Student space

Unlike Any Other City

My first time in Italy was in Venice. I was on a family trip and we were stopping by London, Budapest, Paris, and Barcelona as well... all within a week. Needless to say, this tasting menu version didn’t suffice. I fell in love with paella but Venice left an impression. Even now I can distinctly picture the view of the canals from the hotel room. Postcard-worthy.

I didn’t find myself back in Italy until last summer, when I spent a few days in Rome. I saw the Vatican, Trevi Fountain, and Colosseum. I also rode the back of a Vespa Lizzie McGuire style and was fed by a lovely Italian who even drove me to the airport. I did all the typical things... and went to a reggae festival.

Siena has not been like Rome. Or Venice. Maybe it’s that Tuscan Sun. You can feel it in the cobblestone and the maze of brick. There’s something so charming about the children tottering around Piazza del Campo and the quiet of the streets on the weeknights that is unlike any other city I’ve lived in. There is this beautiful quote from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Avonlea (a book I have not read) that encapsulates the past months here in Siena nicely:

“...the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

It’s a beautiful place to learn. When you’re in the heart of a major modern city, everything beckons and distracts you. When the sun warms you from the outside in and the beach is merely miles away, you find yourself lying in the sand with the ocean whispering at your toes. Siena instead just modestly sits outside the window. It’s there when you walk around, go for lunch, and head home. Here’s a picture from one particular walk home from school. Do you see what I mean? This picture is unedited. The blue is so blue.


Siena Art Institute specifically has been a great place for me to spend a few months. The school is small and very intimate so I feel like I’ve been able to develop my interests better. Not coming from a background in art, I feel that Siena and the school have really introduced me to some art history, as well as new ideas.

Unu Sohn

Siena Art Institute student