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Gothic in Piedmont and Lombardy

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The new medieval style known as “Gothic” arrived in borderland Piedmont from two different directions. One was France and the other, the most significant, was Lombardy. Nevertheless, with rare exceptions like the French-style apse of San Giovanni in Saluzzo, the Italian model prevailed. The ancient Roman roots of the Romanesque masonry tradition were too deeply entrenched to be supplanted by French structuralism. Gothic in Italy and in Piedmont was more a style used for decoration than for construction, becoming the Romanesque Gothic, whose round arches developed into ogees, while not quite freeing (at least not sufficiently) the walls to make room for great windows. The monuments that express this intelligent Italian compromise are Staffarda, Sant’Andrea in Vercelli, Sant’Antonio di Ranverso, and Chieri Cathedral.

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