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)
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.

Yesterday we toured Henry Mercer’s astounding concrete feat: Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, PA. You must go!

Close up of Fonthill Castle Concrete Dormer

Concrete Dormer

Closeup of Fonthill Castle Tower.

Concrete Tower

Although we deal with masonry topics every day, constructing an entire house seems overwhelming. What also comes to mind is what industrious individuals are doing in the 21st century.

Inspiring is how two brothers built stone dwellings. Whereas one used the slipform method, the other applied a tilt-up technique by “pouring stone walls flat on the ground and setting them in place with a crane” (Elpel, 2015, para. 5).

An enterprising artisan expounded in a series of videos about tilt-up constructing his very own castle (thecastleproject). We didn’t see it finished, but being in the building supply business, the materials and tools he used interested us.

Following the stages of these masonry projects is fascinating and brings new meaning to the idiom: Your home is your castle.


Elpel, Thomas J. (2015 [Date of web page]). Tilt-up stone masonry: A technological lift to the ancient art of stone work. Sustainable building and living: Resources for building earth-friendly, low-cost, high-efficiency homes. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from http://www.hollowtop.com/cls_html/tiltup.htm

thecastleproject. (2010, March 31). Tilt up monolithic stone masonry explained – The Castle Project [Video file, 5:43, YouTube]. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from