Italian art history begins in Rome during the first through the fourth centuries. The birth of Christian religious architecture based on Roman prototypes, was developed. Resident in Sicily were the Arabs who Paladino 2 introduced styles of oriental magnificence such as Palarmo's Palantine Chapel. According to John White in Art and Architecture in Italy 1250-1400, impressive central plans, lavish materials, sumptuous color, mysterious lighting, and stylized representation describe such works as Ravenna's San Vitale and St. Marks Basilica. The Italian Romanesque was concentrated in Lombardy, Tuscany, and Southern Italy. The Lombard architecture was known for large vaulted churches made of elaborate exterior brick. In Tuscany, Pisan architecture superimposed tiers of marble cascades as in the Pisa Cathedral. The Cefalu and Monerale Cathedrals in Sicily are representations of southern Italy architectures. French architects employed by the Normans, who had conquered Sicily from the Arabs, are attributed to the northern Italy church facades decorated with sculptures of stone. This is evident in such works as the Modena Cathedral and the bronze relief patterns in San Zeno, Verona (White 100, 101, 114,123).
Florentine architects determined the design for early renaissance buildings. Churches were built by a central or a rectangular plan. Residential palaces were developed around a central, arcaded courtyard. The relationship of architectural proportion and human scale was a concern from the works of Brunelleschi. Florentine buildings such as the Pazzi Chapel achieve a serenity and clarity of design from the use of mathematical skill and simple materials (Spivey 36, 38, 42, 43). The formal and intellectual works of Leon Battista Alberti, influenced the next generation of Florentine architects. Leons use of monumental mass, emphasis on geometric relationships, and classical style are shown in Sant'Andrea, Mantua (Spivey 44, 45).