Thursday, August 31, 2017


1942 Marcello Piacentini (1881/1960) and Attilio Spaccarelli (1890/1975) in collaboration with Gino Cipriani
Built at the same time of the “twin” INA PALACE on the opposite side of the road
It is partly used by Vatican Radio and partly leased to the RAI (the Italian national broadcast service) to host radio and television studios
1947/51 Marcello Piacentini and Giorgio Calza Bini (1908/99), formerly rented for decades to the Academy of St. Cecilia. The greatest interpreters of classical music of the whole world have performed here
Windows on the stairs by Giorgio Quaroni (1907/60)
1957. In front of Largo Giovanni XXIII

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


1956/58 Adalberto Libera (1903/63), Leo Calini (1903/85) and Eugenio Montuori (1907/82)
Extraordinary angular layout that maximizes the available area, rising to nine floors on Via Urbana and to six floors on Via Torino because of the elevation of the Viminal Hill
“The Palace for Offices interprets the modern 'palace', with uniform façades, serial systems, a new container of functions where the elements of composition arise from a geometry articulated and complex. A large support structure and the 'technology' walls with infill and glazed panels realize a synthesis of remarkable functional and technological innovation” (Catalog of the exhibition “ADALBERTO LIBERA. I disegni del Centre Pompidou e dell'Archivio Centrale dello Stato” -


1962/63 Leo Calini (1903/85), Eugenio Montuori (1907/82) and Sergio Musmeci
It is amazing how the entire five-story building is exclusively supported by four columns made out of reinforced concrete
“It proposes as watermark the vertical scan of a Roman palace, transformed according to the language of the international architectural style” (Giorgio Muratore)


1985/89 Sergio Bollati, Renato Bollati and Guido Figus
Very good architecture of the eighties well integrated into the urban district
“The multi-purpose complex repeats the image of the classic Roman palace and its classic division in three parts, distinguishing the different purposes” (Giorgio Muratore)

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Built in early 1500s
It was owned by the families Paluzzi Albertoni, Gottardi and Fani who restructured it with Giacomo Della Porta (1533/1602)
Then it belonged to the Spada family and since 1632 to the Ruspoli who had their first residence in Rome here and remained until 1745, when they moved into the building in Via del Corso and sold it to the Malatesta family
In 1599 St. Charles Borromeo lived here
Finally, it was bought in 1929 by the Pecci Blunt family, current owners, the family of Pope Leo XIII Pecci (1878/1903)
Frescoes “Stories of the Old Testament” by Federico Zuccari (about 1542/1609) and Taddeo Zuccari (1529/66)
Frescoes by Raffaellino Motta aka Raffaellino da Reggio (1550/78)
Paintings by Gaspar van Wittel (1653/1736)


1603/11 maybe (according to Giovanni Baglione) by Carlo Maderno (1556/1629) or maybe by Giovanni Fontana (1540/1614) by Clement VIII Aldobrandini (1592/1605)
The Patrizi family still lives here since 1642
Some of the rooms are rented for receptions and gala dinners
It is in part the Mexican Embassy
Frescoes 1642/49 by Raffaele Vanni (1587/1673) from Siena
Paintings in the ceiling “Muses” by Francesco Solimena (1657/1747) from Campania, the best pupil of Luca Giordano
“Solimena kept the good traditions of doctrine and style embraced in his rejection of the Baroque, resulting generally in a technical virtuosity, often not immune from statuary effects in his most studied intent of motion. (...) The formula of Solimena was in the first half of the century, more responsive to the courtly artistic conceptions of kings and powerful aristocrats, remaining at the time the rediscovery of the Baroque, recycled in terms of rococo, relegated to the sensitivity of the futuristic bourgeois salons across the Alps or of small Italian collectors of more advanced cosmopolitan tastes” (Giancarlo Sestieri)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


1598/1602 Carlo Maderno (1556/1629) for Onofrio Santacroce. Formerly known as PALAZZO SANTACROCE
Completed in the years 1630/40 by Francesco Peparelli (active since 1626/d. 1641)
1659/68 FAÇADE ON VIA DEI CATINARI by Giovanni Antonio De Rossi (1616/95)
Since 1904 it belongs to the Pasolini family from Ravenna who opened their palace to the followers of Modernism
It is now divided into apartments and it is the seat of the library of the Italian-Latin American Institute
Frescoes by G.B. Ruggieri aka Battistino del Gessi (1606/40)
In another room “Biblical scenes” by Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi (1606/80) from Bologna
Cardinal Prospero Publicola Santacroce was the first to introduce tobacco in Rome which was called Santacroce Grass. The French ambassador in Portugal had planted it in the royal gardens of Lisbon and had him trying it in 1561
It was called Nicotine Grass and was thought to be a cure for many diseases so as to be known as Holy Grass
The Santacroce family could afford to build this building thanks to the proceeds of the tobacco trade
In the seventeenth century tobacco was strongly recommended to priests and nuns as an aid to repress the sexual desires even if not everyone encouraged its use: Innocent X Pamphilj (1644/55) came to threaten to excommunicate those who had smoked in the Basilica of St. Peter


1644/50 Girolamo Rainaldi (1570/1655) for Innocent X Pamphilj (1644/55) over pre-existing buildings 
Later it became the home of Innocent X's sister-in-law, Olimpia Maidalchini, very influential on the pope. She was a woman extremely resourceful and iron-willed and many believed she was the mistress of the pope
“The role of Olimpia Maidalchini in these building operations (...) is not yet completely clear. Certainly, both the pope and Olimpia Maidalchini delegated the supervision of many of the most important operations to the Oratorian Father Virgilio Spada, a man of considerable artistic culture. There is, however, evidence that, in some cases, Olimpia intervened directly in the design of the works, as in the case of the great hall of the palace in Piazza Navona, for which the painter Andrea Camassei, an artist protected by her, executed a series of frescoes directly inspired by the client” (Stefano Tabacchi - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani)
Since 1960 it is owned by the Brazilian State with the Embassy of Brazil and the Italo-Brazilian Cultural Center
Around three courtyards there are TWENTY-THREE ROOMS including many richly frescoed by great masters of the seventeenth century:
ROOMS OF JOSEPH JEW, MOSES AND ROMAN HISTORY Giacinto Gimignani (1606/81) and students
MARINE ROOM Agostino Tassi (1578/1644)
ROOM OF BACCHUS Andrea Camassei (1602/49)
HALL OF THE COUNTRYSIDE Gaspard Dughet (1615/75)
HALL OF OVID Giacinto Brandi (1621/91)
Architecture of Francesco Borromini (1599/1667) who had joined Girolamo Rainaldi in the years 1645/50
“In the two heads of the gallery above the serliane decorations he used again the dolphin-shaped motive of the canopy of St. Peter’s Basilica. Twenty years later still it bothered him having given Bernini this sign so personal and so full of meanings, organic symbol of vitality transmigrated in the material, usually inert, of architecture” (Paolo Portoghesi)
Frescoes “Stories of Aeneas: life and apotheosis”, in the short sides “Aeneas and Pallas” and “Aeneas into hell” 1651/54 Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)
It was a tangible sign of friendship between the two great masters and Pietro da Cortona was a congenial interpreter of the “human scale” Borromini's gallery with perfect compatibility
“Here Cortona drew a rich monochrome system, creating a wavelike structure for the main scenes. Works of infinite charm, here the problem of changing points of view has been resolved with incomparable mastery. His palette has become more transparent and bright that in the last ceilings of Palazzo Pitti, revealing the study of antiquity, Raphael and Veronese. Delicate blues prevail, as well as pale pinks, purple and yellow prelude to the tonal values used by Luca Giordano and during all the eighteenth century” (Rudolf Wittkower)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


It was built on the ruins of the Baths of Constantine which were completely destroyed in the process of building this palace
Among the statues found here:
Two “Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux” in Piazza del Quirinale
Two “Colossal river gods: the Tiber and the Nile”. Originally the Tiber represented the Tigris and it was later transformed with the addition of twins
Both the Dioscuri and the river gods probably originally decorated the nearby Temple of Serapis
Statue of “Constantine II” and “Costantius” transferred to Piazza del Campidoglio
“Statue of Constantine” moved to the atrium of the Basilica of St. John Lateran
The building was begun in 1605 by Flaminio Ponzio (1560/1613) for Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese (1577/1633)
It was completed in the years 1613/16 by Carlo Maderno (1556/1629)
It belonged to the Altemps family, to Cardinal Jules Mazarin, to the Mancini family and it was bought in 1704 by the Pallavicini Rospigliosi who are still the owners
Frescoes by Giovanni Mannozzi aka Giovanni da S. Giovanni (1592/1636)
Frescoes by Guido Reni (1575/1642) and Paul Brill (1554/1626)
Decorations with historical subjects by Giovanni Mannozzi aka Giovanni da S. Giovanni
Pallavicini Little House
In the ceiling of the central room:
“Aurora” 1614 by Guido Reni
“Guido, in his great fresco, took a subject which has long been a favorite, and illuminated it by the fire of his genius. So happily has he done this, so deeply has he touched men by his work, that The Aurora stands as one of that line of twelve pictures that most move and delight the world” (Jennie Ellis Keysor)
On the entrance lunette “Triumph of Love and Fame” by Antonio Tempesta (about 1555/1630)
On the walls “Four Seasons” about 1605 by Paul Brill (1554/1626)
“After 1600 Paul Brill was more and more under the influence of the Carraccis. The style of his landscapes essentially becomes easier and calmer, without detracting from the pleasant objectivity of the representations. The Four Seasons are a masterpiece with their clear perspective, the excellent rendition of their foliage and their beautiful patterns. They compare to the Seasons of Matteo da Siena in the Sala Ducale as the fulfillment to the promise” (Hermann Voss)
In the other two rooms:
“Rinaldo and Armida” by Giovanni Baglione (1566/1643) and “Combat of Armida” by Domenico Crespi aka Passignano (1559/1638)
Behind the Palace of the Gallery NYMPHAEUM called “The Theatre” 1611 maybe by Jan Van Santen aka Giovanni Vasanzio (1550/1621) with statues of Rivers “Po” and “Tiber” by Taddeo Landini (about 1550/96)
Paintings by Orazio Lomi aka Orazio Gentileschi (1563/1639) with quadrature perspectives by Agostino Tassi (1578/1644)
A third building (there were three stepped terraces) was destroyed for the opening of Via Nazionale and the frescoes by Ludovico Cardi aka Cigoli were moved to the Museo di Roma in Palazzo Braschi
Pallavicini Gallery
(Unfortunately it is not open to the public)
It is one of the most important art collections in Rome with about 540 paintings, begun by Lazzaro Pallavicini
It would be fabulous if the Pallavicini family would open to the public their incredible private collection as other families in Rome such as the Doria Pamphilj or the Colonna beautifully do
Some of the painters of the works in the collection:
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri aka Guercino (1591/1666), Federico Fiori aka Barocci (1535/1612), Jacopo Da Ponte aka Jacopo Bassano (about 1510/92), Pietro Berrettini akaPietro da Cortona (1597/1669), three by Sandro Filipepi aka Botticelli (1445/1510), Paul Brill (1554/1626), Annibale Carracci (1560/1609), Ludovico Carracci (1555/1619), Antonio Circignani aka Pomarancio (about 1568/1629), Sebastiano Conca (1680/1764), Antoon Van Dyck (1599/1641), Luigi Garzi (1638/1721), G.B. Gaulli aka Baciccio (1639/1709), Giacinto Gimignani (1606/81), Luca Giordano (1634/1705), Filippino Lippi (about 1457/1504), Lorenzo Lotto (about 1480/1556), Carlo Maratta (1625/1713), Jacopo Negretti aka Jacopo Palma il Giovane (1544/1628), Nicolas Poussin (1594/1665), Guido Reni (1575/1642), Cristoforo Roncalli aka Pomarancio (1552/1626), two by Pieter Paul Rubens (1577/1640), Francesco de' Rossi aka Francesco Salviati (1510/63), Luca Signorelli (1445/1523), Francesco Solimena (1657/1747), Antonio Tempesta (about 1555/1630), Jacopo Robusti aka Tintoretto (1518/94), Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746), Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velásquez (1599/1660), Domenico Zampieri aka Domenichino (1581/1641)


Begun in 1622 by Carlo Maderno (1556/1629) for the Ludovisi family
He modified the courtyard of a building they had bought in the previous year from the Colonna family
The original structure was a turreted building of the fifteenth century. It belonged to the Benzoni family
1664 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) for Flavio Chigi, who had taken it in usufruct in 1661 and had expanded it by buying the Mandosi Palace overlooking Via del Corso
In the years 1745/50 it was extended doubling the sides and in the middle (with sixteen pillars instead of the eight by Bernini and two gates instead of one) by Nicola Salvi (1697/1751) and his assistant Luigi Vanvitelli (1700/73) for the Odescalchi family
They had bought in the same year, even if they had lived here in rent since 1693
“The additions of Salvi did not prejudice the revolutionary importance of Bernini's design. Various architectural elements were combined here in a project of true nobility and grandeur. Bernini had found the formula for the baroque aristocrat palace. And the immense influence of this building extended far beyond the borders of Italy, for example in Vienna and Leningrad” (Rudolf Wittkower)
1887/89 Raffaele Ojetti (1845/1924) who repaired the damage from a fire in 1887
The palace is still owned by the Odescalchi family and they rent it out partially
The Odescalchis own and keep in the palace a stunning work of art:
“Conversion of St. Paul” 1600/01 by Michelangelo Merisi aka Caravaggio (1571/1610), oil on wood of cypress for Monsignor Tiberio Cerasi
This is the first version, mysteriously never put in place, of the canvas placed in 1605 in the Cerasi Chapel in S. Maria del Popolo
“Work of incomparable beauty, still relevant to the first ways of Caravaggio, it was all inserted in the Mannerist style, filled with a golden light that emphasizes a warm and rich palette of color. Yet some deep dark tones hint the revolution that the painter will bring about shortly thereafter in painting. The Odescalchi Conversion shines with its own light, it is made with a smooth and refined painting style that can fully respond to the narrative component of the subject which was inspired, as a homage from the artist to the more famous Conversion frescoed by Michelangelo in the Pauline Chapel. The turmoil of the characters, the wild horse, the Christ that flows from heaven and, not least, the astonishing parallelism, spotted by Cristina Acidini Luchinat, of the gestures of the group of angels in the upper right of Michelangelo's fresco with the angel holding the Christ of Caravaggio's Conversion are clear evidence” (Francesco Buranelli)


1658/60 Giovanni Antonio De Rossi (1616/95) maybe from a design of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) for the Marquis Nuñez
In 1806 it became the property of the Bonaparte family and here lived Napoleon's brother, Lucien Bonaparte, who had Raffaele Stern (1774/1820) to renovate the building
In 1842 it was bought by the Torlonia family who had Antonio Sarti (1797/1880) to restore and enlarge it
Marino Torlonia wanted to build the Hotel d'Inghilterra (Hotel England) in front of the building for his guests
It was again restored in 1989


1889 Cesare Janz (active 1886/89) from Trieste
Gargantuan style typical of the period of king Humbert I for this building which is named after Ernesto Nathan (1845/1921), mayor of Rome in the years 1907/13 and 1917/19, who lived and died here
He held the office of Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy from 1896 to 1904 and from 1917 to 1919