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The Waters of Rome - Rinne, Katherine W - Yale University Press

Art and Architecture


The Waters of Rome

Aqueducts, Fountains, and the Birth of the Baroque City

  • Katherine Wentworth Rinne
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Winner of the 2011 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize sponsored by the Foundation for Landscape Studies

Winner of the Society of Architectural Historians 2012 Spiro Kostof Book Award sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians.  The Kostof award recognizes the work that, focusing on urbanism and architecture, provides the greatest contribution to our understanding of historical development and change.

In this pioneering study of the water infrastructure of Renaissance Rome, urban historian Katherine Rinne offers a new understanding of how technological and scientific developments in aqueduct and fountain architecture helped turn a medieval backwater into the preeminent city of early modern Europe. Supported by the author’s extensive topographical research, this book presents a unified vision of the city that links improvements to public and private water systems with political, religious, and social change. Between 1560 and 1630, in a spectacular burst of urban renewal, Rome’s religious and civil authorities sponsored the construction of aqueducts, private and public fountains for drinking, washing, and industry, and the magnificent ceremonial fountains that are Rome’s glory. Tying together the technological, sociopolitical, and artistic questions that faced the designers during an age of turmoil in which the Catholic Church found its authority threatened and the infrastructure of the city was in a state of decay, Rinne shows how these public works projects transformed Rome in a successful marriage of innovative engineering and strategic urban planning.

Katherine Wentworth Rinne is an urban designer and historian of Renaissance and baroque architecture and urbanism. She is adjunct professor in the department of architecture at the California College of the Arts and associate fellow at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia.  

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