The Founding of New Cities in Sicily between the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: Architecture, Urban Models and Rural Infrastructures in the Study of the Town of Delia

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Giuseppe Giugno


his article deals with the study of newly founded cities in Sicily between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This phenomenal rise in the number of new cities occurred in most of the inland areas of the island and was affected by extensive transformations financed by the nobility during that period. Within this study, the theme of building new cities is addressed with reference to the political and cultural scenarios and as related to the space-time coordinates of the physical and social transformations. To develop a general framework, the founding of the city of Delia, in which the visible elements remain useful for grasping most of the aspects related to the development of this city, is adopted as a case study.
The specific reference to the founding of a city is crucial to understand the birth of a new urban center. Three aspects should be considered in that development: its architectural dimension, its urban characteristics and its relationship with the surrounding environment characterized by cereal production.
My analysis, distinguished from all previous works published on the history of Delia, concentrates on these three specific aspects. Therefore, this research highlights the existence of shared architectural and urban planning principles that arose between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. On a methodological level, it was necessary to adopt one Sicilian city that was founded in the 16th century as a model in order to compare it with other examples of the same period. The proposed case study reveals the existence of urban and social planning procedures and practices that are reflected in all the other centers. However, it remains necessary to extend the study to the construction of a new city and its diffusion of new architectural ideas through the circulation of workers, artists and architects.

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