Every day on my way to studio, I

Every day on my way to studio, I pass a little hole in the wall workshop that is full of really old chairs and chandeliers and armoires for as far as I can see.  One day on the way home with my friend Minh, we decided to go in just to see what was there (correction: I decided, he came with because he’s awesome).  We were looking around, to the bewilderment of the people inside, just to see what was there; the front room was just as packed with antique furnishings as it looked and the back room held piles of hand tools and a small scroll saw.  After introducing themselves as Valentino and Romolo (a father and son team), they told us how they make reproductions of antiques for people and restore antique originals that people bring in.  After explaining that we are architecture students, they took us to their warehouse to show us all of the original pieces of furniture that they have.  And by “warehouse,” I really mean a double apartment a next to Hotel Arenula a couple blocks away that has stacks and stacks of carefully placed chairs and tables and shelves and all sorts of stuff that literally goes up to the double height ceiling.  ImageAll of these furnishings are originals from over the past four centuries; most of them are incredibly elaborate with ornate carvings, detailed marquetry-work, and gilding.  At the warehouse, several drawings were laying on tables, all of them designs for different pieces hand drawn by Valentino.  His designs range from entire built-in wall units to switch plates that he hand carves and gilds and from divans and tables to art frames, which are pieces of art in themselves. Image

After seeing lots of intriguing things that first night, I knew I had to return to explore more.  Since then, I’ve been back multiple times and he has started showing and teaching me things.  He has a photo album showing some of his favorite projects over the last fifty years or so.  He has several stacks of furniture books, divided by style and location and after flipping through these for a while, we go around the shop and he makes me identify different period pieces; most of them are what I call Luigis, the Italian version of Louis, referring to the French monarchs Louis XIV to Louis XVI.  He saw me diagramming some pieces one day and made me actually draw some of the things there.  I sat on the stairs for probably two hours sketching a putto (little cherub statue), a column capital, and part of an altarpiece (I think… He speaks exclusively in Italian so sometimes I don’t fully understand what he’s saying to me).  ImageThose three drawings are probably the best I’ve ever made.  Amidst all of this history and furniture, we take gelato breaks, which are much needed (Incidentally, I have a new favorite gelato place).  ImageAfter our refreshment breaks, we go back and I continue to poke around all of these fantastic old pieces of furniture.

The ones that capture my attention the most are those that are adjustable and can change depending on the exact task at hand and actually become part of the aesthetics of the piece rather than just a functional element.  One of the simpler examples is an armoire with adjustable shelves.  The supports for adjusting the shelves aren’t hidden or temporary but are a permanent design feature.  My favorite piece is a desk that at first glance looks like a dresser.  After pulling out the supports on the side, you can fold the top down to create a desk with room for your legs.  Within the desk are the various typical drawers and cubbies along with a less typical arched door in the center flanked by tiny columns.  The columns seemed like an odd stylistic element that takes up usable storage space, but it’s Italy, so maybe they think about that stuff differently… I was wrong.  The columns are actually ingenious secret vertical drawers.  If that wasn’t enough, there is a secret locking system so even if you did know the columns hid drawers, you couldn’t open them.  Another desk that captured my attention was much simpler in its design, but reminded me of something I had seen at Monticello.  It had a panel that slid out like a drawer that became an extended tabletop that had another inset panel which could tilt up to different angles for reading.

Looking at the items in Valentino’s shop and how they were so detailed yet fairly flexible, I made a mental connection to a lecture we had recently for our Sites of Contest class. We had a speaker, Professor Kay Bea Jones, who talked about the works of Franco Albini.  Although she focused primarily on his architecture and lack of an encompassing style, she mentioned how he also designed furniture and installations that were adjustable.

image from depositoa.com

She stated that Albini looked at his projects from a craftsman’s point of view, focusing on the details of how pieces were put together and how they could be quickly and easily changed depending on the desired result or use.  He was also of a generation of designers who could make (and did make) everything from silverware to cities.

Although Albini was about 30 years earlier, he and Valentino have marked similarities in their work and designs.  Both have pieces that focus on the details of how a piece is built, rather than solely aesthetics.  Many of their signature pieces are meant to be changed and adapted depending on when and how they will be used.  While Albini worked mostly on a larger scale, his work encompasses everything from department stores to lighting.  On a slightly smaller scale, Valentino’s work includes a similar range, from built in furniture suites to switch plates.

Impressions of Fascist Architecture on Modern Rome

Having learned a few things about Fascist architecture before I came to Rome I already had a bit of an understanding of what it consisted of and the importance of it. It was not, however, until getting here that I really started to understand the deeper meaning behind it all. With our site of the Ara Pacis Museum being located in an area surrounding by Fascist buildings constructed and altered by Mussolini it is easy to see the power and presence this type of architecture has. It has also begun increasingly easier to pick out Fascist architecture whenever I am walking around or to question if something looks Fascist or not. The use of classical ideas and forms executed in a modern way help give this style its own character and help it stand out from the layers of history that surround it while creating its own. When you really think about it, it is not surprising that Mussolini wanted to leave behind a legacy or building tradition that would help him be remembered long after he was gone. This is the exact same thing all the ancient Roman emperors would do and he wanted to be just like them.

It will be interesting to see what comes of fascist architecture in the future though. At this point in time there are still people alive from when he was in power and that still like what he did as a leader. There is no doubt that a majority of the things he did during his reign were terrible and because of that it will be interesting to see if that in a few generations buildings constructed by him are torn down just because they were built under Fascism. Italy does pretty well with preserving their history, as well as, making it anew.  The Ara Pacis Museum is a perfect example of a Mussolini building that was torn down in place of another, new building with the same function. The original building was not torn down just because it was built during the Mussolini era, they had an excuse: it was not up to environmental standards and the monument was deteriorating. This is certainly true but given the circumstances surrounding its demolition and the construction of the new museum part of the reason it was torn down was simply because the current mayor of Rome did not like the building. The things Mussolini did while he was the dictator of Italy, for better or for worse have left a profound impact on both cultural and physical landscapes of the country. Actions such as tearing up the area around the Forum and displacing all of those who lived there to construct the Via dei Fori Imperiale were terrible and created massive housing problems and discontent amongst the population but others, like clearing out the area around the Mausoleum of Augustus and removing the theater from the top of it to return the monument to a portion of its original form were arguably more positive. Sure for the most part the bad things he did outweigh the good but sometimes we just have to look at things for what they are worth.

The victorious Vittoriano

Monsters are scary. They are bigger than us. They represent the greatest evil, what we fear most. They are our worst fears personified. They are our worst mistakes and illustrate how far we fear we may slip from good.

What do our heroes represent? They are what we aspire to be. What we ourselves cannot always be. They are our goals, hopes, and desires in living form. They are the antithesis of monsters, the repelling force against evil.

How can a monument to a hero be a monstrosity then? Vanity, pride, deceitfulness, and lies can easily be represented in artistic and creative forms. Such is the basis for propaganda. Usually the word propaganda brings forth overt images like those used by all sides in WWII or the style used during the Cold War to keep the American public away from the commie lies and ease the everyday fears the people of the day faced. But those are more aggressive and obvious instances of propaganda. Could something maintain that in your face quality while still being a more subtle and refined instance of progaganda? Certainly. Allow me to introduce you to the Vittoriano.

Situated in the heart of Rome, at the terminus of Via del Corso, and casting a shadow upon the Roman Forum sits the monument to Victorio Emanuele II. It is a beast of a monument. It is so big that it seems to be even bigger because a visitor cannot keep it all in their field of vision unless they cross the Piazza Venezia and even then it seems impossibly large as it stretches off into the distance and toward the heavens. What could the designers possibly have been trying to convey with this marble monster?

Power. Unbridled and unmistakable power. The country of Italy was official formed into the debacle that we know it as today in 1861, with later conflicts to take over the hold out city of Rome, after a series of civil unrests that could be called revolutions if the commentator felt so inclined. These fights were spearheaded by Giuseppe Garibaldi, a man who knew how to stir a crowd. The fighting finally lead to a small government forming and proclaiming Victorio Emanuele II king. This was the first time in the modern era that the Italian peninsula had been under the control of one form of government. It was a fantastic achievement, akin to that of successfully herding cats; an accomplishment deserving of a monument befitting the fantastic achievement.

The monument dedicated to this event is astounding. Its massive and purely white forms eclipse everything in size and in blindingly white contrast. It dominates your thoughts and controls them, but to what end? Most people don’t even really know what it is for. It is an impressive display of governmental might, but why is it there? Quite frankly, because the Italians want to show you how awesome they are and to glorify their history. That is the propaganda element of the Vittoriano. The rest is purely to boost the ego of the Italians that see it. It is a heroic image for those it represents and at the same time a gaudy monstrosity to the thousands of outsiders that visit it.

MUSIC IN ROME

Welcome to Rome. The city where wherever you go, you will run into some kind of musical talent. Rome is a great city that has many different types of these musical performers.  I have seen them everywhere, on the bus, the tram, the metro, while you’re dining at a restaurant, when you’re walking down the street they are there; violin players, accordion players, guitar player’s even instruments that I have never seen are being played throughout all of Rome.  Although there are many different people with their instruments you seem to get familiar with “regulars.”  Some of these are fun to watch and listen to, however others are a bit what I would call bothersome.

Here in Trastevere (neighborhood we live in) we happen to have our regular, “the famous accordion lady”. The mornings are started up not by our day-to-day alarms but rather by the sound of the tram stopping right outside of our apartment. The tram stops, the doors open and out comes the sound of a forceful woman’s voice and the accordion. It would be great if each morning it were a different tune or song, but its every day it is the same old song at the same time. The greatest thing about “the famous accordion lady” is that if you are lucky enough you are able to catch her on the tram on your way to and from school.  Even though we do get bothered some by “the famous accordion lady”, I believe that she could have a great future like those of the musicians in the film L’Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio.

The film L’Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio is about a group of Italian artists and intellectuals who decide they want to save the old cinema Teatro Apollo. The group went around Rome to find talented musicians to create an orchestra. The artists were from different lifestyles, cultural traditions and religions that are interwoven in everyday Roman life especially in the quarter surrounding Piazza Vittorio, which is home to many immigrant communities.  This dream project began in 2001 and within several years, and after many difficulties they became successful.

Another artist that would be a great addition to such an orchestra is the violinist that also plays on the tram. He doesn’t play as often as the accordion lady does but he sure does know how to work the violin. However, the best guy that I’ve seen perform yet is one who plays on the street. He differs from those of the tram because he has people come to him drawn by the simplicity and awesomeness of his music.

In the end, I believe that if someone were willing to follow in the footsteps of L’Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio and continue bringing together Rome’s street musicians one could create a new and original group. They could start with the the violin guy,  the guy who plays on the street or even “the famous accordion lady’’. This could be the start of another successful story of how the city offers opportunities to combine different cultures and talents.

 

Italy: Script vs. Reality

Italy! The name alone sparks fantasies of drinking wine in green vineyards while enjoying beautiful gardens, and architecture. It has been mentioned by a countless number of authors, and shown on the big screen in a more than a number of feature films. The influence of these mediums has reached far and wide, to the point that Italy has become romanticized in the minds of most the population. People flock to Rome, Venice, Florence, or even the Tuscan countryside in search of Italy’s enticing beauty, and many find it when they come to visit. These people are not wrong in doing so either, Italy is a truly beautiful country, only the reality of life in Italy is far different than what is shown through the lenses of cameras and paintings.

When I first arrived in Rome, I was quite surprised to find that most of the walls, doors, and even a few windows were covered in graffiti. Trash and other unpleasant objects littered the ground, and I quickly learned to pay careful attention to where I was stepping. Tourist were crammed into the most widely known corners of the city; my romanticized expectations of Rome were instantly shattered. I didn’t begin to piece together a new picture of Italy until I began exploring places that one wouldn’t find on any tourist map.

I took a visit to the neighborhood of Tiburtino, located just outside of central Rome. The neighborhood was built during the housing crisis that follow the Second World War, and it was here that I began to understand exactly what it is that makes Italy beautiful. Tiburtino wasn’t the grandiose and elaborate Italian neighborhood I had originally anticipated, it was instead quite humble. The designers of the neighborhood were seeking to create an architectural vocabulary that acknowledged Italy’s long history, all while avoiding the country’s more recent connections to the fascist party. While the neighborhood itself may not appear to be much on the surface, closer inspection reveals a methodically planned out system that integrates architecture from a portion of Rome’s past commonly overlooked: the medieval era.

Each block of Tiburtino had been planned to emulate the organic building style that was formed from human necessity during the medieval era, while simultaneously integrating the comforts of modern living. It was a functional housing block that managed to go beyond the copy and paste architecture so commonly seen in America. I was also shocked to find a place that appeared completely humble on the surface, yet had been carefully and meticulously planned and detailed. But it was the effort the designers had made to connect to a particular portion of their history that impressed me the most.

Throughout my time in Rome I have visited a handful of other neighborhoods, each with their own architectural vernacular that tied them to a specific region or place in time. I realized that it wasn’t the romanticized version of Italy that is so commonly seen that makes it great. Despite the trash, graffiti, and occasional shady environments, it is the continuing desire of the Italian people to connect their buildings to a particular place or time that make Italy truly beautiful.

Renaissance Corner Conditions

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Palazzo Strozzi Corner Condition (Florence)

 

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Bramantes Cloister Santa Maria della Pace

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Palazzo Vecchio

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Palazzo Pitti

Potentially one of the most difficult design problems faced by architects during the renaissance was how to deal with the interior corners of walls and courtyards.  At first thought an interior corner does not seem such a difficult design problem, until one tries to terminate a row of columns in a corner.  If one terminates a row of freestanding columns in the cornerwithout changing the size or shape of the cornercolumn, an undesirable optical illusion ensues in which said column appears shorter and less massive.  Although structurally sound the corner now appears frail and unbalanced.  Additionally an interior corner can be difficult to express if the columns are engaged into a wall.  If an architect maintained a “true” continuation of the column rhythm and shape, the column would be completely buried in the wall except for a tiny sliver implying the presents of a column.  This in turn also results in a somewhat awkward corner that seems structurally suspect since one would expect a larger mass in the corner where the forces meet.  I’m not sure a perfect solution was ever found, however, I believe that Bramante’s courtyard at Santa Maria della Pace Is relatively elegant, even if his corner column is buried in the wall.  The sketches posted in relation to this article detail some of the different approaches to corner conditions during the renaissance, and if one is feeling especially ambitious, one could attempt to “solve” the corner condition for oneself.

-Klaas Reimann-Philipp

The In-Between

The in-between: the stretch of time and space between point A and point B, the point where lives collide and form relationships, the places unconsciously ignored and patiently waiting to be discovered—It is the in-between that enduringly clings to us, imprinting a specific moment on our consciousness.

In the case of Rome, this intermediate space that hangs, suspended between where you were and where you are going, is made up of a dynamic urban fabric.  The tangle of twisting and turning streets wind their way through the city’s mass and pave the journey to the ultimate destination.  Like the plot of any good legend, all expeditions through Rome’s dense neighborhoods are not about the endpoint, but instead, the procession through the heart and soul of the story.  Each trip amongst the sidewalks full of moving people that spin around each other and cars that impatiently weave in and out, is an experience that permanently shapes your attitude and memory.

Since arriving four months ago, each day has begun and ended with a trip down Viale Trastevere past the same shops, restaurants, and pocket parks.  Stretching from the apartment to studio, this street is the in-between—the familiar that has become the framework for our daily life while also launching us into the unknown.  With nothing but blue sky, the unknown came in the form of a day trip to Tivoli.  The bus slowly followed along Viale Trastevere—this was a chance to break away from the sirens and bus fumes to view Rome from another time and place.  Situated fifty minutes outside the Centro Storico, Tivoli is a hillside town that lies amongst the Roman Campagna and the remains of Hadrian’s villa, one of the long-anticipated sites of the day.  Similar to Ostia Antica, the sprawling compound of Hadrian’s Villa is now a preserved park of ruins, tunnels, and scattered statues that give a vague glimpse into the daily life that took place inside the complex walls.  Although Hadrian’s villa is most notable for the exceptional remains of classical structures that still linger as an architectural collage that fuses Greek, Egyptian, and Roman forms into the emperor’s ideal city, it was the luxuriously sculpted space flowing between the ruins that held my attention.  Whether passing through the Maritime Theater or the grand terme, courtyards and gardens were ever-present and thoughtfully integrated into the villa’s fabric.

Situated just beyond the 650ft Poikile wall, I quickly found my favorite spot in the heart of the villa.  The palatial pool of water, previously lined by large porticos, stretches between two magnificent vistas of the mountains and the countryside.  It was and still is the fulcrum of the villa’s primary axes where celebrations took place and people gathered.  As I sat by the water’s edge, it became clear this peculiar state of the being between place and time extends well-beyond the architectural urban fabric of Rome and Hadrian’s villa.  Whether expected or welcomed, all of us came to Rome and were absorbed by a culture and way of life that inherently molds you.  Just like Viale Trastevere and Hadrian’s gardens, I am the in-between from who I was and who I’ll be.

–Amy Shell

Antica streets of Ostia

Our first field trip outside of Rome was to the city of Ostia Antica, ancient Rome’s port city. Abandoned in the ninth century, the city was once a thriving town at the mouth of the Tiber. After it was abandoned and sacked the city was gutted by roman architects looking for scrap marble and other antiquities. There it laid for over a thousand years, gathering dirt, debris, and burying itself like most forgotten roman artifacts. Small excavations started in 1909 but it was not until 1938, when Mussolini and his obsession with the ancient roman empire, that a large scale excavation of Ostia was ordered. This excavation process continued on and off until the 1970’s. As William MacDonald explains, “Restoration went swiftly forward, partly out of sheer necessity, so great was the quantity of half-wrecked structures from which the protective debris of centuries was removed” (MacDonald, 298). Used as a training tool for archeology students, this excavation caused a break in the community. A debate formed on whether to use historical methods and preserve what was still existing, or to rebuild and use it as a model of what once was.

DSCN0845After many arguments they seemed to have settled on capping off half demolished walls, replacing those that needed it, and restoring only small parts, and what they did is amazing. The city still has its cobblestone streets, markets, temples, and houses in tact. You are able to walk down an ancient street and walk into what was once a bakery, with its large mill stones and brick oven still laying there, untouched. Moving from room to room you are able to look through a senators home while looking at plaques of what they assumed it once looked like.

What is probably the most amazing feature of Ostia Antica is that it is not roped off. We walked through the buildings, crawled into cellars, jumped over walls, and climbed stairs to what would have been a second floor but is now just a concrete cap. Each house is still clearly defined and mosaics are still in tact. It was so different from every museum  in America, we were encouraged to venture out, make our own path, touch/experience, and enjoy the environment; instead of being constantly monitored, on a strict corridor, roped off and 10 feet back from anything of interest.

The look but don’t touch policy of modern museums diminishes the visitor experience but this is not the case in Ostia Antica. “In the imperial age Ostia was a city where most buildings were characterized by plain, even brickwork, unmolded window and door openings, and uncomplicated architectural shapes” (MacDonald, 306). But these simple schemes are what lasted and still sit there today. The simple forms and straightforward architecture  do not have to be blocked off; visitors are free to explore, climb, touch, and imagine. Essentially, Mussolini created an adult playground, where you are free to run with your imagination.

DSCN0806MacDonald, William L. “Excavation, Restoration, and Italian Architecture of the 1930s.” In Search of Modern Architecture: A Tribute to Henry-Russell Hitchcock (n.d.): 298-320. Print.

Regions of Rome

When you first arrive in Rome, it all seems like one big mess of monuments and little winding streets.  Once you’ve explored a little bit, you realize that the city is divided into many different areas and layers of neighborhoods.  Most easily noticeable, in a formal way, are the rioni, a set of 22 districts of the city, defined by Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, and adapted during the middle ages and the Renaissance.  The boundaries of the rioni are marked by plaques on nearly every street corner, marking the name of the road along with Roman numerals, denoting the rione.  At the beginning of our semester in Rome, we did a project where we each researched a particular rione and created a walking tour, highlighting the sights and character of each area.  Since the first century AD, Rome has grown and evolved, rendering the official rioni somewhat useless, aside from historical and cartographical significance.  Today, the city is divided into regions and areas based more upon modern landmarks and thoroughfares and characterized by the people who live and work there.   For example, the Via del Corso is the main shopping in Rome.  It, along with some of the surrounding streets, has become its own district, simply for the fact that it caters to a single activity.  Although technically sliced into parts of 4 rioni, modern Romans and visitors understand the area better as simply “Corso.”  This type of designation created by contemporary divisions has become the new, informal rione system.

Throughout Rome there has also been a history of unplanned or informal colonization.  The unofficial colonizing, in the traditional sense of the word, mainly happened due to immigrants settling in the same area or specific people occupying a certain space as an extension of past boundaries.  These informal colonies have developed their own flavor and character in Rome; for example, the Esquiline hill has become the new home for immigrants from all over the world.  The lower section of the hill, south of Stazione Termini, was home to a grand spice market for at least the last century.   This market has turned into a large market offering nearly everything, with people from Morocco, China, India, and Northern Africa setting up shop and selling their wares or serving up food (other than pasta and pizza!).  On the north side of the hill is a small area where many Russians and Eastern Europeans now reside.  In contrast, another group of people living in a concentrated area are the Jews of Rome.  Many Jews have chosen to stay within the area formerly enclosed by the walls of the Ghetto from World War II.

In contrast to all of these organic divisions and colonizations, some areas of Rome have been masterplanned.  Most apparent are Mussolini’s “colonies,” particularly the EUR.  Although it is a relatively small area near the city center, Mia Fuller regards it as a colony because it has no real historical background, which incidentally allowed Mussolini to create propaganda as a story of its past.  Also important for being considered a colony is that it will be filled with new inhabitants, since no one really lived there before[1].   After and between the world wars, public housing agencies built several masterplanned neighborhoods throughout Italy, including Garbatella and Tiburtino in Rome.  Garbatella was built to provide housing for the working class of Rome near the existing area of Ostiense[2].  Because most of the people who lived there were of the same social class and participated in similar activities and work, this neighborhood became a little colony unto itself.  Even when it was overfilled and expanded due to Mussolini’s building projects, it maintained its original character and sense of community.

After you’ve been in Rome and the even Italy in general for a while, it will become easy to pick out these new areas of the city.  Each region has its own flavor, whether defined by the old rioni, current neighborhoods, or distinct colonies.  And the best areas are the ones that you find for yourself, just wandering through the crazy fantastic streets of Rome.


[1] Fuller, Mia. “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Fascist Plans for the Colonial City of Addis Ababa and the Colonizing Suburb of EUR ’42.” Journal of Contemporary History31.2 (1996): 397-418. JSTOR. Web.

[2] De Michelis, Antonella. “The Garden Suburb of the Garbatella, 1920-1929: Defining Community and Identity through Planning in Post-war Rome.” Planning Perspectives 24.4 (2009): 509-20. Print.

Via Pietro Sterbini

It’s time for a different street of the week. Instead of looking at the urban context surrounding a particular street today we are going to look at the human nature of this street which eight of us live on. I feel like it is the perfect way to wrap up these blog posts by talking about the street with which I have the most experience. I will just cover a standard day living on this street starting from the beginning and going to the end of the day.

In the morning seemingly everything would be ok, you’re laying there sleeping and enjoying a morning when you don’t really have to get up early or do anything important. Suddenly a cacophony of noise arises from outside the window. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that it is 8 in the morning, not necessarily early by any kind of normal standard but still a bit early to do what these people do. The list of noisy occurrences is almost endless, there could be a bunch of kids playing kick your best friend’s shoes right outside your window while slamming their faces against the wall or the dog across the street barking as loud as it can at any given time because its owners aren’t kind enough to know how to treat it properly. Recently there has been pretty heavy construction going on either below us or above us; it’s really hard to tell sometimes. The sound of a ship docking outside your window during heavy fog on a Saturday is certainly a great way to start your weekend.

Around noon time, things start to calm down as people settle into their normal daily routines and go about their business away from their homes. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of noise to go around; the dog continues to bark, a what sounds like a herd of cattle stampede across the floor above us. We gather our local news of Rome not from our own televisions or computers but from the gentleman down the street who insists on listening to his TV with the volume as loud as it will go and then falling asleep to it. His musical taste cannot go without mention either, it is truly impeccable, if you like anything from rap to classical he’s got it and will be more than happy to share with you.

At night, I’ll be lying in bed minding my own business when jet planes start taking off or returning to base on our street. I realize conducting nighttime sorties is a standard practice by any nation’s air force but what I failed to realize was that our street was to be used as their designated airfield. This continues throughout the night and when you’re tired enough you can manage to sleep through it. Occasionally the night train will scream down the tracks and send echoing noises up the road without any additional traffic to help dampen it.

Granted not everything is bad here, there are plenty of times that are quiet and peaceful. I also know that we have contributed our fair share of noise to the street because it just wouldn’t be fair to our neighbors and everyone else to not leave our mark and lasting impression on the street that has made experience the life of the everyday Roman like nothing else in this town could. Honestly I’m not bitter, I just find these observations of my home here in Rome too great to not share with everyone.