The question of how Italian Renaissance architecture was taken up in other European countries has been the subject of numerous studies. One interesting example is the building activity in south Germany at the beginning of the 17th century. Major cities like Stuttgart and Augsburg implemented plans for the renewal of significant public buildings in the new style. Figures like Heinrich Schickhardt and Elias Holl have been considered as representative of the spirit of the time, one of the key elements being their familiarity – to different degrees – with Italian architecture and Italy itself. This paper addresses the topic from a point of view so far mostly neglected: which elements are to be found behind the façade (in the less eye-catching, more functional parts of the building) that can be traced back to the Italian building practice? Looking from this perspective can help to better understand the way in which the master builders and architects experienced, perceived, and understood Italian architecture. Moreover, asking how far and under which conditions these techniques could be transferred in an environment characterized by different building traditions will deliver some clues about the interplay between the direct experience of the building process and the knowledge acquired through written sources
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