“Italianate” and Italian Architecture

Italian villas are world-renowned for their elegance, beauty and rustic luxury. What makes the Italian style of architecture so special? This article will examine the basics of this style and give some tips and tricks to create a personalized design.

What is Italian design?

The Italian architectural style generally features low and high pitched roofs, usually terra-cotta tile and if possible will include at least one terrace or tower. Exteriors are usually, stucco, stone or brick, many times all three are masterfully woven together in a fascinating way.

Arches are used everywhere. Carports, garages, entrances and even exterior windows may include and elegant arch overtop. Windows are usually tall and let in a lot of natural lighting while also allowing great views of meticulous gardens.

Outside living space, i.e., patios, terraces, porticos, outdoor kitchens and dining areas are very common. 

Whereas modern Italian design has evolved it has its origins in what is referred to as the Italianate style. You can surely see the similarities in the description below:

Italianate style of architecture

Modern Italian style architecture outside of Italy has its roots in was is referred to as “Italianate”. It was back in the early 1800’s that the “Italianate” style was born not in Italy, but in England. The basis for this new style was actually a fusion of 16th century renaissance and rustic Italian country design built for the British Aristocracy.  

It didn’t take long for this fascinating fusion to take off in popularity and before long the style had made it throughout Europe and even other parts of the British Empire. 

It was the mid 1800’s that the style became popular in the United States and it continues to make comebacks albeit with slight variations.

The Italianate design is characterized by the following characteristics:

Low-pitched roofs (sometimes flat roofs); Heavy exterior crown molding cornices; Heavily decorated eaves with corbels; Pedimented gables; Large, decorated windows with either arches pediments; Bay windows (flat and angled); The attics are usually full of eaves and awnings; Glazed doors are common; Balconies with either wrought-iron or plaster balustrades; Towers are a very common feature;

Regardless of the origins of modern Italian-American architecture: it is beautiful and majestic!

If you are in the market for a new house, considering building, or just remodeling: you will surely never regret choosing this style!