Some Reasons for Travelling to Italy
Italian cities have been points of reference for much of architect Peter Wilson’s professional life and the many reasons for visiting the country have long presented themselves as not just the easy list – holidays, food, architecture and culture. The grand tour is the most obvious of tropes for framing these things, but it can also serve as a useful vehicle for a more ingrained understanding into Italy’s wider architectural habitat and cultural mythology. This book, which accompanies an exhibition of the same title at the AA School in 2016, appears in the form of a latter-day Baedeker. But rather than a pragmatic itinerary, its content here offers an eclectic and idiosyncratic list of assorted reasons to head south, richly illustrated by Wilson’s own drawings and watercolours.
Some Reasons for Travelling to Italy refers not only to the pilgrimages of architects from Inigo Jones to Le Corbusier, but also those of the grand tourists of the 18th century, romantics of the 19th century and icons of the 20th century like Ezra Pound, Sigmund Freud or Brigitte Bardot. This long tradition included Peter Wilson, whose travels to Italy to develop two architectural competition entries resulted in the new Monteluce Quartier in Perugia, which is currently nearing completion.
A few of these journeys were documented in AA Files #68, most are illustrated by drawings which include ‘Counter-factual Histories’ (Jorge Luis Borges) in the form of handcrafted miniatures. Such works may be anachronistic in the age of digital spectacle but they are also reminders of cultural continuity. Some Reasons for Travelling to Italy include: to live cheaply, to travel with a consumptive relative, to look up, to abandon a bikini, to disappear, to make the Pope smile, to invent neo-classicism, to research Tarantism, to discover a telefonino on Etna and in an English garden in Naples.
Author: Peter Wilson
Size: 22 x 15 cm
Publication date: February, 2016
Published by: Architectural Association Publications
Distributed by: ACTAR PUBLISHERS
ISBN: English 9781907896781
Price: 25€ / $26 / £20