Sunday, 26 December 2010

Piazza Vecchia, Bergamo



Alain Delon in the section William Wilson in the film 'Histoites Extraordinaires' (1968)

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Piazza del Popolo, Rome 15 December 2010










Disturbances following the vote of confidence in the government which Silvio Berlusconi won by 314 to 311.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Roma Capitale 2








The 1870 breach in the wall of Rome at Porta Pia recreated at the Circus Maximus in commemoration of the sesquicentenary of the Italian armed forces 4 November 2010

Monday, 20 September 2010

Roma Capitale 1870-2010


Commemorating the end of papal control of Rome and the city's status as capital of Italy with the breach in the walls on 20 September 1870 (the site at the Porta Pia here captured by Captain James Douglass Kennedy at 11.40 am 13 March 1891)

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Piazzale Porto, Acciaroli: Funeral of Angelo Vassallo 10 September 2010




The funeral, attended by six thousand mourners , of the Mayor of Pollica, Angelo Vassallo assasinated by criminal underworld hitmen. Vassallo was vice-president of the CittaSlow or slow city movement.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Festa in Piazza: The Tree of Wooden Clogs



A scene from Ermanno Olmi's film "L'Albero degli Zoccoli (1978) set in the countryside around Bergamo

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Piazza Duomo, Messina 15 August 2007



Messina celebrates Ferragosto, the feast of the Assumptio of the Virgin, with the procession of the 'Vara' and shouts of 'Viva Maria!'

Monday, 9 August 2010

Plätze in Venedig - “Piazze” a Venezia




A summer school exploring the campi of Venice will be taking place between 4-18 September 2010. Information here

Monday, 2 August 2010

Pier Paolo Pasolini: La sequenza del fiore di carta



Pasolini's contribution to the 1969 film anthology Love and Anger Amore e Rabbia begins in Piazza della Repubblica, Rome

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS: The Postmodern Palimpsest: Narrating Contemporary Rome




The Postmodern Palimpsest: Narrating Contemporary Rome

«What better place to await the end, to see if everything ceases or not?»

- Gore Vidal, in Roma

Keynote Speakers: Eamonn Canniffe (Manchester School of Architecture)

& Dr. John David Rhodes (Sussex University)

Saturday 26th February 2011, University of Warwick

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Rome of Federico Fellini’s eponymous film (1972), with suffocating traffic passing dazzling locations, and police brutality in enchanting piazzas; the Rome of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Mamma Roma (1962), with long tracks down shadowed streets and lively social gatherings masking potential violence: these images, though informed by converse ideologies, offer overlapping fragments of Rome’s ‘imagined geography’. The closing shots of Roma linger on dozens of mopeds fading into the distant black as they abandon the historical centre for an undefined urban sprawl. The sprawl, the latest metamorphosis of Rome, overlaps with historical images of the capital to form a shapeless identity, a fragmentary postmodernity.

Rome is privileged in its relationship with Western history, constructed over layer after layer, from Roman to Fascist ‘empires’: in this sense the city constitutes the urban palimpsest, with a deliberate void at the end. Rome is going through a time of change that needs to be theoretically framed: this conference aims to provide this through a multidisciplinary approach aiming to link together both urban and architectural analyses, and literary and cinematic ones. The classical palimpsest and the ‘modern’ Rome are overlapping with manifestations of the city’s postmodernity, such as the controversial new museum for the Ara Pacis (2006), the recent museum for contemporary art Maxxi (2010) and, in cinema and literature, ‘New Italian Epic’ depictions such as Il divo and Romanzo criminale. These images affirm a progression beyond Fellini and Pasolini’s ‘modernity’, though one with strikingly little critical attention. They aim to probe the above citation of Vidal, his conception of ‘the end’, and tentatively paint this as a movement towards post-history.

This conference will seek to address the following questions:

- Where present and past intersect and overlap synchronically, is it still possible to represent ‘reality’, or possible only to capture fragments of it?

- Can we still perceive the city as a ‘master narrative’, or do we need to challenge the notion of one city?

- How can the city be perceived in relation to Italian and to European landscapes?

- How does the image of Rome relate to contemporary global cities?

- How is this historical shift represented in global cultural products, and how do they redefine our perception?

Research methodologies are unlimited (urban & architectural studies, cultural theory, photographic and film studies, (art) history, comparative literature and anthropology etc.), and papers will be welcomed which engage with the city or with its representation.

Titles and abstracts (maximum of 300 words) for proposed papers should be sent in either English or Italian to the conference organizers, Dominic Holdaway (D.F.G.Holdaway@warwick.ac.uk) and Filippo Trentin (F.Trentin@warwick.ac.uk), by 30th September 2010.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples 17 July 2009



Giuseppe Verdi's Va Pensiero conducted by Antonio Pappano

Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Postmodern Palimpsest: Narrating Contemporary Rome

Eamonn Canniffe has been invited to give a keynote lecture at the above titled conference organised by Dominic Holdaway and Filippo Trentin to be held at the University of Warwick in February 2011








The Postmodern Palimpsest: Narrating Contemporary Rome



«What better place to await the end, to see if everything ceases or not?»



- Gore Vidal, in Roma



The city of Rome has always been privileged in its relationship with Western history: constructed over layer upon layer, from Roman to Fascist empires, with corresponding iconic images. More recently, films by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Federico Fellini have contributed to capturing the changes modern Rome underwent, with suffocating traffic passing dazzling locations, long tracks down shadowed streets and lively social gatherings masking potential violence. These images have been qualified as embodying ‘modern’ Rome. The closing shots of Fellini’s Roma (1972) linger on dozens of mopeds fading into the distant black as they abandon the historical centre for an undefined urban sprawl. The sprawl, the latest metamorphosis of Rome, overlaps with historical images of the capital to form a shapeless identity, a fragmentary postmodernity.



This conference, which will take place at the University of Warwick in February 2011, aims to shed light on contemporary imagined geographies of Rome: it will investigate the void at the end of Roman palimpsest, addressing the following questions:



- Where present and past intersect and overlap synchronically, is it still possible to represent ‘reality’, or possible only to capture fragments of it?



- Can we still perceive the city as a ‘master narrative’, or do we need to challenge the notion of one city?



- How can the city be perceived in relation to Italian and to European landscapes?



- How does the image of Rome relate to contemporary global cities?



- How is this historical shift represented in global cultural products, and how do they redefine our perception?



The interdisciplinary nature of this event is acutely represented by its two keynote speakers: Eamonn Canniffe (Manchester School of Architecture; author of The Politics of the Piazza: the history and meaning of the Italian square) and Dr. John David Rhodes (Literature and Visual Culture, Sussex; author of Stupendous Miserable City: Pasolini’s Rome).



More details to follow.



Monday, 24 May 2010

Piazza Duomo, Milan 22 May 2010







Inter Milan fans celebrate their team's 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in Madrid

Thursday, 13 May 2010

"This is a wonderful book"




This is a wonderful book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has traveled to Italy or would like to, to anyone interested in Italy in general and it’s fabled sense of la dolce vita, and to anyone interested in cities, history, architecture, art or the impact of technology on social life. Canniffe provides an excellent history of the political meaning of the Italian piazza from the Roman forum to the postmodern. The book reflects years of research transformed into a cohesive well-written text filled with beautiful photographs of Italian piazzas. The authors enthusiasm for and extensive direct experience in piazzas throughout Italy is something that all readers will appreciate, regardless of the particular interests that bring them to the book.
Rating: 5 / 5


Professor David Vogler of Wheaton College (Norton, MA) was kind enough to post the above comment on THE POLITICS OF THE PIAZZA here. David used the book in his paper Can you tell me where a person can go to find a decent piazza in this town? An Italian piazza and quality of life which he allowed me to publish here

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Canaletto: Piazza San Marco toward San Geminiano (1726-28)




On this politically difficult day Piazza San Marco presents a vision of enduring civil values from the walls of Buckingham Palace

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Protests in Roman Piazze: 7 May 2010




Neo- Fascists in Piazza della Repubblica






Anti-Fascists in Piazza Santissimi Apostoli

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Piazza della Signoria, Florence 28 April 2010



A protest in defence of the Maggio Musicale led by Zubin Mehta

Monday, 19 April 2010

Piazza San Giovanni, Turin


Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist - Holy Shroud Chapel in Turin

Piazza San Giovanni, the cathedral square of Turin is currently hosting the 'ostensione' or showing of the Shroud of Turin. More information here

Traditionally the Shroud was housed in Guarino Guarini's chapel which links the Cathedral and the Palazzo Reale. The Chapel of the Holy Shroud is currently undergoing a significant restoration on which there is more information here

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Aldo Rossi (1931-97): The Architecture of the City






First published as L' Architettura della Citta in 1966

A précis by Nima Dibazar prepared for the Architecture + Urbanism blog

The Evolution of Urban Artifacts
In further study of urban development, Rossi emphasized on Bernoulli’s thesis. Bernoulli focuses on two principal issues that he believes constitute a strong constraint on urban development. The first concerns not only the negative character of private property ownership but also the harmful consequences of its extreme division; the second sheds light on the historical reasons for this situation and its consequences after a certain point for the form of the city.
Division of the urban land initiated from French revolution in 1789, when the large estates of the aristocracy and the clergy were sold to themiddle class and to farmers. The monopoly on land was transformed into private ownership; land became a remarkable entity like anything else. In other cities, this phenomenon occurred with similar consequences. In Germany, Berlin's financial law of 1808 permitted government land to be used to liquidate government debts and to be transformed to private ownership.
Rossi criticized Bernoulli's explanation and believed the breaking up of the land promoted city development. The division of the great states, expropriations, and the formation of a new land registry system were all necessary economic phases in the evolution of western cities and what varies from city to city is the political context in which this process came about.

The Urban Scale
The change caused by industry is characterized historically in three phases:
The first phase and therefore the origin of the transformation of the city, is marked by the destruction of the fundamental structure of the medieval city, which was based on the identity between the place of work and the place of residence, both being within the same building. In this way began the end of the domestic economy as a unified entity of production and consumption. Workers' housing, mass housing, and rental housing appeared; only at this point the housing problem emerged as an urban and social problem.
The second phase was characterized by a progressive expansion of industrialization. It created a separation of house and work place. Parallel to this evolution was the separation between the work places that produced merchandise and those that did not. Production and administration were distinguished and the division of labor in its most precise meaning began. The central administration of an industrial complex tried to have banking, administration, and insurance as neighbors rather than production places and this concentration came about in the center of the city.
The third phase of the city's transformation began with the development of means of individual transportation and the full efficiency of all public transformation to the work place. The citizen moved into any part of the territory he wished, giving rise to the phenomenon of the commuter.
In the sense of new urban scale, it is conceivable that a change in scale modifies an urban artifact in some way, but it does not change its quality.



Primary Elements and the Concept of Areas
The theory of Zoning was first advanced scientifically in 1923 by Robert Park and Ernest Burgess with respect to the city of Chicago. In the study of Chicago, zoning came to be defined as the tendency of the city to be disposed in concentric residential districts around either a central business district or a governmental core. In this description of this city, Burgess indicates a series of concentric zones which corresponded to well-defined functions.

Rossi’s metaphor of the city as a giant artifact
This giant house comes into being through a double process. One process is that of production, in the sense of the city as a work of manufacture (manufatto), an object literally made by the hands of men; the second process is that of time, which ultimately produces an autonomous artifact.

The Structure of Urban Artifacts
Description of the city is concerned with its form and the architecture of the city summarizes the city’s form and from this form we can consider the city’s problems.
Camillo Sitte in his research for the laws of the construction of the city took full account of the “beauty” of the urban scheme. “We have three major methods of city planning. The major ones are the gridiron system, the radial system and the triangular system. All three are concerned exclusively with the arrangement of street patterns. A network of streets always serves the purpose of communication, never of art, since it can never be grasped as a whole except in a plan of it.”

Monuments and the Theory of Permanences
The theory of permanences is in some respects related to the hypothesis of the city as a man-made object. One must remember that the differences between past and future, in large measure reflect the fact that the past is partly being experienced now, and this may be the means to give permanences: they are a past that we are still experiencing.
Poete presents a historical theory centred on the phenomenon of the “persistence”. These persistences are revealed through monuments, the physical sign of the past, as well as through the persistence of a city’s basic layout and plans. Cities tend to remain on their axes of development, maintaining the position of their original layout and growing according to the direction and meaning of their older artefacts.
Persistence in an urban artefact often causes it to become identified as a monument. A monument’s persistence or permanence is a result of its capacity to constitute the city, its history and art, its being and memory. In reality, we frequently continue to appreciate elements whose function has been lost over time; the value of these artefacts often resides solely in their form, which is integral to the general form of the city.



The collective memory
One can say that the city itself is the collective memory of its people, and like memory it is associated with objects and places. The city is the locus of the collective memory. The value of history seen as collective memory is that it helps us to grasp the significance of the urban structure, its individuality, and its architecture which is the form of individuality.

video

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Luisa Giordano: Virtual Tour of Lombard Piazze

This article by Luisa Giordano of the University of Pavia appeared in the newsletter of the European Architectural History Network No.1 2010
















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