Sunday photoblogging: Steps in Siracusa, Sicily

by Chris Bertram on July 6, 2014



Sasha Clarkson 07.06.14 at 9:21 pm

Do you think that Archimedes trod anywhere nearby?

The picture looks more like Escher! :)


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 07.06.14 at 10:28 pm

Nice to see Sunday Photos return!


Meredith 07.07.14 at 5:11 am

Ah, the art of steps! If steps are pitched right, they make climbing not so hard at all and descending downright pleasant (cf. well designed switch-backs). Of course, individual leg-length complicates the calculus. Steps just a little too “close together” for the long-legged, for instance. To take lots of mini-steps or to skip steps?
I’ve read that safety engineers want our steps to be pitched long and gradual. Trouble is, that takes a lot of space.
Are you actually in Sicily right now? You lucky person, if you are!


Chris Bertram 07.07.14 at 6:55 am

Just back, Meredith.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 07.07.14 at 12:49 pm


Dr. Hilarius 07.09.14 at 2:28 am

Meridith, there are detailed code requirements for stair risers and depth, not based on any theoretical calculations but long experience by builders. You can tell immediately if riser height is “off’ as they just don’t feel right (unless you are well outside the norm of adult proportions.


Meredith 07.09.14 at 6:12 am

Thank you, Dr. Hilarius, for the link to the specifics. I’ll follow my carpenter’s advice rather than try to work it out for myself. But I do love the way, as you say, all this is based on the “long experience of builders.” I do so love “the trades”! That experience has a history, an organization to it, a transmission. Not just (in Europe and the Americas) the guilds, apprenticeship/ indenture, licensed (and unionized!) trades, but earlier in the builders of temples and other monumental buildings (hello Syracuse and Sicily, where they experimented — tends to happen more in colonial situations, maybe): how’d they ever build that stuff? They (and predecessors in Egypt, hell, at Ur) figured a lot out that gave rise to, or was always the same as, mathematics. They dreamed and sweated and thought and thought and wondered. Yes, Archimedes….


bad Jim 07.09.14 at 8:50 am

Try walking up a stopped escalator. The tiny steps at top and bottom are positively jarring.


rustypleb 07.10.14 at 2:19 am

The shadows are practically mesmerizing. The ebony jewel wing is amazingly pretty as well. Laying out a flight of stair can be an interesting math problem.


dax 07.11.14 at 12:08 pm

If it’s Sicily shouldn’t it be Siracuse?

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