Lily Palmbach is a member of Marist's Class of 2014. She was a Conservation and Restoration major at Marist's branch campus in Florence, Italy.
Why did you choose the Marist Florence campus?
As an art conservation and restoration major, the opportunities available in Florence for my interest and area of study are overwhelming and I cannot imagine a better location that enables me to pursue my passions and submerge myself in a foreign culture.
Describe the learning experience in Florence?
History is at your fingertips in Florence. You are given the opportunity of walking around the streets that have contributed to modern society. You can take your education as far as you want to in Florence, there is always the opportunity and resources available to seek a higher knowledge in your area of interest and the support available enables a proactive learning experience.
What is your favorite class, why?
My favorite class is my fresco restoration class. We get to work and learn first hand providing assistance fixing frescoes in Empoli, a small town outside of Florence, and detached frescoes in our classroom. You are given an enormous amount of responsibility and you learn to care for work that is hundreds of years old. It is a very holy experience being trusted to help preserve the history of a foreign culture.
What is your most challenging class?
My most difficult class was my Chemistry for Conservators class. As well as being difficult, it was also among the most fascinating. We learn about the chemical processes of decay and the technology today that allows us to chemically repair and preserve different types of art.
What is your favorite place in Florence?
My favorite place in Florence is Piazza Santo Spirito. It is on the opposite side of the river than the Duomo and about 100 meters from Palazzo Pitti. It is a local square that is always populated with students of art, fashion, photography, from Italian universities or other foreign universities. The square has amazing restaurants and library cafes where I do my studies, and I never leave not having met a new friend.
Where have you traveled and where do you plan on traveling?
I have grown up in Bratislava, Slovakia. Due to my proximity to Italy and residence in Europe, I am always traveling with my family. As I speak, I am on holiday in Sarajevo, part of former Yugoslavia, as my father works for international development organizations. I have been to Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Serbia within the past week. It is an unexplored region for many people in the West but one of the hidden treasures of the world. Italy has many amazing travel opportunities as well and a wonderful coastline. I have spent a great deal of time in Budapest, Prague, Vienna, and Bratislava and I encourage every student who is abroad for a limited amount of time to travel and read the history of all the diversity that make up Europe.
What is the most interesting difference between Italy and my home?
The most interesting difference would have to be the food and way of life. The food of Italy is very different from central/eastern Europe, in a good way. Italian food is wonderful but has a different composition completely than Slovak food. Also, Italians have a very relaxed way of going about their day. They seem at some times to have their own personal clock and go at their own speed. They take time for the small things, coffee, food, and wine; you will always feel relaxed amongst Italians.
How has the faculty supported you during your time in Florence?
The faculty in Florence is always receptive and available whenever you need assistance. They have made sure our needs are met and concerns are heard.
Advice for prospective students?
For any prospective students, I would strongly encourage you to do your research before coming to Florence. Read the books and become acquainted with the cultural norms and differences. If you do this, you will be able to push your foreign experience to its full potential. This will help you become more integrated and accepted and you will not leave Italy unchanged.
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Alumni
Major: Conservation Studies
Academic School: Communication and the Arts