Architecture of Italy

Architecture of Italy

Architecture of Italy

Architecture of Italy

Synopsis

Covering all regions of Italy--from Turin's Palace of Labor in northern Italy to the Monreale Cathedral and Cloister in Sicily--and all periods of Italian architecture--from the first-century Colosseum in Rome to the Casa Rustica apartments built in Milan in the 1930s--this volume examines over 70 of Italy's most important architectural landmarks. Writing in an authoritative yet engaging style, Jean Castex, professor of architectural history at the Versailles School of Architecture, describes the features, functions, and historical importance of each structure. Besides idetifying location, style, architects, and periods of initial construction and major renovations, the cross-referenced and illustrated entries also highlight architectural and historical terms explained in the Glossay and conclude with a useful listing of further information resources. The volume also offers ready-reference lists of entries by location, architectural style, and time period, as well as a general bibliography, a detailed subject index, and a comprehensive introductory overview of Italian architecture.

Entries cover major architectural structures as well as smaller sites, including everything from the well-known dome of St. Peter's at the Vatican to the Fiat Lingotto Plant in Turin. Ideal for college and high school students, as well as for interested general readers, this comprehensive look at the architecture of Italy is an indispensable addition to every architectural reference collection.

Excerpt

When David A. Hanser, series editor for the Greenwood Guides to National Architecture, asked me to write a book covering seventy-five of the most important architectural monuments in Italy as part of the series, I felt both pleasure and uneasiness. Much can be said about Italian architecture. It is a world in itself, and there are so many superb buildings. How could I reduce such a mass of information to simple and straightforward descriptions and to such a limited number of examples? Should I just comment on the best-known landmarks and ignore more ordinary but no less fascinating buildings, structures that often play a great role in the pleasure given by Italian architecture? An important decision, then, was the selection of buildings. I had to avoid being too passionate about certain periods, although, I confess I found the greatest delight in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. I tried to be fair with regions and chronological periods in Italy, but I also had to refuse a too broad distribution because buildings, in history, group themselves into a series of connected works of art, an understanding of which should be full of rewards. Limitations of space meant that two well-known buildings of the same kind and of the same period could not both be presented. I had to make a choice. The latest information, the latest criticism helped me in the selection. Of course, I had to rely not only on American and English books and essays but also on the most recent opinions presented by Italian researchers. The need to rely on recent debates to give a clear explanation of a building had often been the reason for choosing it.

When all the research was done and most of the writing completed, I felt I needed some corrections from a native English-speaking writer. A certain French logic and French ways of explaining would not totally fit an American or English reader. David Hanser proposed Janina Darling, author of another book in this series, Architecture in Greece. I feel grateful for the help she provided, and for the overall improvements she suggested.

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