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Domes in the central Mediterranean. Geometric syncretism and cultural hybridizations

Domenico Mediati, Daniele Colistra, Marinella Arena


This paper presents a research on geometric, symbolic and formal hybridizations between the different cultures of the Mediterranean. In particular, it focuses on some religious architecture in this area, the geographical centre of a wide cultural universe. In this area there is a synthesis between different visions and spiritual aspirations.

The studies on the religious and cosmological symbolism of René Guenon, Mircea Eliade, Renzo Manetti and others, highlight recurring geometric and symbolic elements: the square and the cube are expression of the substantiality of the earth; the circle and the sphere symbolize the celestial transcendence; the octagon denotes mediation and relationship between immanent and transcendent. Later, they will be joined by the symbol, par excellence, of Christianity: the cross. These geometric shapes will be the foundation of religious architecture which, between Islam and Christianity, expressed a common spiritual aspiration, in different and often syncretic ways.

The research develops in various steps:

  • Identification and classification according to chronological and morphological characteristics and in relation to the prevailing architectural influences.
  • Survey with instrumental (laser scanner) and photogrammetric (terrestrial and drone shooting) methods.
  • Insights and analysis that highlight geometric matrices and spatial conformations, for the development of a formal and symbolic vocabulary of Mediterranean architectural hybridizations.



Domes; Geometric symbolism; Cultural hybridizations; Islamic architecture; Byzantine architecture.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Domenico Mediati, Daniele Colistra, Marinella Arena

ISSN 1828 5961
Registration at L'Aquila Law Court no 3/15 on 29th June, 2015.
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