The Gothic style, as interpreted by Vasari, who invented the term, embraced the barbarian art of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries which had wiped out and sent into oblivion the classical art of the ancients until it was reborn (in the phase which corresponds to the Renaissance) in the XV century. The Gothic style was created, around the middle of the XII century, in the region inside Paris known as the Ile-de-France and subsequently spread throughout Europe. It showed itself in different ways according to the locality, while maintaining unchanged some special characteristics. In contrast to Roman and Romanesque art, this is not a massive art, but extremely agile and light. The unmistakeable characteristic is undoubtedly verticalism: Gothic architecture is in fact very high, almost as if it wanted to challenge the sky. Other specific aspects are the pointed arch, the pointed ribbed vault (which replaces the cross vault), the rampant arch, the pinnacle (an aesthetic element which also contributes to the stability of the buildings) and the scarce thickness of the walls replaced, for large tracts, by stained glass.
Thanks to the Gothic vault, on the same plan buildings of various forms could be developed; in general the Gothic cathedrals had three naves, with few substantial differences with respect to Roman ones. Motifs of Roman architecture came moreover to be drawn on and developed, such as the head cross, the eastern extremity of the church which includes the ambulatory, the chapels which radiate from it and the polygonal apse. In Italy, the Gothic shows itself in the adoption of some particulars (like the pointed arches) within a measured structure which retained the Romanesque harmony while learning from that of the Renaissance. Horizontal development prevailed over vertical development, the walls were kept and stained glass windows were of minor importance compared to frescos.