Sunday, January 22, 2017


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
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)
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
In the ceiling “The four faculties aspiring to Knowledge” 1883 by Giuseppe Ferrari (1840/1905)
“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

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