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In Italy, a palace; any impressive public building or private residence.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a type of urban palace characteristic of the Italian Renaissance that arose in the 15th century. Palazzi were initially built chiefly in Florence, by architects who included F. Brunelleschi, Michelozzo di Bartolommeo, L. B. Alberti, and Benedetto da Maiano. The term palazzo (Italian, derived from Latin palatium) comes from the Palatine Hill, on which the ancient Roman emperors built their palaces.

A classical palazzo was a three-story, or more rarely a two-or four-story, building that faced the street. Its compositional center was an inner courtyard surrounded by arched colonnades. Servants’ quarters were located on the ground floor, reception rooms on the second, and living quarters on the third. The early palazzi, distinguished by their forbidding, monolithic size and their austere facades (with massive rusticated stonework), still preserved certain features of the medieval castle.

In the 16th century, palazzi were built in Rome and Florence by Bramante, G. da Sangallo, A. da Sangallo, Raphael, B. Peruzzi, Michelangelo, B. Buontalenti, and B. Ammanati. Palladio designed palazzi in Vicenza and M. Sanmicheli designed them in Verona. The palazzi of the 16th century made greater use of classical orders and sometimes of sculpted ornamentation. Their architectural composition was often integrally related to their urban surroundings, and the contrast between the facade and the inviting inner courtyard was lessened. Many palazzi had specific local features, such as the festive picturesqueness of Venetian palazzi designed by J. Sansovino and other architects and the dynamic spatial composition of Genoese palazzi by such architects as G. Alessi.


Vseobshchaia istoriia arkhitektury, vol. 5. Moscow, 1967.
Chierici, G. Il palazzo italiano dal secolo XI al secolo XIX. Milan, 1957.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


In Italian cities, a large, separate dwelling, often lavish; one of the major categories into which the Italianate style is often divided.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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