From late antiquity until the nineteenth century the Italian peninsula was made up of numerous states and city-states, governed as republics, or ruled by kings, dukes or popes. While diverse attempts were made to unify these disparate political entities through language and culture, or warfare and realpolitik, the dominant situation was one of intense rivalry and intermittent conflict. That uniquely Italian idea of campanilismo, or pride in one's own bell-tower, was borne of this continuous rivalry. It encapsulates an important concept, that local pride was inscribed in the physical fabric of the city, that a bell-tower could stand for a collective sense of one city's self-image and that this was expressed and calibrated in relation to neighbours, who were usually rivals. It is within this frame of references that much recent scholarship on urban image and identity has focused, teasing out the intentional distinctions that were drawn socio-politically and culturally, between the major centres of the peninsula. Such a process has significantly altered the view, dominant until quite recently, that style in art and architecture followed a single evolutionary route that passed from one place to another, as each lived a ‘golden age’ that defined a single ‘urban’ school – Siena, Venice, Florence, Rome, Bologna. In its place, a more nuanced view of how each centre fostered, reacted, responded and adopted innovation and change has come to the fore. In a generation of scholarship that followed Michael Baxandall's ground-breaking Painting and Experience, the idea that Renaissance Italians consciously fashioned urban images and identities has entered the mainstream. Scholars have put artworks and buildings back into close relation with the social contexts of their production and have asked how they worked in relation to their users and viewers.