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narrativa e di portafoglio

narrative and portfolio of Ian Siegel

The past two days of the weekend have been spent waking up at Santa Maria della Pietà ex-psychiatric hospital to leave for the Rome we have come to love and enjoy. Yesterday we left our base in the late afternoon to take a train to a lake about 50 minutes from our closest station. The lake was vast and beautiful; mountainous in its surroundings with a castle perched upon a hill overlooking our swimming spot. Water was refreshing, especially after last week’s long days of walking the city. After swimming we headed back to shower off and caught a bus into the city for a dinner at Campo dei Fiori, a large piazza enclosed by several high-quality restaurant/bars, a major hangout spot in Rome for young people (both locals and tourists alike). Dinner there was delicious, I ordered pasta in a red sauce with shredded sea bass (and I don’t even really like seafood!!) and it was fantastic.

The hoppin' nightlife of Campo dei Fiori

Today we woke up and did our best to get right out of the vicinity of the asylum; RJ decided to head up a trip out to Jubilee Church, designed by Richard Meier (a New Jersey architect!) which is far away from any subway stop or easily accessible bus stop.

Richard Meier's Jubilee Church

Disappointingly we couldn’t make it into the church, we arrived between masses to find the gate locked. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. Walked around a little more near Piazza Navona. My favorite highlight of the day was another church we wandered into today, in the Piazza di St. Ignazio. My first “favorite” thing was that each of the side chapels were domed rather than vaulted, which was pretty cool and something I’d never seen before. A lot of the church’s interior ornament was fresco:

When I stood at the crossing of the transept and the nave, I looked directly up at the main dome to see this:

Of course, it was easier for me to identify this than it is for you, looking at a two-dimensional image–but the dome actually isn’t a dome, it’s a fresco! Notice how the view up the dome is off-center and skewed to the left (pointing toward the main entry). The central dome of the church is actually flat!

I find myself wondering why the builders never built the dome; whether the money wasn’t there or if it was intentionally flattened into a fresco as a sort of design concept. During the Renaissance, Filippo Brunelleschi, the designer and master builder of the Florence Cathedral (which has quite an interesting story that I don’t feel like typing right now), experimented with and “discovered” the geometric secrets to accurate perspective drawing. I wonder if this church was built around the same time as or shortly after this discovery, and a decision was made to express a dome in fresco form.

That’s all for now, battery’s about to die. I’m still trying to get photos up from last post, my computer is doing funny things trying to read my camera’s memory card. Ciao!

St. Peter's Basilica out the window of our cab on the ride home from Campo dei Fiori

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