The Architecture of Modern Italy: Vol. 2: Visions of Utopia, 1900-Present, Volume 2

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Princeton Archit.Press, Sep 9, 2005 - Architecture - 280 pages
“Modern Italy”may sound like an oxymoron. For Western civilization,Italian culture represents the classical past and the continuity of canonical tradition,while modernity is understood in contrary terms of rupture and rapid innovation. Charting the evolution of a culture renowned for its historical past into the 10 modern era challenges our understanding of both the resilience of tradition and the elasticity of modernity. We have a tendency when imagining Italy to look to a rather distant and definitely premodern setting. The ancient forum, medieval cloisters,baroque piazzas,and papal palaces constitute our ideal itinerary of Italian civilization. The Campo of Siena,Saint Peter’s,all of Venice and San Gimignano satisfy us with their seemingly unbroken panoramas onto historical moments untouched by time;but elsewhere modern intrusions alter and obstruct the view to the landscapes of our expectations. As seasonal tourist or seasoned historian,we edit the encroachments time and change have wrought on our image of Italy. The learning of history is always a complex task,one that in the Italian environment is complicated by the changes wrought everywhere over the past 250 years. Culture on the peninsula continues to evolve with characteristic vibrancy. Italy is not a museum. To think of it as such—as a disorganized yet phenomenally rich museum unchanging in its exhibits—is to misunderstand the nature of the Italian cultural condition and the writing of history itself.

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About the author (2005)

Terry Kirk is a professor of architectural history at the American University of Rome.

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