Just Outside Rome: Hill Towns and Aqueducts

The countryside around Rome, while not quite as picturesque as Tuscany or Umbria, is rich with fascinating destinations for exploration — and eating. This weekend I drove out to visit my friends Jenny and Umberto in Palestrina and was rewarded with an in-depth tour of one of the most densely layered towns in Lazio: from prehistoric settlements (now lost),  alleged Pelasgian roots evidenced by massive walls of opus poligonale,  and most importantly the imposing sanctuary of Fortuna, all …

“Ponti di Roma” Limited Edition Foldout

This holiday season I decided to go out and draw Rome’s bridges, making a small watercolor for twelve of the 24 Tiber river crossings from Testaccio to Flaminio and compiling them into a meter-long folding print, complete with information on each bridge. The original drawings and the foldouts are both available for sale at the bookshop “Antica Libreria Cascianelli” near Piazza Navona, where we held an interesting reception last week. …

Urban observations: Conversation on Roma

Join us for an informal bilingual discussion about Rome, its resources and challenges, its magic and mundanity,  the hourly headaches and the monthly miracles. Architect Tom Rankin is author of the book Rome Works: An Architect Explores the World’s Most Resilient City and the blog Sustainable Rome sustainablerome.net and former Director of the association TEVERETERNO which realized William Kentridge’s Triumphs and Laments.  Images will be show, refreshments will be served. …

Italy’s Seismic Challenge

Reflecting, after the earthquake in Central Italy, about the country’s ecological risks  Shortly after the 2009 earthquake in l’Aquila I was invited to attend a meeting of the Commissione Nazionale Grandi Rischi, part of Italy’s civil protection organization. The subject was calamities, whether environmental or anthropic, and how to prepare and respond. My take-away from this meeting was that the four phases of calamities are quite clear but our memories are short and …

TEVERETERNO thanks Director Tom Rankin

TEVERETERNO Director Tom Rankin, a long-time friend of Tevereterno and supporter of its efforts to reactivate Rome’s urban riverfront, has announced that he is stepping down in order to dedicate time to other projects and teaching. During Tom’s three-year period in office the organization grew dramatically, establishing for the first time a tangible local headquarters in Rome and a strong public presence globally. “The highlight of my tenure,” Rankin states,  “was …

The New Old: Revealing Santa Maria Antiqua in the Roman Forum

Over a decade ago I first had the privilege of visiting the early Christian sanctuary tucked into a corner of the forum below the imposing cliff-like ruins of the imperial palaces. In addition to containing a rare collection of wall paintings spanning the 6th – late 8th centuries, this is an interesting example of adaptive reuse of a pagan structure into a church, made all the better by the fact …

William Kentridge’s Triumphs and Laments

Rome’s biggest contemporary art work was unveiled on April 21st 2016 with great festivities and will be visible for years to come on the walls of the Tiber riverfront. Launched by the local non-profit organization Tevereterno Onlus, for which I served as Director since late 2012, the work was an extraordinary team effort with a list of credits to rival Hollywood productions. The mission of Tevereterno is to reactive the …

Keeping Your Cool in a Roman Summer

Cool off in the shade of pine trees, feeling the breeze waft across the hills from the Apennines to the Mediterranean.  Duck into centuries old churches for a lesson in passive cooling: the masonry walls are so thick the heat won’t reach the interior until the end of summer! Or descend back in time into one of the many underground archeological sites: the temperature stays a cool 15 degrees C. …

Green Modernity

Villa Borghese and the Modern City Of the many public parks in Rome none is better known than the Villa Borghese which comprises nearly 200 acres to the north of the Spanish Steps. Long the property of the wealthy and noble Borghese family,  the gardens were purchased by the Italian state after the unification of Italy and make public in 1903 and are today a destination for those seeking green space, …