The Discovery of Piranesi's Final Project
Stephen Lauf



11 August 1778
In order to keep things quiet and calm at home and in the workshop, Piranesi sent Francesco to do some extensive field survey work on the Palatine Hill at the Palace of the Caesars. "Take a few weeks. I'm sure you'll find some comfortable beds to sleep in, so don't come home until you're done." "Haha Papa, but are sure you'll manage here on your own?" "Of course I'll manage, and besides, I'm not on my own, am I?" And then Piranesi loudly shouted, "Rest is unworthy of a citizen of Rome; let me see my models again, my drawings, my plans." As always, Venetian theatrics at its best.


circa 11 August 1787
Francesco ultimately completes the Palace of the Caesars task that his father had asked him to do nine years earlier.




11 August 1977
The plane left over four hours late (3 am approx.), and was very crowded and uncomfortable. It was difficult to sleep. We finally arrived in Rome about 20:00 (Rome time)--we walked from plane to airport through two rows of armed-with-machine-gun soldiers. They seem to take terrorism seriously in Europe. We had to wait an hour for the bus to the city.
The bus ride was incredible. 80 people on a bus designed for 40. It was nice and a perfect introduction to Rome. I sat next to an English woman who helped me out when it came time to pay--had no Italian money as the exchange was closed at the airport. From the train station (Termini) George, Mohammed and I took a taxi to the "For You". George gave the wrong street, so at first we got lost, so to speak.
The "For You" is a story in itself. The pensione does not exist. It is an old, dirty building with stairs in the center. An old lady at the top of the steps yelled at us to go away because the pensione was closed. It's still a mystery about the pensione.
Anyway, after a lot more yelling it was obvious we had no place to stay and a lot of baggage to carry. We all just looked at each other and sort of all understood this had to happen because nothing else happened right so far. (Poor Mr. P.) John and R.B. went to get the police who 'helpfully' spoke no English. Marcy used her French and some feminine charm as best she could. We knew the P.s had their place, but not where it was. The Police did all the arranging for us, including getting taxis, and we finally arrived at the Villa Helena where the P.s are staying. It's a wonderful place, a beautiful villa--large living room and dining room on our floor. R., George and I are sharing a room, and we are going to stay here the rest of trip.




11 August 2022
Spent a good part of the morning unsuccessfully searching for that Villa Hélèna postcard. Otherwise there wasn't much time for my mind to leisurely wander back and forth through time.







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