Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Ramelli and Fontana

Just how big can Lake Lugano be? Admittedly, I'm from Canada where our lakes are generally quite big. And I'm also from the 20th century and easily dismiss distances. Nonetheless, it's tempting to imagine that Agostino Ramelli and Domenico Fontana were chums. Ramelli hailed from Ponte Tresa and was born in 1531; Fontana, born in 1543, was from Mili (now Melide). As the crow flies, barely 20 km separate the two towns. Of course that distance contains a mountain or two but the two towns are connected by water. 20 km hardly seems like a challenge for these men. Ramelli went on to become an engineer of the French king while Fontana went to Rome in the employ of the Pope. He worked on the dome of St. Peter's and--notably--moved the obelisk. The plates of Ramelli's Diverse et Artificiose Machine and Fontana's Transportatione dell Obelisco demonstrate remarkable similarities.

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