For ancient Italy, see Latin literature.
At the end of the 13th century a literature in Italian vernacular emerged. A crucial prerequisite was the brilliant court of German-Roman emperor Frederick II with artists and poets from both the east and the west; there were volatile Provencal troubadours and Jewish and Arab scandals. A poem on Sicilian dialect flourished; the Sicilian court poets cultivated most classical genres and also created their own poetry form, the sonnet.
- Countryaah: Population and demographics of Italy, including population pyramid, density map, projection, data, and distribution.
Italian poetry penetrated north, and in Bologna and Florence the synthesis between the Italian vernacular and the Provencal troubadour poetry was completed. Il dolce style nuovo (‘the new sweet style’) became dominant at the end of the century. Just as in Troubadour poetry, Hovish love was described, but it also merged with Platonically colored ideas about the nature of love and the revelation of God. The bald who is thought to have created the new sweet style during the second half of the 13th century is Guido Guinizelli; his main successors are Guido Cavalcanti and Dante Alighieri.
With this literature, which received its most prominent expression in Dante’s “Divina Commedia” (“The Divine Comedy”) from the beginning of the 1300’s – a monumental representation of Christian theology and the medieval Italian political scene -, the Italian literary language was finally standardized. using the Tuscan dialect as a pattern. After Dante’s death, the tradition was continued and revitalized by his two most important literary heirs, Francesco Petrarca who, with his poems to the beloved Laura, is one of the greatest Italian love poets, and Giovanni Boccaccio, as in the short collection “Decameron” (1348-53; “Decamerone” “) Provided a colorful fresco of Italian society in the intersection between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
The 13th century appears with names such as Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio as the golden age of Italian literature. In the 15th century, the poetry resumed for the triumph of humanism brought forth by geniuses such as Leonardo da Vinci and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, supported by various northern Italian princely houses, mainly Medici.
In the circle around Lorenzo de ‘Medici in Florence was Angelo Poliziano, who with his unfinished “Stanze per la giostra” (1475; “Stances for the Tournament”) introduced the epic heroic poem, written on the versatile eight rime. Matteo Maria Boiardo, with his epic “Orlando innamorato” (‘The in love of Roland’, begun in 1476), gave yet another prominence on the wave of epic cycles that would emerge during the high renaissance of the 16th century. Ludovico Ariosto, like Boiardo, built on the popular stories of the Carolingian heroes in his “Orlando furioso” (final version 1532; “The Furious Roland”), while Torquato Tasso in “Gerusalemme liberata” (1580; “The liberated Jerusalem”) brought to life for the first crusade. In addition to these magnificent masterpieces, lyric was written by Lodovico Castelvetro and Vittoria Colonna, while the prose was cultivated by such diverse temperaments as the multifaceted goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini, the political strategist Niccolò Machiavelli and the heretical philosopher Giordano Bruno. Pietro Aretino, “the hostage of the princes,” was the leading satirist of the time.
During the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century, the most prominent writers were found in the ranks of scientists, e.g. Galileo Galilei, Lorenzo Magalotti and Giambattista Vico. With Giambattista Marino at the forefront, the Skalds played out the entire register of formal virtuosity. Within the movement that Marino initiated, so-called Marinism, it was not so much a matter of innovation as of reproduction according to established templates. A poet who went his own way during the 18th century was Pietro Metastasio, who wrote librettons, which were composed by almost all of the century’s opera composers and ended their days as imperial court poet in Vienna.
With the Enlightenment and the Napoleonic Wars, the first impulses came to il risorgimento (the “awakening”), the movement for the unification of the nation that would eventually come to fruition. The new philosophical, literary and political ideas were fueled by fearless journalists such as Giuseppe Baretti and Gasparo Gozzi and cosmopolitan writers such as Francesco Algarotti. Melchiorre Cesarotti translated Homer’s “Iliad” and paved the way for literary romance with his translation of “Ossian’s Songs”. Social criticism flourished in both Vittorio Alfieri’s classic tragedies about the fight against tyrants and Giuseppe Parini’s satirical notions of the northern Italian nobility, while Vincenzo Monti became one of the official skulls of the Napoleonic era.
The greatest poet during this revolving period was Ugo Foscolo. In the great poem “Dei sepolcri (” About tombs “) and the unfinished suite” Le Grazie “(” The Gratiers “), both from the first decade of the 19th century, Foscolo gave voice to the Italian national feeling and at the same time built a bridge between classicism and romance. This would then be followed by, inter alia, Giovanni Berchet, Massimo D’Azeglio, Luigi Settembrini, Aleardo Aleardi and others They were united by a national pathos that would have its chief expression in the immensely popular novelist Alessandro Manzoni, whose novel “I promessi sposi” (in the final version 1840; “The faithful”) became one of the starting points for modern Italian prose. The pessimistic poet Giacomo Leopardi also participated in the struggle for the National Liberation Agency.
The 1870-finally united nation-state could not conceal the diverse interests of the regions, nor the marked difference between the poor south and the prosperous and industrialized northern Italy. In protest of the romantic idiom, in the late 1800’s a naturalistic school emerged, the verism, which was primarily based on regional experience. Principal representatives Giovanni Verga and Luigi Capuana described the home province of Sicily.
At the same time, neoclassical poetry was created, mainly by the Nobel Laureate 1906 Giosuè Carducci, who emerged as the unified Italian national bald. However, the dominant poetic figure from the end of the century into the fascist era became Gabriele D’Annunzio. He produced himself in all literary genres and through his challenging personality also made his own life into a passionate poem. The literary movement with which he was mainly associated is the so-called decadentism which, in the ensuing French symbolists, combined sensualism and death metaphysics with a sophisticated aestheticism. The decadentists were followed by the twilight poets, (In crepuscolari), whose leading names were Guido Gozzano and Sergio Corazzini. D’Annunzio’s ideological counterpart was the philosopher Benedetto Croce, who in a series of books and in his own magazine La Critica worked for tolerance and liberal outlook; he could continue as the unofficial conscience of the nation under Mussolini.
The novelist Antonio Fogazzaro and the poet Giovanni Pascoli, who both appeared in the late 19th century, merged the veristical and regionalist tendency with the modernist. Modern women’s literature got its breakthrough with Sibilla Aleramo and “Una donna” (1906; “A woman’s life”). Italian modernism otherwise got its most original form in futurism, a movement that, with FT Marinetti in the leadership, attacked the stiffened conventions of art. The published futuristic manifesto in 1909 paid tribute to the technology of the new age. Marinetti and several of his generation mates eventually became absorbed by the fascist establishment and become conservative old men of the kind they themselves despised. Around Marinetti are the versatile writers and journalists Giovanni Papini and Aldo Palazzeschi.
Among the more productive writers during the fascist epoch are the Sardinian-born Grazia Deledda and the Sicilian playwright Luigi Pirandello (Nobel Laureates 1926 and 1934, respectively), who, in addition to his dramas, wrote hundreds of short stories, a genre that during the 20th century has been cultivated with considerable adoration of the Italian writers. The Italo Svevo resident of Trieste did not come to attention until later; his novel “La coscienza di Zeno” (1923; “The Confessions of Zeno”) was far ahead of its time. Much of the literary debate of the time was conducted in the journals that came out despite the censorship, e.g. Solaria and Letteratura, and the magazines have played a crucial role for the Italian literary public. Many writers chose inner exile during the years of fascism, and the so-called hermetic school is an expression of the distress of the dictatorship. Poets such as Eugenio Montale and Salvatore Quasimodo (Nobel laureates 1975 and 1959, respectively) and Giuseppe Ungaretti cultivated a word button, ascetic pure lyric in which a resigned pessimism came to fruition. Umberto Saba, who is one of the most influential lyricists of the 20th century, alongside these three canvases, adhered to traditional forms in his large collection “Il canzoniere” (“Songbook”) which began in the 1920’s and was revised and expanded. for several decades to come.
In the 1930’s and 1940’s, realistic Roman art began to emerge, characterized by the grim experiences of the Italian class community. Like the early verists, they seemed to follow regional lines. Writers such as Corrado Alvaro, Elio Vittorini, Cesare Pavese, Vitaliano Brancati and Vasco Pratolini described the hardships of the rural population. Foremost is Ignazio Silone, who went into exile to Switzerland and in his novel “Fontamara” (1930) described the oppressed land proletariat in the Abruzzi. These early neorealists, especially Vittorini and Pavese, diligently devoted themselves to introducing the American prose. An important critic and literary historian was the combative anti-fascist Giuseppe Antonio Borgese, who in the early 1930’s fled to the United States.
Thus, in the shadow of the dictatorship, the rich post-war literature was prepared. Neorealism became the dominant style direction; the war years with partisan struggles and black stock trading became a thankful topic for many storytellers. Beppe Fenoglio, Giuseppe Berto, Carlo Cassola and others has, with empathy, dictated this wear-and-tear stage in Italian history. Giorgio Bassani has contributed with the Jewish perspective together with Primo Levi, who has written a couple of shocking eyewitness accounts from the phases of the concentration camps. An account of the conditions of the southern Italian village population gave the painter and author Carlo Levi in his “Cristo si è fermato a Eboli” (1945; “Christ stayed in Eboli”). Elsa Morante and Natalia Ginzburg anticipated the women’s literature of the 1960’s and 1970’s with war depictions and further developed the language of realism.
Political involvement in the post-war literature was not least feared by the Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci, whose writings posthumously began to be published in 1948. He was one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party and imprisoned during the fascist regime. The party, PCI, organized many of the Italian intellectuals, and several prominent fiction writers belonged to the members.
One of the dominant authors and debaters was Alberto Moravia. He had his breakthrough as early as 1929 with the highly acclaimed novel “Gli indifferenti” (“The indifferent”), a study of the bourgeoisie’s alienation. After the war he soon came to occupy a distinctive position in literary life and produced a large number of novels, short stories and an extensive essay in various subjects for several decades.
The Italian writers have formed strong ties with the film arts and have often been active as screenwriters and film critics and in some cases even switched to making films themselves. Pier Paolo Pasolini debuted as a Friulian dialect poet during the war and then established himself as an Italian lyricist with, among other things. the poem collection “Le ceneri di Gramsci” (1957; “Gramscis ash”) and as a novelist with a couple of books on life in Rome’s slum. His films, like the books, raised combustible political and moral issues and often used the dialect as a means of style. The most accomplished dialect and language equilibrium is Carlo Emilio Gadda, who with the great novel “Quer pasticciaccio they grossed via Merulana” (“That awful mess on via Merulana”, 1957) came to influence the young avant-garde circles.
Several writers revolted against neorealism and the Communist Party’s dominance in the cultural debate during the 1950’s. Literary experiments in new directions were performed by Alberto Arbasino and Dino Buzzati. With his novels, which often appear as philosophical labs, Italo Calvino has meant a great deal to the modernization of the Italian novel and a release from its strong connection to the realistic traditions.
During the 1960’s, among other things, lyric’s hermetic and traditionalist orientation by a group of opposing young writers, Gruppo 63. This disparate collection, consisting of i. Umberto Eco, Nanni Balestrini, Edoardo Sanguineti and Elio Pagliarani, were especially interested in modern communication theories and experiments with the conditions of fiction. The group soon split, but the individual names still matter. Pagliarani has become the young lyric’s father of learning above others, while Eco, alongside a semiotics research effort in the 1980’s, has reached an international audience with two philosophically constructed crime novels.
During the 1960’s, many important works were created by, among other things, Calvino, Moravia, Bassani, Paolo Volponi and Ginzburg. One of the novel’s innovators is Leonardo Sciascia, one of Sicily’s many writers and also one of the mafia’s and the economic-political Freemason’s harshest critics. Sciascia, Moravia and Pasolini have sometimes been called “Italy’s three consciences”, and common to them was that they criticized social ill-treatment with great integrity and without regard to group loyalties.
Oriana Fallaci has created a new form of documentary novels, characterized by artistic consciousness. Barbara Alberti, Dacia Maraini and others has renewed the feminist novel. Even in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the older author generation with Moravia at the forefront was able to maintain its dominance over public conversation, but dissenting voices have been heard, e.g. Dario Bellezza, Antonio Tabucchi, Daniele Del Giudice, Gianni Celati, Paola Capriolo and Aldo Busi. The latter has successfully played the role of literary enfant terrible and, with its open homosexuality and its controversial contributions to the cultural debate, has provoked many readers and critics.
The latter lyric has been characterized by the interest in modern philosophical and linguistic theoretical debates, e.g. at Valentino Zeichen, Antonio Porta and Andrea Zanzotto, but nevertheless, the Italian poem still has a strong connection to the dialectal and the regional, the latter manifested in e.g. Albino Pierro’s tursitic poetry. This gives a hint that “la questione della lingua” (the language question) still has great relevance. Both in the struggle for national identity and in the emergence of a vernacular literature, the issue of language has been crucial, as has the dynamic contradiction between traditionalism and radicalism.
Of the generation born between the wars is also noticed Mario Rigoni Stern (1921–2008), who in his depiction of the war “Il sergente nella neve” returned to his own experiences during the Italian army corps winter retreat. Politically active journalist Miriam Mafai (1926–2012), who was a critical sympathizer of the party line at Partito Comunista Italiano, in her “Pane Nero” let a number of women talk about the difficult life just after the war – one of them Mussolini’s mistress. Lucio Mastronardi (1930–79) received a late renaissance with the novel “Il maestro di Vigevano”, about a small-town social change and new values. Significant postwar writers include Antonio Pennacchi (born 1950)), whose family was forcibly relocated to the extinct Pontine swamp, the subject of his novel “Canale Mussolini”. In his books he spans a wide political field, which is already visible in the title of his autobiography, “Il fasciocomunista”.
The amount of detective novels and thrillers is large in Italy as well as elsewhere, often with high current links. In that genre, Italy’s “Deck Queen” Laura Grimaldi (born 1928) in “Il sospetto” (Suspicion) as well as author duo Carlo Fruttero (1926–2012) and Franco Lucentini (1920–2002) have been successful in a wide range of joint books. The same goes for prosecutor Gianrico Carofiglio (born 1961), who debuted with the cover of “Testimone inconsapevole” and whose “Il passato é una terra straniera” borrowed the title from the famous first line of LP Hartley’s “The Go-between”.
The investigative journalist Fabrizo Gatti (born 1966) portrayed in “Bilal” the desperate attempt of North African emigrants to realize the dream of a human life on the other side of the Mediterranean. “Io non ho paura” by Niccolò Ammanti (born 1966), later filmed by Gabriele Salvatore is about the son – he is not afraid – who discovers that his parents have kidnapped and imprisoned a boy of the same age. Catholic social worker Michela Murgia (born 1972) from Sardinia portrayed in “Accabadora” the women on the island who helped the elderly and the sick to end their lives – the Sardinian title has been sworn to “The Anglo-Saxons”. Nicola Lagiola (born 1973) from Bari in Apulia hostages in “Riportando tutto a casa” (“The Return”) materialism and greed, commercialization and leveling media in today’s Italy. The family chronicle “Farewell Letter” by Valeria Parella (born 1974) juxtaposes love and politics, art and power, also there in a socially critical light.
The fearless Roberto Saviano (born 1979) revealed in the well-documented “Gomorrah” facts about Camorran, the Neapolitan mafia. The storyteller-gifted and stylish Silvia Avallone (born 1984) from Bologna received a breakthrough with the novel “Acciaio” (2010), about generation conflicts among those living in and around the steel mill in Piombino.
Drama and theater
For ancient Italy, see Roman theater.
The first serious dramatic attempts in post-ancient Italy are liturgical dramas in Latin, directly related to the festivities of the church year. The purely profane Italian performing arts originated in the revival of the Roman Saturnalis during the 700’s and 800’s. The lower priesthood and laymen settled between Christmas and New Year by parodying church ceremonies. In these so-called Libertates Decembris, the liturgical drama incorporated profane, sometimes purely comic elements. A corps of professional troubadours, jugglers, mimics and dancers soon grew. They cultivated, among other things. a dramatic genre – contrasto- an alternate song between, for example, a knight and a virgin around the theme of love, where the man expressed himself in Provencal and the woman spoke one of the Italian dialects. A contrasto from Sicily from about 1230–50 is the first preserved dramatic text in the Italian vernacular. The religious counterpart – lauda – often expresses experiences of mysticism. The Franciscan monk Jacopone da Todis lauda embodies in the dialogue between the body and the soul the dualism between the flesh and the spirit. A more theatrically developed form had the sacred rappententazione with biblical motifs, mainly erected in Rome and Tuscany in the mid-14th century.
The religious culture of the Middle Ages was succeeded by the imitations of the Hungarian Renaissance of antiquity, which also reflected in the theater world. Initially, experiments were performed in Latin to perform Plautus and Terentius comedies and Seneca’s tragedies, often performed on a variant of the medieval simultaneous scene. In Italian, Gian Giorgio Trissino wrote the tragedy “Sofonisba” (1524) in the Euripides sequel. Giovanni Rucellai had modeled for the tragedy “Rosmunda” (1516). Both dramas were primarily intended to be read. Later, several writers came to develop an antique-aesthetic aesthetic with demands on the three units in connection with Aristotle. The poetry of JC Scaliger from 1561 is the most important contribution to the discussion. The shepherd drama was represented early by Angelo Poliziano in “Favola d’Orfeo” (‘Dramat om Orfeus’, 1480). The genre with its five acts and its sounding verse reached its peak with Tasso’s “Aminta” (1573) and Battista Guarini’s “Il pastor fido” (1590; “The Faithful Shepherd”). In the first half of the 16th century, a literary comedy genre also flourished, which, under the influence of contemporary short story art, brought the dramatic conflict to recognizable Italian environments. At the same time, the characters got more individually drawn characters such as in Machiavelli’s “Mandragola” (1518) or in Pietro Aretino’s comedies. After ancient models, architect Andrea Palladio I created the first permanent indoor theater – Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, completed in 1585 by Vincenzo Scamozzi. The theater’s fixed stage décor, in the form of city streets behind the stage openings, later gave rise to the Baroque perspective scene. Teatro Farnese in Parma (erected in 1618 by GB
During the latter part of the 16th century and during the 17th century, Italian cultural life was characterized by the Counter-Reformation with its demand for strict moral principles. The plays of this time, including the learned, antiquarian commedia erudita, is characterized by a highly literary epigonery. The most vital theater form from the mid-1500’s and a few centuries onwards is the popular fun game commedia dell’arte. Despite its template design, this art form attracted, among other things, Carlo Goldoni and Carlo Gozzi followed in the 18th century. In his plays, Goldoni deepens the individualization of the drama’s forms and anchors the dramatic conflict in contemporary Venice.
Alongside the tradition of commedia dell’arte, Italy’s most remarkable contribution to theater history is a new genre within the musical theater – the opera, with its direct connection to the pastoral drama. Its principal representative, Claudio Monteverdi, worked with traditional mythological motifs. The original lay in the theatrical design of the genre. Based on the intermezzo, a visual splendor developed and excelled in bold stage changes, which required an extended theater machinery. Its practical and theoretical foundations were developed by Nicola Sabbatini in a widely disseminated handbook in theater technology from 1638. The Italians’ knowledge of the area was spread throughout the late 17th century and during the 18th century across Europe. by the scenographer Giacomo Torelli, who worked in Paris.
The dramas written and performed in Italy during the 19th century were characterized by French impulses, although Italian dramatists in the latter half of the century worked with some independence on genres such as la pièce bien faite and the naturalistic drama. The scene became a platform for contemporary criticism and satire at a time characterized by severe social tensions between the country’s northern and southern parts and the class divisions of the big cities. However, the national identity got its popular best anchored in operas by Verdi, Mascagni and Puccini.
Giuseppe Giacosa, who was Puccini’s librettist, developed towards the turn of the century as a bourgeois realist and thus took a path that many would follow in the 20th century. However, during the first years of the 20th century, Gabriele D’Annunzio wrote symbolic tragedies, and the theatrical improvisations of the futuristic movement around the First World War constituted an avant-garde opposition to the established cultural forms of the day. One of the most important names in Italian theater literature is Luigi Pirandello. His plays came to be groundbreaking, most notably “Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore” (1921; “Sex roles seek an author”). There, both the illusionary effect of the theater and the illusions surrounding human existence were problematized. During the postwar period, Catholic playwrights Ugo Betti and Diego Fabbri also worked with the same stylistic and thematic starting points as Pirandello. The Neapolitan dialect poet Eduardo De Filippo has embodied the conditions of the poor south with similar means. The absurdist drama, which had such a breakthrough in France in the 1950’s, with the exception of a few plays by Ezio d’Errico, is not represented in Italian theater life. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, however, there was a boost for an experimental, physical theater.
One can distinguish three factors that at different levels have influenced the Italian postwar theater. First, Silvio D’Amico’s theater academy in Rome, which through careful textual study and theoretical work wanted to raise the cultural level of the theater work. Secondly, the foreign theater, especially the American scandramatics signed Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, which brought the psychological realism forward. Third, Giorgio Strehlers and Paolo Grassis Piccolo Teatro in Milan, which became a model for how the theater of the theater would reach out to the general public and at the same time – inspired by Brecht – make the theater a forum for social criticism.
In November 1895, the inventor Filoteo Alberini (1867-1937) applied for a patent on a combined film camera and projector. He became one of the first film producers in Italy and directed the first feature film in 1905, “La Presa di Roma”.
The first film of the Italian film was marked by a wave of farces that, with the extremely popular comedian Cretinetti (really André Deed, 1879-1940) at the head, took up the competition with the French film company Pathé. During the years 1906–11, several hundred of these short films were recorded.
Alongside the slapstick comedies, costume films with high artistic demands were produced. They put a great deal of effort into finding authentic environments and thus distanced themselves from the more theatrical film style that was simultaneously developed in France. In connection with the 1911 campaign against Tripolis, the historical film received strong audience support; it showed how the young Italian state carried on the legacy of the Roman Empire. Enrico Guazzonis (1876-1949) “Quo vadis?” (1912) and Giovanni Pastrones”Cabiria” (1914), the latter with the scenario partly authored by Gabriele D’Annunzio, constitutes the monumental highlights in this direction, which was characterized by a grand visionary force, shaped not least in an impressive film architecture. It was also manifested here that Italy was a leading country in terms of the feature film format.
The First World War meant a downturn for the film industry. The more costly historical film and the heroic films with mythological motifs – the so-called peplum films – continued to be produced but pushed into the background of the advancing melodrama, a genre that was established as early as the 1910’s, the first film divas, Francesca Bertini and Lyda Borelli (1884–1959). In recent years, the female silent film pioneer Elvira Notari (1875-1946) has gained attention. With her film company Dora Films, based in Naples, she made films that partly linked to the melodrama tradition, and partly initiated the realism that later became a hallmark of Italian film.
During the fascist era, the escapist films came to have a major impact. Mario Camerini’s (1895-1981) audience successes “Il Signor Max” (1937) and “Grandi Magazzini” (1939) are some of the more interesting contributions in this production. In addition to comedies and romantic excursions, however, during the 1930’s the foundation of a documentary tradition was laid. Alessandro Blasetti’s silent epic “Sole” (1929) is one of Soviet films inspired by the collective and the nobility of bodywork. This, like “1860” (1934), which deals with Garibaldi’s conquest of Sicily, precedes the realistic wave of cinematography of the 1940’s. Under Mussolini, two institutions were established that became important for Italian film culture well into the future, namely the film school Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia1935 and the movie city Cinecittà in 1937.
Luchino Visconti’s “The Lust of the Meat” (1942) and Roberto Rossellini’s “Rome – Open City” (1945) are the portal works for neorealism, which in the 1940’s captured the film criticism of the western world and which is Italy’s most important contribution to film history. With an unconventional photo and often with amateurs in the lead roles, the grim reality of the post-war era was reproduced. The humanist pathos of the movement were masterfully featured in Vittorio De Sica’s films, e.g. “The Bicycle Thief” (1948). During the 1950’s, the influence of the American film industry came to threaten the artistically aspiring Italian film, but the domestic popular genres flourished, especially the so-called commedia all’italiana; popular humours, e.g. Mario Monicellis “The Quartet That Exploded” (1958).
During the 1960’s, new popular genres were established. With the American bodybuilder Steve Reeves in the title role as “Hercules” (1958), the peplum film got a new golden age. The so-called spaghetti western, often in cheap international co-productions, made Sergio Leone an international poster name after the success of “For a handful of dollars” (1964). The giallo film (horror, thrillers) also became artistically and financially significant with directors such as Mario Bava (“Black Sunday”, 1960) and Dario Argento (“Suspiria”, 1977).
The period also meant an artistic rebirth. Michelangelo Antonioni in the “Night” (1961) and “The Red Desert” (1964) asked questions about the alienation of the modern urban man. Francesco Rosi, Elio Petri and Bernardo Bertolucci devoted themselves to political issues, not least the fascist past of the nation, for example. in Bertolucci’s “The Fascist” (1970). Federico Fellini mixed burlesque and sexuality with artistic self-reflection in films such as “The Lovely Life” (1960) and “Amarcord” (1973), while Pier Paolo Pasolini gave his final, night-black picture of the human conditions in “Salò or Sodom’s 120 Days” (1975). Like Bertolucci and Pasolini, Liliana Cavani explored(“The Night Porter”, 1974) and Lina Wertmüller (“The Man Who Bought His Life”, 1976) The Night Side of Sexuality and Political Power.
The 1970’s and 1980’s gradually exposed a deep film crisis, both economic and artistic. However, in this grim film climate – with the support of the state-run TV company RAI – individual filmmakers such as the brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (“The Night of San Lorenzo”, 1982), Ettore Scola (“We who loved each other so much”, 1976), Gabriele Salvatores (born 1950; “Mediterraneo”, 1991; Oscar-winning), Nanni Moretti (“A Room in Our Hearts”, 2001) and Giuseppe Tornatore (“Cinema Paradiso”, 1988) succeeded in fulfilling the great tradition of Italian film. While Gianni Amelio has had success with, inter alia, “Così ridevano” who won the Gold Lion in Venice in 1998. It is symptomatic thatRoberto Benigni, who has made an international acting career, broke through as director with the controversial comedy “Life is Wonderful” (1998) which deals with the human destiny of the extermination camps. Italian film has in most genres shown a remarkable ability to relate to the shadows of the past.
During the 2000’s, names like Daniele Luchetti (born in 1960; “My brother is the only child”, 2006), Paolo Sorrentino (born in 1970; “Il Divo”, 2008) and Gianni Di Gregorio (born in 1949; “Augustilunch in Rome”, 2008) established themselves. One of the few international successes during the 00’s was Matteo Garrones (born 1968) gangster depiction “Gomorra” (2008), after the journalist Roberto Saviano’s noted book on Naples gangster syndicate, Camorra. In 2013, Gianfranco Rosi (born 1964) won the Gold Lion in Venice with “Sacro GRA”, the first documentary film to win the award.
After France, Germany and Spain, Italy has the largest film production in Europe (2006: 116 feature films).
Italy is one of Europe’s major serial countries, with a production characterized by solid craftsmanship and great thematic breadth. The first comic book, Corriere dei Piccoli, began to be published as early as 1908. After the Second World War, domestic production of comics exploded, but few of them (eg “Coco Bill” by Benito Jacovitti, 1923-97) belong to the great classic of the media. In the 1950’s, production of domestic Disney series started, which from the 1970’s also increasingly dominated in Scandinavia.
Instead, the quality breakthrough came in the late 1960’s, when the series began to target adult readers. In the 1960’s, the victory train for fumetti neri began (series in pocketfomat containing divers, adventures, horror and porn). Hugo Pratt (“Corto Maltese”) and Guido Crepax (“Valentina”) became internationally styled adult series in the 1970’s, Milo Manara (“Giuseppe Bergman”, “Click”) and Tanino Liberatore (born 1953; “Ranxerox”) during 1980’s.Other greats such as the political surrealist Altan or the “punk poet” Andrea Pazienza (1956–88) were all too “Italian” to strike outside Italy. The 1980’s saw some of the best art series being born in the circle around the magazine Alter-Alter, e.g. Lorenzo Mattottis (born 1954) “Fuochi” (1984; “Eldar”), with stylistic roots in 1920’s and 30’s visual art.
Italy was the first to organize series fairs, and the Lucca Festival’s Yellow Kid is considered one of the media’s top awards, comparable to the film’s Oscar.
For ancient Italy, see Etruscans (Art), Roman Art and Ancient Christian Art and Architecture.
THE MIDDLE AGES
As in other European countries, medieval art in Italy is strongly linked to the church and the church architecture. With roots in ancient Christian art and constantly influenced by Byzantium, it gained a character that in many respects distinguishes it from other European medieval art.
Especially in Rome, but also in the rest of Italy, a large number of murals and mosaic paintings from the period between the 6th and 13th centuries relate to ancient Christians and Byzantine traditions. The Byzantine element can be more or less strongly prominent, and where it is strongest, it is usually assumed that the paintings or Mosaics are by Byzantine artists. Such is probably the case with the strange murals in the lonely Castello prio in northern Italy, which were performed sometime between the year 600 and the end of the 9th century. More independent than the Byzantine is the almost completely preserved set of murals in the Benedictine Monastery of San Angelo in Formis, located in southern Italy. It is painted in the latter half of the 11th century and is usually regarded as a reflection of the art of the Benedictine main monastery in Monte Cassino, which was destroyed during the Second World War. Another Benedictine monastery that became a major art center before the year 1000 was the monastery of Benevento, also that of southern Italy.
The Byzantine influence also appears in the numerous wall and dome mosaics in San Marco in Venice, a city that on several occasions attracted artists and craftsmen from Constantinople. Also included in this sphere of influence is the large mosaic representation of the Supreme Judgment on the west wall of the church on the island of Torcello near Venice.
Italian painting during these centuries often exhibits distinctive Romanesque styles. However, Italy’s most significant contribution to Europe’s Romanesque art is the stone sculpture. It began to develop in Lombardy in the late 11th century and then spread to both neighboring Emilia and southern Italy. In its Lombardy form, the northern Italian building sculpture is also spread to countries and places far north of Italy, e.g. Mainz, Speyer and Worms at the Rhine and Lund and others. locations in Scandinavia.
The Lombardian building sculpture has a close connection with the contemporary pebble architecture. It is usually placed at or around windows and portals, on column capitals or on so-called collars. It is both ornamental and figural, and after beginning as a pure relief art, it quickly evolved to include full-round sculptures. A common motif in a Lombardian canopy portal is the column-carrying lion. Significant specimens of Lombard building sculpture can be found on and in the largest churches in Como, Ferrara, Modena, Parma, Pavia and Verona. At the spread of the style, Como seems to have had a special position, because outside Italy became magistri comaciniquickly a concept for lombardian stone masters. The oldest church in Como is the Benedictine monastery of San Abbondio, which was inaugurated in 1085. During the 1100’s, several of the northern Italian stone masters appeared as self-conscious artists, and in contravention of what was the practice during the Middle Ages, they sometimes signed their works. It is also known that during the 1100’s there was a lively exchange of sculptural ideas between Northern Italy and France.
The Gothic style did not have the same significance for the art and architecture in Italy as in the rest of Western Europe. Instead of talking about Gothic uses therefore often concepts Duecento (1200’s) and trecento (1300’s) in the overview papers on Italian art. Similarly, the 15th century is called quattrocento.
In the 13th century, Tuscany began to appear as the most artistic part of Italy. In Florence, Padua, Pisa and Siena et al. Tuscan cities were now laid the foundation for the artistic position that Tuscany would develop in the 13th century and culminated in the 14th century. At the same time, the artists began to free themselves from the church and the monastery and establish their own workshops in the now rapidly growing city states.
At this time, Rome was given a new boost as a city of art. Numerous churches were now provided with new murals or mosaics, partly in connection with the ancient Christian heritage but also with a resumption of purely classical forms.
Already the older Italian murals had been painted in frescoes, but now the real heyday of the technology began. This is linked to the fact that new monastic orders as well as individual families and private persons began to give significant assignments to constantly new generations of frescoes. A foreground figure and a main monument in this development are the Florentine painter Cimabue and the Franciscan monastery church in Assisi. The main monument in Florentine mosaic art during this time is the grand representation of the Last Judgment in the dome of the Baptistery in Florence. It is usually attributed to another of the great Florentines of the 13th century, Coppo di Marcovaldo.
The leading figure in 13th-century Italian murals became the Florentine Giotto. He broke with old traditions and created a new realism that both points forward towards the Renaissance and back to antiquity. Most of his generation mates, however, stuck to the traditions. This is especially true of the artists who mainly worked in Siena, both in the churches there and in the new City Hall Palazzo Pubblico. In them, Gothic, Byzantine and Tuscan painting traditions were combined into a distinctly “Sienese” style, in which, however, an influence from Giotto eventually became evident. The foreground figures in this painting were Duccio di Buoninsegna, brothers Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Simone Martini.
The interest in antiquity became evident early in southern Italy. The driving force was the German-Roman emperor Fredrik II, and in the art and architectural environments he had erected there were many connections to classical art. Almost nothing remains of these facilities, but during the latter half of the 13th century Niccolò Pisano conveyed important knowledge and sculptural traditions to Tuscany. Pisano’s most important works are the richly illustrated pulpits in the Baptistery in Pisa and in the judgment in Siena. His deed was continued by his son Giovanni and his assistant Andrea Pisano; the latter became the leading sculptor in 13th-century Florence.
Sengoticism and Renaissance
The beautiful gothic after 1400 is perhaps most tangible for our time in altar paintings by, among other things. Gentile da Fabriano (now in the Uffizi, Florence) rather than in preserved frescoes. A highlight reached it with Fra Angelico’s painting, including in the San Marco monastery in Florence, at one time both very relevant with a central perspective and ancient impressions in the design and coloristic and decorative in the attitude. Pieces of style still exist at the Benozzo Gozzoli frescoes in Palazzo Medici, and it is represented by Pisanello’s frescoes (Santa Anastasia in Verona) and even after the middle of the 14th century, for example, by a group of painters at the court in Ferrara, with frescoes in the castle of Bl..a. Francesco del Cossa.
In Florence, in the 1410’s-30’s, there were many significant works of art that build on new findings about the realistic image and show the features of ancient art and that in different ways initiate the Renaissance as a new holistic attitude and as a style of time. This includes Donatello’s sculptures, including those on Florence’s Campanile, Masaccio’s similarly classic paintings in the Brancacci Chapel and his long-driven constructed perspective in the Trinity Fresco in Santa Maria Novella and works by Brunelleschi in the Bargella Museum. But equally significant and contemporary are the magnificent bronze gates of Lorenzo Ghiberti for the Baptistery in Florence with their partly very Gothic forms of biblical scenes. Near Fra Angelico stood at the beginning another painting monk, Filippo Lippi,
Still in the middle of the 15th century, the main preserved works were mostly church or religious; in Florence, often funded by the archipelago, whose building Or San Michele is richly decorated with significant statues of sacred statues. Portraits had been unusual in the past, but a few decades into the 15th century, not least did the portrait sculpture in Florence flourish with masters such as Luca Della Robbia, also known for its decorative and graceful ceramic sculptures with colorful majolica glaze. The monuments of worldly potentates became increasingly prominent in the church room, although sometimes painted in fresco, such as Paolo Uccello’s and Andrea del Castagno’s two rider monuments in Florence. Free-standing rider monument became more common with the Renaissance. Donatello’s “Gattamelata” in Padua and Verrocchio’s “Colleoni” in Venice are among the main works of this species.
But inside the church basin an ever-richer sculpture splendor was developed in tombs. Significant examples are Desiderio da Settignano’s tomb monument of Carlo Marsuppino in Santa Croce, Florence. Towards the end of the 15th century, more and more monuments of church dignitaries were added, such as Antonio da Pollaiuolo’s free tomb over Pope Sixtus IV in St. Peter’s Church in Rome.
Significant art efforts for the worldly environment became increasingly common. Cosimo de ‘Medici ordered for Palazzo Medici in Florence not only Gozzoli’s fresco, but also Uccello’s long painting of the San Romano team. (After sale in the 17th century, it is now divided into the Uffizi, the National Gallery in London, and the Louvre in Paris.) Cosimo’s son Lorenzo also ordered, for his humanist environment, several allegorical paintings by Botticelli, which is now in the Uffizi. These works directly expressed a growing connection to and identification with Roman antiquity within the circle of the Medici family. Correspondingly, you will find in Mantegna’s paintings for the Gonzaga house in the castle in Mantua. the frescoes in wedding ease. And in the castle of Urbino, portraits and allegory were painted by Piero della Francesca,
In Venice, after 1450, there were still distinct features of Gothic and Byzantine splendor, not least in the altarpieces which include. The painting family Bellini made for many churches there and on the mainland (Venice). Gothic realism rose to the illusionism of Carlo Crivelli. Not least through Antonello da Messina, the tradition of van Eyck came to assert itself in Venice towards the end of the 14th century, including at Giovanni Bellini.
Florentine artists still dominated the visual arts in Italy when 1481–83 Ghirlandaio and Botticelli, together with Pietro Perugino of Umbria (Perugia), performed the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican. By Perugino and his pupil Bernardino Pinturicchio, a large number of significant fresco suites came to perform in different parts of Italy. Like Perugino in Perugia (where he also had Rafael as a pupil), Ghirlandaio in Florence conducted extensive activities as well as artist education. He painted there, among others, two famous communion frescoes in Ognissanti and San Marco monasteries. The motif was further developed by Leonardo da Vinci until then the most notable interpretation of the “Communion” of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, a work that can be said to initiate the High Renaissance. Of Leonardo’s immense works of life, there are only a handful of pictures left in the painting. in the Vatican Museum and the Uffizi. Michelangelo, a Florentine like Leonardo and a short time Ghirlandaio’s pupil, performed in Rome perhaps the most significant and extensive fresco suite of all time, in the roof of the Sistine Chapel 1508-12. The sculpture here was, like Michelangelo’s sculptural art, deeply but in a highly independent way influenced by antique visual art both in form and motif. With sovereign freedom he then developed his form of design, among other things. in the memorial monument to the Medici family in San Lorenzo in Florence. At the same time, Rafael worked with him in Rome and the Vatican, and he too was interested in ancient sculptures. He painted the ancient pagan frescoes for the banker Chigi in Villa Farnesina and the great allegories of worldly and theological wisdom in the Vatican’s stanzas. Together with his students, he developed in the Vatican logos the grotesque ceramics that would then last until the empirical. Followers to Michelangelo as il Pontormo, and to Rafael as Giulio Romano, created in a new, exquisite style phase, mannerism. Romano’s frescoes in the Palazzo del Tè in Mantua are a noteworthy example. Correggio had, among other things, in the dome of the San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma in conjunction with Leonardo developed a softly painterly high Renaissance style in Fresco, which Parmigianino, probably his pupil, took as a starting point for a form-proof mannerism.
In Venice, during the High Renaissance, a rich painting-rich art had been developed with Giovanni Bellini and the early Giorgione, and after this Tizian as the main representative. The latter’s influence over the art of painting was noticeable well into the future. Works by both Giorgione and Tizian can be found in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice. Other works by the latter – as well as by his two closest successors Tintoretto and Veronese – include wall decoration in the Doge’s Palace as well as in other Venetian palaces and churches. In particular, Tintoretto gave Mannerism a strongly dynamic, subjective feel. Veronese painted magnificent frescoes in a series of palatial country villas on the mainland near the Adriatic coast.
Baroque and New Antiquity
Around 1600, the tradition of the High Renaissance in the beginning Baroque was mainly managed by the Carracci brothers in Bologna, who started a training academy in their hometown. Annibale Carracci performed the famous fresco suite in the gallery of the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. Realism was driven at the same time towards dramatic and suggestive expressiveness by Caravaggio in a dark painting that gained great importance even north of the Alps. The legacy of Venetian High Renaissance painting is found in the earthy musty painting developed by the Bassano family in Northern Italy. Close to the Carracci brothers was Guido Reni, also active in Bologna, whose classicism in the form co-existed with almost stylized expressions of strong emotions. Emphasis on expression and emotional play, but with more nuance and realism, also marks the Baroque’s leading sculptor in Rome, Bernini.
Virtuoso painters adorned Baroque buildings with skilfully illusionist arches, from Pietro da Cortona in Palazzo Barberini to Andrea Pozzo in San Ignazio.
Later Baroque painters like to emphasize the painting itself through elegant and virtuoso brushwork, and this is combined with a drama with big gestures and lively light games, such as with Bernardo Strozzi and Domenico Fetti. This tradition evolved into a vividly contrasting style of blonde color foreboding rococo at Sebastiano Ricci. The decades around 1700, Alessandro Magnasco in Milan and Genoa developed their very expressive, coarse and chunky brush writing, thereby foreboding a far more modern painting.
Mainly in Venice renewed now painting towards Rococo and in landscape painting streamlined veduta (the wide city landscape view) which includes channel images of Francesco Guardi and the two Canaletto. A number of palaces in Venice and Vicenza were decorated with blond and rhythmic frescoes by Tiepolo, among others. at the Palazzo Labia in Venice and Villa Valmarana in Vicenza. His fresco art was the last renewal of this art before the 1870’s.
The ancient heritage began to play a role in Italy’s economic and social life through the growing tourism towards the mid-18th century. In painting, not least began to work on motifs with Roman ruins. Among the most significant ruin sculptures were Giovanni Paolo Pannini and Giovanni Baptista Piranesi. The latter was an innovative graphic artist, who with great etchings built on the imagination from the ruins of strange architectural formations.
With the new antiquity at the end of the 18th century, the sculptor Antonio Canova took a leading position and carried out a long line of marble monuments, among other things. Clement XIII ‘s tomb monument in St. Peter’s Church in Rome, as well as portraits.
Towards the modernism of the 20th century
Italy was the host country for an intense art life during the 19th century, but its own art came to play a modest role in contemporary international production until the early 1900’s. After the middle of the 1880’s, the sculptor Medardo Rosso worked with a soft rhythmic sculpture art that, among other things. Rodin and later also influenced the futurist Umberto Boccioni, and nearer the turn of the century Giovanni Segantini became known for a painting in which impressionism was mixed with both naturalism and symbolism.
A powerful stimulus for Italian visual art came with the founding of the Venice Biennale in 1895, which became a real forum for international contemporary art. Gradually, many countries have built their own pavilions in the exhibition area solely for this event.
Around 1910, futurism emerged as a modernist force in Italian art. features of neo-impressionism and cubism in a dynamic and contemporary art. Among the futuristic visual artists were except Boccioni, Luigi Russolo, Gino Severini and Giacomo Balla. About the same time, Giorgio de Chirico debuted with a painting that directly prohibited surrealism and became the starting point for a painterly meditative flow that came to be called pittura metaphisica. A main representative was the former futurist Carlo Carrà, who linked directly to Chirico. Towards the end of the First World War it came to include more and more painters. Giorgio Morandi was its main representative for a long time. Amedeo Modigliani developed in Paris from 1907 together with a.k.a. Constantin Brâncusi a primitivism with the impression of Negro sculpture and became known for his abstract with organically sensible women’s representations.
From about 1950 Italian contemporary art lively participated in an international exhibition system; To a large extent, it has been directly involved in various international trends and has often belonged to the avant-garde. A number of original artists who gradually gained notoriety can be mentioned: the sculptor Marino Marini has represented with a free and fragmentary design a classical and virtuosic tradition; Alberto Burri has grippingly interpreted war experiences with sewn sack fragments, etc. and became one of the fathers of what would come to be called informal art; sculptor Gio Pomodoro combined the action of high-tech objects with sensual organic form; Lucio Fontana directly expressed the action in the image through incisions that open the canvas while forming a shape.
See also baroque, futurism, gothic, informal art, mannerism and renaissance.
As in other branches of art, Italy has long been the leading country in Europe in the field of arts and crafts. The furniture, which was wall-mounted during the Middle Ages, began to be made movable during the Renaissance but was few and few comfortable. Except for the bed – often with sky – the coffin, cassone, the most important furniture, was used for storage but also as a seat and sometimes table. The furniture shapes and the decorative motifs were taken from classical art.
The High Renaissance led to a more differentiated furniture portfolio, while the decorative decoration increased in magnificence, a development that culminated in Baroque sculptured furniture. With its abundant foliage, flowers and fruits, its dolphins, putti, etc. in high relief, these furniture were ornamental sculptures rather than utility furniture; not infrequently they were performed by famous sculptors.
During the Late Baroque and Rococo, varnished furniture with Chinese, landscapes, etc. in colors and gold were fashionable, not least in Venice, whose lavish lifestyle had previously left strong traces in the interior art. The silk and velvet began to be woven in the city as early as the Middle Ages and reached an outstanding technical and artistic quality during the 1600’s, an opinion that applies equally to Venetian lace art. The history of glass is also inextricably linked to Venice, while ceramic art has its main focus in Faenza and Urbino.
The Italian craftsmanship was admired and imitated throughout Europe, exports were extensive and pattern sheets were widely distributed. Many artists working in the area also sought inspiration directly on site.
Towards the end of the 17th century, the Italian craftsmanship returned, and it would take until the 20th century before the country re-asserted itself in the international interior art. This time it was done through an avant-garde furniture art, represented by architects such as Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass and with Milan as the center.
See also Capodimonte-Buen Retiro, cassapanca, certosa mosaic, Cosmaterna, dance chair, Doccia, glass art, GB Piranesi, savonarola chair, sgabello.
For Italy’s oldest architecture, see Etruscans (Architecture), Roman architecture and ancient Christian art and architecture.
The romance phase
During the 11th and 11th centuries, the ancient Christian basilica was renewed. As before, the basilicas were built with or without transept and almost always with absid. Where transepts were found, a dome was usually built over the center of the cross, which became the beginning of a long tradition in European church architecture. In addition to this main flow in Italy’s Romanesque church building, San Marco in Venice was erected as a Byzantine church on a cruciform level, ie. with a dome over both the cross center and the cross arms and the porch. The church was built during the 11th century with the now-defunct Apostle Church in Constantinople as a model. In the early Christian churches in Ravenna, in the 8th century, independent campaniles had been built, and during the 11th century this quickly became a tradition in Italy. With a few exceptions, it resulted in refraining from providing the churches with towers. Instead, the western facades were often enlarged and were characterized by dividing walls, independent of the underlying church space. Another ancient Christian type of building that, like the Basilica, received new news, was the Baptistery. As in the early Christian era, they were built on a round or polygonal plane, generally west of a cathedral.
Despite the common ancient Christian tradition, Italy’s Romanesque church architecture got a very different appearance in different parts of the country. In Northern Italy, the Langobards laid the foundations for an architectural style that took center stage in Lombardy. Fully developed, it already appears in the Benedictine Monastery of San Abbondio in Como, inaugurated in 1085, but its maturity reached it only after an earthquake that struck Lombardy in 1177.
The Lombardian architectural style is characterized by a rich and multi-faceted wall art in combination with a high-rise stone sculpture. The main vertical forms are long narrow columns and so-called Lombardian bands, and on the horizontal, cornices, arch friezes and colonial galleries are the most characteristic features. Inside the churches, the Lombard builders began to make early use of rib vaults, akin to those that developed in Normandy during the 11th century.
The architecture of Tuscany was quite different in character. A crucial difference is that there they chose to coat the facades with marble. They used alternating light and dark marble, which made many churches striped. The first church covered with marble was the judgment in Pisa, begun in 1063. For the design, the Byzantine builder Busketos was responsible, and the material treatment may have been influenced by Islam. When the building was inaugurated in 1121, the North Italian Colonial Gallery had come to rich use on the west facade of the church and the detached campanile. In contrast, the Baptistery west of the Judgment is articulated with licenses and semi-columns. In Florence, they used marbles with greater variety and created a style of encrustation that is clearly antique-inspired and is usually called the Tuscan protoreness. The prime example of this is the Baptistery west of the Judgment and the west facade of the highly situated small church of San Miniato al Monte. In the early 1400’s, the style became of great importance to Filippo Brunelleschi in his liberation from the Gothic.
In southern Italy with Sicily, local building traditions were mixed with influences from Northern Italy, Islam and Byzantium. When the Normans conquered Sicily, the construction of the great cathedrals in Monreale and Cefalù and the palace church in Palermo, which all of course also exhibit Norman elements.
High Middle Ages
During the 13th and 13th centuries, Italy was reached by currents from Gothic France. In the field of church architecture, however, the Gothic style was not adopted. The only church that became consistently Gothic – with the exception of the west facade – was the Milan judgment, and it was erected under the direction of German architects and builders. The principal Italian building projects were the Franciscan monastery in Assisi and the cathedrals in Florence and Siena. The former was provided with a two-storey monastery church, the walls and vaults of which were adorned with frescoes by the leading artists of the time, and the latter were erected as transected basilicas with dome over the center of the cross. Both the judgment in Siena and the judgment in Florence were built with rib arches, but otherwise they have nothing to do with the Gothic. Significantly more Gothic became the new churches in 13th century Florence,
As in the rest of Europe, the 13th and 13th centuries became a prosperous period for the urban system and consequently for the profane architecture. Several Italian cities were now provided with a profitable stone building which is in its way as impressive as the large church building companies. In the new city states, numerous private palaces were erected with high refuge towers and monumental town halls with even higher campaniles, for example. Palazzo Vecchio in Florence and Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. They were built to withstand attacks during the constant wars between the faithful Guelphs and the imperial ghibellins, and often show through the design of their masonry which party they joined. A completely different openness was given the profane architecture of late medieval Venice, where both the Doge’s Palace and the numerous private palaces are permeated with Gothic ideals.
With the 15th century and the Renaissance, in Italian cities, an architecture was created that became the determining factor for Europe’s continued development of buildings. It meant, among other things, a deliberate link to domestic, classic sources. The vision of ancient building art was united with a new tradition of knowledge, embodied in a new type of professional: the architect separated from the architectural craft. Theoretically, the Renaissance architect’s knowledge was based mainly on the preserved Roman architecture doctrine, Vitruvius “De architectura”, and eventually also on more and more new textbooks. Practically, a fundamental experience became the growing knowledge of ancient buildings in Rome and elsewhere. During the following period, different regions and cities in northern Italy became increasingly centers of architectural development, but with Rome as a permanent,
The economic and cultural conditions for the new orientation first emerged in Florence and got their first expression in Filippo Brunelleschi’s architecture. In his founding children’s home, Ospedale degli Innocenti from 1419 and a series of churches and chapels, the way of arranging space with the column and the arcade appears as a module. Characteristic of the early Renaissance was also the new dignity given to the architecture of the private palace. It was developed in Florence as a regularly arranged and space-divided stone volume of, among other things. Michelozzo Michelozzi and Giuliano da Sangallo.
Through the multifaceted humanist Leon Battista Alberti, who wrote the first architecture textbook after antiquity in 1450, the subject was established as learned knowledge. His own experimental architecture in Palazzo Rucellai in Florence and churches in Rimini and Mantua spread the Florentine experience to the rest of Italy. With his last work, Sant’Andrea in Mantua from the 1470’s, Alberti created a prototype for the further development of the longhouse church in Italy.
The church remained an important building task, where the anti-idealism of humanism was crossed with the Christian tradition. The church room was developed towards geometric visibility and with evenly distributed light. As an ideal, the dome-crowned central church appeared, but in practice the dome was usually allowed to focus in an elongated room.
The search for ideal forms also characterized other building tasks, such as the country villa and the city palace, and also the city itself. A famous such ideal city description formulated the Florentine Filarete circa 1450 for his client, the Sforza court in Milan. In one detail he came to realize the vision: the design of the city’s hospital, Ospedale Maggiore.
Directly influenced by Alberti, Bernardo Rosellini’s city center in Pienza, Umbria, was probably organized, with the church, palace and town hall regularly arranged around a square. In Urbino, Luciano Laurana and Francesco di Giorgio appeared, with a city form defined by the Duke’s palace and church. Biagio Rossetti’s expansion of Ferrara combined the interest of the time for the central perspective in the view of the street space and the developed bastion system, which followed the new artillery technology.
The city’s shape with regularized street axles and squares continued the late-medieval development of civil culture. In some places or for individual building projects, the Gothic tradition also survived. Venice’s distinctive Gothic site architecture changed only gradually in the 15th century towards new design.
The re-establishment of the papal power in Rome in the 1420’s eventually led to a strengthening of the city’s importance for architecture. It culminated in the first decades of the 16th century, when a circle of architects from northern Italy operated in Rome. Foremost among them was Donato Bramante, who previously worked with church choirs in Milan. Among the others were Rafael, Baldassare Peruzzi and Antonio da Sangallo. Together, they enriched the design language and developed the building types in conjunction with an increased knowledge of the variations of antiquity. They also all contributed at various stages to the central papal mission, the reorganization of St. Peter’s Church. The decisive effort was finally performed there by Michelangelo, when he returned in 1547 after his first work as an architect in Florence. He developed a sculptural and personal relationship with the facade and the room, sometimes characterized as mannerism. With the contemporary buildings of the city’s civic center, the Capitol (ItalianCampidoglio) emphasized Michelangelo’s urban space through columns and pilaster schemes of various scales. A starting point was the Roman stone material, the travertine, which invited soft sculptural effect.
Rome’s political decline from the 1520’s again made the cities and furstehoven in the north the leading order. Giulio Romano was active in Mantua, Michele Sanmicheli in Verona and Jacopo Sansovino in Venice. The dissemination of the Roman experience to northern Italy was also done through published writings with more and more developed illustrations. In Venice, around 1540, the first parts of Sebastiano Serlio’s architectural treaty were printed, including detailed accounts of ancient buildings in Rome.
The district around Venice gained a leading position, especially through Andrea Palladio’s activities around the middle of the 16th century. As an architect of a number of palaces in Vicenza and villas in the Venetian countryside, he displayed a powerful classical stance. His architectural writing from 1570, richly illustrated with his own and ancient examples, became the most visible of the Renaissance textbooks.
Applied well into the future, Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola’s writings on the five orders were also published in Rome in 1562. As an architect, Vignola worked with the Jesuit Order’s main church in Rome, Il Ges där, where the Italian Reformation’s Italian church type was established. He also developed the architecture of the villa and the garden. in Villa di Papa Giulio outside Rome and Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola. The large approach to the landscape, with stairs, ramps and dramatized movements, here foretells the development of the Baroque, as well as the oval plan of a couple of his churches in Rome.
In the 16th century, the ideal of the big perspective also determined urban construction, with linear street sections in Rome and the organization of St. Mark’s Square in Venice as important efforts. In Genoa, around 1550 Strada Nuova was built as a magnificent straight palace street, with Galeazzo Alessi as the foremost architect. He was succeeded in the 17th century by Bartolommeo Bianco with a more dynamic palace architecture. Similarly, Palladio in Venice was followed by pupil Vincenzo Scamozzi, whose student, in turn, Baldassare Longhena, became the leading Venetian architect of the 17th century. In Longhena’s foremost work, the Church of Santa Maria della Salute, Palladio’s and the older Renaissance’s vision was realized by a simple grand central church. At the same time, it reminds us of the rich design of the Baroque architecture that was now emerging in Rome.
During the decades around the middle of the 17th century, during the popes Urban VIII, Innocent X and Alexander VII, in Rome was created an architecture of softer geometry and richer games of directions of movement. Two rival architects, Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini, created with their diverse personalities the breadth of this Roman baroque architecture. Bernini, who was also a sculptor, built on the Roman tradition from ancient to Michelangelo, with the church of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale and the forecourt of St. Peter’s Church as prominent works. Borromini, who came from the area around Lugano, brought with it a northern builder’s tradition and, in terms of design, became the more innovative of the two. The churches of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane and Sant’Ivo della Sapienza show his strangely personal room art. The importance of the urban space continued to grow in 17th-century Rome and could provide ambiguous intertwining of interior and exterior architecture. Other important architects here were Pietro da Cortona, with the facade and forecourt of Santa Maria della Pace as a masterpiece, and Carlo Rainaldi with, among other things. the twin churches at Piazza del Popolo.
As a successor to Bernini, Carlo Fontana became a mediator of the Roman Baroque to the rest of Europe. to Sweden by Nicodemus Tessin dy being his pupil. Borromini’s architecture was reverberated both in the north and the south in Italy. In Turin, in his form tradition, Guarino Guarini appeared. The mathematical riches of the church room and dome architecture here further distanced themselves from the background of the Renaissance, with links to the traditions of the Middle Ages and Islam. His successor Filippo Juvarra, on the other hand, as Fontana’s pupil, followed the monumentally classicist line, with the church La Superga outside Turin as the main work. A regional synthesis between Guarani’s and Juvara’s architecture was created here by Bernardo Vittone in a few churches from the mid-18th century.
A richly modeled architecture grew around the year 1700 also south of Rome. There, Ferdinando Sanfelice’s buildings stood out in Naples, and the newly built cities Noto and Catania in Sicily after the earthquake.
Neoclassicism and the 19th century
A grandiose end point in Italy’s Baroque architecture is Luigi Vanvitelli’s royal palace in Caserta outside Naples, begun in 1752. With axial and rectangular tightness here is also followed the monarchical palace tradition, where Stockholm’s palace was a close predecessor. At the same time, the new classicism of the 18th century is expressed in Caserta, for which Italy’s ancient remains once again provided international inspiration. Palladio’s architecture also retained and renewed its influence at this stage. Theoretically, among other things, Carlo Lodoli, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Francesco Milizia had a great influence on the architecture of neoclassicalism, but few significant architectural works were added in Italy.
The metropolitan ambitions of Rome and Milan were expressed in a number of projects throughout the 19th century. This belongs from the beginning of the century Luigi Cagnola’s antique inspired city gates in Milan and after the century center Giuseppe Mengoni’s huge and type-forming business gallery, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. For Rome, Giuseppe Valadier’s redesign of Piazza del Popolo similarly gave a new scale to the city’s entrance, while new metropolitan neighborhoods and site formations were created especially after the establishment that united Italy’s capital in 1870. Re-connected in different ways to the city of ancient times.
The medieval architecture of Venice and Northern Italy inspired international curiosity from the mid-19th century. It received its local reverberation mainly through Camillo Boito, operating in Venice and Padua. His writings and buildings laid the foundation for the turn of the century Italian art of architecture.
The 1900’s and 2000’s
Italy’s modern architecture is characterized by the meeting between, on the one hand, influences from international modernism and, on the other, a strong awareness of its own heritage from antiquity, Renaissance and Baroque. The historical heritage is reminded throughout the first half of the century, and even in the latter half, the most vital Italian architecture emerges from the intersection of history and modernism. So at the beginning of the century Italian Art Nouveau – called liberty or style floreal – was not as purely organic as the French and Belgian. It can rather be seen as a style architecture decorated with plant motifs, often with exotic elements such as in e.g. Raimondo d’Aronco’s exhibition buildings in Turin, Ernesto Basille’s villas in Palermo and Gino Coppedès’s residential neighborhood in Rome.
A more radical crime with history and bourgeois culture was the 19th century Italian futurism. Its most powerful expression was given to Antonio Sant’Elia’s visionary project. Like the related Mario Chiattone project, they were influenced by the libertarian architect Giuseppe Sommaruga and by the Austrian Sezession. With their large-scale expressive and mechanical touch they fit well to illustrate the futurists’ glorification of speed, energy and machine – ideas socialist Sant’Elia himself was skeptical of.
Futurism, with its glorification of the war, naturally came into disrepute after the First World War. The leading style formation now became novecento, a counterpart to Swedish twenty-classicism, ie. a fairly light, abstract and decorative classicism. One notable building in this style was the residential building Ca ‘Brutta in Milan (1922) by Giovanni Muzio, and it also came to impress on the first public utility housing projects in the 1920’s, for example. The Garbatella area of Rome (1925-28) by Innocenzo Sabbatini. In the mid-1920’s, influences from Le Corbusier and Bauhaus began to prevail. In Italian, the new movement was renamed il razionalismo and represented by Gruppo 7 with, among other things, Giuseppe Terragni, Gino Pollini and Adalberto Libera. Under the heading MIAR (Movimento Italiano per l’Architettura Razionale) organized the group two influential exhibitions, 1928 and 1932, claiming that rationalism was not historically hostile but managed principles of antiquity and classicism. With buildings such as the station in Florence by Giovanni Michelucci (1934) and the residence Novocomum (1928) and Casa del Fascio (1936) in Como by Giuseppe Terragni, it looked as if rationalism would become the official architecture of fascism. That was not the case. Instead, a kind of compromise was developed between rationalism and novecento architecture – a white, heavy, monumental and abstract classicism commonly known as “muslinini architecture”. Under Marcello Piacentini’s leadership, in this style was built the University of Rome (1932–35) and the major exhibition city outside Rome, EUR(1942). In EUR, several of the former rationalists, including Libera with the Congress Palace (1942), a building that is at the absolute balance point between rational modernism and classicism.
After Mussolini’s fall, Italy was expected to emerge as a pioneer in the architecture of modernism. But in the eyes of the post-war generation, both rationalism and classicism were compromised styles. Architects such as Franco Albini, Ignazio Gardella, Vittorio Gregotti, Roberto Gabetti and Mario Ridolfi sought their inspiration in traditional, non-classical construction. Architectural office BBPR made Milan’s first skyscraper, Torre Velasca (1958), as a medieval defense tower, and in Venice Gardella designed a residential building (1956) as a modern paraphrase on Venetian Gothic. Ridolfi made buildings inspired by the traditional stone architecture of the countryside and residential areas inspired by Swedish Backström & Reinius low-key brick architecture from the 50’s. This style was alternately called “neoliberty” or “neorealismo” because of its soft organic and traditionalist character. His breakthrough in Italy gained international style with Gio Pontis Pirelli skyscraper in Milan (1958).
In the 1950’s and 1970’s, a number of architects were found who, with great artistic integrity, took advantage of the expressive possibilities of the concrete: Carlo Aymonini, Vittorio Gregotti, Giovanni Michelucci, Giancarlo De Carlo, Carlo Scarpa and not least the engineer Pier Luigi Nervi. In contrast, the technologically oriented modernism that has been named high tech has few representatives in Italy; The exception is Renzo Piano, famous for the Center Pompidou in Paris (1977). During the 1970’s, with its growing criticism of modernism, Aldo Rossi and the La Tendenza movement emerged. Based on an architectural typological approach, Rossi creates a kind of archetypal “clock architecture” in which the wall, gable, column and window holes are presented in its simplest geometric form, such as in his school in Broni (1983). A more historicizing postmodernism, based on the connection to the place and its cultural history, is represented by Paolo Portoghesi in residential areas of Tarquinia (1987) and Alessandria (1991). Among architects who work in dialogue with history in the early 2000’s in an independent and searchable way are noticed Paolo Zermani, Augusto Romano Burelli, Clara Lafuente and Pier Paolo Maggiora.
Italy’s only known gardens before the Renaissance, apart from antiquity (see Roman garden art), originated from the Islamic tradition and found in Sicily and Naples. Medieval monastic gardens of the kind common in the rest of Europe did not exist.
The Renaissance ideas came together with the inspiration from antiquity to lead to a revolutionary renewal of garden art with geographical concentration to Florence and Rome. Michelozzo Michelozzi’s two works outside Florence; Il Trebbio (c. 1451) in Cafaggiolo and the garden at the medical villa in Fiesole (1458–61), can both be regarded as an extension of the villa into the landscape. However, a small part of the garden was still closed – giardino segreto.
In Rome, in 1503, Bramante was commissioned to connect Villa Belvedere with the Vatican with a garden plant. His innovative garden terracing had no contemporary role model and would have a great influence on the continued development of the Renaissance garden. When Rafael began work on Villa Madama in 1516, construction of larger villas and gardens was begun outside Rome.
During the Late Renaissance, Mannerism, the notion of the superiority of man and art over nature was reinforced. The first garden in this spirit was performed by Niccolò Tribolo at Villa Medici (1538) in Castello outside Florence, but Pirro Ligorio’s greatest influence was the work of Villa d’Este (1549-50) in Tivoli outside Rome. Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola created with Villa Lante (1560) in Bagnaia east of Viterbo a masterpiece where the villa is subordinate to the garden plant.
The Bobol gardens in Florence (started in 1549) were originally a smaller Renaissance plant around a central axis inspired by Roman antiquity. The Tuscan gardens were smaller to the surface and not as monumental as their counterparts outside Rome. Among the most beautiful preserved by these smaller gardens are Villa Capponi (c. 1572) in Arcetri and Villa Gamberaia in Settignano outside Florence from the end of the 17th century.
Although Baroque art originated in Rome, the development of garden art during this style period came to be led from France. During the period, extensions were mainly made to existing facilities in Frascati outside Rome, such as at Villa Mondragone (1615), Villa Falconieri (c. 1650), Villa Torlonia (1720) and Villa Rufinella (1740-46). A legacy from the Renaissance was the gardens’ impressive water plants, e.g. in Villa Garzoni in Collodi, Tuscany (1652), with its dramatic water staircase and Isola Bella (c. 1630) in Lago Maggiore, perhaps the foremost example of Italian baroque garden art.
More recent times
After the middle of the 18th century, no significant gardens were created in Italy, and during the 19th century most of the classical gardens were decayed. Many of them were also remodeled with the English park as a model. At the end of the 19th century, a great international interest arose in the classic Italian garden, which meant that many of the garden’s design languages were rediscovered worldwide. Millesgården on Lidingö is a Swedish example with significant Italian influences.
An architect who, during the mid-1900’s, helped to renew interest in garden art in Italy was Carlo Scarpa. with Tomba Brion (1970), a family cemetery in San Vito di Attivole, Treviso.
The oldest music that can be termed Italian originates from the time of the liturgy of the Catholic Church. The emergence took place since the church was recognized in the 300’s in various so-called coral dialects, the Old Roman, the Beneventan and the Ambrosian.
The fact that Pope Gregory the Great around 600 would have played a crucial role in designing the repertoire found in the oldest sources of music (about 800-1000) and given his name, Gregorian song, after him, is highly doubted today.
Guido from Arezzo introduced the epoch-forming novelty that sheet music on line systems meant and also developed the hexa chord teaching. Italian liturgical song production includes the sequences “Dies irae”, “Lauda Sion” and “Stabat mater”.
As for profane music, the information is sparse until the 13th century; usually only lyrics are mentioned, while the music is unknown. To some extent there was a culture of troubadourism mainly in Tuscany and in Sicily. From this time also originated lauda, which was the ecclesiastical equivalent of the profane ballata. The melody is akin to Gregory, but with strong folk elements.
Italian medieval music reached its peak with the Ars nova period (1300’s). This so-called tricento music is completely dominated by worldly forms such as madrigal, caccia and ballata, and was mainly located in cities such as Florence and Bologna but also Naples. Important names in this era are Jacopo da Bologna, Marchetto da Padova (born ca. 1274, died 1305-19) and Francesco Landini.
During the 15th century, Italian composers were significantly thinned. Instead, the stage was taken over by foreign musicians such as Guillaume Dufay, Jacob Obrecht and Josquin Desprez. These stood for a kind of official music, while folk elements such as frottola, villotta and canti carnascialeschi (carnival songs) flourished and later became significant at the emergence of art forms of the 16th century. The frottol was of crucial importance to the 16th century migrant, which led to a significant development of Italian music. Its perfection was given to the madrigal by composers such as Luca Marenzio, Carlo Gesualdo and Claudio Monteverdi. Its lyrics were Italian, and the music sought to reproduce the various effects of the text as closely as possible.
During the 16th century, Rome and Venice were important music centers. In Rome, the sacred polyphonic a cappella tradition was cultivated, culminating with Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. In Venice, on the other hand, music was often characterized by colorful effects in various types of sound architecture through multilayered vocal and instrumental compositions by, among others, Adrian Willaert and Andrea Gabrieli and Giovanni Gabrieli. In Venice there was also an independent tradition for the organ, which together with lute and harpsichord became the first instruments for which a personal repertoire was developed.
Intensive music development also took place in other Italian cities such as Padua, Ferrara, Bologna, Mantua and especially Florence, where during the 1590’s various experiments with music and drama led to the birth of the opera. These attempts emerged from the music aesthetics that arose within the Cameratan, a group of intellectuals and musicians around the Count Giovanni Bardi (1534–1612) circa 1573–87. It was in the search for how the ancient drama was played that the opera form emerged. Jacopo Peri’s “Euridice” (1600) constituted the first stumbling step, soon to be overpowered by the master Monteverdi, who, with his “Orfeo” (1607), in one form determined the form and aesthetics of the new opera form, still valid today.
The opera’s development took place mainly along two lines, connected to Rome and Venice respectively. In Rome, an opera art was created with pompous and heavy framing, completely dominated by the aristocracy’s values and requirements. It was also in their palace that the performances were given: to the large audience, these operas became boring and intellectual laurels, while in Venice, where another political climate prevailed, opera creation focused more on the taste of the audience. It was also here, in 1637, that the first public opera stage, the Teatro San Bartolomeo, was opened.
Within the Venetian opera, with representatives of Francesco Cavalli and Carlo Pallavicino (born about 1630, died 1688), also created the beginnings of a psychological opera dramaturgy, where the people are people of flesh and blood and not mythological abstractions. In connection with the emergence of the opera, the oratorio was also developed, primarily in Rome with Giacomo Carissimi as the foreground figure. He created a type of oratory that was of a more spiritual nature and with Latin text, and a kind of oratory in vernacular languages, which took place under the influence of the opera. The latter form was cultivated during the 17th century in northern Italy, with Alessandro Stradella as its main name.
The 17th century also meant a boost for instrumental music. In addition to organ, lute and harpsichord music, the violin came with its sound possibilities to develop new instrumental forms. Here the instrument makers’ schools in Brescia and Cremona play a significant role through the violin builders Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri. Important composers include Stradella, but also Girolamo Frescobaldi, Arcangelo Corelli and, during the first decades of the 18th century, Tomaso Albinoni and Antonio Vivaldi. The Italian 18th century showcases a number of prominent instrumental musicians. Here are symphonics like Giovanni Battista Sammartiniand Luigi Boccherini and piano composers such as Domenico Scarlatti and Muzio Clementi, who also developed the piano playing and the instrument’s repertoire. During the 19th century, Nicolò Paganini assumed a dominant position as instrumental virtuoso.
Nevertheless, it was the opera that dominated Italian music in the coming centuries and that also influenced the rest of European music in a decisive way. During the 18th century, the 17th century opera went from a kind of genuinely composed form, with an almost unbroken musical line, to a number opera, with recitative, arias (of the da capo type), solo ensembles, choirs and instrumental pieces.
It was with Alessandro Scarlatti that the opera received these formal characteristics. To this may be added the dramaturgical arrangement formed by librettists such as Apostolo Zeno (1668-1750) and Pietro Metastasio. It was within the framework of this opera series that the casting songs appeared, and here also was founded the singing hegemony that was first broken into the 19th century.
A dominant position took place in Naples, where composers such as Alessandro Scarlatti, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Nicola Porpora and later Domenico Cimarosa and Giovanni Paisiello worked. They both later developed the comic opera, opera buffa, under the influence of commedia dell’arte and neopolitan folk theater to a shining highlight, something that was of great importance for the emergence of the romantic opera.
During the 19th century, the Italian opera had its greatest heyday. It was initiated by Gioacchino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti, who in that order achieved an increasingly dramatic and musical unity, which gave the opera form a dramaturgy that was completed with Giuseppe Verdi. Together with Wagner, he dominated the international opera world during the latter part of the 19th century.
Around the turn of the 1900’s, the so-called Verist school, with names such as Pietro Mascagni, Ruggiero Leoncavallo and Umberto Giordano, reached international prominence but fell completely under the shadow of Giacomo Puccini, who is the last grand master of Italian opera to date. In his sequel, however, there are some interesting music dramatists such as Riccardo Zandonai, Ottorino Respighi and Ildebrando Pizzetti.
As the art of opera became less and less an Italian affair, the other music creation in Italy was given the opportunity to develop. During the fascist era, composers such as Goffredo Petrassi and Luigi Dallapiccola appeared, whose works occupy a central place in the music of the 20th century. In Milan, the second electron music studio was opened in 1955 after Cologne. Of later composers, Bruno Maderna, Luciano Berio, Luigi Nono, Sylvano Bussotti, Franco Donatoni (1927–2000) and Francesco Pennisi (1934–2000) have excelled.
Italian music came to be strongly linked to theaters through the dominance of opera art. Many of these are still operating, such as the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Teatro la Fenice in Venice and the Teatro alla Pergola in Florence.
Italian folk music has broadly four main stylistic regions: a Mediterranean, a central, a northern and a Sardinian area. The geographical location of the regions has also brought influences from both high-European folk culture (the northern area), oriental music (the Mediterranean area), as well as a mixture of these types (the central area).
Sardinian folk music has a distinctly distinctive character and lacks much of the mix that characterizes the other regions.
In Italian folk music there are also instruments with ancient ancestry, such as skullcaps, end-blown reed flutes, frame drums, mungy and the typically Sardinian launeddas, a clarinet- like instrument with three different long pipes.
Italian music has an unusual history of development in that the boundary between art and popular music has long been fluid. In addition, Italy has never had a national romantic period like many other countries, where attempts were made to highlight and preserve traditional styles. The opera has become Italy’s cultural identity, while the many regional music traditions are rarely noticed and for many are completely unknown.
Melodies from bel canto operas and Neapolitan songs (canzone napoletana) became hugely popular during the 19th century and spread through traveling music companies, brass orchestras and song groups throughout Italy and also became important for the emerging popular music in other Europe as well as on the American continents.. Giuseppe Verdi’s operas also became a unifying symbol for the new nation of Italy, and tenor Enrico Caruso became the country’s first international star. The melodic, romantic beauty song style thus became an important part of Italian popular music throughout the 20th century and is still noticeable.
During fascism, all forms of foreign influence on music were counteracted, which hindered development. However, there were exceptions, such as singer Alberto Rabagliati (1906–74), who after a time in the United States brought with them features of both jazz and tango and Cuban music. After the war, influences from the United States and Latin America began to enter the country seriously and Italian songs spread simultaneously internationally.
In 1951, the Italian song contest started in San Remo (Festival della canzone italiana di Sanremo), which became a role model for the Eurovision Song Contest. The annual festival has a huge audience and has been the starting point for many famous singers such as Gigliola Cinquetti (born 1947), Andrea Bocelli, Eros Ramazzotti and Laura Pausini (born 1974). A world hit became the song “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (or “Volare”), which was sung in the 1958 festival by Domenico Modugno (1928-94).
This type of drummer-like music, called musica leggera (‘light music’), as in Sweden, experienced a boom in the 1960’s, when foreign influences from, for example, British pop and bossa nova became noticeable. Typical artists during this time were Mina (born 1940), Rita Pavone (born 1945), Gianni Morandi (born 1944) and Adriano Celentano (born 1938). Several of their songs were converted to Swedish schlager, including Celentano’s “Il ragazzo della via Gluck”, which in Swedish translation became “Happy street”.
During the 1960’s, many Italian singer / songwriters also appeared, so-called cantautori, with poetic, with time increasingly political lyrics. Piero Ciampi (1934–80), Fabrizio De André (1940–99), Gino Paoli (born 1934), Luigi Tenco (1938–67), and Francesco Guccini (born 1940) are some early cantorialists. Their songs often go in a classic romantic ballad style partly influenced by French chanson. Later cantorori such as Lucio Dalla (1943–2012), Lucio Battisti (1943–98), Franco Battiato (born 1945), Francesco De Gregori (born 1951), Antonello Venditti (born 1949)), Paolo Conte (born 1937), Angelo Branduardi (born 1950) and Pino Daniele (1955–2015) also address other genres such as jazz, blues, rock, pop or traditional music. Many of these people have icon status in their home country, but almost no one is known abroad, except Lucio Dalla.
Italian rock came under the shadow of popular songs and cantautori during the 1960’s, but in the early 1970’s the country became one of the leaders in progressive rock, as many classically trained musicians began to practice rock music, often with a political subtitle. Bands such as Le Orme (formed in 1966) and Premiata Forneria Marconi (formed in 1970) were among the first to mix rock with symphonic music and traditional Italian styles.
During the 1980’s, Italy became an important stage for new wave and hardcore, with bands such as Negazione (formed in 1983) and Raw Power (formed in 1981). However, the real rock boom came during the 1990’s, when the country became a center for post-rock with front bands like Marlene Kuntz (formed in 1990) and Afterhours (formed in 1985).
A special revival style is so-called patchanka, where groups such as Modena City Ramblers (formed in 1991) mix rock, punk, reggae and folk music, often with political lyrics.
However, the most popular artists of Italian popular music have always been solo singers and more and more rock and pop artists in rock leggero are now making international careers. Among the most popular today are Eros Ramazzotti, Vasco Rossi (born 1952), Gianna Nannini (born 1954), Zucchero (born 1955), Tiziano Ferro (born 1980), Giorgia (born 1973), Bugo (born 1973) and Laura Pausini (born 1974).
Electronica and hip hop have a large young audience. Jovanotti (born 1966) was one of the first to introduce rap to traditional pop; later rappers are Fabri Fibra (born 1976) and Fedez (born 1989).
An important part of Italian popular music consists of film music, which had a period of brilliance during the 1960’s-1970’s when composers such as Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, Armando Trovajoli (1917–2013) and Riz Ortolani (1926–2014) created a distinctive Italian film music style with a mix of symphonic music, jazz and traditional style.
The dances of ancient times, which were associated with pagan rites, were crowded by the Christian church in favor of a solemn long dance around the altar, carola. Some church fathers (Paul himself, it was claimed, and John Chrysostomos in particular) were friends of dance, but Council 691 explicitly forbade church dance. However, it was only the fanatical fundamentalism of flagellantism that succeeded in eradicating all dancing, ecclesiastical as well as worldly. However, the dance soon gained other tasks as means of nurturing a new upper class to finer manners. Solemnly moving bass danza, fast-footed gagliardoet al were compulsory skills in court life, and the dance became a hallmark. Education was provided by professional educators; several of them wrote Europe’s first textbooks in dance in the 14th century, so Guglielmo Ebreo (eg “Trattato della danza”). Folk dances are known from the 1300’s, when Boccaccio described the banana from Venice. Each province developed its own, e.g. tarantella in Naples and bergamasca in Bergamo. The tambourine is the common, characteristic musical instrument. Until the 20th century, folk dance has been kept alive among the rural population.
The Renaissance wanted to recreate the spectacle of antiquity in the form of intermezzi, especially in the Lorenzo de ‘Medicis Florence, but also at Alexander Borgia’s and other papacy’s in the 15th century. It led to the court ballet created mainly in France, where the initiative passed from Italy in the late 16th century. Theater ballet flourished during the 18th century on Italy’s numerous operas. The tip of the toe, which would become the hallmark of classical ballet, was probably invented about 1780. Italy’s greatest choreographer, Salvatore Viganò, head of ballet at La Scala in Milan from 1812, led the dance into the romance. The new technology, which still exists today, was codified by Carlo Blasis in a series of textbooks from 1820 onwards. Italy’s latest internationally significant choreographer, Luigi Manzotti, glorified the inventions of the time, including
Today there are larger ballet corps in Milan, Rome, Naples, Palermo and smaller in Venice, Turin and Florence, all classical. Cia Fornaroli was a great ballerina in 1921–32, Carla Fracci since 1958, while Paolo Bortoluzzi has been outstanding on the men’s side. The enterprising dancer and choreographer Giuseppe Carbone has for some time been head of La Scala. Modern vacation has left little footprints in Italy. Even more important are two huge festivals where all the world’s best dance art plays, one in Nervi, led by Mario Porcile since 1955, the other in Spoleto under Gian Carlo Menotti since 1958.
See also ballet (History).
The traditional folk culture in Italy is partly characterized by common features, such as the ancient heritage, partly by a regionalism that mainly distinguishes northern and southern conditions, in that the country, in its southern parts, is part of the Mediterranean cultural area, while in the north it connects to the central and western European cultural areas and can also exhibit its only cultural significant minority, the German of Alto Adige (formerly South Tyrol). On the other hand, the traces of such older foreign elements as Normans, Arabs, Langobards and Goths are not very conspicuous in the general culture; they primarily influenced the higher expressions’ cultural expressions. However, one exception is the southern Italian reminiscences – especially in the coastal areas – of the dominance of ancient Greek culture there.
The large, enclosed agricultural villages, often for the sake of defense, are in many respects characteristic features of the landscape, but in areas with extensive irrigation, striving for coherent, easy-to-control properties, and thus single-family homes or small villages have become common there, as they prevail in The Alps and the Poslätten. Especially large “agricultural towns” are found in southern Italy, not least in Sicily. In the north you will find house and farm types that are closely related to the alpine, south appear forms that are related to general Mediterranean building culture, with workplaces, stables and fireplaces on the ground level, while bedrooms etc. are found in an upper floor. The lack of wood has elicited or preserved constructions that, through its at least external primitiveness, have attracted the attention of research, e.g. Apuliantrulli (singularis trullo), round houses with roofs of conical, overlying arches of limestone, and the cape of the Roman campaign (singularis capanna), shepherds’ huts with wicker and a kind of sieve as material.
Agriculture has long been concentrated on the crops grown since ancient times – the most important new additions have been rice, sugar cane and maize. Twin grain farming was maintained for a long time. Olives, wine and wheat made up the frame, and the tool stock was characterized by its old age. However, the fact that the thrush hit never broke through without the use of cattle trampling is rather a consequence of the environment than of conservatism. The ancient tradition of terraced arable land prevented for a long time mechanization of the work and required a great deal of labor for maintenance. The terracing, as well as the long distances, produced a richly developed variety in terms of carrying equipment for both humans and animals. Livestock management – where earlier small cattle, especially sheep and goats, dominated – and cultivation were long strictly separated, not integrated as in e.g. Europe north of the Alps. Instead, there was constant competition between the practitioners of the two food prisoners, especially regarding the water resources. Transhumance has been common in large parts of the country. – Some jobs, especially the planting of the rice and the olive harvest, have been very labor intensive and have led to extensive seasonal work migration.
In the case of Italian folklore, one can note the richly developed festive traditions, both ecclesiastical and profane, and a stubborn superstition, especially in the case of destruction (eg the evil eye). The Italian folk poetry, especially the visages and the fairy tales, became the subject of extensive documentation and publication during the decades following the middle of the last century. Of particular note is the extremely important effort made by the Sicilian Giuseppe Pitrè. Even in the folkloric material, the threads back to ancient times are often easily discernible.
Food and wine
For Italian food traditions and wine making, see Italian food and Italian wines.