The Italian Piazza Transformed: Parma in the Communal Age

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9780271050706: The Italian Piazza Transformed: Parma in the Communal Age

Winner of the 2013 Howard R. Marraro Prize for the best book on Italian history from the American Catholic Historical Association.

During the long thirteenth century, the cities of northern Italy engendered a vital and distinctive civic culture despite constant political upheaval. In The Italian Piazza Transformed, Areli Marina examines the radical transformation of Parma's urban center in this tumultuous period by reconstructing the city's two most significant public spaces: its cathedral and communal squares. Treating the space of these piazzas as attentively as the buildings that shape their perimeters, she documents and discusses the evolution of each site from 1196, tracing their construction by opposing political factions within the city's ruling elite. By the early fourteenth century, Parma's patrons and builders had imposed strict geometric order on formerly inchoate sites, achieving a formal coherence attained by few other cities.

Moreover, Marina establishes that the piazzas' orderly contours, dramatic open spaces, and monumental buildings were more than grand backdrops to civic ritual. Parma's squares were also agents in the production of the city-state's mechanisms of control. They deployed brick, marble, and mortar according to both ancient Roman and contemporary courtly modes to create a physical embodiment of the modern, syncretic authority of the city's leaders. By weaving together traditional formal and iconographic approaches with newer concepts of the symbolic, social, and political meanings of urban space, Marina reframes the complex relationship between late medieval Italy's civic culture and the carefully crafted piazzas from which it emerged.

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About the Author:

Areli Marina is Associate Professor of Art History and Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Review:

"In this splendidly illustrated, intelligently designed, and elegantly written book, Areli Marina establishes herself as a leading new voice in medieval Italian urbanistic studies. Rooting her innovative work in serious archeological investigation and nuanced readings of archival documentation (both written and visual), Marina succeeds in untangling the complicated building history of Parma's two principal squares...demonstrating the intelligence with which medieval civic leaders shaped those spaces and arranged buildings around and in them."  --Gary Radke, Speculum 88.3 (July 2013)

"The Italian Piazza Transformed makes an extremely valuable empirical advance in Italian urban studies. Marina's careful reconstruction, through historical texts and site surveys, of the development of both these important Parmesan sites places their study on new foundations. She also offers a model of how open space in an urban fabric can be rigorously studied. One can only hope others will follow the stimulating lead Marina pioneers in this book." --Maureen C. Miller, Renaissance Quarterly 65.4 (Winter 2012)

"Marina's highly developed method of processing, analyzing, and organizing disparate spatial, historical, and representational systems not only makes an important contribution to contemporary debates about urban design, but would also have been immediately recognized and greatly appreciated by her medieval forebears."  --Niall Atkinson, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 72.1 (March 2013)

“There is no doubt that this is a significant contribution to the field . . . an exemplary presentation of extremely complex historical processes. The scholarship is formidable.”

—Charles Burroughs, Case Western Reserve University



“[The Italian Piazza Transformed] has value on many levels. First, the story of the development of these piazzas is well told, and is supported by clear, abundant diagrams and photographs. One can begin to visualize the evolving spatial order. Second, the lessons that can be drawn from this story are important ones for cities in Italy in the coming centuries and in some ways for all cities across time. Through the discussions of the way the development of these piazzas related to the emerging ecclesiastical and communal roles, one can begin to understand how political power and social values relate to urban space. Third, the book describes and exemplifies first-rate scholarship. The text describes the methodologies and challenges of historical inquiry. The book contains excellent, informative appendixes, extensive and enriching notes, a thorough bibliography, and a detailed index. Given its various assets, this volume should appeal to scholars in various fields, and should find a welcome place in many academic libraries.”

—D. Sachs, Choice



The Italian Piazza Transformed makes an extremely valuable empirical advance in Italian urban studies. Marina’s careful reconstruction, through historical texts and site surveys, of the development of . . . important Parmesan sites places their study on new foundations. She also offers a model of how open space in an urban fabric can be rigorously studied. One can only hope others will follow the stimulating lead Marina pioneers in this book.”

—Maureen C. Miller, Renaissance Quarterly



“Marina’s highly developed method of processing, analyzing, and organizing disparate spatial, historical, and representational systems not only makes an important contribution to contemporary debates about urban design, but would also have been immediately recognized and greatly appreciated by her medieval forebears.”

—Niall Atkinson, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians



“In this splendidly illustrated, intelligently designed, and elegantly written book, Areli Marina establishes herself as a leading new voice in medieval Italian urbanistic studies.”

—Gary Radke, Speculum

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Descrizione libro Pennsylvania State University Press, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. During the long thirteenth century, the cities of northern Italy engendered a vital and distinctive civic culture despite constant political upheaval. In The Italian Piazza Transformed, Areli Marina examines the radical transformation of Parma s urban center in this tumultuous period by reconstructing the city s two most significant public spaces: its cathedral and communal squares. Treating the space of these piazzas as attentively as the buildings that shape their perimeters, she documents and discusses the evolution of each site from 1196, tracing their construction by opposing political factions within the city s ruling elite. By the early fourteenth century, Parma s patrons and builders had imposed strict geometric order on formerly inchoate sites, achieving a formal coherence attained by few other cities. Moreover, Marina establishes that the piazzas orderly contours, dramatic open spaces, and monumental buildings were more than grand backdrops to civic ritual. Parma s squares were also agents in the production of the city-state s mechanisms of control. They deployed brick, marble, and mortar according to both ancient Roman and contemporary courtly modes to create a physical embodiment of the modern, syncretic authority of the city s leaders. By weaving together traditional formal and iconographic approaches with newer concepts of the symbolic, social, and political meanings of urban space, Marina reframes the complex relationship between late medieval Italy s civic culture and the carefully crafted piazzas from which it emerged. Codice libro della libreria AAR9780271050706

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Descrizione libro Pennsylvania State University Press, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. During the long thirteenth century, the cities of northern Italy engendered a vital and distinctive civic culture despite constant political upheaval. In The Italian Piazza Transformed, Areli Marina examines the radical transformation of Parma s urban center in this tumultuous period by reconstructing the city s two most significant public spaces: its cathedral and communal squares. Treating the space of these piazzas as attentively as the buildings that shape their perimeters, she documents and discusses the evolution of each site from 1196, tracing their construction by opposing political factions within the city s ruling elite. By the early fourteenth century, Parma s patrons and builders had imposed strict geometric order on formerly inchoate sites, achieving a formal coherence attained by few other cities. Moreover, Marina establishes that the piazzas orderly contours, dramatic open spaces, and monumental buildings were more than grand backdrops to civic ritual. Parma s squares were also agents in the production of the city-state s mechanisms of control. They deployed brick, marble, and mortar according to both ancient Roman and contemporary courtly modes to create a physical embodiment of the modern, syncretic authority of the city s leaders. By weaving together traditional formal and iconographic approaches with newer concepts of the symbolic, social, and political meanings of urban space, Marina reframes the complex relationship between late medieval Italy s civic culture and the carefully crafted piazzas from which it emerged. Codice libro della libreria AAR9780271050706

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