After a recent visit to Rome, Jon dropped off some images to me from the Museo della Civilt Romana in EUR (Esposizione Universale Roma) of one of the most beautifully crafted architectural models I’ve ever seen of Ancient Rome.
As a bit of an architecture buff, and having spent 5 years studying it, I’ve developed a small addiction to UHU Glue and can’t really look at balsa wood anymore without my hand subconsciouslly reaching out for a craft knife. Model making was the fun part of studies when I would attempt to use a variety of materials including foamboard, tin foil, toilet rolls and wood from that Ikea bookcase that I never quite got around to assembling together. So I have a real appreiciation for Italo Gismondi’s model of Ancient Rome which is simply stunning and shows the state of the city as it stood in the era of Constantine (4th CenturyAD).
The interesting thing to note about this 1:250 scale model is that it shows, unlike with most other Roman cities, that Rome was not pre-planned.Founded on the seven hills near the Tiber River, the city emanates around the Capitol and features several temples, colonnades, baths and basilicas. Growing organically, Rome lacks the grid structure which formed the centre of many empirical cities of the Roman era, but certainly did not lack any of the grandeur.
Boasting such key structures as the Colosseum, the Roman Empire’s largest theatre and a masterpiece example of their engineering and architecture. The Pantheon’s dome remains to this day the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. And Baths dedicated to Trajan, Caracalla and Diocletian would have been the city’s most luxurious of the age. Monuments such as Tropaeum Traiani and several forums, including the famous Roman Forum define the cultural and artistic merits of this city. And the Circus Maximus gives us an insight into the Roman’s love of sport and entertainment.
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You can see more in the way of interactive Rome through my Google Earth flyover, looking at the ancient sites in the city, as well as watching a video of the 3D reconstruction of ancient Rome and how the power of Flickr is being harnessed to create a 3DModel. And keep your eyes peeled on our new up-coming series “The Ancient World in London” where you can see just what the Romans did for us (in London)!