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Urban Development in Renaissance Italy

Urban Development in Renaissance Italy

Paul N. Balchin

ISBN: 978-0-470-03154-4

Jun 2008

508 pages

In Stock



Providing a comprehensive account of one of the most formative historical periods, this book uniquely describes Renaissance architecture as the physical manifestation of economic, social and political change. Shifts in architectural style and design are described in parallel with Italy's economic and demographic growth, external and internal conflict and the evolution of urban and regional government. Urban Development in Renaissance Italy covers the full extent of the Renaissance period, charting the era's medieval roots and its transformation into Mannerist and Baroque tendencies. Encompassing Palermo and Naples, the book fully covers northern, central and southern Italy, surpassing the conventional literature that tends to focus solely on northern Italy.

Transforming medieval towns into city states, Renaissance governments invested heavily in developing the built environment to create a sense of awe and civic pride; while aristocratic dynasties, bankers and merchants commissioned sumptuous properties as a means of expressing their wealth and position in society; and holy orders built imposing churches to extend their influence. Architecture and planning, it is argued by Dr Paul Balchin provided a clear and significant path to political and economic power. It is within this context that the centre of political and economic gravity shifted over time within Italy from the republic of Venice in the 14th century to Medici Florence in the 15th century, and on to Papal Rome in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

List of Figures ix

List of Tables xi

Preface xiii

1 Introduction 1

Part 1 The Later Middle Ages 27

2 The development of urban government and public patronage in the later Middle Ages 29

3 Public patronage and urban development 49

4 Economic development in the later Middle Ages 93

5 Economic growth and the private development of the built environment 109

Part 2 The 15th Century 129

6 Oligarchic and signorial government in the 15th century 131

7 Public development and the re-emergence of classical architecture and town planning 157

8 Population trends and economic equilibrium in the 15th century 187

9 Private patronage and the re-emergence of classical architecture in the 15th century 205

Part 3 The 16th Century 235

10 The ascendancy of principalities and Spanish rule in 16th-century Italy 237

11 Public patronage, architecture and town planning: from Classicism to Mannerism 255

12 Economic growth and urban development in the 16th century 309

13 Private patronage and architecture: affluence and conspicuous consumption 339

Part 4 The 17th Century 389

14 The development of government in Italy in the early 17th century and its effects on the built environment 391

15 Public patronage: the emergence of Baroque architecture and town planning 397

16 Economic stagnation and urban development in the early 17th century 415

17 Private patronage and Baroque architecture 429

Appendix: Principal Architects and Where They Mainly Practised 447

Glossary: General and Architectural Terms 449

Bibliography 469

Index 471