For over two millennia, Rome has been central in the West’s symbolic landscape and the city is still filled with the glorious hidden treasures of centuries. The humanist epigram Quanta Roma fuit ruina docet—‘Her ruins teach us how great Rome was,’ invites a study of this hidden city through different thematic lenses. We will explore the monuments but also urban design, architecture, sculpture, town planning, religion, politics, street life, and texts. We will embark upon our own Grand Tour through five itineraries, as we discover and discuss individual artists and their works, such as Bernini’s fountains and Borromini’s whirling spaces; intimate chapels and grand frescoes, like those in Santa Prassede or in the Sistine Chapel; quiet piazzas and talking statues; papal anecdotes and neighborhood festivals; and the films and literature that inspire us to experience Rome both as a material place and as an idea.
1. James, Henry. Daisy Miller: Any text (on-line or hard copy) is fine.
2. Wharton, Edith. Roman Fever: Any text (on-line or hard copy) is fine.
1. R. Taylor, K. Wentworth Rinne, and S. Kostof. Rome A Urban History from Antiquity to the Present. Cambridge University Press, 2016. For several of our discussions, this book will provide useful background.
2. Masson, Georgina. The Companion Guide to Rome. New York, 1983. For each of our walks, Masson will have delightful literary background.
3. Augustus J. C. Hare, Walks in Rome. London, 1913. An old “guidebook” with personal (controversial) comments upon sites.