Piazza San Marcoby Iain Fenlon
The Piazza San Marco, one of the most famous and instantly recognizable townscapes in the West, if not the world, has been described as a stage set, as Europe’s drawing room, as a painter’s canvas. This book traces the changing shape and function of the piazza, from its beginnings in the ninth century to its present day ubiquity in the Venetian, European, as well as global imagination.
Through its long history, the Piazza San Marco has functioned as civic space that was used for such varied activities as public meetings; animal-baiting; executions; state processions; meat and produce markets; a performance venue for rock concerts; as well as, more recently, a cafe to enjoy a leisurely Campari. Constantly alert to the question of function, this book recreates not only rituals of the past but also activities of the present, from the coronation of the doge to the legendary Pink Floyd concert of 1989, with much fanfare in between. Iain Fenlon recreates the dynamic, colorful, and noisy history of the piazzaa history that is also the history of Venice and, indeed, of Europe.
[Readers] will find much to enjoy in this elegant and informative little book, which focuses on the historical and cultural center of Venice, the Piazza San Marco… The changing face of the square over the ages and the evolution of the social rituals and practices carried out on its premises form the core of this authoritative treatment, but [Fenlon] also provides valuable commentary on what to see and do when visiting the square.
Though not strictly modern—well, not modern at all, really—the Wonders of the World series of books from Harvard Universtiy Press remains my favorite ongoing run of architectural tomes. Classicist Mary Beard is the series editor, and each of these trim volumes takes up the subject of a particular building. Ranging from Stonehenge to The Parthenon to The Temple of Jerusalem, imagine these scholarly works as biographies of buildings… [You should] race to add the newly released Roman Forum and Piazza San Marco to your collection.
Meet the Author
Iain Fenlon is Professor of Historical Musicology at Cambridge University.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews