Monumental Urban Form in the Late Medieval Italian Commune: Loggias and the Mercanzie of Bologna and Siena

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Abstract:

The loggias associated with the institutions of the Mercanzia in Bologna and Siena are splendid examples of the new kind of monument of the Italian urban revival of the second half of the 14th century. The conditions that produced the new monumentality in the last period of republican administration of these two central Italian communes are here given a new interpretation. The weakness of the Bolognese and Sienese Mercanzie at the very moment of the construction of their monumental loggias appears problematical for the equation between architecture and its patrons, but it is in fact this very weakness that makes the new architecture possible: the loggias, situated in centrally-located buildings which dominate their settings, celebrate the powerful city first and the weakened Mercanzia second.

Keywords: Architecture; Italy (Bologna); Italy (Siena); Merchants; Monuments; Politics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1477-4658.00274

Publication date: September 1, 1998

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