The Basilica and Postern Gate of Saint Ambrose, Milan

Update: See a church in St. Louis based off architecture such as St. Ambrose’s. Here is the church of St. Ambrose in St. Louis. Located on the southwestern edge of the historic core of Milan, the Basilica of Saint Ambrose has foundations that go back to one of the Four Doctors of the Roman Catholic…

Sant’Andrea Delle Fratte, Rome

One of my favorite architects is Francesco Borromini, and when I was in Rome, I sought out the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, famous for the architect’s designs for the campanile and tambour over the crossing. Try as I might, I realized that the urban fabric of the city around the church was far too…

Santo Stefano, Bologna, Italy

I had the opportunity to visit a truly spectacular religious and historic site in Bologna the last time I was in Italy, the Complex of St. Stephen, which is a series of seven churches meant to be a recreation of the churches of Jerusalem, with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre being the most prominent….

Baths of Caracalla

Read enough about St. Louis or American architecture in general, and eventually someone will make an offhand reference to a building being based off of the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. But what were the actual Baths, or Thermae, of Caracalla? They were begun by the Emperor Septimius Severus (thus some old maps called the…

Rusticated Stone

The former Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, built and dedicated between 141-161 AD provides an excellent example of how Western Civilization has responded to its ancient past. After falling into disrepair, it was converted into the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda, strangely occupying the center cella of the old temple. But at one time,…

New Architectural History Category

Starting tomorrow, I’m introducing a new type of post where I focus on the history of architecture, in particular focusing on monuments that influence the built environment of St. Louis. I’ll go back and add a couple of older posts into the new architectural history category, but for the most part, these will be new…

Neo-Classicism and Greek Revival: What is Really the Difference?

What is the difference between Neo-Classical architecture and the Greek Revival style?  The key is in the proportions of the building; while the Romans certainly copied their architectural style from the ancient Greeks, they were also influenced by their northern neighbors, the Etruscans.  Here is a primer on how to tell the difference.  First, let’s…

Firth of Forth Bridge, Scotland

The Nineteenth Century, in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, created some of the most iconic and innovative bridges of Western Civilization. While St. Louis pioneered the use of structural steel tubing in the construction of the Eads Bridge, in Scotland, two other engineers and architects, Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, utilized the…

Barons’ Hall, Castel Nuovo, Naples, Italy

Up a long staircase in the courtyard of the Castel Nuovo in Naples, the Barons’ Hall is a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture – in southern Italy. With a massive groin vault, the ceiling is unique in that its keystone is actually open in the middle with a small skylight. I have seen many Gothic…