Monday, August 22, 2016



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 Fran├žois-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 -
“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)

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