All posts tagged: American Academy in Rome

Top Posts of 2016 (The “Whatever Else Tickles My Fancy” Edition)

As promised yesterday, I’m back with the top posts on More to Come… from 2016 that don’t relate to family and friends.  What I’m calling the “Whatever Else Tickles My Fancy” edition. In a year when I took my sabbatical in Rome and Maine, many of the top posts are from those trips. If my day job doesn’t work out, I may have a future as a travel writer! As was the case with yesterday’s top ten, I’ll list them in the order they appeared during the year. I left for Rome in early March, and Time Off was my post to set the stage for my sabbatical. I had a number of nice comments from friends and colleagues with well wishes.  I also got to showcase my cool “What Would DJB Do?” mug! My first post from the American Academy came on March 10th, and was entitled Looking Back, Looking Forward.  After that, I was posting 3-4 times per week for the remainder of the six weeks we were in Italy. Claire joined us …

Our Year in Photos – 2016

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I continue my tradition of posting family photographs from the past year on More to Come… We have much for which to be thankful in 2016. During a year when our country has seen much distrust, hatred, and focus on the worst aspects of our common life, we – like so many of you – are working hard to recognize the many blessings we have shared individually, as a family, and within our communities.  Not everyone in our families and in our group of friends agrees with our outlook on life. But no matter where one stands on the political divide, it is clear that we have a profoundly broken country at the moment. Our family will try and be advocates for a loving, inclusive country that recognizes the gifts of all and the bounty available if we will only embrace the “we” as well as the “me” in our communities.  I know we have to do more. Last December, I gathered with all my brothers and sisters …

Open Your Eyes and See What You Can See With Them…

Now I understand. For the past two years – and especially since my time last March and April at the American Academy in Rome – friends have enthused over Anthony Doerr‘s writing.  My only experience was through his short memoir Four Seasons in Rome, which while an interesting read struck me as something he did because he had journals from his time at AAR and decided to make something of them. Not a terrible thing to do, but also not up to the level of the reviews of Doerr’s work I was hearing from friends. Then over the first two weeks of August, I read All the Light We Cannot See.  I’ll repeat myself.  Now I understand. What a lovely, rich, engrossing, and uplifting book.  First of all, Doerr is a poet with words, but he has a scientist’s mind. This is as finely crafted a story as I’ve ever read, with the shifts in time and character all put together in an amazing sequence that pulls the reader forward with anticipation.  I can easily …

Contemporary Art in Historic Rome

One of the delights of spending time in the American Academy is having the chance to get to know artists – young, older, new to their craft, and famous – and to see their work through open studios, concerts, readings, and performances. Rome, simply, continues to inspire.  And isn’t that what preservationists mean when we say that we need old places because they provide continuity, serve as part of our memory, enrich our individual and civic identity, and inspire creativity? Candice and I have been privileged to get to know several of these creative and talented individuals who came to Rome to seek inspiration and to inspire others. The first people we met at the Academy four weeks ago were the talented graphic designer Michael Bierut and his wife Dorothy. Michael and I quickly reconnected, realizing that we had worked together on two projects through the years for the National Trust.  It was a treat to attend Michael’s lecture at MAXXI, where he spoke about his work based on his recent book How to use …

New Thinking About Old Places

Last week, Cristina Puglisi, Deputy Director for Administration at the American Academy in Rome, took a group of architects, preservationists, and landscape architects at the academy on a tour of Villa Aurelia. Cristina – the key staff liaison for the restoration of this villa – had an audience that wanted to delve deeply into the thinking behind the work and decision-making around the building’s preservation, and we all enjoyed the give-and-take during the 90 minute tour. Cristina is an American-trained preservationist who has worked for years in her native Italy.  Her insights into the different approaches to preservation in the two countries was especially enlightening to me as I think about new paths for preservation in the U.S. in the 21st century. She mentioned many of these in her tour, which led me to a follow-up conversation over lunch earlier this week in which she fleshed out several of her comments. For some background, here’s the history of the villa, from the AAR website: The Villa Aurelia, originally built for Cardinal Girolamo Farnese around 1650, …

Observations from the Road: Scenes from Holy Week in Rome

Sorry.  No pope sightings (or even attempts at pope sightings). We have had a relatively low-key Holy Week while in Rome, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had its memorable moments. Olive Trees and Palm Sunday:  Our week began last Sunday with a Palm Sunday processional at the neighborhood Basilica di San Pancrazio in Monteverde.  A 6th century basilica that was extensively renovated following Garibaldi’s 1849 attack on Rome, San Pancrazio was a lively place last Sunday. We met about a block away from the basilica and followed priests and musicians through the streets, waving olive branches in place of the palms we see in the United States.  During the service, conducted (of course) entirely in Italian, we only understood the occasional word. But we knew the shape of the liturgy and could follow along without getting lost.  The nave was filled with worshipers, while the aisles were used by parents and nuns to walk or stroll young children throughout the service.  The music was similar to Catholic folk masses in the U.S. these days …

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Candice and I arrived at the American Academy in Rome on Monday morning to begin my six-week sabbatical.  We suffered through the usual jet lag (and a bit more…but that would be TMI) and quickly settled in to our cozy apartment.  Over the course of the first few meals we were welcomed by dear friends of Tom (recent Rome Prize winner from the National Trust) and Rod’s (his husband); joined a talented graphic artist and his wife at the bar when we both realized we were there for our first night (and then later realized we had met a decade ago when he designed the branding for The Glass House); were connected to some new acquaintances through long-time colleagues in the U.S.; and simply met a host of welcoming fellows and “fellow travelers.” Once the jet lag wore off, we began to explore the neighborhood of Trastervere which lies at the foot of the hill from the Academy (down some 70 steep steps…but that’s another story.) Our focus was the Basilica di Santa Maria, where …