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The Gubbio Papers: historic centers in the age of the economic miracle

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World War II is over. Italy is radically transformed with new modes of production and consumption, of thinking and dreaming, of living the present, remembering the past, and projecting the future. Here is the end of an 'old' archaic Italy, and the beginning of a 'modern' one, which rethinks its own national identity on the basis of its 'Atlantic' collocation and Marshallized economy - but also as resistance to an 'Americanization' of its culture. An emblematic episode in this reconstruction of Italy is the discussion, opened by the Gubbio Papers in the early 1960s, on the ­'management' of Italy's artistic 'patrimony'. The restoration of Italy's historic centers, aimed at avoiding American urban sprawl and the culture of US neo-capitalism, engenders, however, new and more peculiar problems - last but not the least the 'museumification' of both Italy's culture and its past. This article frames the Gubbio 'solution' within the larger contemporary debate concerning the models of economic and cultural development that should be deployed in Italy's 'reconstruction'.

Keywords: Americanism; Urban planning; economic miracle; restoration; ricostruzione,; symbolic space

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Duke University

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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