Roma fra terra e cielo (41° 53' 39” N)
In: Quaderni dell'Istituto di Storia dell'Architettura: n.s. 2019, 2020
Rome: Earth and Sky lines (41°54’39” N)
Rome can recognize itself between the earth and the sky. Not only for its spiritual, philosophical, religious, immaterial traditions and also for its material traditions, firmly anchored to the concreteness of tangible assets. Not only in its well-known contact lines between heaven and earth, horizon lines, contouring natural reliefs and profiles of monuments. But also and above all for the astronomical alignments mirrored on the ground. The following set of observations will try to investigate the chaotic disorder that in Rome seems a contradiction, given that Roman cities elsewhere are recognizable by the orthogonal and regular pattern of the road network, by the geometric quadrangular shape of the perimeter and by the orientation according to the cardinal points. The city at the time of Vitruvius seems to have assumed the regular shape of a square of two roman miles per side, oriented however not according to the cardinal points, but according to the oscillation of the sunrise and sunset point of the sun on the horizon throughout the year. The sky was undoubtedly a guide, both for the measurement of time, both for the measure of the geographical space (in the variation of inclination of the astronomical pole, traveling to the south or to the north, with the change of latitude). The Imperial Forums were exactly at the center of this square, the alignment of many road axes, four gaps in the walls at the four corners, the presence of places of worship at the openings located in the center of each side, sepulchral mausoleums and necropolises of that period located outside this geometric perimeter. This would like to be an invitation to promote further studies on the subject.