CITING THE RINCHIERA: THE POLITICS OF PLACE AND PUBLIC ADDRESS IN TRECENTO FLORENCE
Author: Milner, Stephen J.
Source: Italian Studies, Volume 55, 2000 , pp. 53-82(30)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:The intention of this article is to study the significance of the raised platform, or ringhiera, of the Palazzo Pubblico in Florence as both an architectural and symbolic construct, and to examine how its physical situation and literary citation imagined it as the locus of legitimation in the context of continued political struggle within the nascent popular commune of the Trecento. The premise of the argument is that the consideration of the sociology of space provides an important tool in understanding the cultural construction of community, the socio-political configuration of power relations, the origins and maintenance of social inequality, and the possibilities for resistance. In assuming this perspective, the ringhiera of the Florentine Palazzo Pubblico is understood as neither an inert material place within and around which communal rituals and social relations revolved, nor a symbolic space which determined such activity. Rather, it is conceived as an active component in the continual redescription of ideological boundaries. An examination of the platform's liminality, therefore, is necessary, for whilst conferring legitimacy upon its occupants during periods of civic peace, it was the site where anxiety concerning the permanency of the prevailing political order was most clearly evidenced in times of political upheaval.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2000-01-01