LIFE BEYOND TOURISM BLOG

July 22, 2010

Italian architects in Odessa (Ukraine)

Hi Bloggers,

following previous Antonina’s article on the last Italian Colony in Odessa (Ukraine) we will today follow the traces of Italian architecture there … thank you again Antonina for your contribution!

“The unique appearance of Odessa city is well-known in Ukraine and abroad. Its historical architecture has a style more Mediterranean than Russian, having been heavily influenced by French and especially by Italian style.

During the first years the main residential, public buildings, the sea port were built by Italian settlers, following the projects by Italian architects and with the construction materials, transported from Naples, Genoa, and Livorno.

Odessa Architectural Heritage includes brilliant creations of Boffo, Bernadazzi, Frapolli, Torichelli, Digby, dell’Acqua and others.

The now world-famous Potemkin staircase—the globally known emblem of Odessa is actually the creation of Francesco Boffo (1837-41), an Odessa Italian who spent twenty five years of his professional life in the Russian port. Boffo readjusted the famous Roman steps of the Spanish staircase (Scalinata di Spagna) to the needs of the Odessa boulevard and port, somewhat modifying the project of Francesco de Santis (1723-26), though using the same principle. He dispensed with the Rococo elements of the original Roman steps, leaving the strictly Hellenic contours or the essence of De Santis’ Roman project.
Nearly all the buildings at the formerly Italianskaya (from Russian language: Italian), and now Pushkinskaya Street, proudly carry their solemn and dignified facades, resembling the Roman, Venetian, Turin or Milan as for example Palazzo Bigazzini. The Odessa caryatids, forming the facade of the Krasnaya (from Russian lanuage: red) Hotel, constitute a Russian replica of the older Genoa building on Via XX Settembre 14, celebrating Northern Italy in Southern Russia.

This was the design by Alexander Bernadazzi, a second generation Italian immigrant who paid_tribute to the artistic land of his ancestors. The building exudes the Splendor of St. Maria di Campitelli in Rome, the high Baroque and anticipating motifs of the art Nouveau, the spirit of Gaudi and the Vatican, and the talent of Rinaldi and Bernini, Fuga and Borromini, Madeno and Mascarino.

 

Odessa’s Mediterranean image earned the poetic labels of a “Little Barcelona”, “Little Marseilles”, “Russian Naples” or “Russian Genoa”.
Contemporary residents of Odessa are still daily exposed to the impressive urban beauty and splendor, recreated by the Italian masters. Odessa is their “mini Italy and Europe”.”

 

 

 

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1 Comment »

  1. Thanks Antonina

    Your excellent text and deep historical reflection gave me the opportunity to imaginatively understand the Odessa’s architectural landscape beauty and led me want to know this city personally.

    Congratulations

    Comment by Namur Matos Rocha — November 12, 2010 @ 7:29 pm | Reply


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