don’t stare…

La Citta Del Sole ( The City of the Sun (1601) ) by Tommaso Campanella owes a great deal to Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), but also developed a new & timeless model.  The city as teacher , was the new model.  The citizen’s senses would be the key to understand their own habitat.File:Campanella-2.png

Lesson / Koan : A lesson is measured when applied.

In the text a dialogue takes place between a Knight Hospitaller and a Genoese sailor, it reflects many of the ideas and devices in More’s work. The Solarians, like the Utopians, believe in the immortality of the soul.

Born in Calabria, southern Italy, the Dominican monk Tommaso Campanella was persecuted, jailed and tortured as a heretic by the Catholic Church for most of his life. His work La Citta Del Sole advocates an education program in which the illustrated walls of the city form the classroom.

The method of education preached in La Citta del Sole was Campanella’s most memorable invention. Claiming that the route to true knowledge was through the senses rather than through reason, Campanella had his Solarians learn through observation, not so much of Nature herself, but of their own city, which resembled a huge illustrated encyclopedia, featuring murals and alphabets. Campanella’s utopia and his conception of the environment as a pedagogical exercise was the inspiration for ecological movements of the 2oth & 21st century.

The City of the Sun - digital model.


A man smuggled the manuscript for The City of the Sun out of prison for Campanella, while he was incarcerated. The smuggler?… Johannes Andreae.


The search for the ideal city in Renaissance Italy testifies not only to an expanding interaction between the idea of urban space and its sociopolitical institutions, but also to the direct linkage between the dialogue of architectural treatises and utopian texts.