May 2015


Italy’s Covered Markets: History and Contemporary Reuse

  • Tuesday, 12 May 2015 - 10:00am to 7:00pm
AAR Lecture Room

This interdisciplinary conference addresses the history of covered markets in Italy and their reuse. Starting in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, cities across Italy began to construct covered markets to modernize the food provisioning system. These structures were often symbols of civic pride: they incorporated new technologies, were the nexus of municipal infrastructural grids, and facilitated better regulations on the quality, price, and hygiene of food. Today, these markets are caught in debates across Italy as cities, citizens, and developers disagree on what to do with them after the buildings have fallen into disuse. While some of them have been upgraded or transformed to accommodate different uses, many are under threat of being destroyed to make way for other types of buildings.

The conference will convene leading scholars, artists, and architects to discuss the history, current and future states of Italy's covered markets. Historians will analyze these buildings from architectural, economic, and sociological perspectives, and the artists will present projects that reimagine their different uses. The participants will reflect upon the preservation, reuse, and destruction of the covered markets in relation to their changing civic functions.

Presentations will be in English and Italian.

The conference is organized in collaboration with the Umbra Institute.

Contact: Ruth W. Lo, American Academy in Rome,