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ONE-MA3 2018: Castle Living

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ONE-MA3 2018: Castle Living

By Sophie Cohen ’21

The Castle Caetani has been our home for the past week, and we’re finally getting used to living in a medieval castle. The girls live down the steps toward the stables, and the boys off to the side of the dining room. Accommodations are fantastic for a place that only got wifi last Wednesday. We eat at an enormous wooden table that is usually roped off during tours. Our classroom is a high-ceilinged room off to the side of the dining room with a medieval stone fireplace and paintings of crests high up on the walls. The castle has four moats, and looks out onto the medieval town of Sermoneta, in which Italian families still live and work.

Sam sitting down for dinner at our dining room table

A typical window in the girls’ quarters

The highest tower of the castle is protected by all four of the moats. This is where the castle’s owner lived, so that he would be safe during a siege or battle. We toured this tower during our first full day at the castle, and Image 3peered into the rooms in his private quarters that are still roped off to the public. Their ceilings are full of symbolic images painted directly on the walls.

Ceilings in one of the rooms in the castle

For fun, we hang out on the roof of the castle after dinner, and play music up there. We also try to exercise almost daily. Grace leads workouts and stretches in the main courtyard, even as tour groups wander by taking photos of us in confusion. Most importantly, we walk into town to get gelato at least once a day. We think we deserve all that gelato after trekking up the hundreds of steps through Sermoneta to the castle more than daily.

The steps leading down to the stables and the girls’ rooms

A view of Sermoneta from one of the moats

Castle Caetani is a fantastic place to live and work. With above average accommodations, a medieval flare, and plenty of historic structures for us to reconstruct via photoscan and cloud compare technologies, we’re having a blast.

But don’t just take my word for it. To better explain how great Castle Caetani, I asked some of my classmates their thoughts on the castle:

“I loves everything about the castle, especially the scenic walk up the stairs.” – Claire Yost

“I love the close proximity to gelato.”  -Sam D’Alonzo

“It’s all about the tall ceilings and the bugs. Also, the sense of royalty.” -Rachel Weismann

AJ Cox and Magreth Kakoko love “the views.” For Clev Cong, the dining room is the best part, while the pasta is Catherine Yang’s favorite. When asked for his favorite, Aaron Brenner responded “the WiFi room,” clearly because he loves to process architectural data! Patricia Gao likes getting lost on the inside. And for Sam Nitz, the “walkways around the top” interest him because they’re so different from American buildings.

So as you can see we are all getting quite comfortable living in a castle!

This summer, Professor Admir Masic is leading a program on Materials in Art, Archaeology and Architecture (ONE-MA3), in which MIT undergraduates are conducting three weeks of fieldwork in Privernum, Pompeii and Turin as a prerequisite for the Fall 2018 MIT course, 1.057 Heritage Science and Technology.  The program involves real-world analysis of ancient infrastructures and materials and focus on teaching ways to improve sustainability of the future through the study of ancient successes.