Virtues of Poetry

The Beauty of wax is its power to yield

To the finger’s skillful touch;

Thus taught, it can shape the god of War,

Chaste Wisdom or Love or her son.

The secret springs quench a flame,

Or gladden the flowers and fields;

So the mind of man, through the gentle arts

Is taught the wisdom of change.

— Pliny the Younger, Letter to Fuscus Salinator on the virtues of intellectual exercise through writing, extolling poetry as a means of exercising the mind.

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Organic Growth

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perspective of the rear of the Museo Santa Maria Della Scala

In the medevil hilltop city of Siena, there is a building complex, that at one point was the Ospidale Santa Maria della Scala.  It has since served many functions, and now has been converted into a museum. Over the centuries the building complex has been added to more times than can be numbered, and not it is a conglomerate of seemingly ramshackle layers, each one adding to the story. I first experienced this building from this perspective and immediately was presented with the urge to explore it. It looked so interesting and irresistible.

Imagine my excitement when I came around to the other side and discovered that is was a museum, and still more when I began to explore the exhibits in the catacombs dug into the hill on which the building sprawls.