I just returned from a two-week trip in Italy, to a few cities I’d never been to – Bologna, Ferrara and Modena – and another, Genova, that has become one of my favorites.
I studied in Rome for two semesters in grad school, at UW. When I returned home I remember one of our non-Rome Program classmates ridiculing us, saying he didn’t need to know how to design Classical architecture to be a good architect.
To me the value of studying abroad was not to learn to design in an old style, but to see architecture that has lasted the ages, and to try to understand for ourselves how that is. In contrast to our ephemeral, novelty-driven pop culture, it’s refreshing to see buildings that still have beauty, integrity, and presence after many generations.