A romantic in Tuscany: Alessandro Gherardesca and the transformation of Pisa’s Piazza del Duomo

Alessandro Melis, Julia Gatley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Downloads (Pure)


Pisa’s Piazza del Duomo is well known as a public space of medieval origin. This article explores its nineteenth-century transformation, presenting the project as one of the most symbolic and evocative examples of Romanticism in Italian urban space. Before this transformation, Pisa, a secondary city of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (Florence was the capital), was still dominated by a conservative society. But Alessandro Gherardesca, the renowned Pisan architect who was in charge of the nineteenth-century works, abandoned the late Baroque tradition, employing instead a rationalist neo-classicism in his work. He bridged the cultural gap that existed between the Europe of the Revolutions and the periphery of the Austrian Empire. Then, as he matured, he increasingly embraced English Romanticism, and his references, without denying his initial preference for the French masters, were consistent with the exploratory approach of the Enlightenment. The article shows that in his transformation of the Piazza del Duomo, Gherardesca created an idealised image of the original square, one that was in line with British trends, especially in the critical approach to the conservation of monuments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1487256
JournalCogent Social Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2018


  • architecture
  • history
  • conservation
  • Romanticism
  • Enlightenment


Dive into the research topics of 'A romantic in Tuscany: Alessandro Gherardesca and the transformation of Pisa’s Piazza del Duomo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this