Gustavo Giovannoni (1873–1947). Theories on Heritage and Urban Planning


Summary of Contents and Objectives

Gustavo Giovannoni (1876-1946) was an Italian engineer, conservationist, and theorist of urban planning. Before WWI, Giovannoni developed methodological approaches to the connection of urban planning and conservation in historic cities in Rome. These approaches belong to the first of their kind in Europe. Through his work as a professor and his actions in regard to departmental policies, Giovannoni became important for the conservation of historical cities in Italy and, from 1930 on, also in another countries. Outside of Italy, his urban planning designs and writings on the subject are little known today. Presenting an overview of Giovannoni’s work on urban planning and his writings on urban planning and heritage studies is this project’s obejctive.

Method and Project Design

From 2015 until 2017, the project first researched Giovannoni’s plans for historical cities which have been published in scattered Italian literature in recent decades. In a second step, it investigated the role of Giovannoni as a political consultant in the interwar period in Italy. Numerous reconstructions of cities in Fascist Italy refer to his conceptualizations of the historic Italian city. Additionally, the project plans to analyze the maps of heritages and the plans which Giovannoni commissioned as grounds for the planning of urban development.

Initial Results

International research on the reconstruction of Italian cities in the interwar period was published in the volume Townscapes in Transition. Transformation and Reorganization of Italian Cities and Their Architecture in the Interwar PeriodEvery contribution has a direct or indirect relation to Giovannoni’s role within planning and departmental policies in urban planning.

The results contribute to the international history of heritage studies and the management concept of historical urban landscapes. It provides conceptual suggestions and a basis for the critique of historically grown concepts in the area of urban conservation.

International Partnerships

• Project partner: Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max Planck Institute of Art History, Rome

• Cooperation partner: Dr.-Ing. Luigi Monzo, University of Innsbruck  

Publications, Events, News

• Enss, Carmen M.; Monzo, Luigi (eds.): Townscapes in Transition: Transformation and Reorganization of Italian Cities and Their Architecture in the Interwar Period, Bielefeld 2019.

• Enss, Carmen M.: Stadt und Landschaft kuratiert. Denkmalpflege und Städtebau in Bergamo und an der Amalfiküste, in: uni.vers. Forschung. Das Magazin der Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, May 2018, pp. 32–35.

International Workshop: Continuare la città. Principi e tendenze nella ricerca architettonica ed urbanistica di una città moderna all’italiana, 1919-1945 (Rome, 12 July 2018)