Faculty reveal Rome's secrets

Author: Meaghan Veselik

The second edition of the renowned City Secrets: Rome —the “essential insider’s guide” —recently came out, and School of Architecture faculty played a major role in its publication. Described as the key guide to Rome’s secrets, the guide congregates the world’s foremost artists, writers, architects, restaurateurs, and art historians to uncover the heart of the city. 

The first edition relied almost solely on American Academy in Rome fellows, including professors David Mayernik, Ingrid Rowland and Thomas Gordon Smith. In the expanded second edition the same faculty contributed new material in addition to Prof. Steven Semes and former Notre Dame faculty Jeff Blanchard and Judy DiMaio (both fellows of the Academy). 

City Secrets: Rome

The book’s goal is to provide a tour of Rome from the city’s most passionate admirers. Prof. Mayernik, writing about the Chiesa della Maddalena near the Pantheon says, “This building captures the sheer joy and exuberance of Baroque Rome. The façade especially is an inextricable mix of architecture and sculpture, and if ‘architecture is frozen music’ this is the proof….” 

Prof. Rowland reveals the charms of the Baths of Agrippa: “The stratifications of two thousand years of Roman life are fascinatingly present here. At one end of the spectrum of survival is the well-preserved Pantheon —at the other, the footprint of the Stadium of Domitian, preserved in Piazza Navona and its surrounding edge of buildings. The remains of the Baths of Agrippa provide one of the most astonishing surprises to those who explore the zone.” 

And Prof. Smith offers this advice for exploring San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane: “After seeing the dome and crossing piers of St. Peter’s, keep in mind the size of the plan of one of its piers —and realize, as Paolo Portoghesi pointed out, that the entire plan of San Carlino could fit within that space.”