Exterior Sculpture on the Duomo di Milano

Shelley in Italy

Soon after he embarked upon a four-year Wanderjahr through Italy with his beloved wife Mary—a trip that would turn out to be an end-of-life journey—the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley found himself in Milan. While there, he would make his way to the cathedral in the center of town to sit within its shadowy vaulted interior […]

Study for plate XIV of the Différents vues de Pesto

Love Among the Ruins

  How would it feel to spend your life so absorbed by crumbling architecture and disintegrating stone you could bring them vibrantly back to life with chalk and a pen? Giovanni Battista Piranesi knew, his talent for accuracy in imagining the details that flirted at the edge of the decaying world so astute he became […]

Beautiful hand-painted majolica plate

Poetry and Ceramics in Savona

  The 16th-century poetry that sprung from Savona made a strong impression on Thomas William Parsons when he found verses inscribed on a statue of the Madonna near the town’s lighthouse during a tour of Italy in the 19th century. He was so moved, the American poet penned the sonnet “Savona: Vespers on the Shore of the Mediterranean” […]

A rendering of Michele De Lucchi's La Passeggiata

Michele De Lucchi: A Conversation of Soul

  The Greek philosopher Plato likened thought to “a conversation of the soul with itself—a philosophical communication.” It isn’t unusual for me to attend thought-provoking events but the Salone del Mobile press conference on January 15th brought me a deeper experience than I would have expected thanks to the presentation Milanese architect Michele De Lucchi gave […]

Interior view of the Jewish Museum in Berlin by Libeskind.

The Age of Genius

  “Ordinary facts are arranged within time, strung along its length as on a thread,” writes Bruno Schulz in his short story The Age of Genius. “There they have their antecedents and their consequences, which crowd tightly together and press hard one upon the other without any pause. This has its importance for any narrative, […]

Roger Crowley Dream of Venice

Dream of Venice

  When JoAnn Locktov asked me to contribute a poem to the book she was planning to publish in collaboration with photographer Charles Christopher, I didn’t hesitate. When she gave me access to the photography so I could choose an image to use as my inspiration for the piece, which would be paired with the […]

Saxon Henry photographed a Lion door knocker in Parma

The Sense of Beauty

  I am guessing this will not come as much of a surprise to anyone but me. As I was digitizing the majority of my design and architecture clips—all 400 of them—during the past few days it occurred to me that my twenty-year career as a journalist and author has been focused around the subject […]

JoAnn Locktov at Streamsong

Poem at Streamsong

I’m visiting Streamsong Resort near Tampa to experience the natural beauty and incredible architecture, the latter created by Alberto Alfonso, who was featured in my book Four Florida Moderns. It has been wonderful to be able to catch up with the visionary who co-founded Alfonso Architects. The experience has been delicious in every way, from […]

Le Corbusier's Cabanon

Creation’s Patient Search

  The title of this post references a book penned by the lauded Swiss architect Le Corbusier, first published in 1960. In all honesty, it’s more than a book; it’s a manifesto of everything the architect believed at the time he wrote it, and it is filled with depth and wisdom. I’ve owned Creation is […]