Department of History, Representation and Restoration of Architecture, Sapienza University of Rome, 15-16 September 2021
In the global panorama, the Mediterranean area occupies a focal position due to the presence of numerous cultures and the intensity of exchanges between them. This environment was characterized by a great density and absolute immediacy of relations, as a direct consequence of solid commercial networks and lively political dynamics. Since the Middle Ages, despite the continuous alternation of periods of war and peace, a peculiarity of these exchanges was the overcoming of linguistic and religious barriers. The different cultures of the Christian and Islamic world sharing the Mediterranean, had the opportunity to get to know each other and exchange know-hows in numerous fields including agriculture, trade, craftsmanship and artistic production. Architecture was one of the main fields in which Mediterranean exchanges played a fundamental role.
From the first flashes of humanistic culture, Italy’s central position in the architectural field was constantly confirmed and consolidated, reaching its peak with the advent of the Baroque. The Italian seventeenth-century architecture, characterized by an extraordinary ability to engage the visitor’s gaze and senses, quickly expanded its area of influence, crossing rapidly the national borders. The forms of the Italian Baroque penetrated not only into the neighbouring cultures such as France, Croatia or the Maltese archipelago, but also reached far more distant contexts such as Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Egypt. Starting from Rome, these forms made an extraordinary network of new centralities such as Venice, Milan, Turin, Naples, Lecce, Sicily and so on, appearing in a few decades. Each of these centres immediately assumed a distinctive and peculiar character. So it was also for the network of new centralities that were created around the Mediterranean basin, in constant contact with Italian cities and at the same time with each other. In the eighteenth century, the map of the Mediterranean presented numerous centres with a dense traffic of people, ideas, forms and techniques.
This conference aims to investigate the circulation, dissemination, and appropriation of architectural novelties of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, placing relations with Italy at the centre of attention and broadening the gaze over the entire Mediterranean. This conference is the result of a research project conducted by Alper Metin and Rossana Ravesi on the presence of Italian workers in the Ottoman Empire and in Spain of the same centuries.