Once in a While, Orvieto

Rome is great, especially in the spring, but once in a while I find an excuse to escape to Orvieto, in southern Umbria, one of the closest cities to Rome that has managed to free its historic center from automobiles.

Once was on our honeymoon; although we were directed to Firenze we got a late start and Orvieto seemed a nice town along the way.… read more

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 of this built prior to year zero.… read more

Trastevere East: Resolving a Dysfunctional Site

This semester I have tasked my students from the Cal Poly Architecture Program with studying a neighborhood of Rome that has always fascinated me, Trastevere East, opposite Ponte Palatino. After years of looking at unwieldy and problematic sites, from Porta Portese to Testaccio to the Fori Imperiali archaeological park, I decided to move back to the historic center, to focus on the dense urban fabric that makes Rome great.… read more

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.… read more

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.… read more

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 that its burial under the Palatine hill in the 9th century effectively preserved it for a thousand years.… read more