If you have had your fill of ancient Roman ruins, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches and are looking for something completely different, why not pay a visit to the Quartiere Coppedè. What awaits you are the fantastical creations of the architect, Gino Coppedè (1866-1927), after whom the area is named.
To call it a quartiere makes it sound much grander and larger than it is. The Quartiere Coppedè actually amounts to no more than five short streets, all radiating from the delightful Piazza Mincio. The streets are each made up of a variety of private villas and apartments.
In the years following the first world war, Coppedè was given what most architects can only dream of, namely, the freedom to do his own thing. He was commissioned to create a new residential district for wealthy professionals and public servants. He came up with a series of very unusual designs! All of his buildings are characterised by a playful use of detail, which never fails to surprise and delight. In his lavish use of ornament and colour, Coppede was swimming against the architectural tide of his day. Modernism was the dominant ideology and ornament, let alone colour, was distinctly passé.
Gino Coppedè was born in Florence and developed his love of decoration in the workshop of his father, who was a wood-carver. There, Gino and his brothers learned to carve intricate figures to adorn the homes of the Florentine bourgeoisie. The rewards of this apprenticeship would, in time, be reaped in full in a small corner of the Eternal City.
Coppede's architectural brief may have been in Rome, but this did not stop him from including many aspects of his native city in the design. We see the Florentine lily, the Medici coat of arms, the Duomo etc..
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian, writer and guide