Book chapters

Urban Planning in the Baroque Spanish World

There are three essays in Embodiments of Power: Building Baroque Cities in Europe, ed. Gary B. Cohen and Franz A. J. Szabo (Berghahn, 2008), that focus on cities in Spain or its empire.

Thomas Dandelet, “Searching for the New Constantine: Early Modern Rome as a Spanish Imperial City,” argues that Rome’s revival in the 16th century sprang from its new dependence on the Spanish monarchy. Spain supported Rome by providing peace, funds for building projects like St. Peter’s, immigration to replenish its population, and Spanish backing for papal claims of political and ecclesiastical legitimacy. Charles V and his successors through Carlos II were the new Constantines that Rome needed to refound itself as a great urban capital and stage.

John A. Marino, “The Zodiac in the Streets: Inscribing ‘Buon Governo’ in Baroque Naples,” describes how processions in Naples to mark the feast of St. John the Baptist were designed to reinforce the idea of good government by the Spanish viceroys, and how these processions broke down during the 17th century, mirroring the breakdown of Spanish authority in general.

David Ringrose, “A Setting for Royal Authority: The Reshaping of Madrid, Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries,” argues that during the 16th century, Spanish monarchs left Madrid alone, preferring to assert their authority through temporary displays during entrance processions, in the tradition of peripatitic medieval kings. It was not until the 18th century, really, when new forms of sociability arose among the elite that the Bourbon monarchs, especially Carlos III, redesigned Madrid in a permanent way through buildings and broad avenues (paseos) designed to incorporate that sociability with royal authority.


About emspanishhistorynotes

Scott Taylor is an associate professor in the history department at the University of Kentucky.


2 thoughts on “Urban Planning in the Baroque Spanish World

  1. Ringrose’s article looks really interesting – I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but his analysis of Madrid in the early modern period seems to be in tension with arguments like María del Rio Barredo’s (and indeed what I have found in 17th century Madrid).

    Posted by Erin | July 6, 2009, 10:12 am

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