When Italo Calvino wrote "Le città invisibili" in 1972, he was aware of the period of transition that urban life was facing. The ‘city’ is a polysemous subject, and since it encompasses issues related with both the man-made environment and the human experience itself, the concept of the city must be examined by using multidisciplinary methodologies.
The utopian space is symbolic: it is created through an act of deliberate volition, and each planning starts with the spatial configuration of buildings in order to establish relationships between objects and beings. The utopian political and social frame of mind shapes the topography and the blueprint of the utopian city. The project stems from the mind of the author as a mere speculation, and it is built and made real through textuality: it is a non-place that does not exist outside the text.
The essay focuses on two moments in the long history of utopian cities: the relationship between architectural theories on the ideal city and utopia during the Renaissance; and the relationship between normative and legislative utopia (both having the city as their prime expression), and the Arcadian-pastoral utopia (for which the garden and the relation of human beings to nature is essential). In this last case, the author will take into consideration the utopian city of the 19th Century, and look at two architectural schools, the constructivist and the cultural one.