A country that is rich in heritage and history is home to a place that is critical in the development of architecture not only in Europe but throughout the world. Italian gothic architecture represents a movement of gothic architecture that transitioned through Europe and transformed style and the typical depiction of the word “gothic.” Italy’s choice of design and placement of buildings shows the Italians approach and style in terms of gothic design. The Italian approach to gothic design allows for an individual expression of a style in architecture that seemed outmoded and repetitive throughout northern Europe.
In its development of a Gothic style, Italy stood apart from the rest of Europe. While in most European countries’ artists imitated the architectural styles that derived from northern France, however that was not the case in Italy. This was due to both geographic and geologic factors. Italy’s arts were heavily influenced with classical antiquity and Byzantine Constantinople more than in countries north of the Alp Mountains. In addition, the Italian architectural style was decisively affected buy the fact that brick and not stone was the most common building material and that marble was the most common decorative material.
The distinctive traits of Italian Gothic are best understood by referring to the Italian Romanesque and its likewise exceptional position. The basilica pattern and timber ceiling were very common in Italy, especially in Tuscany, through the Romanesque period and that the Romanesque character was mainly apparent in decorative traits. It was not till the close of the Romanesque period that vaulted churches became widespread throughout Italy, with ornamental traits which reflected some slight northern Gothic influence.
Twelfth-century buildings such as Laon, Chartres, or Saint-Denis, that appeared to have been so important in the north, were virtually not imitated in Italy. The Italians were...