Friday, June 18, 2010

Ready or Not, Rome, Here I Come!

I am leaving for Rome in two days and I decided that this was as good a time as any to start blogging.  The idea is that I will blog while in Rome (to keep all you folks at home updated), but as this whole trip seems to be planned along the lines of "I don't know!  I'll see when I get there", I think this blogging thing will follow that pattern as well.  So don't get your hopes up too much.

I haven't been terribly excited at the prospect of being away from my wonderful husband for eight whole weeks, but I am starting to get excited about how amazing Rome will be.  After all, what better place to study historic architecture than in the heart of the Old World?  I mean, really, here in Oregon we get excited when buildings are 150 years old (if this keeps up after I get home, you can hear all about that, too), but in Rome, that's nothing!  In fact, the building where our classes will be has history dating back to before Christ!

Located on the Piazza del Biscione right by the Campo de'Fiori, the building known as the Palazzo Pio is on the ruins of the Temple of Venus, which was built along with a theater complex by Pompey the Great around 55 B.C.  It continued to be used as a theater and temple, even after the fall of the Roman empire, until it flooded and became the habitation of squatters.  In the middle ages, though, it was the fortified residence for the Orsini family during their war with the Colonna family.  Later, in the thirteenth century, part of it was purchased by the Cardinal Francesco Condulmer at which time it apparently had a large clock tower that faced the Campo de'Fiori.   At this time, the building became known as the Palazzo dell'Orologio.  During the Renaissance (around 1650), the Orsini family had their home updated, and the current baroque facade dates back to that time.  Later on, the building was purchased by the prince Pio da Carpi di Savoia family and became known as the Palazzo Pio.  In the mid 1800's the Pio family sold the building to a banker, who in turn sold it to an orphanage who used it as a dormitory and workshop for the orphans until 1920, when it became abandoned.  In the 1980's, the University of Washington purchased the building and began renovations to turn it into their Rome Center.  Now it has studio spaces (where I'll be spending plenty of time, I'm sure), some student and faculty housing, offices, classrooms, and (importantly) an air-conditioned library.

How amazing!  I love my history, so I'm quite excited about it!  I'll (hopefully) post pictures when I get there, too.  Since I won't actually be staying in the Rome Center (I'll be staying in an apartment around the corner), I'll try to find out some info about that building and share it with you, too!

Well, I expect to post about once a week, so until next week, Ciao!

History of the Palazzo Pio from University of Washington Rome Center website:


  1. woohoo!!! So excited to hear all about it!

  2. We will miss you Michelle