“Sustainable Design in Stone”: Arrival in Italy for AIA Course

 In Blog

After a restless evening in cramped cabin seats, we claim overstuffed suitcases and latch onto the two women who were seated in front of us on the plane. Their relatives are in Trento, Italy and frequent visits there seasoned them to the trek to the Milan train station to catch the coach on platform #14 to Verona.

The Milano Treno Stazione, along with a frothy warm latte, awakens our senses to all that is Italian. The station is a beehive of elegant young men and women hurrying about in tightly tailored pants and jauntily wrapped scarves engaged in animated discussions on iPhones. Footwear mode for both sexes is an array of fashionable suede boots scrunched at the ankles.

The vaulted ceiling of the main gallery reminds us of a Renaissance art museum. Trains scream into place under a grand arched glass ceiling. Actual arrival positions and times for trains are not announced until 10 minutes prior to their arrival. It’s a 200-yard dash to our train car, all runners jockeying heavy suitcases to gain access to doors that remain open until the last passengers are mid-door, closing on the unfortunate few who fail to run. Egress from the train at Verona is equally treacherous. Steve curses at my over-packing as he is caught by the sliding door. “Did you stuff a body in here?” he bellows.

But, the Hotel Giberti is lovely, the staff delighted that we are here for VeronaFiere, and after several glasses of Valpolicella Classico and tuna tarts with capers and sun-dried tomatoes, we are set for a passagiatta along Stradone Porta Palio to Castelvecchio and the bella streetscape along the way.

Being here reminds us that the Etruscan sense of design carries forward to the contemporary Italian. They constantly respect, restore, and repurpose their historical built environment for modern uses. From hotel room keys that automatically switch lights on and off to the reduction of paper and plastics, we see constant reminders of sustainable thinking.


Adige River looking from Castelvecchio Bridge

One of many flowering balconies near the town’s historical center

Streetscape along Stradone Porta Palio

Figural portico column with lion hide tied around his waist

Texas, Oklahoma Residential Architect, Interior DesignerTexas Residential Architect, Interior Designer