What if we were in Rome? (Maybe you are!) We’d saunter over to Trevi Fountain seeking skin-cooling relief at its water’s edge. Surely this architectural beauty would additionally radiate spiritual solace and admiration of a bygone era.

Daytime View of Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain (Credit: Verch, Marco)

Trevi’s timeline began in 19 BC when a spring fed by an aqueduct became a Roman bath. Between 1629 and 1762 different architects under the guise of different popes fortified and enhanced the structure in the popular piazza we see today. (Yes, it’s the coin-throw fountain.) The latest 2015 restoration with improvements (e.g., LED lighting) was financed by the Fendi fashion house. I find their masonry facts compelling:

3,900 square meters restored travertine [limestone] and marble…
340 square meters of restored stucco
320 square meters of restored basin
100 square meters of restored plaster
80 square meters of restored bricks…
26 restorers
” (Reddinger).

For non-metric folks, picture 340 square meters being just under half the width and a quarter the length of an American football field.

If you’re wondering why I made this comparison, wade through (or skip) these equations:

1 meter = 3.281 feet
square = area of length by width
1 square meter = 10.76 square feet (3.281 X 3.281)
LET’S EXEMPLIFY WITH THAT 340 METERS OF RESTORED STUCCO:
340 square meters = 3,658.4 square feet (340 x 10.76)
3,658.4 rounded to 3,600 = 60 feet by 60 feet
3 feet = 1 yard
60 feet x 60 feet = 20 yards x 20 yards
53.3 yards wide x 100 yards long = 1 US football field
approximately less than 1/2 width x 1/4 length of a football field = 340 square meters

Sorry if my minor calculating seems confusing, but can you imagine actually tackling major monument-building back in BC! What’s much more interesting (than my math) is a video lesson in Chapter 4 of an online course entitled: “Roman Engineering and Architecture.”

In closing, I’ll share that yesterday on Facebook we briefly melded the same medley — summer heat, Roman history, and masonry buildings. I wanted to expound here especially, BECAUSE it’s 103 degrees Fahrenheit outside AND wouldn’t it be DIVINE plunging a toe or two into TREVI right this moment?!

Works Cited

Reddinger, Paige. “Fendi Unveils Their Restoration of the Trevi Fountain in Rome.” The Daily Front Row. Nov. 3, 2015, fashionweekdaily.com/fendi-unveils-their-restoration-of-the-trevi-fountain-in-rome/.

Verch, Marco . Trevi-Brunnen [Image attribution]. Jan. 10, 2016. CC BY 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Being in the masonry field, our eyes are drawn to hardscape surfaces wherever we go. That is, brick, stone, tile or concrete building that purposely or decoratively “resides” within designed or natural landscapes.

It’s summertime and we’re intent on exploring once again Hildacy Farm Preserve. Fields abound with nature. Interspersed are also man-made structures — lots of mortared fieldstone. Farmers likely found these stones in fields and by streams.

Fieldstone wall at Hildacy

Colorful fieldstone wall at Hildacy (BuddingCo).

These facades remind me of a cairn image I recently saw in a book. A cairn is a “mound of stones piled up as a memorial or to mark a boundary or path” (Memidex online). At first I thought of our Cairn Terrier. (Sending her breed out in packs to forage in rock piles was Scotland’s solution for hunting small prey.) More important, this photograph highlighted the stonemason’s artistry of creating outdoor sculptures. “Whenever I had a free hour at the end of a day, I unwound by working on this satisfying expression of my appreciation of stone” (Reed, 2013, p. 211).

Stone Entrance at Hildacy

Arched stone entranceway at Hildacy (Buddingco).

Stone wall with ironwork gate at Hildacy

Mortared fieldstone wall with ironwork gate at Hildacy (BuddingCo).

Could we replicate similar formations? Which tools are used? Now might be time to rummage for finds around your local stone yard.

Hildacy in Media, PA encompasses 55 acres that were originally part of 300 acres of property that William Penn was granted in 1683. Thanks to the Natural Lands Trust these spaces are being conserved for our enjoyment. Like us, surely posterity will marvel at the notion that masonry lasts.

Reference

Reed, D. (2013). “The complete guide to stonescaping: Dry-stacking, mortaring, paving & gardenscaping.” New York, NY: Lark Crafts.