Category Archives: architecture

When in Umbria: Spoleto, Part 1

Spoleto Duomo bell tower

Chiesa San Gregorio Maggiore bell tower

After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, we decided on Spoleto as the base for a week in Umbria. We found what looked to be (and was indeed) a comfortable, reasonably-priced apartment with lots of light and even a terrace with a view. The owners, British expats Norma and Laurie, were bursting with excellent information and, where needed, gratefully appreciated assistance in getting around. But it was more than that: they truly made us feel we’d arrived at a home away from home. Continue reading

When in Rome, Part 3

John Keats died at Rome of a consumption, in his twenty-fourth year, on the [23rd] of [February] 1821; and was buried in the romantic and lonely cemetery of the protestants in that city, under the pyramid which is the tomb of Cestius, and the massy walls and towers, now mouldering and desolate, which formed the circuit of ancient Rome. The cemetery is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place. Continue reading

When in Rome, Part 2

Colosseum

Proceeding along the Via Sacra and passing under the arch of Titus, on turning a little to the left, we beheld the amphitheatre of Vespasian and Titus, now called the Coliseum. Never did human art present to the eye a fabric so well calculated by its size and form,
to surprise and delight.
—John Chetwode Eustace, A classical tour through Italy, p. 163

Our next two days in Rome provided for a study in contrasts: the first a series of missteps, the second a non-stop delight. Continue reading

When in Rome, Part 1

Pons Fabricius, the Tiber

si fueris Rōmae, Rōmānō vīvitō mōre; si fueris alibī, vīvitō sīcut ibī*
attributed to St Ambrose

Rome doesn’t yield up its secrets easily to first-time short-term travelers, and the work attendant to their discovery can threaten to swamp the rewards. While our desire was to heed St. Ambrose’s dictum, we faced “just a few” significant challenges: we had between us about five words of Italian and next to nil in practical knowledge of the city and its ways. Continue reading

Further On Natural vs. Artificial Rockeries

As noted in a previous Derbyshire installment, a certain R.B.L. of Boston, in an article dated 1851, took a dim view of artificial rockeries in general, and the Chatsworth Rockery in particular. R.B.L. threw down the gauntlet from the first sentence: Continue reading