Mura urbiche nell’Italia centro-settentrionale: significato e funzione tra la fine della repubblica e la prima età imperiale

Dario Canino


The text synthesizes an analysis of the meaning and function of city walls through a series of examples of urban settlements founded, or renewed, in cental-northern Italy, between the end of the Republic and the First Imperial Age. A period in which, in different geographical areas, different monumental results were produced. In some cases the need for defense is still relevant and the structure of city walls, gates and towers, reveal this need. Despite the Pax Augusta, the phenomenon of brigandage, in primis, imposes in some areas a certain attention to their defensive function. In other cases, the city walls may have existed to perform functions different than that of defensive; functions that are not limited only to a symbolic ritual matrix. In this process, even the city gates are transformed, entering in symbiosis with the monumental typology of the honorary arch and becoming, sometimes, a real commemorative monument of particular events. The prestige of the location of this monumental typology in the city wall is completely independent from the validity of the defensive walls. The city walls interact with the doors and with the towers both functionally and formally. Now, their task is not to close the village in a rigid internal/external alternative but rather to create a dialogue between the reality of the settlement and what surrounds it. This dialogue takes place, thanks to the doors and to other structures, both man-made, such as bridges, or natural, such as courses of water, paying attention to the element of the spatial perspective, that emerges, now, in many cases of urban renewal and thanks to which is created an interaction between the city and the outside world.


City Walls, City Gates, Town Planning, Perspective, Roman Cities

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Copyright (c) 2016 Dario Canino

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LAC 2014 proceedings - ISBN 978-90-825296-0-9 - is an open access initiative supported by the University Library, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.