In the course of four centuries during the early modern period, the intersections between language and built form were gradually transformed. But such change, as this study demonstrates, was not straightforward and unidirectional, by discarding previous practices for the sake of new innovative or radical forms of expression and communication. Instead throughout the early modern period in Italy we witness re-interpretations and adaptations of earlier medieval and classical traditions, which in various ways returned to the debates of the early fifteenth century about written, oral and visual forms of communication (and their architectural and urban contexts) as the basis for religious and cultural reform. At the core of this ‘inheritance’ were the analogical relationships between ‘word’ and ‘image’, highlighted in Peter Carl’s ‘diagram’ in the Introduction. Hence, a key strategy in this study has been to take the debates surrounding the meanings of language, and their appropriate forms of delivery, as the starting point for considering architectural, pictorial and urban developments during the intervening periods.