Rome’s exaltation explained

Rome (

I’ve always been intrigued by Rome – which I visited in 1990 – not just by its extraordinarily beauty and its ruins, but by the story of how its ancient leaders conceived the city as a crescendo of classicism in which each new road and building was intended to help the observer visualize the nobility and glory of the Roman state. It was so built. Time and history dragged it down after the empire’s fall, yet it came back during the Renaissance and the Baroque, and is now referred to as the Eternal City.

Rome remains beautiful. Its civic leaders’ continuing refusal to allow the latter-day Vandals of modern architecture in to rape it is, I am sure, a reflection of the strong DNA of beauty residing in the aesthetically charged culture of lo Stivale – the boot.

Now I see that I can learn more. Hats off to Joel Pidel for his email to TradArch about an online course, “The Meaning of Rome,” available free from Notre Dame’s School of Architecture and taught by David Mayernik and Jay Hobbs. It begins on March 15 and runs for six weeks, involving four to six hours of attention each week. Click on the video introduction to the course in the upper left corner of the link above. Be sure to click the “Read more” button below “About this course.” Sounds good.

In this architecture course you will learn how to “read” Rome, an ancient city, reborn in the fifteenth century and reshaped substantially in the following three centuries. You will discover how Renaissance and Baroque Rome’s urban form, art, and architecture projected the city’s image of itself to its citizens (urbi) and the world (orbi).

Popes, architects, scholars and sculptors invested in Rome a variety of narratives that strove to explain the city’s history, convince its citizens and visitors of its harmony, and exhort society at large to share in and shape its destiny.

You will come away from this course not only better informed about the cities of the past, but also better equipped to think about the cities of the present and the future.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Architecture Education, Architecture History, Art and design, Books and Culture, Preservation, Urbanism and planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Rome’s exaltation explained

  1. Pingback: Fallen Rome, fallen modernity | Architecture Here and There

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