The Tuscan Order

The Tuscan Style, with its plain form and the absence of carvings and ornaments, is one of the oldest and simplest architectural form developed in ancient Italy.

The Origins

The Tuscan order is a classical order born in Rome, it is solid and not so ornate. The influence of the Doric order is evident even if it features un-fluted columns and a simple entablature and it has no triglyphs or guttae. The Romans did not see this style to be a separate order and because of that Vitruvius does not mention it in his manuscript “De architectura”.

It was classified as a separate formal order in the Italian Renaissance.

Detail of the four-row colonnade at the 17th century Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City.

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The Tuscan order is seen, because of its simplicity, as a Roman adaptation of the Doric, and in the proportions follow Doric’s ratios. This solid order was used in military architecture, in docks and warehouses when they were dignified by architectural treatment.

It is suitable to fortified places, such as city gates and structures used in war.


A picture of a Tuscan Entrance
Tuscan entrance

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Differences Between Doric and Tuscan Order

The Tuscan can be used to make a comparison with the classical Doric order, presents less severe elements. Probably Romans invented it. For example, can be found a base at the bottom of the column: it is recognizable by the presence of a molding below the capital and the stem of the column is often smooth and without grooves.

The Tuscan Column is a Roman adaptation of the Doric. The Tuscan has an unfluted shaft and a simple echinus-abacus capital. It is similar to the Roman Doric in proportion and profile, but it is much plainer. The column is seven diameters high. Among all orders, it is the most solid in appearance.

Style Features

This style has the following features:

  • Shaft sets on a simple base;
  • Shaft is usually plain, not fluted (grooved);
  • Shaft is slender, with proportions similar to a Greek Ionic column;
  • Smooth, round capitals (tops);
  • No carvings or other ornaments;
Picture of tuscan column
An example of Tuscan Column

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The Tuscan Order Today.

We can find some important examples of Tuscan buildings in:

  • Santa Maria della Pace (Pietro da Cortona, 1656) in Rome.
  • Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne (Baldassarre Peruzzi) in Rome.
  • Various buildings in Europe that reach up to the late nineteenth century.
Picture of Santa Maria della Pace in Rome
Santa Maria della Pace, in Rome.

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We can also find several examples in England:

  • Covent Garden by Inigo Jones (1633) in St Paul’s.
  • another English house, West Wycombe Park.
  • the Palladian house of Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire.
Picture of St Paul in Covent Garden by Inigo Jones
St Paul, Covent Garden by Inigo Jones

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