Amazing Architecture

Posted on January 22nd, 2011 by

Written by Ben Batz ’12 (tenor)

“Add one more thing to the list of romantic aspects of Italy!

Gustavus Choir tenor Ben Batz '12 takes notes on the architecture in Siena on Saturday, Jan. 2011.

Beyond the language, the people, and the food, the architecture that surrounds us on a daily basis is enough to stop you in your tracks and force you to adopt a slow pace while you’re out and about.

In the last few days, our stay in Assisi in the region of Umbria and a day trip to Siena and San Gimignano in Tuscany (on the way to Florence) showed us towns in the Gothic style and the charm of medieval cities built into the gently rolling hills.

As the narrow roads of Assisi wind up the hill, the views offer an awesome contrast between the tile rooftops layered in miss-matched fashion and the rolling of the snowy hills down into the valley.

Siena’s high-walled buildings boast Gothic windows decorating all types of structures — not just the churches, giving the city its own category in Gothic architecture.

The shutters and the plants on the rooftops and balconies (despite the fact that it’s January) provide splashes of color to the comfortable streets.

The high towers of San Gimignano are the most rustic so far using rough stone complimented by shutters and doors of natural and weathered wood.

And in each of these places, the romance is multiplied by charming additions of grass between the cracks of cobblestone streets, the worn doors on creaking hinges, clay tiles on the rooftops, and years and years of age.

What’s best about this architecture is all we have to do is walk around to get the chance to appreciate its beauty.

And even better, on this trip, we are incredibly blessed with the ability to create music in so many of these places: the humble Santa Maria Maggiore, the elegance of San Francesco, or the extravagance of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The local guide on my bus, Mauro, was commenting today about our concerts, he said, “You all sang in these places like so many others, I like to think that your music will linger there forever.”

There seems, at least so far, to be no better way to appreciate the beauty of this historic architecture than to do what the Gustavus Choir does best . . . sing.

P.S. Hi Mom!”



  1. Michelle Williams says:

    What a beautiful picture you are painting with your words. I am sure your music will linger on just as the memories will for the lives G-choir has touched during this tour. Can’t wait for the home concert! Shout out to Abby!

  2. Melinda Batz says:

    Hi back, my dear. Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful stories. I’ve so enjoyed following the trip through the blog posts and pictures!