Beyond the Comune: The Italian City-State and Its Inheritance

Authored by: Mario Ascheri

The Medieval World

Print publication date:  October  2001
Online publication date:  September  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415181518
eBook ISBN: 9781315016207
Adobe ISBN: 9781136500053


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Cities are at the heart of European history – or certainly were in the late Middle Ages. And in Italy in particular. In Italy, uniquely perhaps, the evidence speaks for itself. Through their buildings and their art, and the studies (many of them excellent) devoted to them by historians of art and architecture, demography and the urban economy, the cities of late medieval Italy great and small are able to appeal to us still. Not that the distinction of greater and smaller counts for much in the year 2001, when Siena, Pisa, Perugia and San Gimignano are as much suffocated by international tourism as Rome, Florence, Venice or Bologna, with all of Italy’s medieval cities equally afflicted for the simple reason that they are what they are, the impotent custodians of medieval Italy’s art and architecture.

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