Romanesque in Northern Italy
In the summer of 2011, with the help of a department travel fellowship, I set about investigating these early pointed arches in Europe with a voyage to Northern Italy. Having read Edson Armi's book about the origin of the European pointed arch in Lombard Romanesque, I felt it useful to observe the churches firsthand. During my trip, it became clear that these early pointed webs were unlike buildings in the Near East. Particularly convincing were the crypts of Oleggio and Agliate. In these churches the plastic quality of the construction had an innocense that spoke to the solution to local problems. Irregular spacing od the colums while maintaing a constant height was delt with via the moment to moment encounter with brick vaulting. Perhaps even without the direct influence of eastern builders, a tolerance to variation of building traditions was allowed given the cross-cultural diversity of the time.