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Italy Travel Guide

Neoclassicism


Neoclassical architecture arises from the Late Baroque style or less known as Rococo, characterized by the opulence of ornamentation. Reviving the Classical architecture, the neoclassical style derived wants to return to the Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and to extend the Renaissance architecture which replaced the contrast between light and dark (chiaroscuro) by blank walls and kept the identity of its parts separated. It lasted around a century (1750s – 1850s)

Mainly characterized by the simplicity of its geometric forms, the use of columns, Greek and Romans details, plus the preference for blank walls, the neoclassicism is a robust international architecture, known academically as the best Roman model and is symbolized by the Old Museum in Berlin, Sir John Soane’s Bank of England in London and the “Capitol” in Washington, DC. Italy couldn’t remain oblivious to this new movement that gained influence in England, France and spread to Germany, Russia and Spain.

Probably, the greatest influence during the neoclassicism was given by the architecture of Andrea Palladio with the masterpiece the Villa Capra “La Rotonda”, located outside Vicenza, northern Italy. It is considered a World Heritage Site also known as La Rotonda, Villa Rotunda and Villa Almerico-Capra. The neoclassical architecture made a discovery of the genuine Rome interior, employing flatter, lighter motifs, sculpted in low frieze-like relief, medallions, vases or busts. The representative masterpieces in Italy include: the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Pedrocchi Café in Padua, Canova Temple in Posagno, Luigi Cagnola’s Arco della Pace, the San Carlo Theatre and the church of San Francesco di Paolo in Naples, Villa Melzi on Lake Como, the Palazzo Tarsis and the Palazzo Belgiojoso in Milan, The Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, The Gran Madre di Dio Church in Turin and the Cistemone in Livorno.

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