We’ve had a busy past couple of days. On Wednesday (January 29), we met in the morning to discuss the course project. Students were issued their group assignments (no fights…yet) and we had some time before our afternoon-on-site, walking tour lecture with Dr. Antonella De Michelis – an architectural historian (She’s Canadian, so she gets extra points) who did her PhD on reading the topography of Rome through the work of Buffalini and Piranesi. Before the lecture, a few of us wandered over the Ponte Sant’Angelo for some sketching. [Below: Haydar, Keara, James, Hannah and Juan // Steevie – on the Ponte Sant’Angelo] Above: [Fellini]
Dr. De Michelis took our group on a three hour (it could have gone on forever and we wouldn’t have cared) walk around the Centro Storico, talking about the interaction of space, architecture and the urban landscape with the cultural, religious and social context of Rome through its layered fabric and histories; how people and program influence space and vice-versa (perfect stuff for our Istanbul studio in a couple of weeks). We tracked through parts of the historic center of the city (using Buffalini’s 1551 map to navigate) and walked around the Orsini Complex, the Via Dei Coronari, the Palazzo Braschi and San Pantaleo; we met one of the speaking stones of Rome (Pasquino) and will track down his partner – Marforio – later. We learned about the organization of the city – it’s compressions and expansions through it’s relationship to water, aqueducts and the Tiber, and to the routes that cross the length and breadth of the city – including the radial streets of the Corso, the Barberino and the Repetto from the Piazza del Popolo and of the religious lines that further thread the city; such as the Via Papalis and the Via Pellegrinorium. We ended up past the Palazzo Farnese and Campo De Fiori (paying due respect to Giordano Bruno and his imposing statue) and finished our lecture-walk at the site of the Theatre of Pompei. We’re pretty psyched for Antonella’s lecture on historical mapping this coming Friday. [Below: Antonella De Michelis lecturing around the Orsini complex in the Centro Storico // at the Cancelleria Building // on the Pilgrim’s Route near the Palazzo Farnese] On Thursday, the students were out on their sites – getting introduced to their particular jurisdictions for the course. We’ve got 6 groups in total: Group One is Fatemeh and Sara’s purview, Group Two is Juan and Hannah, Group 3 is Andrea and James, Group 4 is Steevie and Rachel, Group 5 is Haydar and Sarah, and Group Six is Nick and Keara. They spent the whole day walking, documenting and mapping their sites, and we met up in the afternoon to talk about their first impressions.
Tomorrow we’re going to San Pietro. And then up to the Cupola and Lantern… by stairs. Hey, taking the elevator is going to be too expensive and we’ve got gelato habits to sustain. Besides, it’s only 551 steps.