Prato della Valle, Reconfigured
Chora 6 Though the Prato della Valle in Padua is one of the largest public squares in Europe, only a handful of articles regarding the piazza have been written in English. Typically, authors have focused on the political manoeuvring to complete the work; the imaginative funding scheme devised by architect-politician Andrea Memmo, the physical nature of the site, or the nineteenth and twentieth-century reception of the project. A continuous thread through existing scholarship is the belief that the work was influenced by the architectural theories of Carlo Lodoli relating to function, representation, and/or the truth of materials. I would agree that Lodoli’s thinking influenced the work but I do not believe that the significance of the project is based only on the issues noted above. This article will show that the Prato della Valle was also intended as a reconfigured Roman amphitheatre. Further, I will propose that the Prato della Valle operates in an emblematic way as a guide to understanding the role of history in design.