Tuesday, August 30, 2016



1872/78 Raffaele Canevari (1828/1900)
Formerly known as PALAZZO DEL MINISTERO DELLE FINANZE (Palace of the Ministry of Finance)
FAÇADE ON VIA XX SETTEMBRE di Pietro Costa (1849/1901)
Finished only in 1881 for the identification and cataloging of the archaeological structures that were found, including remains of the Servian Wall and the Porta Collina (Collina Gate)
During the work there were many accidents with some workers dead and seventy injured: this gave the building the nickname of Palazzone delle Disgrazie (The big Palace of Misfortune)
It covers 36,000 m² (8.9 acres) of occupied area
It was the first ministry to be built in Rome as new capital of Italy
“The slowness of the works and the fact that it exceeded largely the budgeted costs were considered a disgrace by the public opinion, which saw in the palace the first and largest architectural work of the new Italian capital. The façade design was carried out by L. Martinori, who also designed the sculptural cycle of large curved gables started in 1876 together with the sculptor Garofoli. F. Pieroni designed the central courtyard with the fountain” (Guido Miano - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
Frescoes by Domenico Bruschi (1840/1910) and Cecrope Barilli (1839/1911)
Frescoes by Cesare Mariani (1826/1901)
In this room the first ever Council of the Italian Ministers, to be held in Rome, met
Museo Numismatico della Zecca Italiana
Numismatic Museum of the Italian Mint
On the first floor
It contains about 20,000 works: over 10,000 coins exhibited in thirty-seven showcases, about 7000 medals, objects regarding coinage and models in wax
One room is dedicated to Benedetto Pistrucci (1784/1855) who made 425 models in wax for medals and cameos kept in the museum. He carried out most of his activities in London at the Royal Mint, where he made the gold sterling of which the museum displays the original model
Ninety-six models in wax for papal medals by Giuseppe Bianchi (1808/77) and his son Francesco Bianchi (1842/1918)
Monumento a Silvio Spaventa
Monument to Silvio Spaventa
In Piazza delle Finanze in the garden on the left
1898 Giulio Tadolini (1849/1918)
Silvio Spaventa was minister of finance in the years 1873/76
Monumento a Quintino Sella
Monument to Quintino Sella
In Piazza delle Finanze in the garden on the right
1893 Ettore Ferrari (1845/1929) with allegorical group “Law” and “Genius of Finance”
Quintino Sella was the Finance Minister who achieved a balanced budget at the cost of tax increases, including the tax on flour
He was an experienced mountaineer and founded in 1863 the Club Alpino Italiano (Italian Alpine Club)

Monday, August 29, 2016



Construction begun in 1621 on the site of the destroyed church of St. Cecilia
1637/43 by the brilliant Francesco Borromini (1599/1667) with Paolo Marucelli (1594/1649), who later quit, for the Congregation of St. Philip Neri (1515/95)
“At the request of the congregation, the façade was not covered in stone, so that it was not in competition with the nearby church. Borromini therefore developed a new and extremely subtle technique that allowed the finer graduations and an absolute precision of detail” (Rudolf Wittkower)
“The main façade, originally facing a measured triangular piazza, arises from afar as a replica of the façade of the church built by Rughesi. But as one approaches it, the analogy turns out to be false appearance and the attempt (...) to distinguish hierarchically the oratory from the church, making it less ornate, turns out to be totally frustrated by an extraordinary density and intensity of images that immediately makes Borromini's building the real star of the surrounding space” (Paolo Portoghesi)
1650/56 wings toward Via di Monte Giordano and Via della Chiesa Nuova by Camillo Arcucci (active from 1646/d. 1667)
ORATORY (or Sala Borromini)
1637/40 by Francesco Borromini
It was here that the musical form known as Oratorio (an opera with a sacred theme, little action and limited drama) which was adopted by the congregation of St. Philip Neri as a liturgical instrument
At the center of the stucco decoration of the vault “Divine Wisdom” 1788 by Pietro Angeletti (about 1737/98)
Altar “St. Cecilia and St. Philip Neri in contemplation of the Madonna in Glory” in 1665 by the Sienese Raffaello Vanni (1587/1673)
REFECTORY with two marble washstand by Borromini
“Borromini conceived the distribution of the various rooms based on the already tested functionality criteria and representative consistency: there is in fact, says Paolo Portoghesi, a courtly tone in communal areas and a resigned and friendly one in the rooms for the private residence” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
1647/49 by Francesco Borromini
Aedicula below the clock in mosaic 1657 maybe by Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)
“The urban layout, as background of Via dei Banchi (Benches Street), a road that was familiar to him, because it was where Carlo Maderno lived, suggested the idea of ​​a tower, designed to accommodate a large public clock. Vertical volume of the tower is continuity in the facade below to display the powerful vertical bands which provide a first grand rhythm of partitions. Borromini within this frame designs mirrors repeated grouping using different elements and, on the effect of mild graduated shots surface, set the silver chiaroscuro bending the system of the Mannerist order in swaddling clothes, laid in front of the Collegio Romano, a new rhythmic combinations” (Paolo Portoghesi)
“Miracle of St. Agnes” in stucco by Alessandro Algardi (1598/1654)
“Encounter of S. Leo the Great with Attila” 1648 in stucco by Alessandro Algardi, model in actual size of the masterpiece in the Chapel of the Column of the Basilica of St. Peter
The oldest olibrary pen to the public in Rome with 118,000 volumes and 2500 manuscripts
Hall dating back to the years 1642/44 by Francesco Borromini
“Divine Wisdom surrounded by stars and emblems of the Doctors of the Church” by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610/62) from Viterbo, a pupil of Pietro da Cortona

Sunday, August 28, 2016



Built as PALAZZO CAPRINI in the years 1501/10 by Donato Bramante (1444/1514) for the Spinola family from Genoa
Originally it used to face the now disappeared Piazza Scossacavalli and it was also known as PALACE OF RAPHAEL because it was the house where Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael) (1483/1520) lived in the last years of his life and where he died
As the nearby Palazzo Branconio Dell'Aquila by Raphael it became a founding prototype of Renaissance civil architecture that had many imitations and also inspired Andrea Palladio
In the second half of the sixteenth century a new building was built that incorporated the old which was known in the seventeenth century as Palazzo dei Convertendi for the hospice established here by Cardinal Girolamo Gastaldi in favor of the heretics who wanted to become Catholics and here were subjected to a renewed catechesis
In 1938 it was destroyed and rebuilt rotated of 90° with only the central balcony and the ashlar around the door that resemble the original
It is owned by the Holy See and it is home to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches

Friday, August 26, 2016



1938/43 Adalberto Libera (1903/63) who was able to complete it only in the years 1952/54 because of the war
1988/93 reconsolidated and restructured by Antonio Gallo Curcio (1932) e Paolo Portoghesi (1931)
It was originally built with reinforced concrete and a monumental façade in travertine marble
“It is divided by the superposition of two pure volumes, respectively a parallelepiped and a cube (...). It reaches the peak of the balance between modern composition and classical purity” (Giorgio Muratore)
“Among the buildings of the E42 made ​​for the competitions, the Palace of the Conventions was the only one who has succeeded in a modern interpretation of the constraints imposed by the competition itself. One should remember that Libera tried in every way to prevent the insertion of columns in the façade, but in the end he had to work out a compromise solution in which the columns, however, assume an abstract stylization and don't have any capitals” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)
Frescoes “Origins of Rome” 1953 by Achille Funi (1890/1972) covered with panels by Gino Severini (1883/1966)
Restored by Paolo Portoghesi (1931)
In the CAFETERIA there are mosaics by Angelo Canevari (1901/55)
Here took place the fencing competitions of the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960
In 1977 a terrorist attack damaged it on the eve of a conference of the right-wing Italian party Movimento Sociale Italiano

Thursday, August 25, 2016



1972/73 by Luigi Moretti (1907/73) with the collaboration of Carlo Zacutti
It was one of the last works of the great Roman architect who expressed himself here in a style known as “international” very contrasting with the nineteenth-century buildings of the square, with the Mannerist Porta del Popolo and with the ancient Aurelian Walls
“Through the decorative invention and the refinement of coatings, not only Moretti testifies and investigates the possible wisdoms of tradition, but he triggers a powerful mechanism of dematerialization, calls into question the meaning of the architectural structure itself, reaching an aura of metaphysical abstraction” (Maristella Casciato)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016



1912 Edmondo Del Bufalo (1883/1968)
Art Nouveau style building intended for exams for government executives
In 2002 began the renovation that lasted about three years but have not finished. The scaffolding remained until 2012, but there is mystery about the intended use
Maybe it will eventually be the headquarters of the Italian secret services formerly SISDE and, since 2007, AISI
The aura of secrecy that has surrounded this building for ten years has fueled controversy on the waste of public money and the evident inefficiency and alleged criminal activities of those who manage the public administration in Italy

Monday, August 22, 2016


About 1575. It was completed in the second half of the seventeenth century
The architects' names are unknown
Formerly known as Palazzo Boncompagni Corcos from the name of the first owners of the original building, the Corcos, a Jewish family who converted and took up the name Boncompagni
It became property of the De Sangro family that had it built in its present form
At the end of the eighteenth century it returned back to the Boncompagni family that, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, joined the seventeenth-century building to a new building with connected courtyards
The sinuous WINDOWS are among the most beautiful in Rome



1714/24 Alessandro Specchi (1668/1729) for Livio De Carolis bourgeois scion of a wealthy family of merchants of grain who wanted to build his palace next to those of the patrician families
The exorbitant cost of the construction contributed to the ruin of the family who was forced to put the building up for auction
It passed in 1750 to the Jesuits who gave it to rent to famous people
It was from 1769 the French Embassy and with Cardinal François-Joachim de Bernis it was the site of parties and beautiful banquets that gave to the French cardinal the popular nickname of King of Rome
Later it belonged to the Simonetti and Boncompagni Ludovisi families
In 1833 the attic was added and the cornice was modified
The building belongs since 1908 to the BANCA DI ROMA and it was enlarged and adapted by Pio Piacentini (1846/1928). He covered the courtyard that became the hall of the bank and changed some of the rooms in Art Nouveau style
Wonderful SPIRAL STAIRCASE by Alessandro Specchi considered one of the wonders of Rome
On the external left end side “Speaking Statue of a Porter” one of the six of Rome, to which anonymous messages were posted
It dates back to the time of Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85) although it is erroneously attributed by popular tradition to Michelangelo Buonarroti
In the courtyard there is a cannonball fired by the French in 1849 embedded in the second floor
The lower stretch of Via del Collegio Romano was named after Alessandro Specchi only in 1980, an incredible delay in making a toponymic tribute to the gigantic but unfortunately underestimated Roman architect
“Citing the close-by Palazzo d'Aste of which it repeats the decorative windows and the corner solution, perhaps at the suggestion of the client who wanted a house clearly inspired by the traditional type of mansion” (Paolo Portoghesi)
Rooms of the first floor with ceilings painted by some of the best painters working in Rome in the early eighteenth century:
Now used as a library
“Triptych Bacchus, Venus and Ceres” by Giuseppe Chiari (1654/1727)
“Diana and her Companions” by Benedetto Luti (1666/1724)
“Chariot of Apollo with Aurora and Muses” by Luigi Garzi (1638/1721)
“Allegory of caste Love with passionate Love represented by Minerva who takes away Youth from Venus and give it to Hercules symbol of strength and virtue” and “Venus and Vulcan” by Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746) from Istria
“At age 21 he moved to Rome. Here he studied the works of Carraci, was inspired by Correggio and attended the circle of Carlo Maratta. He had a good success as the representative of Venetian Rococo style. He produced altarpieces with very pathetic tones, but he was also appreciated as a very precise portrait painter and for his vast landscape scenes, which are the background of historical or mythological events” (Consorzio La Venaria Reale - www.lavenaria.it)
“Allegory of the arts and wisdom” by Sebastiano Conca (1680/1764)
“Aurora” by Andrea Procaccini (1671/1734)
More paintings by Domenico Maria Muratori (1661/1742), Ludovico Mazzanti (1686/1775) and Giovanni Odazzi (1663/1731)

Thursday, August 18, 2016



1538/39 for Gian Pietro Crivelli a goldsmith from Milan
It is also known as CASA DEI PUPAZZI (House of Puppets) for the rich stucco decorations on the façade maybe Giulio Mazzoni (about 1525/after 1589) from a design of Gian Pietro Crivelli himself

Tuesday, August 16, 2016



First half of the sixteenth century for Costanzo Patrizi, treasurer of Paul III Farnese (1534/49) who had the church of S. Leonardo De Albis demolished to build this palace
Renovated during the early seventeenth century by Carlo Lambardi (1545/1619) for the Costaguti family. They were Genoese bankers and had acquired it in 1578
It still belongs to the descendants of the family, the Marquis Afan de Rivera Costaguti
Unfortunately the palace is not visible to the general public
The original main entrance was the one on Via della Reginella
The rooms are decorated with some of the richest and most important paintings of all Roman palaces:
Painted maybe by Giovanni Lanfranco (1582/1647) or Sisto Badalocchio (1585/1645)
Paintings maybe by Giacinto Brandi (1621/91) or Sisto Badalocchio
Paintings by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610/62) from Viterbo, a pupil of Pietro da Cortona
Frescoes by Pier Francesco Mola (1612/66)
Painted by Taddeo Zuccari (1529/66) and his younger brother Federico Zuccari (about 1542/1609)
Frescoes by Giuseppe Cesari aka Cavalier d'Arpino (1568/1640)
Ceiling “Chariot of the Sun” with Time revealing the Truth and Cupids about 1622 by Domenico Zampieri aka Domenichino (1581/1641) and perspectives by Agostino Tassi (1578/1644)
Truth escapes from Time and Night and goes toward Apollo-Sun
Ceiling “Rinaldo sleeping kidnapped by Armida” on a chariot drawn by dragons, 1621 spectacular Roman debut of Giovanni Francesco Barbieri aka Guercino (1591/1666) and perspectives by Agostino Tassi
“Centaur Nessus carrying off Deianira” by Francesco Albani (1578/1660)

Friday, August 12, 2016


Room VIII - Room of paintings for canonizations
“The room houses a large group of paintings executed for the solemn ceremony of beatification and canonization which took place in 1737 in the Basilica of St. John Lateran under Pope Clement XII. This is a unique in Roman collectibles that demonstrates the willingness of Neri Maria Corsini to group paintings in a dedicated room for this specific function and celebrate the role of 'procurator fidei' he played during that ceremony” (Official Website of the Galleria Corsini - galleriacorsini.beniculturali.it)
At the center of the room “Fragment of red amber” that may have come from the Baltic Sea
“Ecstasy of S. Caterina de' Ricci” 1737 or 1746 by Agostino Masucci (1691/1758) who also painted “S. Andrea Corsini” 1733/34 copy of an original by Guido Reni which was also copied as a mosaic by Pietro Paul Cristofari in the Corsini Chapel in the Basilica of St. John Lateran
“The staging of the miraculous event highlights a compelling desire to historicize the sacred drama, ahead of French paintings of the second half of the century. (...) (In the S. Andrea Corsini) Masucci reached a high level of extraordinary mimetic virtuosity, but not giving up in his own interpretation of the seventeenth-century model in his absolute clarity of design and cool color tones” (Valerio Da Gai - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
“Preaching of S. Vincenzo de' Paolis” 1737 by Giacomo Zoboli (1681/1767)
“Vision of S. Caterina Fieschi” by Marco Benefial 1737 (1684/1764)
“Everything is polished, thoughtful and tangible in the sacred appearance. The serious heaviness of Christ walking under the weight of the Cross, trampling his own blood, is opposed to the stylish sophistication of the dress of the woman, an antithesis that perfectly captures the node of the story (the conversion of the frivolous lady from Genoa) outside of any formal flattery, playing only with the obvious concreteness of things shown. A compositional rigor unique in Rome at the time” (Angela Negro)
“Death of S. Giuliana Falconieri” by Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674/1755)
Mosaic with “Portrait of Pope Clement XII Corsini and Cardinal Neri Maria Corsini” about 1731 by Pietro Paolo Cristofari (1685/1743) who in 1727 founded the institution known as Studio del mosaico al Vaticano (Vatican Mosaic Studio) still operating today
“The prototype of the mosaic also executed by Masucci is kept in the Corsiniana Library. With the easy comparison between the two works it is possible to admire the technical capacity of Cristofari, able to reproduce with great fidelity the model even in the colors” (Sivigliano Alloisi)
Some of the Works Kept in Storage
“Portrait of Bernardo Clesio” by Joos Van Cleve (about 1485/1540)
“Portrait of a Man” about 1540 by Pier Francesco Foschi (about 1502/67)
“Hunters” by the Dutch Philips Wouwerman (1619/68)
“St. John and Angels” and “Flight into Egypt” by Carlo Maratta (1625/1713)
“St. Agnes” by the Florentine Carlo Dolci (1616/86)
“Portrait of James III Stuart, pretender to the English throne” by the French François De Troy (1679/1752)
“St. Francis resurrects a dead man” by Andrea Sacchi (1599/1661)
“St. Joseph” by Guido Reni (1575/1642)
“Lamentation over the Dead Christ” by Sisto Badalocchio (1585/1645)
“Jupiter sends Mercury to Apollo” maybe by Francesco Albani (1578/1660)
“Nymphs and Satyrs” by Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746)
“Country” by Paolo Anesi (1697/1773)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Room VII - Green Room
“Cardinal Andrea Corsini used the room as a new Audience Hall and for this purpose he placed here a series of paintings of great quality and indicative of his aesthetic taste. The current exhibit, unable to reproduce the original layout, includes a selection of works that entered the collection after the death of Neri Maria (1770). The date in mosaic under the window (1858) recalls the reconstruction of the floors in Venetian style” (Official Website of the Galleria Corsini - galleriacorsini.beniculturali.it)
Marble sculpture “Psyche carried by the Zephyrs” by the Welsh pupil of Canova John Gibson (1790/1866)
Marble sculpture “Dancer with Finger on her Chin” by Luigi Bienaimè (1795/1878)
Precious “Corsini Cup” in silver dating back to the first century BC
“St. John the Baptist” 1606 by Michelangelo Merisi aka Caravaggio (1571/1610)
“The figure of three quarters of this precursor dark and handsome dandy turns his head out of the field, observing something, while the intensity of his gaze, felt just below the thick mass of hair, is perhaps the poetically higher moment of the composition” (Vincenzo Pacelli)
“Madonna and Child” by Bartolomè Esteban Murillo (1618/82)
“Undisputed protagonist of the second half of the seventeenth century, he ushers in a new pictorial language. He opposes to the local tradition a conventional narrative representation made with delicate chiaroscuro, far away from the strong contrasts of light of Zurbaran. His appearance on the scene of Seville was in opposition to the current style, showing novelties from his knowledge of contemporary Neapolitan and Genoese production. An anti-rhetorical vein characterizes the production of religious subjects, where the sacred episodes are similar to scenes from everyday life” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“Venus and dead Adonis” 1637 by Jusepe de Ribera aka Spagnoletto (1591/1652)
“The original myth told in Ovid's Metamorphoses is enriched from the fourteenth century of new metaphorical meanings, which compare the figure of Adonis that of Jesus. As G.B. Marino, who in his famous poem Adonis (1623) explicitly alludes to the sacrifice of Christ, Ribera representing Adonis with an obvious wound on the side takes up the theme of the Passion” (Official Website of the Galleria Corsini - galleriacorsini.beniculturali.it)
“Entry of Christ in Jerusalem” by Luca Giordano (1634/1705)
“Herodias with the Head of St. John the Baptit” about 1625 by Simon Vouet (1590/1649)
“Particular attention is paid to the material quality of fabric and to the expression of the face of the protagonist, who shows his macabre trophy. Declined in the painting are the many different stimuli and influences in the formation of the French painter: the realism of Caravaggio's matrix on one hand, and the colors, the drapery and the preciousness of the Venetian school on the other “(Official website of the Corsini Gallery - galleriacorsini.beniculturali.it)
“Judith with the Head of Holofernes” by the Flemish painter Gerard Seghers (1591/1651)
“Annunciation” by Marcello Venusti (about 1512/79). It is a copy of a lost original by Michelangelo Buonarroti for the Cesi Chapel in S. Maria della Pace
“Tribute of money” by Mattia Preti (1613/99)
“St. George and the Dragon” by Francesco Raibolini aka Francia (1450/1517)
“Sinite Parvulos” the Frenchman Nicolas Tournier (1590/post 1657)
“Homer” by Pier Francesco Mola (1612/66)
“Mary Magdalene” by Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746)
“In Rome since 1678 he got closer to the circle of Carlo Maratta and of the Arcadia, developing a rococo style composed and refined, with tones graceful and pathetic” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
“Nativity” about 1748 by Pompeo Batoni (1708/87) with a spectacular frame
“Resurrection of Lazarus” by Giuseppe Cesari aka Cavalier d'Arpino (1568/1640)
“Madonna of the Rose” by Massimo Stanzione (1585/1656)
“In Rome, the knowledge of the works by Caravaggio and the Carraccis, as well as Domenichino and Guido Reni (present in those years in Naples) led him to an attempt to mediate between the two modes. Following the sharp naturalism of the early works (...), looking at Simon Vouet and Guido Reni, he developed a style characterized by elegant and refined shapes of color, light and bright tones. Leading personality in Naples, he had a profound influence also in the opening to the baroque, clear in his later works” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
“St. Peter freed by the Angel” by Johann Heinrich Schoenfeld (1609/83)
“The crowning with thorns” copy from Antoon Van Dyck (1599/1641)
Panel “Madonna with Child, Saints and scenes from the life of Christ” an early work by Giovanni di Jacopo di Guido aka Giovanni da Milano (active 1346/69)
Panel with “Coronation of the Virgin Mary” by Andrea di Cione aka Orcagna (active 1343/68)
Two panels long and narrow with “Apostles” by the Venetian Niccolò di Pietro (active 1394/1430)
Triptych “Madonna and Child, Saints and Crucifixion” by the Master of S. Verdiana (active 1370/1400)
“Madonna and Child” and “Madonna and Child with Sts. Jerome and Francis” by an unknown artist of the Florentine school
“Triptych” by an unknown artist of the Florentine school
“Madonna and Child” by an unknown artist of the Viterbo-Umbrian school of the fifteenth century
“Still life with fish and shellfish” by the mysterious Neapolitan Marco de Caro (Eighteenth century)
“Still Life with Peaches” and “Still life with peaches and grapes” by Jan Decker (Eighteenth century)
Above the doors “Flowers and fruit (Autumn and Winter)” and “Flowers and fruit (Spring and Summer)” by the Flemish Abraham Brueghel (1631/97)
Seven beautiful still lives by the German Christian Berentz (1658/1722): “The elegant snack”, “Clock”, “The Fly”, “Roman Vegetables”, “Still life with Mascherone (Big Mask)”, “Fruit”, “Preparations for Dinner” and “Casino dell’Aurora (Aurora Lodge)” where it is possible to recognize the Aurora Casino of the Ludovisi family