Monthly Archives: December 2010

“Watermark” by Joseph Brodsky – A Book Review

Joseph Brodsky wrote Watermark in 1989 (Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, 1992; First paperback edition 1993, 135pp. ISBN: 978-0-374-52382-4.  $13.00US).  He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987 and was the United States of America’s Poet Laureate in 1991 … Continue reading

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Innovation: Confusion of Genre?

       “Innovation is the Confusion of Genre”  Leon Krier    Thus stated one of the more visible and articulate post-post-Modern urban planners of recent times (read “New Urbanist” or “Anti-Suburbanist”).  I have been culturally conditioned to ask, “What does this mean?”    Genre originated … Continue reading

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Campo Santa Margherita

Campo Santa Margherita, in Sestiere San Polo, is one of the largest public open spaces in Venice, big enough to need three pozzi (community wells) and a water fountain to serve the community around it!  It has been expanded several times during … Continue reading

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Pluralism vs. Relativism and Opportunism vs. Sacrifice

“Pluralism marks the moment in history when despair and private obsession replace culture.”             Leon Krier The other day on Facebook (December 16, 2010), Nassem Nicholas Taleb catalyzed a revealing and depressing discussion (as I am confident was his intent … Continue reading

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Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore – Tuscany

Since I wrote recently about the Sant’Antimo Abbey in Tuscany, I was impelled to give “equal time” to its phenomonal younger “neighbor” (37km away), the great Benedictine Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore. Breaching the Wall of Remoteness Around an Abbey Abbazia di Monte Oliveto … Continue reading

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Sant’Antimo Abbey – Tuscany

The Abbey of Sant’Antimo is located in the quiet Val d’Starcia, a few kilometers north of the historic Orcia River and a few south of Montalcino, the popular Tuscan hilltown at the epicenter of Brunello viticulture.  The Abbey’s pastoral setting is overlooked by another small hilltop town, … Continue reading

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Venice – Bridging the Gaps

Venice has many nick-names, on the list of which you can find “The City of Canals” and, therefore “The City of Bridges”, of ponti. The Rialto Bridge, currently in its 3rd edition, was the only bridge across the famed Grand Canal for almost … Continue reading

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Venice – “T” is for Traghetto

Traghetto – The cross-Grand Canal gondola operated by two gondolier and carrying around 12-15 people (mostly standing).  A great “short-cut” when you are far from one of the few bridges across the Grand Canal! Today, there are only eight fixed Traghetto … Continue reading

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Known, Expected and Unprepared

Status Quo Known, expected and yet still unprepared!  Is that you?  Be truthful with yourself!  That state of affairs is true of all of us and the communities within which we live – from “family-size” to “world-wide”  Society certainly seems … Continue reading

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Venice – The Early Churches

The first wave of “relocation” settlements built in the Venetian Lagoon, moving from long-established Christian communities on terra firma, would have had as a very high priority the building of “parishes churches”.  Sticks and Stones The first churches would most often have used wood construction, later clay brick, and later yet imported stone … Continue reading

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