Friday, August 28, 2009

Maybe Why Meredith’s House Was So Tough For Some Of The Police-Cars To Find?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Most of the police team seem to have made it with alacrity to 7 via della Pergola on the day after.

They have very fast cars and pretty good navigation. But one or two had to call in for directions.

This led to some ridicule among those who actually think that ridicule helps Amanda Knox.

Their fast route to the house is to head east up the hill from the Questura (if that is where they all came from). Then through Piazza Grimana by the School for Foreigners. And then down to via della Pergola, by way of the famous tee junction.

Click above for the route from Piazza Grimana down to the tee junction (the last several shots there are of the stone steps that Rudy ran up) and then click below for the street sign they would have encountered. 

Via della Pergola heads down to the LEFT here. The street sign says that via San Antonio begins to the RIGHT here.

And Meredith’s house is clearly off to the RIGHT.


There is obviously some cause for confusion about the location of the cottage—but Via Pergola isn’t very long and there are no other houses on the ravine side of the street and probably only one with an actual address on Via Pergola on the other, so it shouldn’t have taken long, even if they turned right to determine where the house wasn’t. Probably the obvious choice, if that was the case, would be to turn around and go back along Via Pergola toward the tee. The number 7 on the gate post is fairly prominent and should have been visible from the vicinity of the tee when heading in that direction.

The real problem might have been that, at least on the Google map, the cottage is on a street called simply Via Pergola.  A search in Google maps for the street called Via DELLA Pergola shows it as being in Magione which is 15 or so kilometers to the west of Perugia.  The street is actually in a village, probably a frazione of Magione, labeled Vignaia a few kilometers southeast of Magione.  Google does ask if you meant Via Pergola in Perugia, however. This might also explain why the phone call for directions took 296 seconds which would be a ridiculous amount of time if you were at or near the tee intersection looking for the house.

Posted by beans on 08/28/09 at 09:43 PM | #

Hi beans. Yeah I could maybe buy that. I spotted the house right away - rather sadly, given the abandoned-looking state it was in - but my car’s navigation wanted me halfway down the hill to the San Antonio gate. Google aint alone in not putting it on San Antonio. I must revisit Kermit’s great ppt show on the house - the house was there long before the modern San Antonio street of course. You know the area? Magic at night - but then, all of Perugia is. This hotel was 2 minutes from Magione by the way. That white onyx is lit up from inside. This is the view.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/28/09 at 10:33 PM | #

You think it’s not difficult to find? Easy to say in the hindsight, now that so much publicity has been given to the case. Finding addresses in historical centers in Italy is not always an easy feat, especially for an out-of-towner (as the Carabinieri or Policemen often are). I’ve had I’ve a hard time with some places, including in my own Florence. Each city has its own way of numbering the streets, often based on some crazy historical reason. How many non Florentines know that in Florence street numbers are based on the the river Arno? That numbers in streets parallel to the Arno grow in the same direction of the flow of the water (East to West) whereas in streets perpendicular to the Arno numbers grow as you walk farther away from the River? How many non florentines know that in a square the numbers start at the corner with the street that leads to the River Arno? and that that numeration is clockwise?And how many people know that in Florence (and Genoa) street numbers for businesses are red, whereas street numbers for residences are blue or black, and that the two are separate and parallel numerations?

Now just imagine two carabinieri patrols, often from another region than the one in which they serve, trying to figure out their way in a city they might have started to work in only recently. And navigation systems aren’t always that accurate. They might point you to the right street, but not necessarily to the right number. Regarding where the Carabinieri came driving from, they almost certainly weren’t driving from the Questura. The Questura is the headquarters for the Polizia di Stato, not the Carabinieri, and in any case a patrol car would probably be somewhere around in their own zone of jurisdiction. The fact the Carabinieri weren’t there immediately after Raffaele’s call is because the call was clearly not an emergency. Raffaele had simply reported a possible burglary, obviously nothing to be rushing to with sirens and fanfare.

Posted by Commissario Montalbano on 08/29/09 at 01:48 AM | #

I kinda like that. In Khartoum where we lived the houses were numbered according to the oldest first and newest last. In Manhattan some developments on the cross streets are named and numbered according to nearby avenues. I think we’re agreeing here, CM, that if there had to be a call for guidance, that was not surprising and doesn’t reflect badly on the cops. A valid point you make on the Carabinieri. The cars I saw were mainly up in the piazzas though my guess is all or most cars came down to the house via the tee junction.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/29/09 at 02:05 AM | #
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