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Art and Art History (Pomona)

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Genoa, Strada Nuova, Italy, Italian Renaissance, architecture, urban planning, residential palace street, linear piazza


Sixteenth-century Genoa produced a distinctively new type of urban space in the Strada Nuova (or, since 1882, the Via Garibaldi)—the residential palace street or linear piazza—designed to legitimize and enhance the authority of a ruling elite.¹ Laid out in 1550-51 and built between 1558 and 1591, the Strada Nuova (Fig. 1), when taken as a whole, represents two significant themes for the history of Genoa and the interpretation of Renaissance cities. First, this major example of Italian Renaissance architecture and urban planning was conceived, and indeed, functioned as a classical stagelike space for the old nobility, who governed and controlled the tightly restrictive Genoese aristocratic republic of 1528.² This scenographic urban enclave proclaimed the exclusive social, economic, political, and ceremonial position of the old noble families who commissioned ostentatiously rich, decorated palaces along the Strada Nuova's central, monumental perspective axis (Figs. 1, 19, 23). As such, the Strada Nuova became the major public presentation space for the regime these families led.


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© 1997 George Gorse

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