Italian PM case history


in the Renaissance Age and before



By Felice Corini and Federico Minelle

Parma and Rome, Italy


First part of this paper has been presented by prof Corini as his Lectio Magistralis[1], mainly focused on the Project Manager role, how it was performed by Filippo Brunelleschi, a prominent architect in the Italian Renaissance age (six centuries ago), in the design and construction of the Florence Cathedral Dome [1]. In the second part a short example about the competencies shown in the same role by ancient Romans, while constructing their Empire infrastructures all across western Europe and beyond it.


Even before the early part of the Renaissance age (1300-1400) Florence was a very rich city and became a significant (maybe unique) site of fine arts development. This included architectural initiatives: castles, towers, and mainly churches.

At that time the Florence lordship decided to create a new cathedral, more fitted with the city importance, in order to amaze all Europe: the biggest cathedral with the biggest dome in the whole history.

In 1380 the base building was almost completed, but not the dome. All the citizens were pressing in order to finish the job. A public bid was finally issued in 1418, to design and build the dome. At the same time, due to the acknowledged difficulties of the endeavour, a similar bid was issued to design and assemble the equipment required for a safe lifting of dome materials.

Many participants, but no winner: any proposal was considered inadequate. But immediately emerged that Brunelleschi’s project was the best (see Fig. 1).


Figure 1: The Dome of the Florence Cathedral: axonometric cross-section (courtesy by Giuseppe Nifosì artesvelata@gmail.com www.artesvelata.it/cupola-brunelleschi/) [2]

But it was so “futuristic” that was almost incomprehensible to the commission members. Therefore, it generated perplexity and doubts and a no-decision approach has been adopted: both Brunelleschi and Ghiberti (another prominent Florence artist) projects were equally appraised and both awarded the role of construction managers. Maybe they thought to mitigate the risks, but (as you know) it was a bad mistake: the project management rule n. 0 was not attained!

Brunelleschi understood it and, just to ignite the problem, decided to stay apart for some days. As expected, workers team someway mutinied and the project owner understood the mistake, leaving to Brunelleschi the whole responsibility, while Ghiberti had a formal role, only (at last, he was the artist who made the Gates of Paradise of the Florence Baptistery!).

Then he prepared and discussed his offer with the Client, operating as a Proposal Manager. Once the contract was acquired, he was effectively appointed Works Manager (in fact the P.M.), with a top-level investiture. He selected and hired some master builders he personally knew and appointed one of them as his direct interface.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Corini, F. and Minelle, F., (2022). Italian case history in PM, in the Renaissance Age and before; PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue XI, November.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/pmwj123-Nov2022-Corini-Minelle-Italian-pm-case-history-in-rennaissance-and-before.pdf

About the Authors

Felice Corini

Parma, Italy


Felice Corini graduated as an electrotecnichal engineer at “Alma Mater” Bologna University. After serving as a Lieutenant in the Italian army corps of engineers, he worked for more than 10 years at Filippo Fochi spa Bologna, acting as P. M. coordinator in many important projects in Italy: nuclear plant in Caorso, ammonia plant for Montedison in Ferrara, oil refinery in Augusta Sicily. Long standing trade mission in Iran and Brazil.

Afterwards he spent more than 20 years at Incomech spa Milan/Parma, starting as Project Manager for Algerian Sonatrach gasline 42 inch from Hassi er Mel to Borji Menaiel, and then Commercial manager, General manager and CEO, main shareholder. Important projects included chemical, petrochemical, thermal power plant, turbo gas power plan, pipelines on shore and offshore, GNL reinjection plant, district heating in: Italy, Algeria, Angola, Yemen, Iraq, Russia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia.

At the same time he served as CEO at Incoservice srl Parma, providing technichal services with super qualified personnel for maintenance, erection supervision, repairs, precommissioning and commissioning of turbo gas compression stations of Nuovo Pignone and General Electric in Russia, Algeria, Europe and for Fiat Avio in Syria. Main shareholder.of Interincoservice gmbh Zug, Switzerland, performing same activities as Incoservice but with international personnel.

More than 15 years as contract professor in Project Management at Parma University-Engineering Dept. Also, contract professor in Technology for Construction of Industrial Plants. Recently, he was appointed “honorary professor” at the University of Parma. Felice can be contacted at feli.corini@libero.it .


Federico Minelle

Rome, Italy


Federico Minelle graduated in Physics at “Sapienza” – Rome University, presenting a Master’s degree thesis on Artificial Intelligence (AI) research. Afterwards, for more than 40 years he consulted in Business Organization, Information Systems and Project Management.  As a partner at Accenture and then as senior partner of Italian consultancy firm PRS – Planning, Ricerche e Studi, he managed and monitored significant projects in several industries, mainly in Engineering and Construction (e.g. manufacturing and nuclear power plants, transportation infrastructures) and in Government (ICT and process innovation).

Federico taught for more than 20 years Business Information Systems in the Computer Science Dept. of “Sapienza” – Rome University, where he also taught Project Management & ICT for the academic master’s degree in ICT Governance and Audit. At the same time he often lectured about similar topics to Government officers attending SNA (National Public Administration School) courses.

He was Editorial Director of the Italian journal “Il Project Manager”, developing a fruitful cooperation with the PM World Journal. Just after retiring at the end of 2017, he was appointed as Scientific Director of the same Italian journal until mid 2022, where he writes editorial notes, papers and book reviews.

Since 2018 Federico Minelle is an International Editorial Advisor for the PM World Journal (PMWJ) and by extension for the PM World Library.

He is an honorary member of ISIPM (Italian Institute for Project Management).

In the early 1990s he co-authored 2 books on strategies and management of Engineering & Construction business, edited by the relevant Industry Associations, while more recently he contributed to the “Guidelines for Quality ICT Procurement”, edited by the Italian Government Agency for ICT.

Federico has authored several papers and seminars on Cost/Benefit analysis for ICT Government projects and on PMO functions in ICT organizations. Federico can be contacted at minelle@di.uniroma1.it.

[1] proclamation as Honorary Professor in Industrial and Information Engineering- Parma (Italy) University, 12 May 2022