Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Today was our first day trip. We met at Piazza Venezia at 8:30 a.m. to get a bus a bus to Hadrian's Villa. It was about an hour bus ride not too far from the city, right at the bottom of the hilltop village of Tivoli.

Hadrian was Emperor of Rome from 117 - 138 AD. Hadrian built many things during his reign as emperor (he was the architect of the Pantheon, which is arguably the greatest building ever designed), including his country retreat outside of Rome. He eventually governed from the Villa toward the end of his reign, meaning hundreds of people would have lived at the villa at any time. It was like his Camp David. The complex was over 300 acres, and only about half of the complex is believed to be excavated.

When we got there we looked at a huge model of a reconstruction of all the excavated areas of Hadrian's Villa.

After a mini lecture from Jamie about all the buildings we were about to see, we headed into the Villa. As you will see in the pictures it's mostly ruins, but it was still very cool nonetheless.

We started out looking at the area where the big pool would have been, then looked at some "party rooms", which according to Jamie, if you don't know what a building was used for it's called a party room. From there we looked at Hadrian's island retreat within his entire villa retreat  complex.

We walked around the complex, looking at ruins, and getting mini drawing lessons from Jamie about how to construct an isometric pumpkin dome. One of the most complete structures we came to was the large and small bath complexes. This is where the villagers would come for saunas, hot tubs, plunge pools, etc.

I spent about 2 hours sitting in the large bath complex constructing an "ice cube" massing model of the space, as well as a perspective.After my time was up we got back on the bus and headed up to Tivoli to see the Villa d'Este. Villa d'Este was the home of Cardinal Ippolito  d'Este, the governor of Tivoli. Sadly, when the Cardinal received the Villa, he had his architect, Pirro Ligorio, head down to the site of Hadrian's Villa and dig down to the ruins to and steal a lot of the sculptures and valuables from the site for his Villa. The Villa has one of the most extensive networks of fountains anywhere in the world. The fountains were astonishing! I've never seen fountains like them, and what makes it so much cooler, is that none of the fountains utilize any pumps of any kind but are still able to shoot the water 5 stories high using only gravity and constricting pipes.

When we go back to Rome we walked to the train station in the rain to get our train tickets for our trip to Cinque Terre tomorrow. It was a long trip after such a long day, but the trip tomorrow will be so worth it!

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