Undaunted by the heat, we set out early this morning to make the trek to San Miniato al Monte to view the skyline of Florence from another vantage point. The walk takes about 30 minutes, not including a stop at Piazzale Michelangelo for a group photo and catching our collective breath.

When we reached the complex of San Miniato, we first took a walk through the cemetery where one can find the final resting place of famous people like Carlo Collodi, creator of Pinocchio, and Frederick Hartt, the Italian Renaissance art historian.

We then took a brief walk through the church itself before setting up outside for a drawing assignment. The results of the two drawing exercises were encouraging for everyone — it is apparent that this group is going to make great progress over the next several weeks.

After lunch, we opened the studio (which, by the way, is the former ballroom of the converted 16th- century palazzo that is our hostel home) and everyone worked on their sketchbooks, journals and drawings. We had some presentations based on the research projects that the students did before the trip in preparation for the Uffizi, which we are visiting tomorrow.

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