Jessica Sheffield, a graduate student at Penn State who is teaching with us in Rome this summer, is discovering flowers and gardens in Italy and building a nice account of them on her blog.
Our students interested in Roman gardens will want to explore the Borghese Gardens, the Villa Doria Pamphilj gardens in Trastevere, the Botanical Gardens, also in Trastevere, and the Villa D’Este in Tivoli. Especially recommended as a historical account of the Italian garden is Claudia Lazzaro, The Italian Renaissance Garden (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), a beautifully illustrated book by a prominent art historian.
Professor Lazzaro is also co-editor, with Roger Crum, of another book that might interest students of the rhetoric of Rome — Donatello among the Blackshirts: History and Modernity in the Visual Culture of Fascist Italy
(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004).
Students of rhetoric may also be familiar with Lawrence W. Rosenfield, “Central Park and the Celebration of Civic Virtue,” in Thomas W. Benson, ed., American Rhetoric: Context and Criticism (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989), which reflects on the Italian garden as a social and civic space.
D. Medina Lasansky, The Renaissance Perfected: Architecture, Spectacle, & Tourism in Fascist Italy. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004.
From the preface: “This book examines the way in which the late Middle Ages and Renaissance were manipulated and deployed in service of politics during Italy’s Fascist regime between 1922 and 1945. . . .
The Fascist regime was by no means the first, or the last, government to deploy the medieval/Renaissance past in its political rhetoric. Celebrating the Middle Ages and the Renaissance was central to the discourse of identity politics throughout the history of modern Italy.”
Medina Lasansky and Brian McLaren eds., Architecture and Tourism: Perception, Performance, and Place. Berg, 2004.
Emilio Gentile, Fascismo di Pietra. 3rd ed. Rome-Bari: Gius. Laterza & Figli, 2008.
From the prologue: “Il fascismo condensava nel mito di Roma e dell’impero la sua visione del passato, del presente e del futuro.”(v)