An Italian Facade

Civita di Bagnoregio
Piazza San Donato, Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

Il muro elegante

A plain façade, an unadorned wall, an eclectic fenestration of odd-sized windows and doors; spurious slots punctuate this curtain wall of large sized blocks of brick. The blocks look like enlarged sponges that would decorate a seabed. But these are of a  slightly darker color, and they appear to aggregate by some cohesive powers from within, as there is no immediate evidence of a structural connection. This aged brown wall of little apparent attraction looms overhead to a height of about 8 meters at its lowest side, and approximately 9.5 meters at its summit; its width extends over half of a modern day city block.

 The wall of the building we are examining stands two houses behind the piazza San Donato, and directly beside the piazza San Pietro; its front protrudes into the decumanus maximus, Via Santa Maria, and sits just a few paces from the Porta Santa Maria, where a church dedicated to Santo Maria once stood. The question remains then, what was the significance of this so prominently placed structure? Due to the lack of recorded evidence on this particular building, we are left only with wild conjecture.