Gilbert Bagnani was pleasantly surprised and favourably impressed with his accommodations at the Italian Archaeological School in Athens. Established in 1909, the School occupied an elegant town house, the Villa Makrygianni not far from the Acropolis. Having arrived before the others, he had his choice of rooms. The main floor rooms (the library and Director’s study) were spacious but cold. Gilbert commented on Athens feeling colder than Rome perhaps because the air in Greece is drier and less humid than in Italy. So he chose a smaller but warmer bedroom on the ground floor on the south side with a separate entrance, which would have the additional benefit of avoiding too much contact with the other residents, especially the Director. On the south side too the Director’s study and balcony overlooked a lush tropical garden of fragrant roses, orange trees and palms.
Toward the west the School faced the Parthenon on the Acropolis and below it on the south slope the Theatre of Dionysos. The School’s excavation on the south slope of the Acropolis was only a ten-minute walk away. Toward the east the School overlooked Hadrian’s Arch, the gigantic Temple of Olympian Zeus and the ancient Panathenaic Stadium.