When we think of the history of modern architecture the story might revolve around the Germans and the Bauhaus, but Diane Ghirardo’s Italy: Modern Architectures in History might give us pause, since it reminds us of a more fundamental driver of “the modern,” namely, the rise of the nation-state. This was a significant aspect for the Prussians during the Enlightenment, and indeed some have argued that Friedrich Schinkel was, in a sense, the first modern for the Germans. But the German unification as such took place only in 1871, and though there are many parallels, the Italian situation was considerably more stressed, for they not only had to build a nation-state after 1861 out of the chaos of unification but also had to do so in the vortex of modern industrialization. Timing was everything; the Greeks won their independence in 1830, but the Greeks never accepted—or perhaps one can say...

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