I am in the ‘Sabbatini zone’ again. Yesterday the focus shifted to the area around Piazza Bologna, with the highlight being of course the exquisite S. Ippolito II/ ‘Casa del Sole’. As the daylight was fast ebbing away, the pursuit of a few more Sabbatini buildings in the area delivered meagre or at best highly dubious results.
The problem is the map. Sabbatini entered his most productive phase of his entire professional life in 1925-30, planting his realised fantasies in the most improbable locations of Rome – Testaccio, Piazza d’Armi, Garbatella, Trionfale, Trastevere. But the city compass is exasperating. I honestly love diagrams. Their ability to condense the essence of time and three-dimensional space into a map is a triumph of meaningful abstraction. But navigating the cityscape with approximate tools is utterly frustrating. Is this really the best we can do?
Well, no. Here comes the inevitable hubris of the well-intentioned yet naive disciple. Is it possible to map accurately the locations of Sabbatini’s surviving ICP legacy? Having done so, is it possible to turn the map into an interactive resource? Finally, can it be done in a week (self-imposed deadline)?
Sabbatini invaded my life in the most unlikely circumstances since my arrival in Rome. Whether this turns out to be a temporary affair, anchored firmly on my time at the British School at Rome, or evolves into a meaningful research project, one way or another, is an open question. For the moment, I enjoy the immense and rare gratification of thinking about, researching, and experiencing in person the object of enquiry.
Updates to follow, of course.