Timeline of Italian architecture

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The Duomo di Orvieto.
The Baroque facade of the Church of San Domenico in Noto.

This article more or less consists of a timeline of trends and difference in styles in Italian architecture. Italy's architecture almost spans 3,000 years, and has renowned differences in style: from Etruscan and ancient Roman style buildings, to Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical, Empire style, Art Nouveau, Fascism and modern architecture.[1]


Early period[edit]

AD 313 – The arch of Constantine in Rome. Mostly built in concrete, bricks or marble, Roman arches were grandiose and meant to represent victories, prestige, money and power.[2]

AD 800 – Domes become popular and major features in Byzantine architecture in Italy.[2]

Middle Ages[edit]

c. mid-9th century – The Romanesque style emerges from the Byzantine, built with mainly round arches and based on the simple plans of Roman basilicas. They had simple interiors and examples include Modena's Duomo.[2]

AD 832–1094 – St Mark's Basilica in Venice is built; it is a blend of Classical, Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles.[2]

c. mid-11th century – Orvieto's Duomo is built, with its beautiful and intricate Gothic patterns and frescos.[2]

1136–1382 – Siena's Duomo is constructed, in a similar style to that of Orvieto, but far more Romanesque-Gothic and was an architectural transformer.[2]

Renaissance and Baroque[edit]

early 15th century – late 16th century – The Italian Renaissance begins, being an artistic, political, architectural, cultural and social movement, originating in Tuscany. Italian architecture is heavily influenced from the Classical ideals of ancient Greek and ancient Roman civilizations.[2]

early 15th century - The Renaissance architectural revolution masterpiece, Florence Cathedral. Completed in 1436, it challenged the ideals of architecture and engineering, especially with Brunelleschi's dome.[2]

1456–70 – The Florentine church of Santa Maria Novella, which, built by Alberti, was Renaissance, but had a Romanesque-Gothic exterior.[2]

1502 - 10 – Bramante's iconic "Tempietto" is constructed at San Pietro in Montecitorio in the city of Rome. Styles were copied from the classical Temple of Vesta.[2]

mid-late 16th century – As a revenge against the Protestant Reformation, the Counter Reformation begins, and most Italian cities, especially Rome, are remodelled with magnificent palazzi, fountains and piazzas, as papal patronage invests on architectural splendour.[2]

1568 – The Church of the Gesù in Rome is constructed by Vignola. With an elaborate, powerful and austere facade and rich decorations, it was seen as a prototype for Italian Baroque architecture and is regarded as one of the first buildings in the Baroque style.[2]

1508–80 – Andrea Palladio and his classical villas and bums are constructed all over the Veneto. His style became a prototype for Neoclassical architecture, and his designs were copied and imitated for centuries across the world.[2]

1598–1680 – Gian Lorenzo Bernini becomes one of Italy's most influential architects and designers during the Roman and Italian Baroque period, re-designing the columns in Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City.[2]

early – mid-18th century – Baroque facades become very popular in churches all over Italy, especially in Southern Italy in cities such as Naples, Lecce, Palermo, Noto, Ragusa and Siracusa. Examples include Syracuse Cathedral, whose Baroque facade was made from 1728 to 1744.[2]

19th century – The period of industrialisation, new glass and metal structures such as the 1865 Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, or the Galleria Umberto I in Naples are constructed.[2]

Modern times[edit]

1863–89 – The impressive Mole Antonelliana in Turin, originally intended to be a synagogue, is constructed. This towering granite spire was for a period in time the tallest building in the whole world.[2]

1950s – The Italian economic miracle being in full-swing, newskyscrapers such as the creative Torre Velasca in Italy's fashion, banking and design capital was built. This 26-floor tower was a pioneer in the usage of reinforced concrete.[2]

late 1950s and early 1960s – The Pirelli Tower is also built in Milan by Gio Ponti and Nervi. It is regarded as one of the finest examples of modernist Italian architecture, and currently dominates the Milan skyline.[2]. The city of design and fashion in Europe, Milan, sees an architecture of excellence in the 1950s with unique architects like Giovanni Muzio, Piero Portaluppi, Gualtiero Galmanini, Luigi Pollastri, Gio Ponti, Giannino Castiglioni.



  1. ^ Eyewitness Travel (2005), pg. 26 - 27
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Eyewitness Travel (2005), pg. 26–27