Sunday, April 2, 2017


Built at the beginning of the sixteenth century for the Gaddi family, Tuscan merchants who moved to Rome in the fifteenth century
It was bought by the Rossi di S. Secondo family and then, in 1567, by the Cesi family
The Cesi family expanded the building to its current size in 1587
The exterior was richly decorated with paintings by Polidoro Caldara aka Polidoro da Caravaggio (about 1495/1543) and Maturino da Firenze (?/1528) now completely disappeared
Federico Cesi II Duke of Acquasparta founded here in 1603, the ACCADEMIA DEI LINCEI, the oldest scientific academy in the world, and hosted several times Galileo Galilei
He was the author of the pioneering Tabulae Phytosophicae, a botanical catalog which also included American plants
Federico Cesi also had the merit of introducing in botanical research the use of an instrument called by Galileo Galilei, who had constructed, “goggles to see minimal things”, but that he called the “microscope”
“In the Tabulae Federico Cesi gathered in briefly but precisely the fundamentals of morphology, physiology, systematics, pathology and nomenclature of plants, recognizing the value of features used to determine the concept of the natural system. Cesi was one of the first the clearly understand the value for research of the two new Galilean instruments, telescope and microscope: to the first one he gave himself the name, the second he personally used in his pioneering studies of morphology. Notable in this regard is an outstanding Syntaxis Plantaria (discovered in 1985) which makes him the initiator of the microscopy of plants. In 1625 he published the Apiarium, now very rare, which is the first printed work containing observations of living things examined under a microscope” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
In the GARDEN there was a small botanical garden
The Cesi family sold the building in 1798
The building housed for some time the huge collection of ancient statues formerly housed in the Palazzo Cesi on Via della Conciliazione that would eventually be merged in the collections of the Capitoline Museums
In 1940 it was expropriated by the Italian government and became home to the SUPREME MILITARY COURT
It is now the seat of the Council of the Military Judiciary, the Military Attorney General's Office at the Supreme Cassation Court and at the Appeals Military Court, the Military Court of Appeals and the Court of Military Surveillance
In 1994 in the palace the so-called CABINET OF SHAME was discovered containing 695 files and general ledger showing 2274 crime reports relating to war crimes committed in Italy during the Nazi-Fascist occupation. It was also found a file of the British intelligence called Atrocities in Italy with the secret stamp on it
This documentary material had been collected by the Attorney General of the Supreme Military Tribunal, appointed by the Council of Ministers: these are files regarding the most terrible Nazi massacres of civilians, including: Sant'Anna di Stazzema, the Fosse Ardeatine, Marzabotto, Korica, Lero, Karpathos and Haut-Rhin
The commission appointed to investigate came to the conclusion that there was no conclusive evidence that the investigation of Nazi war crimes had been covered up for “reasons of state” in order to maintain good relations with Germany in times of the Cold War, although some minority members on the commission disagreed

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