In every art history survey, students learn of the perfect gem of a building, often considered the first building of the Renaissance -- Bramante's Tempietto from 1502. It was on my first day here, when Tom Mayes showed me around, that I learned that the Tempietto (which I had been reintroduced to in The Great Beauty, a film set in Rome which I saw just weeks before arriving in Rome) was just a hundred yards from the American Academy, set in a courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio. The Tempietto marks the spot where Christian tradition says St. Peter was crucified.
I had only seen the Tempietto from the outside because there was work going on in the courtyard and the Spanish Embassy and Academy, which is housed in the buildings adjacent to the church, had locked the gate. But with help from Giulia Barra at the Academy, I was able to get in and was allowed to wander around and take photographs without supervision for an hour.