Cover image for A history of Venetian architecture
A history of Venetian architecture
Concina, Ennio.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Storia dell'architettura di Venezia. English
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
356 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA1121.V4 C65613 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The history of Venetian architecture is no less remarkable than the history of the city itself. Ennio Concina's comprehensive survey draws on extensive original research on the cultural history of Venice to offer fresh insights and an energetic approach to the architecture. Beginning with the traces of classical activity found in the territory that became ducal Venice, through its establishment as an urba magna in the Byzantine age, and the architectural glories of the Renaissance and Baroque city, Concina discusses the influence of Venice's extraordinary position in history and geography on the architectural styles to be found there. He overturns many long established theories on the development of the lagoon city, and discusses the work of many of history's most famous architects--Sansovino, Sanmicheli, Palladio, Longhena--this brings the story up to date with an examination of the twentieth-century's attempts to expand the economy, and preserve the city's heritage.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Concina, a lecturer on Byzantine art at the University of Venice, has written widely in Italian on Venice and its architecture. So it comes as no surprise that his first title released in English on Venetian architecture is a comprehensive survey. Beginning with sixth-century churches, he follows Venetian architecture through the Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods, concluding with 20th-century structures in the city's outlying areas. Concina is most involving when he leaves the well-known examples of Christian architecture, such as San Marco, to examine other types of buildings. In addition to private architecture (he begins his consideration with the Venetian palazzi in the Middle Ages), he discusses the largely residential character of synagogue architecture in the city's Jewish ghetto. Although he presents some general history, he treats architecture as instances of stylistic and iconographic traditions, paying much less regard to pragmatic or social concerns. When he does address utilitarian issues‘the location of wellheads at the center of courtyards, he notes, reflected the Venetians' concern with hygiene‘the book comes alive. While there are numerous illustrations, the pictures do not make up for the text, which is both stiff and convoluted ("Significantly, it was thanks to the Manin‘the aristocratic family which had tried to purchase one of the two main palazzi of Baroque Venice, Ca' Bon-Rezzonico, and of which the last doge of Venice was a member‘that the Carmelite Pozzo put in an appearance in the new church of the Jesuits, which had been under construction since 1715"). (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Venetian architecture is a vast and complex field, and this book deals not only with everything from its origins in the mists of late antiquity down to the present day, but also with questions of the attitudes and purpose that lay behind it. The result is a dense and detailed work somewhat reminiscent of the lecture notes of an old and experienced professor, full of personal musings and reflections; often more a meditation on Venetian architecture than a presentation of facts, which are perhaps more easily accessible in a good guide book. Though it offers an account of the main monuments and dates, it often goes in some detail into little-known and out-of-the-way monuments. How many lovers of Venice are familiar with the little church of La Maddalena? For those who feel that they know Venice well, it will challenge their visual memory, and it will stimulate Venetian readers who can easily walk over to look at some things again. Readers at a distance will have to let things wash over them unchecked. Those who love Venice but have spent little time there will have to be content with following the main argument with the help of the numerous but unnumbered illustrations. These also lack references in the text, obliging one to rely on the excellent indexes, which also help those who wish to know more to find the relevant literature. In other words, an excellent broad survey of the present state of knowledge about the physical and visual aspects of Venice, and how they came about. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. G. Knox; emeritus, University of British Columbia

Table of Contents

1 NeptuneÆs Walls: the myths of the origins
2 Byzantine, ducal and communal Venice
3 Venice and the Gothic
4 Renovatio marciana: the early Renaissance
5 The new magnificence: the cinquecento
6 Baroque Venice: the age of Baldassar Longhena
7 the eighteenth century: anti-Baroque polemics, the æstil venezianoÆ and innovation
8 Architecture and the contemporary city