30 December 2015

Galeazzo Alessi – architect

Brilliant designer left legacy of beautiful palaces and churches

Italian architect Galeazzo Alessi, who designed some of the most impressive buildings in Genoa and Assisi, died on this day in 1572.
Galeazzo Alessi designed the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in 1568
The Basilica of Santa Maria degli
Angeli in Assisi, designed by Alessi
Photo: Lahiri Cappello (CC BY 2.0)

Born in Perugia in 1512, Alessi studied drawing for both civil and military architecture and developed great enthusiasm for ancient architecture, although he was also later influenced by Michelangelo.

He became known throughout Europe for his distinctive style and towards the end of his career was commissioned to design churches and palaces in France, Germany, Belgium and Spain.

A lot of his work can still be seen in Perugia and Assisi, where, in collaboration with another architect, Alessi designed the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in 1568.

In Genoa he designed some of the beautiful palaces with ornate decoration that have now been listed as Unesco world heritage sites and he was involved in planning the lay-out of the streets and the restoration of the city walls.

Alessi died at the age of 60 in Perugia before the designs that he had drawn up for El Escorial, the residence of the King of Spain, could be carried out.

Travel tip:

Perugia, Alessi’s home town, is the capital city of the region of Umbria and one of the main Etruscan cities of Italy. A stunning sight on a hilltop, Perugia is also home to two universities, the 14th century University of Perugia and another University that has been established for foreign students learning Italian.

Perugia's hilltop location affords stunning
views over the Umbrian countryside
Photo: Zorro2212 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Travel tip:

For Assisi, Alessi designed the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli in 1568 in collaboration with the architect Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola. It has an ornate and imposing façade and encloses a small ninth century church, the Porziuncola, a sacred place, where the young Francis of Assisi renounced the world to go and live among the poor and start the Franciscan movement.  


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