Sunday, January 22, 2017

PALACE OF THE KNOWLEDGE (first part)

PALAZZO DELLA SAPIENZA
The ancient and first UNIVERSITÀ ROMANA (Roman University) was founded in 1303 as STUDIUM URBIS by Boniface VIII Caetani (1294/1303) with location still unknown
It was based in this site from the time of Eugene IV Coldumer (1431/47) who built the original nucleus with the proceeds of the tax on imported wine in Rome
It consisted of a house to the south of the current block but the public disputes of students were held in the vestry of St. Eustace and teachers were leading their academic life in their homes all in the same area
It remained here until 1935 when the CITTÀ UNIVERSITARIA (University City) was inaugurated (about 500 years!)
Rearranged in the years 1492/97 with some rooms on the south west side by Andrea da Firenze and his colleague Sante for Alexander VI Borgia (1492/1503)
The palace itself was begun with the portico of the courtyard in the years 1562/63 by Guidetto Guidetti (about 1498/1564) for Pius IV Medici (1559/65) who wanted Pirro Ligorio (about 1513/83) to continue it until 1567 after the death of Guidetti in 1564
It was finished for about three quarters in the years 1577/1602 by the great and underestimated Giacomo Della Porta (1533/1602) for Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85), Sixtus V Peretti (1585/90) e Clement VIII Aldobrandini (1592/1605)
Della Porta moved the entrance from Piazza St. Eustace to the current Corso Rinascimento
“The design intentions of Giacomo Della Porta are not documented but the close similarities with the Circus of Domitian (...) seem to underlie a dual significance, symbolical and allegorical: comparing the layout of the Studium Urbis with the ancient Agonal Circus would have made the ancient modern and set up a comparison between the abstract and the intellectual exercise” (Antonella Pampalone)
It was completed by various architects in the seventeenth century:
1602/13 Paolo Maggi (?/1613)
1614/23 Ettore Pomis
1623/31 Domenico Zampieri aka Domenichino (1581/1641)
1631/32 Domenico Castelli (1582/1657) and Gaspare De Vecchi (active 1628/1643)
It was finally finished from 1632 to 1665 by Francesco Borromini (1599/1667) who added the Biblioteca Alessandrina (Library of Alexander) and the Church of S. Ivo alla Sapienza
Borromini came highly recommended to Urban VIII Barberini (1623/44) by his friend first and enemy later Gian Lorenzo Bernini
BACK FAÇADE
1959/64 adorned with allegorical allusions to the academic disciplines and relief with “Sine wave pattern” on the parapet
“It is plausible to assume a reference to the wavy pattern in the arms of the Caetani family, the one of the Pope founder of the Studium (Raspe 2000)” (Antonella Pampalone)
ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BUILDING
Heraldic symbols placed on the parts of the building erected by the popes belonging to the six families represented: half dragons for the Boncompagni, lions' heads with pears for the Peretti executed by Ambrogio Buonvicino (about 1552/1622), eight-pointed stars for the Aldobrandini, bees for the Barberini, eagles and dragons for the Borghese, six mountains and six-pointed star for the Chigi
AUDITORIUM
In the ceiling “The four faculties aspiring to Knowledge” 1883 by Giuseppe Ferrari (1840/1905)
STUDIO ROOM
“Bust of Pope Gregory XVI Cappellari (1831/46)” maybe by Adamo Tadolini (1788/1868)
In a corridor “Bust of Victor Emmanuel II” 1885 by Lio Gangeri (1845/1913)
The current complex is home to the ARCHIVIO DI STATO DI ROMA (State Archives of Rome) with over 28,000 scrolls and about 500,000 ancient books and records dating from the ninth century to 1870, all kept in about 25 km (15.5 miles) of shelves

Friday, January 20, 2017

RINASCENTE PALACE ON PIAZZA FIUME

PALAZZO DELLA RINASCENTE DI PIAZZA FIUME
1957/61 Franco Albini (1905/77) and Franca Helg (1920/89)
It is the only architectural work of Franco Albini in Rome
“Even in this building, where the architectural language is enriched by the results of a more refined technological research, one can read the relationship between modernity and tradition that is a constant theme in the reflective work of Franco Albini. La Rinascente is built within the context of the city of Rome absorbing a series of suggestions of its environment and its colors, and referring to the historical tradition of the Renaissance palaces and of the nearby Aurelian Walls” (Annette Tosto)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

RINASCENTE PALACE ON LARGO CHIGI

PALAZZO DELLA RINASCENTE DI LARGO CHIGI
1885/87 Giulio De Angelis (1850/1906) and Sante Bucciarelli (1848/94)
1917 raised with an extra floor again by Giulio De Angelis
1920 cantilever roof by Pio Piacentini (1846/1928)
The INTERIORS were painted by Annibale Brugnoli (1843/1915) with paintings of which unfortunately no trace remains
It was the first department store in Rome, formerly known as STABILIMENTO BOCCONI (Bocconi Establishment) or ALLE CITTÀ D’ITALIA (To the Cities of Italy)
The first elevators and escalators ever in Rome were installed here
It was called LA RINASCENTE (The Reborning One) by the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio in 1917 for its reconstruction following a fire. Similar fate had just happened shortly before to its counterpart in Milan
“He showed independent and unconventional temperament and mastery of the most advanced construction techniques, linked to the industrial production of his time. With the Bocconi building Giulio De Angelis experimented in the typology of the department store, a risk in many ways, including that of opposing rooted habits and social behaviors, and he won this very difficult comparison test, giving Rome the first building of great size fully intended for commercial use” (Giuseppe Miano - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
In 2006 the building was bought for about € 125 million by the Spanish group ZARA and La Rinascente in 2010 moved across the street, in the Palazzo dell'Istituto di Beni Stabili (Galleria Alberto Sordi)
The preparation of the new store lasted about one year and the architecture has been restored to the initial design of Giulio De Angelis, a project advanced for its time in the use of steel structures in construction and with huge and bright windows

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

RAI PALACE

PALAZZO DELLA RAI
1963/65 Francesco Berarducci (1924) and Alessandro Fioroni (1926/80)
In the courtyard in front of the entrance bronze sculpture “The dying horse” 1966 by Francesco Messina (1900/95)
“Although not always understood by the more modernist Italian critics, Messina led an aesthetic journey with inner security and self-consistency. Cocteau, in an exemplar essay, tracked down even in his more outlined works the Mediterranean substance of his sculpture, characterized not so much by figurative similarity, as by that particular vibration with which he solved the modeling, without ever sculpting deformed figures or yield to the risk of caricature” (Rosanna Ruscio - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

PALACE OF THE PONTIFICAL GREGORIAN UNIVERSITY

PALAZZO DELLA PONTIFICIA UNIVERSITÀ GREGORIANA
1927 Giulio Barluzzi (1878/1953) for Pius XI Ratti (1922/39) as the new home of the University of the Jesuits also called Gregorianum
It was founded in 1551 by S. Ignatius of Loyola as a grammar school, of humanity and of Christian doctrine and called Collegio Romano (Roman College)
Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85) in 1583 endowed the university with a new and larger premises and in memory of his benefactor the Collegio Romano took later the name of Gregorian University
Pius XI wanted associated with the University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Oriental Institute, but each institution is legally distinct with its own rector, its faculty and its administration
It is also attended by lay students
It overlooks Piazza della Pilotta well known already at the beginning of the sixteenth century for the ball game that took place here
Pilotta is a contraction of the Spanish word pelota

Friday, January 13, 2017

PANTANELLA PALACE

PALAZZO DELLA PANTANELLA
1878/81 as the headquarters of the Società dei Molini e Pastificio Pantanella (Society of Mills and Pasta Factory Pantanella) on the site of the ancient STATIO ANNONAE headquarters of the praefectus annonae who was charged with the administration of the food supply of the city of Rome
In this area was also built later the PALACE OF NICHOLAS I (858/867)
Renovated in 1930 for the MUSEO DI ROMA (Museum of Rome) organized by Antonio Muñoz
The museum was here until 1952 when it was transferred to Palazzo Braschi
From 1952 the building was used as a WAREHOUSE FOR THE ROMA OPERA HOUSE and later for MUNICIPAL OFFICES
It is the only remnant of the small industrial center built at the end of the nineteenth century in this area. The whole area of the Circus Maximus until the thirties of the twentieth century was occupied by industrial warehouses and even by a gasometer
All buildings except the Pantanella Palace were dismantled to put emphasis on the archaeological remains
In 1930, under the palace the MITHRAEUM OF THE CIRCUS MAXIMUS of the third century AD was found. It was built by reusing existing rooms. On the back wall extraordinary relief “Mithras slaying the bull”

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

PALACE OF MINERVA

PALAZZO DELLA MINERVA
1280/1330 as a convent for the Dominican friars
Rebuilt in 1559 Guidetto Guidetti (about 1498/1564) for Vincenzo Giustiniani general of the Dominicans
Expanded in 1656 by Paolo Marucelli (1594/1649)
It was a seat of the Congregazione del S. Uffizio (Congregation of the Sacred Office), which met here every week and celebrated trials including the one of Galileo Galilei in 1633
In the GALILEAN ROOM the sentence was read and it was here that he abjured his heliocentric ideas immediately after to avoid the death sentence. The famous phrase yet it moves seems not to have any historical foundation
Restructured in 1860 by Andrea Busiri Vici (1818/1911) for Pius IX Mastai-Ferretti (1846/78) who transformed it into the Pontifical College of South America
After 1870, with the adjoining BIBLIOTECA CASANATENSE (Casanatense Library) it was property of the Italian State and it became the headquarters of the Ministry of Education, of Scientific Research and Technology and of the Post Office
Today it houses offices of Members of Parliament

Monday, January 9, 2017

PALACE OF THE MANUFACTURE OF TOBACCO

PALAZZO DELLA MANIFATTURA DEI TABACCHI
1859/63 Antonio Sarti (1797/1880) for Pius IX Mastai-Ferretti (1846/78)
Restored in 1927 by Pier Luigi Nervi (1891/1979) for the transformation of the building in the seat of the State Monopolies. A roof for the large room of the selection of tobacco was built
Renovated again in 1958 by Cesare Pascoletti (1898/1986) who demolished the original wings of the building
It is now the seat of the AMMINISTRAZIONE AUTONOMA DEI MONOPOLI DI STATO (Indipendent Administration of the State Monopolies) that, according to the official definition, “controls the public gaming sector in Italy through a constant check on the work of dealers and a targeted action against irregularities. It has in addition the faculty to control the production, distribution and sale of tobacco products and the collection and payment of taxes that burden it”
Just like the popes who speculated in the past on the deadly habit of tobacco, so today the Italian state profit handsomely from the same vice, albeit without monopoly, and gorges itself obscenely of the proceeds of gambling that causes havoc for many families

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

FARNESINA PALACE ON VIA DEI BAULLARI (third part) - GIOVANNI BARRACCO MUSEUM OF ANCIENT SCULPTURE

Second Floor

Greek Art (mostly ancient Roman copies):
“Head of the Silenus Marsyas” Antonine copy of a bronze original by Myron of Eleutere (about 500/440 BC)
“Head of the Kassel Apollo” Flavian copy from Phidias (about 490/430 BC) found during excavations at the end of the nineteenth century in the Interior Ministry on Viminal Hill
Two heads of the “Doriforo (Spearman)” copies from originals by Polykleitos of Argos (about 490/about 425 BC). The one found in the Baths of Caracalla accentuates the pathetic expressiveness of the masterpiece by Polykleitos
“This copy of the Late Hellenistic or Augustan period clearly shows the activity of the copyist in the reinterpretation of some details: it was pointed out that, in addition to extremely detailed performance of the locks, only the left side of the face can be consistently associated with a Polykleitos' setting, probably in correspondence with the angle from which the statue had to be visible. The rest of the face is charged with a pathos totally new that emphasizes the rotation of the face, the eyes more deeply hollowed, the mouth opened more, thus destructuring the solidity of the facial scheme of Polykleitos” (Lucio Fiorini)
Two heads of the “Diadoumenos” one of them, beautiful, although very worn, comes from Terracina, “Hercules”, “Athlete crowning himself” all copies from originals by Polykleitos of Argos (about 490/about 425 BC)
“Herm of Pericles” from original by Cresila

SIXTH ROOM
“Head of Apollo Lyceum” by Praxiteles (about 395/326 BC)
“Wounded Bitch” Roman copy signed by Sopatro from Greek original by Lysippus (about 370/300 BC) in Pentelic marble
Pottery dating from 700 to 400 BC

SEVENTH AND EIGHTH ROOM
“Portraits of Sophocles, Euripides, Demosthenes and Epicurus”
Roman art:
“Head of a Child” maybe Nero, part of the Julio-Claudian family. It was found in the Villa of Livia Ad Gallinas Albas at Prima Porta
“Fragment of mosaic with partridges” also from the Villa of Livia Ad Gallinas Albas
“Bust of youth of the gens Julia” from Pozzuoli
“Bust of a Flavian Woman”
“Fragment of a fresco with Hermaphrodite” (second century AD)
“Funeral palmirene slabs” (third century AD) from Palmyra in Syria
In addition, “Ecclesia Romana” fragment of mosaic of the beginning of the thirteenth century from the apse of the demolished Basilica of St. Peter

ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPLORATIONS
In the underground ruins of a Roman building of the late antiquity, perhaps a domus (house) with commercial function

FARNESINA PALACE ON VIA DEI BAULLARI (second part) - GIOVANNI BARRACCO MUSEUM OF ANCIENT SCULPTURE

MUSEO DI SCULTURA ANTICA GIOVANNI BARRACCO
Since 1948 it houses in NINE ROOMS in a collection of 380 pieces donated to the City of Rome in 1902 by Baron Giovanni Barracco (1829/1914) from Calabria
Barracco had the collaboration of two of the most recognized experts in the ancient art of the day: Wolfgang Helbig, secretary of the German Archaeological Institute and Ludwig Pollak the antiquarian discoverer of the arm of the Laocoon that bears his name
It is a small but interesting and educational museum because it allows to compare and see examples of sculpture belonging to different civilizations and periods
Entrance “Apollo mutilated sitting on a rock” of the Hellenistic period from the gardens of Caesar in the Trastevere neighborhood
“Christian Sarcophagus”
“Seated Woman” from Attica (beginning of fourth century BC)
In the mezzanine two headless statues: “Little girl pouring water from a vase” and “Muse”
Egyptian art:
Works spanning three millennia (Old Kingdom 3100/2161 BC to 30 BC)
“Stele of Nefer” scribe of Pharaoh at the table of tenders (IV dynasty 2640/2520 BC)
“Relief of the dignitary Ty” from Memphis (V dynasty 1938/1739 BC)
“Relief of the courtier Akhiti-hotep” (IV Dynasty)
“Wooden head of a lion” (XVIII Dynasty 1100 BC)
“Two canopic jars” for the entrails of the dead
“Portrait of Sethi I” (1289/1278 BC) in black granite
“Portrait of a bearded man” mistakenly believed to be Julius Caesar but, in fact, maybe a priest (Ptolemaic period 304/30 BC)
“Hourglass water of Ptolemy” found in Rome in the Iseum Campensis (Temple of Isis)

Sumerian and Assyrian Art:
Two nails for the foundation of Sumerian temples “Goddess Inamna” and “God Nirgirsu” 2000 BC
“Slab with winged genius” (IX century BC). Upper part of a frieze kept in the Vatican Museums
“Slab with three warriors on the run in a cane” (VII century BC)
“Tablets with cuneiform writing” from the time of the third dynasty of Ur (about 2050 BC)

Cypriot and Etruscan Art:
“Memorial stone from Chiusi” (V century BC)
“Female Head” antefix in limestone from Bolsena (III century BC)
“Quadriga with woman and child” polychrome from Cyprus (about 490 BC)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

FARNESINA PALACE ON VIA DEI BAULLARI (first part)

PALAZZO DELLA FARNESINA AI BAULLARI
1522/23. The correct name would be Palazzetto Le Roy (Small Palace Le Roy) but it is also known as Piccola Farnesina
We do not know who built it, maybe Baldassarre Peruzzi (1481/1536), for the Breton prelate Thomas Le Roy (De Regis in Latin) who died before the completion of the work
The lilies of France in the first floor markers were mistaken for the lilies of the Farnese family and this was the cause of the incorrect name of the building that has absolutely nothing to do with the Farnese. Le Roy was allowed to use them because of his mediation between Pope Leo X Medici (1513/21) and King Francis I of France
From 1671 to early 1800 it belonged to the Silvestri family
In 1885 it was purchased by the City of Rome
1898/1904 Enrico Guj (1841/1905) changed it with the new FAÇADE ON CORSO VITTORIO EMANUELE II, which caused the demolition of one quarter of the building

Saturday, December 31, 2016

FAO PALACE

PALAZZO DELLA FAO
1938 Vittorio Cafiero (1901/81) e Mario Ridolfi (1904/84) con Ettore Rossi (1894/1968), Giulio Rinaldi, Wolfgang Frankl (1907/94), Alberto Legnani e Armando Sabatini
Designed as the Ministry of Italian Africa but completed and extended for the new use only in the years 1950/52 by Vittorio Cafiero himself
Headquarters of the FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
The building is leased to the UN by the Italian government for the symbolic price of $ 1 per year
Near Piazza di Porta Capena, in front of the building, in 1937 the stele of Axum was placed, an obelisk of the fourth century AD moved here from Ethiopia by the order office Mussolini. In 2005 the obelisk was removed from the square and returned to the Government of Ethiopia

PALACE OF THE DEUTSCHE BANK

PALAZZO DELLA DEUTSCHE BANK
1910/13 Arturo Pazzi (XIX/XX centuries) as the site of the Grandi Magazzini Old England (Old England department store)
Arturo Pazzi designed the widening exit of the tunnel and also designed the nearby Palazzo del Messaggero, formerly Hotel Select

Friday, December 30, 2016

PALACE OF THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY

PALAZZO DELLA DEMOCRAZIA CRISTIANA
1955/58 designed by Saverio Muratori (1910/73). It was completed in 1962
It was the headquarters of the Italian party DEMOCRAZIA CRISTIANA (Christian Democracy) who ruled Italy and dominated the political scene for much of the second half of the twentieth century
It is also known as PALAZZO STURZO in honor of Don Luigi Sturzo priest and Italian politician, founder in 1919 of the Partito Popolare Italiano (Italian Popular Party)
“Saverio Muratori's program of 'engagement of traditional shapes in the patterns of the modern movement', was expressed in a lexical retrieval of historical and environmental values. And it is in this respect that the building of the headquarters of the Democrazia Cristiana was designed” (Giancarlo Cataldi)


“He developed the theme of the public building from the plant with a central courtyard to a clear overlap between hierarchical levels, with clear references to the classicism of the Roman late Renaissance palace, even in the rich design of the façades”(Alessandra Capanna - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

PALACE OF THE APOSTOLIC DATES GIVERS

PALAZZO DELLA DATARIA APOSTOLICA
End of the sixteenth century for Cardinal Orazio Maffei
1615 renovated for Paul V Borghese (1605/21) when it became the seat of the Dataria Apostolica (Apostolic Date Givers) the office of the Curia who had the task of affixing the date on papal documents
1860/61 rebuilt by Andrea Busiri Vici (1818/1911) for Pius IX Mastai-Ferretti (1846/78)
It was an important center of power with exceptional financial importance: this is where handouts were conceded and where benefits and ecclesiastical roles were assigned
In 1652 the sub-datario Mascambruno, sentenced to death on charges of having forged the signature of Innocent X Pamphilj (1644/55) on some documents, before being beheaded, was conducted in front of the Palazzo della Dataria and here his right hand was cut
The institution was abolished in 1968 by Paul VI Montini (1963/78)
Since 1973 is home to ANSA the main Italian news agency and the fifth in the world

Saturday, December 24, 2016

PALACE OF THE COUNCIL

PALAZZO DELLA CONSULTA
1732/34 most important early work of Ferdinando Fuga (1699/1782) for Clement XII Corsini (1730/40)
The building was financed with the proceeds of the lottery and it replaced the Palazzo di Vercelli of the Ferrero family from Piedmont where the Cardinal of Vercelli Guido Luca Ferrero resided
On the façade of Palazzo di Vercelli there were originally frescoes painted in 1517 by Polidoro da Caravaggio (about 1495/1543)
“Fifteenth century echoes are in the façade, reconstructed with a sense of balance and elegance typically Tuscan. Fuga carries out a research for formal purity and rational measure” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“The easy virtuosity of Fuga resulted in this first phase of his career in a very refined style with a touch of Tuscan sophistication, so different from the skillful liveliness of Valvassori and from the Roman sense of the grandeur of Salvi” (Rudolf Wittkower)
It was the seat of the Tribunale della Sacra Consulta (Tribunal of the Holy See)
From 1874 it was the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and since 1922 of the Ministry of the Colonies, which in 1937 was renamed Ministry of Italian Africa
In 1923 the Colonial Museum was inaugurated inside the building
Since 1955 is the SEAT OF THE CORTE COSTITUZIONALE (Supreme Court)
The original color of the FAÇADE was baby blue, common to many Roman eighteenth-century buildings
On the pediment of the portal “Justice” and “Religion” by Francesco Maini
On the side portals “Trophies” by Filippo Della Valle (1698/1768)
On the balustrade above “Group with two allegorical figures of Fame and Corsini coat of arms” by the Neapolitan Paolo Benaglia (?/1739)
In the COURTYARD splendid double staircase inspired by the exterior staircase of the Palazzo del Gallo of Roccagiovine by the flamboyant Alessandro Specchi
THREE DECORATIVE PHASES:
1) Ceilings 1737/44 by Antonio Bicchierari for Clement XII
2) “Works of Pius VI” and decorations on the ceilings 1787/90 by Bernardino Nocchi (1741/1812) for Pius VI Braschi (1775/99). Bernardino Nocchi also painted the ornamentations that framed the existing paintings by Bicchierai
3) Paintings with floral and narrative subjects to celebrate industrial progress 1870/74 by Cecrope Barilli (1839/1911), Domenico Bruschi (1840/1910) and Annibale Brugnoli (1843/1915). Because of this intervention, most of the previous decorative cycles were destroyed
“In the layout of the rooms, the architect was able to overcome all the difficulties determined by the site plan with intelligence, also exploiting the wedge-shaped areas” (Simona Sperindei)
In the THIRD ANTECHAMBER “Lagoon of Venice” by Achille Vertunni (1826/97)
In the FOURTH ANTECHAMBER “Portrait of Queen Margherita of Savoy” by Guglielmo De Sanctis (1829/1911)
In the STUDIO OF THE PRESIDENT “May” by Giacomo Balla (1871/1958)
In STUDY OF THE VICE-PRESIDENT “Battle” by Giovanni Fattori (1825/1908) and two “Portrait of Girl” by Jean Baptiste Greuze (1725/1805)
In the RED LOUNGE beautiful painting influenced by Caravaggio “Magdalene with the crown of thorns” first half of the seventeenth century by Bartolomeo Cavarozzi (1587/1625)
In the GREEN LOUNGE “Head of boy” in marble by Domenico Trentacoste (1859/1933) from Palermo. At the center of the room “Table with inlaid marble” of the sixteenth century from Florence
In the ANTECHAMBER OF THE STUDY OF A JUDGE huge painting “Landscape with lake” by Achille Vertunni

Friday, December 23, 2016

PALACE OF THE CONFEDERATION OF INDUSTRY

PALAZZO DELLA CONFINDUSTRIA
Designed in 1958 by Vincenzo Monaco (1911/69) but built only from the late sixties
Completed in 1973 by Edoardo Monaco (1943) son of Vincenzo
Interior design by Pier Luigi Spadolini (1922/2000)
CONFINDUSTRIA is the association of the Italian industries and it represents 149,288 businesses of all sizes, for a total of 5,516,975 workers