Visiting 15th Century Italy with my 15-Year-Old Son

Joey Skee (March 25, 2010)
Gaming lessons from the Boot.

Recently, my daughter Akela and son Lucca got into a conversation about Florence’s Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, discussing the architectonics of the church’s cupola. Akela noted that Renaissance architects did not have the ancient Roman formula for cement and as a result Filippo Brunelleschi ingeniously devised a two wall solution for the structure, a detail she had learned in her introductory art history class. Lucca concurred, elaborating on the cupola’s interior of stone arches, frescos, and its crowning lantern. He was familiar with il Duomo because he had scaled to the very top, an achievement he accomplished as a player of the video game Assassin’s Creed II.


One parental consolation of Lucca playing Assassin’s Creed II has been his sudden knowledge of and interest in Italian history and culture. He is now conversant in the Pazzi conspiracy, Savonarola and the Bonfire of the Vanities, the Borgia regime, and, of course, Renaissance architecture. When I suggested that we visit contemporary Florence, Venice, and San Gimignano, Lucca responded not with a teenager’s insouciance but with enthusiastic affirmation. That’s a lesson in gaming I appreciate.





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