The City in European History

High Renaissance and Baroque Rome

These questions are based on Chapter 6: Rome Resplendent of Girouard's Cities and People.  Please be prepared to discuss them in class.

1.  Of Rome at the end of the sixteenth century, Girouard writes:  "Rome was unique. . . . it was less like any city that had existed before in Europe, than it was like Paris, London, Vienna, Berlin, and New York as they were to develop over the succeeding centuries.  It was the precursor of the great modern capital cities, at once large, cosmopolitan, complex, grand and tolerant, full of variety and extremes, regarded by some as a cesspool of iniquity and by others as a haven of delight." (p. 129)  Evaluate the validity of this statement and summarize the evidence on which Girouard bases it, using as many as specific examples as possible.

2.  Sixteenth-century Rome was the site of the Vatican, an international city, and one that "was superimposed on the ruins of an earlier capital that was equally international".  Explain how these facts gave the city its unique character, particularly the relationship between consciousness of past grandeur and present importance.

3.  Summarize the addition to the topography of Rome made by the Renaissance and early Baroque popes.  Focus on the roads, particularly, the Via Pia, the aqueducts, the fountains, and city squares.  What is the importance of the cathedral piazza in Livorno?  What about the Piazza Navona?

4.  Study the 1575 painting of the pilgrims in front of St. Peter's.  What does it reveal about Rome in the sixteenth century?  And, how can this be reconciled with the existence of 801 self-professed courtesans in the census of 1599?

5.  Select and discuss one aspect of High Renaissance and Baroque Rome that strikes you as you read the chapter, explaining why you chose it.

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Last Update: 22 March 2004

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