Saturday, February 25, 2017


1888/1911 Guglielmo Calderini (1837/1916) from Perugia in collaboration with, among others, Giulio Magni (1859/1930) at the behest of Giuseppe Zanardelli, first Minister of Public Works and later Minister of Justice
It is the Seat of the CORTE SUPREMA DI CASSAZIONE (Supreme Court of Cassation)
Huge building of 170 x 155 m (558 x 508 feet)
About 900 rooms and 30 courtrooms
Covered with travertine but the internal structure is in reinforced concrete, one of the first examples in Europe
Crowned with a “Quadriga in bronze” 1907 by Ettore Ximenes (1855/1926). It was put in place only in 1925
ABOVE THE PORTAL “Justice between Force and Law” by Enrico Quattrini (1863/1950)
ON THE FAÇADE two beautiful allegorical representations of “Fame” by Eugenio Maccagnani (1852/1930)
“Statue of Jurisconsults” by Ubaldo Pizzichelli (1858/1942), Silvio Sbricoli (1864/1911), Mauro Benini (1850/after 1907), Arturo Dazzi (1881/1966), Luigi De Luca (1856/1938), Augusto Rivalta (1837/1925), Ernesto Biondi (1855/1917) and Emilio Gallori (1846/1924)
ON THE PEDIMENT OF THE FAÇADE ON PIAZZA CAVOUR “Group in bronze” by Paolo Bartolini (1859/1930)
“Statue of Jurisconsults” Mauro Benini and Michele Tripisciano (1860/1913)
Frescoes “Legal History” by Cesare Maccari (1840/1919) and pupils including Paride Pascucci (1866/1954)
It is derogatorily known as PALAZZACCIO (ugly palace) for its alleged excessive grandeur and pomposity and also for the fact that it is a court, a designated use which does not contribute to the love for the building
Guglielmo Calderini died in circumstances that led to thinking of suicide as a result of the fierce criticism that rained down on his work
However, it is a beautiful product of its time and it can be considered an architectural version of the musical genre of French Grand-Opera, popular in the last decades of the 1800's, or rather, its Italian interpretation that the genius of Giuseppe Verdi expressed with the magnificent Don Carlos
The building is always much admired by the vast majority of foreign visitors who appreciate the overwhelming Calderini's architecture oblivious and unaware of the judgment of many critics, who have, probably wrongly, lambasted it for a century now
The choice of location was not accidental, in order to emphasize the contrast between the new courthouse of the young Italian secular state with the massive nearby Castel Sant'Angelo, a symbol of the judicial brutality of the late state of the popes
The alluvial soil created stability problems and the very long time to build it, which did raise costs and fed suspicions of corruption, led to a parliamentary inquiry. There were also suspects of recommendations from Zanardelli, who was from Brescia, for companies from the same town involved in the processing of the Botticino marble used for the interiors

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