venice was no exception, except it was a dream in a much less picturesque way. When walking all the streets twisted and turned, one second on a crowded street, the next in a cramped alleyway. Walking through any of these alleyways you were often met with a cloud of mosquitoes waiting to take a bite. Buildings tilted and disappeared behind others, only to reemerge after a slight turn in the street. On foot, the city seemed like a maze. Riding on a vaporetto or gondola is when you could really catch a glimpse of the city’s unique beauty, a beauty found in its irregularities and nonconformity. And though the city was something like I had never seen before, it felt the most like home. We were informed on a lecture that Venice was the birthing place of capitalism, and this was mirrored in the storefronts lining the alleys, the large mall near the Rialto, the hundreds of jewelry stores, clothing stores, athletic stores, etc., even on the most obscure alley corners of the city. This was the one aspect that almost cured the extreme homesickness I was experiencing at this point. The lines of malls and stores reminded me of what is part of Miami’s culture, malls, luxury stores, boutiques lining the streets in so many different neighborhoods. And though Venice was by far the most tourist dense area of the trip, its beauty and uniqueness was not lost, with its beauty shining and reflecting on the canal waters.

Juliana Gorina: Miami as Text 2022

Juliana Gorina is a senior at Florida International University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on Natural Resources Sciences. She has always had a strong passion and interest in the environment and with this degree she hopes to create positive change for the environment, especially in South Florida where she has spent her whole life. She plans on going to law school and specializing in environmental law to make these changes through legal practice. She hopes that her Italy Grand Tour experience will help her gain global perspective and better understand the foundations of American law and policy.

Deering as Text

“Keepers of the Land”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU at Deering Estate

Ancient Tequesta tools found in the Deering Estate nature preserve.
Tequesta burial mound preserved within the Deering Estate.

Miami has always been a melting-pot city, where most residents having their ancestral roots from all over the world. Miami boasts architectural and cultural hot spots all throughout the city, with many neighborhoods like Little Haiti and Little Havana preserving the culture of their residents, and areas like Wynwood with a strong Latinx presence and influence. But behind all this beautiful culture, architecture, and art, are many injustices to the backbone members of these communities; Deering Estate is no exception. In our tour of the estate, we saw the culturally diverse architecture, especially of the stone house, with the house’s build being inspired by Spanish architecture, Islamic pointed arches carved into the house, Greek and Roman inspired columns supporting the veranda, Bahamian carving and craftsmanship decorating the columns vases and outer walls, and the limestone covering the outer walls adding a unique South Floridian feel to the home. The home is an architectural landmark in Miami, as is the dredged-out basin formerly used for his boats, as is the pristine nature preserve on the grounds. And yet none of these quintessential features would exist without the work and lives of the black and brown people in South Florida. In a time of intense racial segregation and discrimination, Bahamians and African Americans were the driving force behind this historic Miami home. Even before then, the indigenous people of what is now South Florida maintained the land and all its diverse ecosystems, and their survival off this land is what indicated to settlers moving south that the land was valuable and inhabitable. The story of the Tequesta mound in the nature preserve of the Deering Estate stood out to me the most on this tour. In comparison to the mound that was built over by the Whole Foods in Brickell, the preservation of this mound is a small victory in honoring the keepers of the land before Charles Deering. Like much of Miami, the minorities who contribute to the beauty and culture of many iconic areas of the city are not recognized. The artistry of Latinx people that formerly lived in Wynwood being gentrified, poverty and lack of infrastructure in Little Haiti and Havana. These cultural areas being celebrated but the people who built them not. The Deering Estate is guilty of this as well, as the historic residents and builders of the estate were left without representation and celebration. I feel as if it is important to publicly note the influences that minorities have had on the city of Miami. Everywhere we look there are hints of their influence on the city, but without loudly acknowledging their presence, their contribution to the beauty will continue to be overlooked.

Vizcaya as Text

“Art and Sin”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU at Deering Estate

            James Deering only wanted the illusion of being distinguished, having his artistic director Paul Chalfin collect art and design rooms that gave the illusion of esteem, when James Deering was more concerned with pleasure and partying. Throughout the property, artwork and architecture display the unruliness of James Deering, and when looking deeply the contrasts between esteem and personal pleasures.

The Barge at Vizcaya, with the mermaid partially seen at the very left of the barge.

One of the most notable blunders in the artwork of the house is the portrait of the Virgin Mary above the organ, which was cut in half for easier access to the organ pipes. This is a prime example of the juxtaposition found throughout the house, collectible art displaying purity and religion, with its placement for purely aesthetic reasons and it being cut in half for convenience. Across the room from this religious depiction is another painting, of Hercules fighting the Nemean lion. The large penis painted on the lion was another glaring indicator of the free-spiritedness in the design and art of the house. The lion depiction did not sooth rumors of James Deering being gay, especially with Paul Chalfin being openly gay himself. This also juxtaposes the room, with religious depictions on one side and what can be seen as homoerotic art on the other. I think it is important to note events that took place in this room as well, as Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan sat and discussed in this room. This also juxtaposes the artwork found in the room and is a further indication of how art throughout the house is more than meets the eye. Outside, the mermaid carved into the barge was said to have too large breasts, with Deering insisting that the artist return and make them smaller. This is another instance of the inconsistencies of what Deering thought was acceptable. The breasts of the mermaid were too controversial, but the lion penis in the living room was left without a second glance.

The Rococo “Marie Antoinette Salon” room in Vizcaya.

            When taking a closer look at the art and design elements of Vizcaya, one can see the illusion that James Deering is trying to put on in his home. The one consistent theme throughout the house is grandiose. Through Paul Chalfin, James Deering expressed his playboy attitude through artistic expression and design elements in each room.

Downtown as Text

“Miami as we know it”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU at Downtown Miami

As much of American history, the history of Miami is often written and taught through the lens of white settlers, omitting the struggles of the people of color who inhabited the land prior to development and those who built much of the city. Flagler is a household name in Miami, as his construction of the railroad down to Miami is credited with the initial boom of growth for the city. Henry Flagler though having a large impact on what Miami has become, is also a controversial figure when discussing Miami’s diversity and treatment of people of color. For one, Flagler knowingly destroyed a large Tequesta mound in the building of his railroad and gave little regard for what was done with the buried bodies. Flagler also recruited black workers in the building of his railroad, pushed for their citizenship and voting rights, to then use that for personal gain, segregating Miami and designating a “Color Town” for black citizens. Flagler’s impact on Miami is undeniable, both good and bad. Without his railroad, Miami would likely not have been founded for a much longer time, but his presence started the segregation in the city as well as the wars on indigenous people.

The plaque honoring Major Dade, describing the settlers point of view on their battle against the Seminoles.

            Another controversial figure in Miami’s history is Major Francis Langhorne Dade, who was a military leader during the Seminole wars. His troop was attacked by Seinole people in a pine rockland after Dade allowed them to be at ease in the unfamiliar landscape. The plaque on the courthouse honoring him describes this as an “ambush”, completely erasing the genocidal wars on the Seminole people that had been going on for years. This is another example of household names in Miami being honored throughout the city, without addressing their atrocious acts on the founders of the land they claimed. The wording on the plaque is another example of the indifference and intentional erasure of the dark history of Miami’s pioneering and founding.

Historic Fort Dallas building at Lummus Park.

            Another example of this is Fort Dallas, which was first a slaves quarters built by the slaves themselves. The building was then used as a fort during the Seminole wars. This is piece of architecture symbolized the use of people of color as the backbone to pioneering and building the city and how their work was used in other acts of violence against the indigenous people inhabiting the land.

            Miami’s history is not exempt from its dark past, yet the history of these people is often forgotten and replaced with the polished triumphs of the settlers who founded the city. Flagler, Dade, Tuttle, and other pioneers of Miami are often given the credit for the city’s founding and development, and though without their presence the Miami we know would not exist, but their actions have led to the historic segregation and discrimination of in the city. Their credits are due, but not without the acknowledgement and credit due to the Tequesta, Seminole, Bahamian, and black settlers of Miami, who inhabited the land long before these city “heroes” and all the settlers to come. Their struggles built the Miami we know today.

SoBe as Text

“The salvation of Art Deco”

By Juliana Gorina of FIU at Deering Estate

An Art Deco style building with a matching classic car.

In our walk down ocean drive, we encountered one of the most unique aspects of Miami culture. Aside from all the Latin, Bahamian, and Mediterranean influences, Miami is home to an architectural style unique to the area. All down Ocean Drive, hotels, bars, restaurants, etc. are in the Art Deco style. The style consists of buildings sectioned off in thirds, port holes, “eyebrows” or ledges covering windows around the building, bright pastel colors, and neon signs. Art Deco architecture, though most popular in the 1920s and 1930s, captures an eccentric essence of Miami that emerged much later. Miami Beach became a heavily LGBTQ+ influenced area in the 1980s and 1990s. Art Deco, which stands out amongst other Miamian architecture like the clustered condos at the end of Ocean Drive or the more classic Mediterranean revival styled buildings, pairs well with the vibrance of the LGBTQ+ community that dominated social spheres in South Beach throughout the 80s and 90s. In the 80s, the Ocean Drive area had become a run- down, crime ridden area, and not very many people besides the LGBTQ+ community ventured out there, as there was no appeal. Much of the revival of this area is attributed to the night life and aesthetic provided by this community. In fact, it was the strong presence of the queer community in Miami that inspired Gianni Versace to build his famous mansion on Ocean Drive, lending more to the distinctive style and culture of the South Beach area. Even before this revival though, the work of Barbara Baer Capitman saved the Art Deco district from clear-cutting and transformation into invariable high- rise condos. The remarkable survival of the small and peculiar looking Art Deco buildings in Miami is largely due to the work of marginalized people in Miami. Just as on the mainland, developments on South Beach can be attributed to the work of indigenous, black, and Bahamian people, while its protection and revitalization can be attributed to one woman and later the queer community. It is with all this that these peculiar looking buildings stand for something more than just promotional pictures of Miamian architecture, but how much of South Beach’s iconic aesthetic and appeal is because of a group of people who many saw as unappealing.

Another Art Deco building, with many of the key architectural designs.
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