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See also: English Italian Dictionary of Art and Architecture


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Abacus: The uppermost member of a capital, set atop a pillar, and, on classical buildings, in contact with the bottom of the ENTABLATURE. The abacus resembles in form the flat slab on which it was modelled

Absidiola=Apsidiole: A small subsidiary apse.

Abutmenta structure built to support the lateral pressure of an arch or span , e.g. at the ends of a bridge.

Acroterion: The sculptured figure, tripod, disc or urn, of bronze, marble, or terracotta, placed on the apex of the pediment of a Greek temple or other substantial building; sometimes also above the outer angles of the pediment triangle.

Aisle: (in a church) a lower part parallel to the nave, choir, or transept, from which it is divided by pillars.

Ambulatory: Covered portico surrounding the inner shrine of a temple. 

Angles: A Germanic people who originated on the Baltic coastlands of Jutland.

Antefix: A Latin word for a terracotta plaque covering the end of an IMBREX at eaves level, and usually decorated with an APOTROPAIC subject.

Apse: a large semicircular or polygonal recess in a church, arched or with a domed roof and typically at the church's eastern end.

ArcadeThe gallery or arcade, usually without windows and so a ‘blind storey’, above the main arcade and below the ‘clerestory’.

Arch: a curved symmetrical structure spanning an opening and typically supporting the weight of a bridge , roof, or wall above it.

Architrave: The horizontal member above two columns spanning the interval between them.

Lintel: Wooden beam or stone slab lying horizontally above a doorway or window opening in order to discharge the weight of the structure above.

Artefacts: is "something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of art, esp. an object of archaeological interest". "Artifact" is the usual spelling in the US and Canada, "artefact" in the UK and Australasia.


Barrel Vault: a vault forming a half cylinder.

Bas-Relief: is a projecting image with a shallow overall depth, for example used on coins, on which all images are in low relief. It is a technique which requires less work, and is therefore cheaper to produce, as less of the background needs to be removed

Belfry: A tower or wooden structure, sometimes simply a frame, in which bells are hung so that when rung the sound can escape. Often associated with churches and religious sites, early examples are often freestanding structures away from the church building itself. In Ireland the tall round towers associated with monastic sites were probably used as belfries as well as refuges. The tradition of incorporating the bell-tower into the main church structure dates to the period after the 11th century ad.

Building: a structure with a roof and walls, such as a house or factory

Buttress: a structure of stone or brick built against a wall to strengthen or support it


Capstone: (from cope, Latin capa), consists of the capping or covering of a wall. A splayed or wedge coping slopes in a single direction; a saddle coping slopes to either side of a central high point.

Ceiling: A ceiling is an overhead interior surface that covers the upper limit of a room. It is generally not a structural element, but a finished surface concealing the underside of the floor or roof structure above.

Cella: Latin term for the great hall of a temple in which stood the generally colossal cult statue of the deity. The inner shrine of a Roman temple, edged in many cases by a colonnade or AMBULATORY.

Centring: framing used to support an arch or dome while it is under construction.

Choir: the part of a cathedral or large church between the high altar and the nave, used by the choir and clergy.

Clear Span : a distance between two intermediate supports for a structure

Colonnade: A row of evenly spaced columns supporting a roof, an entablature, or arches.

Construction: In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that co sists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking. Normally, the job is managed by a project manager, and supervised by a construction manager, design engineer, construction engineer, or project architectcornice

Convey transport or carry to a place: pipes were laid to convey water to the house Crepidoma

Corinthian Order Greek architectural style characterized by columns with a diameter-to-height ratio of 1:10, and an enlarged capital (uppermost part) decorated with sculptured foliage, often acanthus leaves. This style was extensively used by the Romans. The Corinthian Order capital differed from the Ionic in being elaborately decorated with two or three tiers of carved acanthus leaves below small volutes. The considerable advantage over the Ionic lies in the four concave sides of the abacus, which give it, in plan, a cushion shape. Supported at the sharply pointed four corners by pairs of small volutes, this abacus solves the problem involved in the form of the Ionic capital, where the front and side views are different.

Corner Place or angle where two sides or edges meet: (ex.Jan sat at one corner of the table)

Crepidoma  is an architectural term related to ancient Greek buildings. The crepidoma is the platform of, usually, three levels upon which the superstructure of the building is erected. The levels typically decrease in size incrementally, forming a series of steps along all or some sides of the building. The crepidoma rests on the euthynteria (foundation), which is normally constructed of locally available stone for the sake of economy. The uppermost projecting element of a classical building, immediately below the roof line.

Cromlech= Is a word used to describe prehistoric megalithic structures, where crom means "bent" and llech means "flagstone". The term is now virtually obsolete in archaeology, but remains in use as a colloquial term for two different types of megalithic monument.

Crossing: the intersection of a church nave and the transepts.

Curvature In mathematics, curvature refers to any of a number of loosely related concepts in different areas of geometry. Intuitively, curvature is the amount by which a geometric object deviates from being flat, or straight in the case of a line, but this is defined in different ways depending on the context. There is a key distinction between extrinsic curvature, which is defined for objects embedded in another space (usually an Euclidean space) in a way that relates to the radius of curvature of circles that touch the object, and intrinsic curvature, which is defined at each point in a Riemannian manifold. This article deals primarily with the first concept.

Curve A line or outline which gradually deviates from being straight for some or all of its length:the parapet wall sweeps down in a bold curve


Dentil (in classical architecture) one of a number of small rectangular blocks resembling teeth, used as a decoration under the moulding of a cornice.

Depth the distance from the top or surface to the bottom of something:water of no more than 12 feet in depth

Diamter A straight line passing from side to side through the centre of a body or figure , especially a circle or sphere.

Dolmen = deriva da «tolmen» (parola della lingua celtica della Cornovaglia) che avrebbe designato in origine un cerchio di pietre o una roccia scavata. Is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone.

Doric Order Greek architectural style characterized by fluted columns with a diameter-to-height ratio of one to eight and an unelaborated capital.

Drum is each of the blocks of stones, shaped cylindrical that can be compose a shaft of a column


Extrados : the upper or outer curve of an arch.  Often contrasted with intrados


Façade: the principal front of a building, that faces on to a street or open space.

Figurine= is a statuette that represents a human, deity or animal. Figurines may be realistic or iconic, depending on the skill and intention of the creator. The earliest were made of stone or clay. Modern versions are made of ceramic, metal, glass, wood and plastic.

Flagstone is a type of generic flat stone, usually used for paving slabs or walkways, patios, fences and roofing. It may also be used for making memorials, headstones, facades and many construction projects.

Flying buttress: An arched supporting pier outside a building which takes most of the weight of the roof, allowing the walls to be devoted to window-space rather than being used to support the roof.


Groin Vault: a curved edge formed by two intersecting vaults.


Impost: the top course of a pillar that supports an arch.

In archaeology, where the term is most commonly used, an artifact is an object recovered by some archaeological endeavor, which may have a cultural interest

Intrados: the lower or inner curve of an arch.  Often contrasted with extrados


Keystone: a central stone at the summit of an arch, locking the whole together.


Lintel-Header = is a building technique based around structural members, usually called studs, which provide a stable frame to which interior and exterior wall coverings are attached, and covered by a roof comprising horizontal ceiling joists and sloping rafters (together forming a truss structure) or manufactured pre-fabricated roof trusses—all of which are covered by various sheathing materials to give weather resistance.

Low-Relief is where in general more than half the mass of the sculpted figure projects from the background, indeed the most prominent elements of the composition may even be undercut detatching them completely from the field.


Megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement.

Menhir  is a large upright standing stone; Their size can vary considerably. The function of Menhirs has provoked more debate than practically any other issue in European pre-history. Over the centuries they have variously been thought to have been used by Druids for human sacrifice, used as territorial markers or elements of a complex ideological system, or functioned as early calendars.

Monolith is a geological feature such as a mountain, consisting of a single massive stone or rock, or a single piece of rock placed as, or within, a monument. Erosion usually exposes the geological formations, which are most often made of very hard and solid metamorphic or igneous rock.

Mosaic: A wall or floor decoration made up of many cubes of clay, stone, or glass blocks (tesserae) of different colours. Mosaics may be either geometric, composed of linear patterns or motifs, or figured with representations of deities, mythological characters, animals, and recognizable objects. Mosaics became extremely popular in the Graeco-Roman world. The earliest dated mosaic from Britain comes from the legionary fortress bath-house at Exeter dated to AD 55–60 55–60, closely followed by those in the Fishbourne Roman palace. The great age of mosaics in Britain, however, is the early 4th century ad. Mosaics were also a feature of the Byzantine empire, some of the finest mid 1st millennium ad examples being those at Ravenna, Italy


Nave:  the central part of a church building, intended to accommodate most of the congregation.


Pier: A moulded stone at the top of a pilaster flanking an opening. The member of a pillar or pier from which the arch springs. A discontinuous impost is where the arch mouldings simply die out in the splayed jambs.

Pillar: Tall slender vertical stone, masonry, or wooden structural or decorative component of a building which physically or visually supports some kind of superstructure such as a roof, balcony, floor, or gable.

Pinnacle: An ornament at the top of a gable, canopy, pinnacle, or similar on a building or structure. Usually made of stone or ceramic.

Porch: a covered shelter projecting in front of the entrance of a building.

Portal: A kind of dummy doorway or blind entrance in the side of a structure, either for symbolic reasons, to achieve architectural balance, or to foil would-be robbers.


Rise: the vertical height of a step, arch, or incline.

Rose Window: Large round window found in cathedrals and churches in Europe from the 12th century ad onwards.


Spire: A spire rising from the tower without any parapet.

Splay: A moulded stone at the top of a pilaster flanking an opening. The member of a pillar or pier from which the arch springs. A discontinuous impost is where the arch mouldings simply die out in the splayed jambs. The name derives from Middle English flagge meaning turf, perhaps from Old Norse flaga meaning slab

Stained glass: Essentially glass which has been coloured either through painting the surface with translucent material or, more commonly, adding elements to the glass during its production to give a permanent tint. From about the 12th century onwards pieces of cut and shaped coloured glass were joined together in lead frames to produce pictures of scenes, events, and motifs that were put into windows. Mainly used in ecclesiastical architecture, by the 14th century and on into the Renaissance, stained-glass windows were being treated much like a painter's canvas.


Thrilithon-Thrilith is a structure consisting of two large vertical stones (posts) supporting a third stone set horizontally across the top (lintel). It is commonly used in the context of megalithic monuments. The most famous trilithons are those of Stonehenge in England and those found in the Megalithic temples of Malta, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Tower: Tall narrow circular stone towers with conical roofs built within Irish monasteries, probably as places of refuge, from the 9th century ad onwards. A small number of examples were built in western Scotland and the Isle of Man. Typically such towers had several storeys, each lit by a small window. The doors were set high off the ground, making them eminently defensible. Some were later used as campaniles; others may have been built for this purpose.

Transept: (in a cross-shaped church) either of the two parts forming the arms of the cross shape, projecting at right angles from the nave.

Tympanum: An enclosed space in the head of an arch or doorway; the vertical face, usually triangular in outline, at the rear of a pediment.


Voussoir: a wedge-shaped or tapered stone used to construct an arch.


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Barretta Maria Antonietta, Bottigliero Miriana, Buonanno Rita, Cangiano Maria, Capone Annalisa, Cioffi Grazia, Corvino Valentina, Crispino Rosa, Cristofaro Saverio, D’alterio Simone, Daniele Giulia, De Rosa Rita, Dell’aversana Silvia, Di Carluccio Martina, Di Nardo Antonio, Di Ronza Carla, Falco Maria Lucia , Flagiello Vera, Fusco Filomena, Giordano Giulia, Granata Alessia, Granata Tiziana, Ilonzo Linda, Kompanets Oksana, Lettera Domenico, Liberti Raffaella, Lombardi Chiara, Mezzacapo Maria, Mosca Antonia, Mozzillo Nadia, Petrenga Fabiola, Pianese Michela, Picone Antonio, Rescigno Emanuele, Rosotta Maria, Saulino Danila, Schiano Mario, Taglialatela Scafati Carmine, Trinchillo Anna Maria, Trotta Gianmarco, Verde Maria.

See also: English Italian Dictionary of Art and Architecture

Published - June 2011

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