Italian house plans feature a gently-pitched roof with wide, overhanging eaves supported by large decorative brackets creating an impression resembling the pediment shape of classical temples. The Italian floor plan typically revolves around a circular staircase in a tall tower. Common Italian home plan features are the grouping of either straight or round-headed windows into threes or small arcades, and the placement of porches or arcaded loggias between the tower and house or at the corners. Italian style home plans dominated American housing construction between 1850 and 1880 when the idea of rural Italy was romanticized by Americans. Many historians believe the Italian style home plan, or Italian villa style was favored for two reasons; these homes could be built with many different materials and the house plans could be easily adapted depending on the budget.
Italian house plans tend to overlap with both Mediterranean and Tuscan house plan styles. The true Italianate house plans have a distinctive look in that they have a very low-pitched or flat roof, a rectangular shape, and are at least 2 and as much as 4 stories high. Italianate house plans originated in the latter part of the 19th century and can be found in most areas of the US with the exception of the south. Also typical of the Italian house plan style are rounded, arched or pedimented windows, cast or stamped metal or wood-lathed ornamentation, and tall, double-door entries.
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