We just completed a two week trip through Italy with some great friends. Here are the highlights:
- The Pantheon
- A "three tenors" concert
- Everything was covered in deep time + flamboyance + majesty: I kept thinking of Gondor.
- Hiking towards a hill-top town beneath a rainbow
- Chancing upon a still-functional Roman tunnel
- Discovering the best wooden doors I have ever seen.
- Climbing inside Brunelleschi's Duomo (largest brick-and-mortar dome in the world)
- Haggling with vendors over leather goods
- Trattoria Mario (great lunch spot with handwritten menu, cheap wine, fantastically large steaks)
- Entirely gorgeous
- Proof that highly functional city-states can be built on different organizational principles
- Organic growth of a space filling network
- visiting Como and taking the funicular railway up to the nearby hills
- running from the funicular railway across Como to the train station (turns out the funicular is every 30 minutes, not every 15)
- getting back to Milano in time to view Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper
Would we return? In a heartbeat.
Instead of posting the typical selfies, I thought it would be fun to focus on some of the details of Italian architecture. Some day I'd love to build a house using materials like stone and wrought iron. Traditionally built buildings can be so much better than modern stick-framed houses!
- Durable materials with character > wear in, not out, over centuries
- High thermal mass > comfortable temperature
- Thick, high vapor permeance walls > cleaner air with fewer mold problems
US building codes and contractor experience in other techniques would make this a challenge. I wonder if there are high-tech solutions, e.g. 3D printing the main structure of a stone house out of hydraulic lime "concrete" similar to that used by the Romans. But that's a challenge for another day.
Here are a few snapshots.