The Italian Renaissance architecture style is found in early 20th century houses throughout the United States. It tended to borrow from and mimic the original homes of Italy more closely than the Italianate house design style which followed a more loose and free interpretation of Italian architecture. Many American architects and their clients, through first hand visits and experience with original models in Italy, help to bolster the authenticity of Mediterranean architecture in their recreations. Even more, because of improved printing technology, photos were also accessible. In stark contrast, Italianate architecture was based on pattern book drawings created by those with no first hand knowledge of Italian homes.
Design features of Italian Renaissance Architecture
Italian Renaissance house designs usually feature a number of common details. Hipped roofs, usually low in pitch and occasionally flat, with tile roof covering is the main feature. Decorative brackets support the wide overhanging boxed eaves. This feature alone helps to separate the Italian Renaissance house plans from the other Mediterranean styles. The facade is more likely than not to be symmetrical. The entry area usually has accents of small classical columns or pilaster. Arches or radius tops above doors and first floor windows are common. You see this on porches in the design. The upper story windows are normally smaller than the main floor windows and also less elaborate.