Northern Italy in the Eighteenth Century
The eighteenth century in northern Italy witnessed a variety of architectural styles that were often quite independent of regional trends of the previous century. In Bologna, for example, there arose a dramatic and theatrical Late Baroque which compensated for an earlier conservatism, while in Milan and the province of Lombardy an unexpectedly suave version of the Rococo appeared. Florence remained a provincial backwater and Genoa even more so, but the Piedmont region and Turin its capital began to rival Rome in variety and quality of architectural expression. Venice moved from its own regional version of the Baroque to a stately and scholarly style that seems startlingly prophetic of Neo-Classicism. The architecture of northern Italy was as diversified, if not as well known, as that found anywhere in Europe at the time.
In Turin the familiar eighteenth-century dichotomy of Classicism and Rococo is readily apparent in the works of Filippo Juvarra ( 1678- 1736) and Bernardo Vittone ( 1702-1770) Juvarra was born in Messina, Sicily and apprenticed as a silversmith in the family trade. In 1704 he went to Rome, where he received his architectural training in the studio of Carlo Fontana. Within a year of his arrival there, he had won first prize in the Concorso Clementino, an annual architectural competition at the Accademia di San Luca, and was on his way to an astonishingly successful career. In 1714 he became Royal Architect to Vittorio Amedeo II, Duke of Savoy and newly crowned king of Sicily. During the next two decades, Juvarra designed a number of fine buildings in Turin and in Sicily, Portugal, and Spain.