While the architecture of the Italian Renaissance assumed the two principal phases that are broadly classified as Florentine and Roman, from the localities in which the conditions and influences that gave rise to them chiefly prevailed, it is also true, as is well known, that other influences became active in various parts of Italy, leading to the production of phases of design that cannot be strictly classed as either Florentine or Roman. No exact classification of these can be made, but the most marked types having distinctly local characteristics are those of Lombardy and Venice.
But before we examine the church architecture of the Lombard and Venetian Renaissance, one small building of exceptional character in central Italy is worthy of special notice, namely, the facade of the church of San Bernardino of Perugia, dating from the second half of the fifteenth century. This work is remarkable for delicate workmanship, and affords a rare instance of the use of colour in the architecture of the Renaissance. It is made up of red and white marble, with points of dark green and turquoise blue, arranged with quiet harmony of effect. But it is a combination of members put together with no regard to structural consistency. The designer appears to have had not the slightest idea that arches and columns, pilasters and entablatures, have any meaning save as elements of abstract ornamental composition to be played about according to his fancy. The front (Plate V) is an upright rectangle, crowned with an entablature and a low pediment. A broad pilaster is set on each angle, and the space between is filled with a wide and deep recess having a splayed arch reaching to the entablature on splayed jambs. A smaller entablature at the arch impost crosses the entire front, breaking around the jambs and pilasters, and dividing it into two nearly equal parts. The smaller details consist of panellings and medallions in the splays of the jambs and archivolts, of sculptured reliefs on the tympanum and on the panels, and of shafted and gabled niches sheltering statues on the pilasters. The panels of the splays are flanked with diminutive pilasters which are superimposed with only a narrow fillet between those below and those which rest upon them, and the ornamental framing of the niches is made up of colonnettes carrying rectangular stilt-blocks on which small pediments are set. The elaborate richness of this facade is unusual in the Renaissance architecture of central Italy, except in the smaller compositions of tombs and pulpits, which in treatment it resembles. But profusion of ornament is a marked characteristic of the architecture of the Renaissance in north Italy, to which we may now turn. In Milan and Venice the neo-classic influences were, even more than in Florence and Rome, confined to ornamental details, and in these details the designers of the North had still less regard for classic correctness and consistency than those of central Italy had shown; while the larger structural forms of their buildings still remained essentially Lombard and Venetian. Much of the architecture of the North was, it is true, the work of architects from central Italy, but these architects were so far influenced by local tastes and conditions as to produce designs very different in character from those of Florence or of Rome.