Ancient Rome and the Italian Renaissance gave Italy a rich architectural heritage that influenced building design around the world. Every part of Italy brims with architectural wonders. For centuries, the Roman Empire ruled the world.
In ancient times, the Romans borrowed ideas from Greece and created their own architectural style. The 11th and 12th centuries brought a renewed interest in the architecture of ancient Rome. Italy’s Romanesque style with rounded arches and carved portals became the dominant fashion for churches and other important buildings throughout Europe.
The period we know as the Italian Renaissance, or reawakening, began in the 14th century. For the next two centuries, a keen interest in ancient Rome and Greece brought a creative flourishing in art and architecture. The writings of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio revolutionized European architecture and continue to shape the way we build today. Between 1400 and 1600 AD, a return to classical ideas ushered an “age of “awakening” in Italy and northern Europe. This period is known as the Renaissance, which means born anew in French.
Before the dawn of the Renaissance, Europe was dominated by asymmetrical and ornate Gothic architecture. During the Renaissance, however, architects were inspired by the highly symmetrical and carefully proportioned buildings of Classical Greece and Rome.
However, the 1400s and 1500s brought an explosion of talent and innovation. During the early 1400s, the painter and architect Filippo Brunelleschi designed the great Duomo (cathedral) dome. Brunelleschi also rediscovered the principles of linear perspective. During the 1500s, the great Renaissance master, the radical Michelangelo Buonarroti, painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and designed the dome for St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.