The Renaissance Perfected: Architecture, Spectacle, and Tourism in Fascist Italy
Mussolini&’s bold claims upon the monuments and rhetoric of ancient Rome have been the subject of a number of recent books. D. Medina Lasansky shows us a much less familiar side of the cultural politics of Italian Fascism, tracing its wide-ranging efforts to adapt the nation&’s medieval and Renaissance heritage to satisfy the regime&’s programs of national regeneration. Anyone acquainted with the beauties of Tuscany will be surprised to learn that architects, planners, and administrators working within Fascist programs fabricated much of what today&’s tourists admire as authentic. Public squares, town halls, palaces, gardens, and civic rituals (including the famed Palio of Siena) were all &“restored&” to suit a vision of the past shaped by Fascist notions of virile power, social order, and national achievement in the arts. Ultimately, Lasansky forces readers to question long-standing assumptions about the Renaissance even as she expands the parameters of what constitutes Fascist culture.
The arguments in The Renaissance Perfected are based in fresh archival evidence and a rich collection of illustrations, many reproduced for the first time, ranging from photographs and architectural drawings to tourist posters and film stills. Lasansky&’s groundbreaking book will be essential reading for students of medieval, Renaissance, and twentieth-century Italy as well as all those concerned with visual culture, architectural preservation, heritage studies, and tourism studies.
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