Posts Tagged ‘ Roma ’

Vatican Trip in Awe

With the rest of the day off on Wednesday, a bunch of us set off towards Saint Peters and Vatican City.  The Piazza is enormous and has a lot of things to see from many angles.  Besides the hordes of tourists that were pushing and shoving into the basilica, the views were great and captivating.  We set off first up to the Cupola in order to get a view of Roma like no other.  We also decided to take the stairs in its entirety; I mean that extra 2 euro can get myself a gelato (ice cream).  After about 300 steps, we were inside the dome and got a close glimpse of the detail work in the dome portion of the basilica.  The quality and shear detail was a sight to see.  No wonder Saint Peters is regarded as a masterpiece and great feat of architecture.

What came next were what literally felt like the walls caving on me.  The trip was exhausting yet the little glimpse of views from windows along the way just fueled me to keep going.  I loved every second of it because I knew I would remember this for the rest of my life.

After this portion and already dripping with sweat, we set off to the top of the Cupola and what a sight it was.  Beautiful views of Roma and also it was exciting that I could spot out by name many domes and tops of buildings.  I could take hundreds of photos and even sit there for hours and sketch the views of Roma.  We also took a little cheesy group picture which definitely worthy of Person Pic of the Day.  Also, take a look at the view I had at the top.  I couldn’t have asked for a better view of Roma.

After the breath taking views and having fun absorbing the breezes, we headed back down to the interior of the basilica.  The space was amazing and really a great feat of the Renaissance and also showed how much power the church had to commission and fund such a project.  Bring Christianity into the city and having pilgrims follow the pilgrimage road by following obelisks to end up inside Saint Peters.  It almost felt like I could never take a bad photo inside the church.  Just have a look at the pictures and you will know exactly what I mean.  Additionally, I shun the Architectural History photos that do not capture the shear vastness and volume of the space.  Many pictures make these feats of Architecture seem smaller and not as daunting.  To the architecture history professors of NJIT and possibly other schools, GET BETTER PHOTOS! In term of scale and volume, the course never conveyed this importance.

To end it all, a shot of the front of Saint Peters and the Obelisk in the middle of the piazza.  Today was truly breath taking and well worth coming.  I can only hope that I get a chance to see this again in my lifetime.



Bracciano + Dinner in the Campo + Jubilee Church = Amazing Weekend

First things first, Santa Maria della Pieta is coming along very slowly and I’m frustrated as hell that nothing is getting done and more complaining is happening than actual work being done.  I bet if half the effort for the complaining was put towards working to help make this place feel like home and function as well, we would be long done.  But I guess this kind of shock is new to people, I have been on camping trips before where conditions were worse and I had to live there for 2 weeks… Whatever a nice weekend away from Pieta was a beautiful experience.

First was the trip to Bracciano and the volcanic lake.  I regret not taking my camera because the views from the train and train station were breath taking, although it revealed a harsh truth.  Lorenzo said that it’s only a short walk to the water from the station.  We forgot about the fact that Lorenzo is a true Stalker and a “short walk” for him is about a 30-40 minute walk.  Additionally, it was all downhill so that means that after the relaxing trip down to get to the lake, we would have to hall ass all the way back up.  But we all were too determined to see this amazing lake and of course swim in it so we traveled down.

The water and the lake were beautiful.  Additionally, there was a bar nearby so I got myself a vodka and pineapple cocktail and laid out on the shore after we swam.  Then I went back in the water to play some volleyball.  Everything was fine until after I got out of the water, I noticed that my ring was no longer on my finger! I freaked out and searched frantically and my worse nightmare was coming true, I had lost my ring in the water… In addition to that I stepped on my sunglasses while trying to find the ring.  Could things get any worse… I ran back into the water and started searching for what seemed like an eternity but no luck.  Eventually, an Italian man approached me and lent me a pair of water goggles that fit perfectly.  I then dove back into the water and searched relentlessly not giving up.  I was getting exhausted at this point and starting making my way back to shore to lie down and catch a breath when all of a sudden a gleam of reflection hit my eyes, IT WAS MY RING! It was wedged between 2 rocks and was sticking straight up as if being put on display at a jewelry store.  I grabbed it as fast as I can, shot up out of the water, and yelled with joy.  My fellow studio mates were amazed but also happy I found my ring.  The walk back up the hill wasn’t as bad because I knew that the ring was on my finger and not lost in the volcanic lake.

That evening a few of us went to dinner at the Campo de Fiori and I had a great time.  Dinner was amazing; the restaurant was the Magnolia at the east end of Campo de Fiori.  It came out to 30 euro a person with wine and 3 courses (we all shared appetizers and deserts).  The food was very good and very Italiano.

Also, I got a great shot of RJ and Joann so they both get Person Pic of the Day.

Person Pic of the Day - RJ and Joann at Campo

The next day RJ was hell bent on seeing the Jubilee church because he had done a case study on it for studio I’m assuming last semester.  I’m glad I tagged along to witness the building.  On our long journey and quite a walk over, we made a left on a street and it was like a slap in the face. BAM! The Jubilee church by Richard Meier was perched on top of a slight incline right at the end of the street.  The frontal view was amazing, yet the context of the building was completely out of context.  Right across the street are 7-9 story apartment buildings and a park across a large parking lot.  The typical views and pictures of the church seem to set the building in a serene park and landscape.  Whether that was the previous condition when it was first built, that condition no longer exists.  Although a-contextual, the church was still beautiful architecturally; especially the white stone that stays bright white due to some kind of paint or sealant that is self-cleaning.  My knowledge on the building is not great, but even without extensive knowledge the building was still a great site to see.  It is hard to believe that 1st year 1st semester graphics I was trying just to sketch the building and now I got to see it first hand.

Me in front of the Jubilee Church by Richard Meier


Baths of Caracala + Stalker take 2

First thing in the morning we headed out to the baths of Caracala in order to take our first stab at watercolor painting.  We were also reintroduced to Peter Lang who we had meet at our final review back in Newark.

We headed off to the Circo Massimo that was once a large horseracing spectacle in Roma.  Right next door is the Baths of Caracala were we would be doing watercolors for the first time.  To be honest I did not know what to expect since I had never done a watercolor before.  But first we got to see the baths themselves.  They were quite amazing.  The scale of the building compared to the human scale was enormous and just imagining the completed walls and ceilings with patterns, frescos, and beautiful materials would be quite a magnificent sight.  If only there was a time machine that could get us to take a look back in time to witness the views of the grand spaces the Romans imagined.

My first Watercolor painting...

After the Baths of Caracala, we walked around the area and eventually came up to a park that was perched on top of a hill and had a great view of Roma.  I just couldn’t resist so I took a panoramic shot.

Panorama After the Baths of Caracala in the nearby neighborhood

After our try at water coloring, (scanning coming soon), we went on another adventure with our friends from Stalker with Lorenzo and Julia.  Our trip now consisted of walking along the Tiber River at a level close to the water.  During this trip we saw how high the water can get in the Tiber and the need for the wall was eminent, yet the architecture and play with space was a bigger opportunity missed throughout this wall.

Nice bridge on our walk over

Along the way, we saw a series of pull-up bars that RJ, Edwin, and Caio climbed up on and created a Person Pic of the Day.

Person Pic of the Day - RJ Edwin and Caio

After this walk, we headed to an old slaughter house which was now divided into multiple parts, one being a part of a architecture school and exhibit, another a place for new people trying to immigrate to Roma and find a way into the system.  The reorganization of the area by Stalker for the refugees is a great attempt to better the situation of people trying to make their way into Roma.  By renovation the existing building, and also giving jobs that helped Stalker in public exhibits to the people who lived there was a great way to build up the community and eventually the diversity of Roma.  I do like where Stalker is going with this social discovery and social benefits for everyone living there.  I guess the experience of moving to Santa Maria della Pieta will be another chance to see how Stalker really works.

Roma + Stalker

After meeting Stalker last night at a dinner and exhibit in the Villa Massimo/German Academai, it was time to take a trip through Roma ala Stalker style.  But first, we (the students) were given some free time to roam around Rome.  Things that I did not see the day before were the Spanish Steps and we did not get into the Santa Maria del Pache cloister which Jim was raving about, and correctly so.

Spanish Stairs

By taking the Metropolitana line A to the Piazza de Spagna stop, I arrived at the Spanish Steps and proceeded to take the trip to the top.  To my amazement, there was a great view of Roma and also perched at the top was another Obelisk and also another church the Trinita del Monti.  Both sights were great to see, although the gypsies were storming around trying to sell cheap little toys, umbrellas, and being quite annoying.  I saw many tourists get sucked in by the schemes of the gypsies but I tried to stay away from the hordes of tourist and gypsies.

Trinita Del Monti - Church at the top of Spanish Steps

My next step was to derive my way through Rome until I got to a familiar spot.  I ventured through tight little ally ways away from the storefront and tourist ridden shops.  Although I am a tourist, I certainly do not want to be engulfed by the mentality of see something, go shopping, see something, sit down for hours, and repeat.  I want to see everything Roma has to offer and this involves many hours of walking and really keeping the pace up.  Nevertheless, I made my way to the Piazza Navona (with the help of a sign or 2) and then made my way to the Santa Maria Del Pache cloister.  The cloister was a perfect square that contained a great procession of columns and an up-close vision of a double barrel vault.  It was very well preserved and the small frescos were also beautiful.  Very quite and peaceful, with a nice but pricey little café on the upper portion, the sketching environment was great.  I proceeded to sketch a plan and section and it came out pretty good.  No sketches have been uploaded, but I will once a scanner becomes readily available.

Santa Maria del Pache Cloister

Santa Maria del Pache Vaulting

After spending some more time in Rome and eventually getting to art store to buy watercolor supplies, which was a pain in the ass I might add, it was time to head back to the Derby and get ready for our first walk with Stalker.  Jim explained that we would be walking along the old aqueducts, but we were in for a different culture shock than we thought.

After meeting at a location far from downtown Roma, we started a journey with our new found friends of Stalker.  We traveled along the edge of the aqueducts and we saw areas that back when many aspects were built for a modern Roma, many cheap labor works lived under the arches of the aqueducts by building concrete walls on one end and keeping the other end open but draped with cloth to make small tented areas.  Many people lived this way because the payment they received monthly could not even sustain a monthly rent bill.  So in terms of living, the homeless were employed and supplied services for the greater city, yet they couldn’t even afford to be a part of a community that they are creating.  Fair? Just? I think not… Now the area that was once a refuge for these struggling blue-collar workers is now a growing area with beautiful homes and also homes for other immigrants.

Aqueducts of Roma

In the midst of this, a Person Pic of the Day popped into view of my camera.  It was of Tim and our newfound friends from Stalker, Lorenzo and Julia.

Tim, Lorenzo, and Julia

Throughout the rest of the day we walked around many different areas of this portion of Roma that was inhabited by many people of many different races.  People from Bangladesh, China, and other European countries were living in the area while trying to make a living in Roma.  We even crossed over from a developed park into an open field that was flattened down, as if a civilization had picked up and moved, which is exactly what had happened.  Gypsy camps along with other refugees from other countries constantly change locations in order to avoid being thrown around by authorities.  Many of these people are doing jobs around Roma for little to nothing, similar to the situation with the aqueducts approx. 35 years ago.  Seeing a trend? Very disappointing in my eyes.

That night we eventually ended up in a district that was developed and a school on the corner was virtually unused.  This was true because a law in Rome says a certain percentage of students need to be truly Italian.  What that means is that the child needs to be born in Italy and have parents that are both Italian.  Most of the area’s populations are immigrants so many of the children that were born in Italy are not Italian citizens.  So because the percentage is not to par, the school year cannot progress.  In an area so diverse with 3 completely different religions residing on one street without conflict, the community will only suffer with the lack of proper education.  I can only hope that legislation with change, and that Stalker will help change these ridiculous notions that are decades old and will no longer work in a world so globally diverse.


Caprarola – Italian Countryside Trip

The trip started with a mix up in buses and the bus eventually showed up an hour late, but we had a full size bus with a very good air conditioning system.  That was definitely a great relief from the hot as hell room at the Derby.  After a good 1.5 hours of sleep, we arrived at the Villa Farnese.

The large circular staircase with frescos EVERYWHERE

Villa Farnese - The front entrance & the circular staircase

Also just as we entered the building and waited for the next tour, we got a winner for the Person Pic of the Day.  This time it goes to Flores.

Person Pic of the Day - Flores

The building is a trapezoidal shape with enormous concrete walls that served as a fortress as well as a palace for the Farnese Family.  It was truly a sight to see.  Every room around the entire main building had frescos that related to the program the room was given, but enhanced by appropriating frescos of biblical and mythological importance.  As Jim guided us around the rooms, we eventually got to the upper floor and we were able to see a great view of the town below.  Back in the rein of the Farnese family, the Family owned the entire town and mountainside for many generations in addition to influencing many important territorial and political power ie The Pope.  Jim said that many Farnese family descendents were Popes themselves.  Nevertheless the Farnese still had some tricks up their sleeves in terms of they “home away from home.”

Panoramic view from the 2nd floor of Villa Farnese

The next portion of the Villa Farnese was a large fountain garden and a smaller home up a hill an in the trees of the Farnese property.  The fountains were gorgeous and really gave a sense of tranquility and escape from the trials and tribulations of the world.  With the Farnese always being in demand based on territorial and political disputes, they needed a place to just sit back and relax.

Villa Farnese - The getaway home and its fountains

Once we got to the top of the hill and got onto the opposite side, it was time to take a group picture.  To my fellow Siena Studio mates; if you want a higher resolution picture let me know.

Group Picture at the Getaway Home at Villa Farnese

Caio and Edwins Epic Jump

Next we were off to the Villa Lante.  Unfortunately my battery was running low and I was unable to snap some pictures of the Villa.  Villa Lante was a-typical because the cross axis of the villa does not run through a building.  In fact, there are two buildings, mirror images of each other, along both sides of the axis.  What ran through the middle was the most important; it was a series of water fountains the coolest being a dining table that had a stream going through it where platters of food would travel down.  I’m starting to believe the whole notion that in Architecture many things have been done; you just need to look hard enough.  Also, similarly to Villa Farnese, the Villa Lante was perched up on the top of a hill, yet the series of fountains can be seen from the street walking all the way up.  Both buildings were great sites to see and the exit to the countryside was great.  Ill end with the source of all the water to the Villa Lante, a start that almost looks as though the water is percolating through the walls naturally, almost signifying that the site was begging to have the treatment it got.

Villa Lante Waterfall


Roma ala Jim Dart with a pinch of Baroque

After experiencing Rome for 2 days, it was time to see Rome ala Jim Dart style.  We started off from the Derby onto the Garbatella station, which is the Metropolitana B line.  We got off at Termini, the main station in the heart of Rome, and headed on the Metropolitana A line.  The air conditioning on that train was beautiful to feel because it has been over 90 degrees with high humidity everyday so far.  In addition to that, no letting up of the relentless heat was in sight.  Anyway, we got off at Piazza del Popolo.  Our first venture was the Santa Maria del Popolo and it was one of the first on our Journey.  Bernini designed the 2nd dome on the left side aisle and it was a nice sight to see.  In addition, the church itself was just one of the magnificent churches we would see in Rome.  The church was very Baroque and the aura of lighting striking the center of the pedestal was amazing.  Of course the Baroque had to create great spectacles when designing these churches, I mean they had to keep up and hopefully succeed the Romans during their rein of glory.

Santa Maria Del Popolo - The great bands of lighting hitting the interior of the church

Sketch of Santa Maria de Popolo

Next we traveled to many locations, some too quick to snag a good photo and only enough time to draw a quick parti, or elevation, or section.  Either way I managed to get a church, which the name escapes me right now but it is major baroqo-qo-qo-qo. The phrase basically means Baroque gone nuts with way to much money.

Baroqo-qo-qo - Baroque to the extreme with too much money

After visiting this church we made our way to the famous Piazza Navona and the Sant’Agnese Church.  Of course, controversy followed even into the times of the Baroque when it came down to 2 architects; Bernini and Borromini.  With the Sant’Agnese and the sculpture/obelisk that marks its importance, Borromini’s sculpture and Bernini’s design for Sant’Agnese clearly express the controversy behind the two architects and more importantly the design for Piazza Navona.  Borromini had the forefront design when dealing with the entire Piazza, but Bernini got the church.  Needless to say the contradictions really do make the Piazza Navona great.  Maybe the pursuit of not just being an iconic architect, but the better architect of the two top architects of their time really pushed both of them to be equally great.

Sant'Agnese in Piazza Navona - The church and the statue with the obelisk in front of the church

Next we traveled to the jaw-dropping Pantheon.  Unfortunately, the exterior had scaffolding on half of it; that really was disappointing because my nifty new camera would have caught a nice shot of the front.  Oh well, the real architectural prominence happens on the interior with the center oculus shining light and glimmering the walls and amazing long spanning dome.  I planned on photo stitching a 360 dome like image encompassing the whole dome all the way until the walls hit the floor.  The image and more importantly the stitching is proving to be challenging.  Hopefully I will have time later to finish it.  In the mean time, a placeholder until that nice image comes.

A vertical panoramic view of the Pantheon

Next came the Campidoglio by Michelangelo and the “Wedding Cake” in front of the building.  The disappointing building had angle statues on the roof that needed cross bracing between the wings to support the sculpture.  In my eyes, that is a complete failure and incompetence of the architect and/or sculpture to not use a stronger metal that could handle the stresses.  More interesting is the Campidoglio and the large procession that leads to the trapezoidal center.  In this process, the Person Pic of the Day goes to Neil.

Campadoglio designed by Michealangelo

Person Pic of the Day - Niel

Finally, we ended in a church that was a designed by Bernini that so happened to be focused on the polish community in Rome.  We finally sat down inside and did a few sketches of the inside mainly plan and section with a few details around the page.  Additionally, I grasped a shot of Jim Dart looking straight up and contemplating how Bernini was just awesome.

Jim in Bernini church

That completes the day with our travels to Roma.  Quite amazing.  Tomorrow we have a trip to the country side to Villa Farnese and Villa Lante.  Going to be relaxing with not as much walking and great site seeing.

Ciao I Arrivaderci

Tempietto Days – not 1 but 2 days

First day out in Rome, the task of finding our first building to study and of course find was at hand.  My task was to find the small but highly important Tempietto by Bramante.  Not knowing where to go and essentially going in the blind, I was off to find the building.  The building is set within a church inner courtyard and thus its almost hidden from the exterior.  Additionally, as I was to soon find out, the San Pietro in Montorio (the church the Tempietto is set in) is perched up on what seems like a mountain in the midst of rome.  Fortunately for me I got lost for about 2 hours in Piramide, a Metropolitana (Romes subway system) train station.  Eventually I ventured around the station to find that there was a bus station that would eventually lead me to a tram stop to then a tourist pavilion who finally pointed myself in the right direction.  Well off to some pictures of Santa Maria in Trastevere which I passed on the way to the Tempietto and I also found other things on the way.

To start first – Person Picture of the Day goes to……… Caio Moretti in the morning of the first day out onto Rome.

Caio Excited to go on his first venture out into the world of Roma.

So after tracking like crazy I finally made it to Santa Maria in Trastevere and it was magnificent, on the SECOND DAY! The first day going to both locations, it felt like it was wedding season and everyone booked all the churches Roma had to offer.  Never the less the second day which was also the very next day I also got to witness the interior of the Santa Maria in Trastevere.  Although contained within the cluster of smaller homes all tightly packed into each other, the inside was splendid.  Check it out for yourself below!

Santa Maria in Trastevere - A major stop along the way to Tempietto

Santa Maria in Trastevere Interior

Although the ceiling is flat on the main concourse and vaulting happens on the side aisle of the church, the flat ceiling seems to have many different layers of art and overlapping pieces.  It was quite magnificent and just in awe.  Next came the a series of very steep and brutal sets of stairs, inclined hills/roads, and more stairs.  Eventually I got to the Tempietto and another wedding was happening there on both the first and the second day.  I returned the second day because the people at the tourist center (remember that place on my losing track over to the Tempietto) told me it would be open the very next day. WRONG!!!! it was closed not only that day but also for the next several days.  It was a huge let down and I was getting so desperate to the point I bribed the owners of the Tempietto – the Spanish Academy next door – To let me in.  Needless to say that did NOT work because the guy did not feel like losing his job.  I think it would have been a valiant and noble dead to let an architecture student into the Tempietto.  If only things were seen from my perspective.  🙂

San Pietro in Montorio - the church that encases the Tempietto.

The Tempietto

Needless to say the experience of actually seeing the building was great.  Hopefully I will get another chance to get into the building and get a more accurate description of what is going on in there.  I also walked around and discovered another monument, the Fonte Aqua Paula.  I grabbed a beer (un birra Peroni grande (or medio for people who want a little less, nonesense)) and sat next to the Fonte Aqua Paula.  Also, because of the mountain of a hike up to the Tempietto, an astonishing view of Rome was dead ahead of me.  It was beautiful and my only wish is to be able to point out all of the domes and prominent buildings pushing up from the sea of 4-5 story stone buildings.

Fonte Acqua Paola - The misting from the waterfall was very pleasant

Mapping the Journey to the Tempietto

Ciao i Arrivaderci