I walk into a huge hall of maps and I get excited.   St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel make me stop and look with amazement.  But this map made me stop and think.  It’s in the Vatican Museum.

It’s a map of Sicily, but the orientation of the map is very unusual.  North is not “up” on the map.  It is from the point of view of Rome and where it lies in regards to the Vatican.  I think throwing this up on the IWB where it can easily be rotated and manipulated would be a great exercise in map orientation and direction.

It also leads into an interesting discussion of map projection and why maps are drawn the way they are.  Why is north always up?  Why is North America often on the left side of the map and the world divided in the Pacific Ocean?

Having students create their own maps from different points of view during history, or from a particular cultural perspective could be a fascinating exercise.

And you thought vacations were just for relaxing…

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