This is the Church of St. Francis in Cortona. This is an example of a little used urban design tool: the entrance into the church via a stairway at an oblique angle to the mass created by the church. The facade of the church is obviously pointed in a certain direction, while the steps focus the view on the church’s door. A comforting tension is created. The overall scene is very sedate – almost mundane, in fact. Yet the introduction of that tension adds a spark that redeems the view, creating a pleasing unity that direct steps would not.
Note too how the contours (pink) work from ramp to steps to wall. One must practice seeing contours in every situation.