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…

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…

Pyramid of Cestius, Rome, Italy

The Romans loved the ancient Egyptians too. But the great irony of our interest in the Romans is that builders of the Pyramids were more distant in time to the Romans than the Romans are to us.

Early Italian Adaptive Reuse

Out the Appian Way, just beyond the city walls of Rome to the south, is the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, one of many monuments that line the road outside of the city. What is fascinating about this particular tomb is that it was re-appropriated by the Caetani family and turned into their own fortress. The…