Saturday, September 30, 2017


Built at the beginning of 1500s for Pietro Griffo Bishop of Forlì
It was restored in 1588 by Giovanni Fontana (1540/1614), brother of Domenico Fontana, for Gaspare Scapucci
During the restoration the TOWER OF THE MONKEY of 1014 was included in the building
It was linked to a legend that became famous when told in 1860 by the American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne in his novel The Marble Faun:
Legend has it that in the palace lived a monkey who, one day, kidnapped the baby of his master in swaddling clothes, and took him to the top of the tower, making him stick out from the battlements, just for fun, at the risk of making him fall
The parents and the people who were there implored the help of Our Lady who rescued the baby: so the ape, at a call of the child's father, came back down the tower and into the house, carrying the baby safe and sound
From that day the father of the child wanted that a lamp would burn before a statue of the Virgin that he placed on top of the building, as a thanksgiving for the grace received

Friday, September 29, 2017


It was built in the fifteenth century
The palace is known for hosting for a few months in 1466 the Albanian hero Giorgio Castriota Scanderbeg (1405/68) who united the tribes of Epirus and Albania, and resisted attempts of the Ottoman Empire to conquer Albania for twenty-five years
The square named after Scanderbeg was the first case of a foreign name used in Roman toponymy
The building is now home to the
National Museum of Pasta
Private museum opened at the behest of Vincenzo Agnesi (1893/1977) the owner of the Agnesi company, pasta producer
The museum is closed for renovation at the time being
ELEVEN ROOMS with tools for the production of pasta and documents on the subject
The museum is strongly opposed by the Albanian community that believes the memory of his national hero is desecrated


1535/36 Antonio Cordini aka Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1483/1546)
At his death it was sold to Migliore Cresci from Florence, mentioned in inscriptions along the five windows MELIOR DE CRESCIS CI FLORENTINUS
Between 1559 and 1565 the new owner decorated the entire façade with frescoes, including Medici crests and portraits of Giovanni and Giuliano de' Medici
The decoration remained in this condition until the end of the nineteenth century, when the plaster was replaced
On the façade there is a plaque honoring Cosimo II Duke of Florence (COSMO MEDICI / DUCI FLOREN II / PACIS ATQUE / IVSTICIAE CULTORI)
It was enlarged in the seventeenth century extending the façade
It passed to the Consulate of Tuscany and later to the Marini Clarelli family
It became a barrack for soldiers and it was eventually acquired by the municipality which has restored it

Monday, September 25, 2017


1520/27 Giulio Pippi aka Giulio Romano (1499/1546) for Filippo Adimari chamberlain of Pope Leo X Medici (1513/21)
Completed 1552/68 by Giovanni Lippi aka Nanni di Baccio Bigio (about 1513/68) for Cardinal Bernardo Salviati
From 1883 to 1943 it was the headquarters of the Military School of Rome
It was restored and enlarged in 1933
It originally faced the Leonino Port disappeared after the construction of the embankments of the Tiber
On October 16, 1943 1,022 Roman Jews were brought here, and two days later deported to Auschwitz. Only sixteen survived
In 1945 it was for a full year Hospital of the Canadian Armed Forces
Between 1946 and 1950 it was the Military Tribunal
Since 1971 is home to the Centro Alti Studi per la Difesa (Centre for High Defense Studies)
Three rooms with ceilings decorated in 1883 with “Scenes of battles of the Risorgimento and other military episodes” and “Groups of plants and flowers” by Annibale Brugnoli (1843/1915)
Paintings by Santi di Tito (1536/1603)

Sunday, September 24, 2017


1542 designed by Antonio Cordini aka Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1483/1546) as his home
The unfinished building was sold in 1550 by his Sangallo's son, Orazio, to Cardinal Giovanni Ricci of Montepulciano treasurer of Paul III Farnese (1534/49)
Completed in 1552 maybe by Sangallo's student Giovanni Lippi aka Nanni di Baccio Bigio (about 1513/68) and his son Annibale Lippi (active in Rome in the second half of the XVI century)
NYMPHAEUM 1660 by Carlo Rainaldi (1611/91)
It belonged for nearly three decades until 1608 to the Ceoli family who enriched it with ancient sculptures and then sold it to Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese
Later it belonged to Cardinal Ottavio Acquaviva d'Aragona, and finally, from 1649, to the Sacchetti family of Florence who still owns it
The GARDEN of the palace was the first place in Rome where oleanders, very rare at the time, would be cultivated
Emile Zola chose the palace as the setting for his novel “Rome” even if with the fictitious name of Palazzo Boccanera
Bas-relief “Presentation to the Senate of Caracalla by Septimius Severus (193/211)”
Masterpiece of Roman Mannerism “Stories of David” including “Bathsheba goes to King David” 1553/54 by Francesco de' Rossi aka Francesco Salviati (1510/63)
“Simulating illusionistically complex decorative systems made of architecture and painted sculptures, of fake easel paintings and tapestries (behind which is a conceptual plot of meanings resulting from the complicated web of allegorical, mythological and historical themes) Salviati gave another proof of the great expressive features of Mannerism”(Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
Copies of sibyls and prophets from originals by Michelangelo executed by Giacomo Rocca (1592/1605)
“Holy Family” and “Adam and Eve” by Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)
Frescoes by Agostino Ciampelli (1565/1630)

Saturday, September 23, 2017


1584/88 Domenico Fontana (1543/1607) and Carlo Maderno (1556/1629) for Cardinal Girolamo Rusticucci, who also paid for the construction of new church of S. Susanna
To build the palace, the cardinal had bought all the buildings in the area except the house of an old woman, Mrs. Moscetti, who had categorically refused to sell it. The cardinal did, however, made his architects build the palace anyway, incorporating the property of the old woman who found herself with her house surrounded by a cardinal's palace
The original palace was built on the now disappeared Piazza Rusticucci which used to be between Via del Mascherino and Borgo Sant'Angelo
In the seventeenth century the palace became the property of the Accoramboni family
It was rebuilt approximately as it was here in 1950 with some original elements


Begun in 1556 by Giovanni Lippi aka Nanni di Baccio Bigio (about 1513/68)
Continued 1583/86 by Bartolomeo Ammannati (1511/92) for the Rucellai family from Florence who sold it in 1629 to the Caetani family
Completed 1633/37 by Bartolomeo Breccioli (?/1639)
Incorporates the former CINEMA ETOILE
Since 1713 it became property of the Ruspoli family who possess it still
It is the seat of the Fondazione Memmo and it hosts temporary exhibitions
STAIRCASE also known as Caetani Staircase 1640 by Martino Longhi the Younger (1602/60) with 120 steps each carved from a single piece of antique marble
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was considered one of the four wonders of Rome along with Palazzo Farnese, Palazzo Borghese and the entrance to Palazzo Sciarra
Frescoes “Genealogy of the triumphs with deities and allegorical figures” 1589/92 by Jacopo Zucchi (about 1542/96) and busts

Monday, September 18, 2017


1588/91 Giacomo Della Porta (1533/1602) for the Ruggeri family
The stretch of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II in front of the palace corresponds to a stretch of the Via Papalis, the way the popes used to get from the Vatican to their palace near the Basilica of St. John Lateran or during important occasions and processions
When, from 1420 onwards, the popes went to live in the Vatican, the Via Papalis was tread by them in the days after the election to take symbolically possession as bishops of Rome of the throne in the Lateran Cathedral
“Fake painted tapestries with scenes of the Roman consul Gnaeus Pompey taken from Plutarch” and “Allegorical figures” painted at the end of 1500s by the brothers Giovanni Alberti (1558/1601) and Cherubino Alberti (1553/1615) for Pompeo Ruggeri
Frescoed frieze “Cycle with alternate stories of the Old Testament with allegorical figures” also by the Alberti brothers and Cristoforo Roncalli aka Pomarancio (1552/1626)


It was built in the sixteenth century for the Cybo family
It later belonged to the Altemps and to the Ruffo families who had in 1783 Kaiser Wilhelm II of Austria as their guest here
It then passed to the Guglielmi family of Vulci who did renovation in 1873 with Gaetano Koch (1849/1910)
It has been the headquarters of the Italian Democratic Party

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Begun in 1750 by Gabriele Valvassori (1683/1761), who incorporated the Palace of Cavalier d'Arpino built by Flaminio Ponzio (1560/1613), made the NORTH WING and the FAÇADE ON VIA DEL CORSO
Finished 1761/64 by Alessandro Dori (active in Roma since 1744/d. 1772), who added the SOUTH WING and oversaw the interior of the house-museum of the Marquis Giuseppe Rondinini that until 1800 still kept the famous “Pieta Rondanini” (the misspelling of the name is commonly accepted) by Michelangelo Buonarroti now in Milan
The building is currently owned by Bank Antonveneta and hosts the Chess Club
Incredible frescoed vault “Fall of Phaeton” 1772 by Jacques Gamelin (1738/1803)
“Among the strategies adopted to emphasize the prestige of the family, there is the relationship between antiquities and modern décor. Pieces of the Roman statuary such as columns, bas-reliefs, sarcophagi and statues were fused with stuccos and paintings, creating a living museum, where the classics became an additional ornament. Unlike other historic homes where the remains of the ancient collections were exhibited in galleries and private museums, here the relationship with archeology was part of everyday life, as well as being a good financial investment in times of crisis. Most of these pieces, however, were removed when Giuseppe Rondinini, the last heir, left the palace. (...) However, one can still feel the ancient preciousness of the rooms through illusionistic paintings, architectural views and depictions of mythological stories made​in the style of Bologna's squaring” (Rita Dietrich - L'Osservatore Romano)


Beginning of the seventeenth century by Carlo Maderno (1556/1629) for the Rocci family from Cremona
From 1759 it belonged to the Discalced Carmelites who had their headquarters here with the church Sts. Teresa and John of the Cross
In the nineteenth century they moved to S. Maria della Vittoria, the church was demolished and the palace became property of the Pallavicini family
It was restored by Francesco Azzurri (1831/1901)

Sunday, September 10, 2017


About 1540/47 Antonio Cordini aka Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1483/1546) as Villa Silvestri for Eurialo Silvestri from Cingoli butler of Pope Paul III Farnese (1534/49) on the area of the VELIA HILL ​​
The palace was built consciously on pre-existing archaeological remains consisting of a housing complex of mid-first century AD, used and refurbished until the fifth century
Renovated in 1586 by Jacopo Del Duca (about 1520/1604), who also rearranged the gardens for Alessandro de' Medici, the future Pope Leo XI (1605)
Restored in about 1612 by Jan Van Santen aka Giovanni Vasanzio (1550/1621)
It belonged to the Gonzaga family (1621/26), to the House of Savoy (1626/60) and then to the Archbishop Ascanio Rivaldi who used it as the Conservatory of the poor women beggars who were employed here working the wool with the name PIO INSTITUTE RIVALDI
The garden was reduced when the Velia Hill was mostly removed in 1932
Many sculptures found here are now at the Vatican Museums and at the Centrale Montemartini
It is being renovated and there are plans to exhibit here the Torlonia collection of statues if it would be finally acquired and pulled out of the basement of Palazzo Torlonia alla Lungara where it is currently sadly stored
ROOM WITH FRESCOED FRIEZE “The Story of Cupid and Psyche” first half of 1500s maybe by Pietro Bonaccorsi aka Perin del Vaga (1501/47) or by his pupil Pellegrino Tibaldi (1527/96)

Saturday, September 9, 2017


Early sixteenth century for the Calcagni family
Mistakenly attributed to Giovanni Lippi aka Nanni di Baccio Bigio (about 1513/68)
The property of the palace passed in 1577 to the Ricci family and they still own it
It was expanded in 1634 with the FAÇADE ON VIA GIULIA
On the FAÇADE ON PIAZZA DE’ RICCI there are traces of frescoes by Polidoro Caldara aka Polidoro da Caravaggio (about 1495/1543) and Maturino da Firenze (?/1528)
It is the only palace, with Palazzo Milesi, where there are remains of the many frescoes that used to adorn the façades of many buildings of Rome at the beginning of the sixteenth century
“Polidoro was an original summoner of the ancient times who proposed a modern interpretation of the spirit of classical Rome and gave rise to a large repertoire of ideas and motifs that had inexhaustible fortune throughout the course of 1500s and found their self-definition as 'martial manner' of painting” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
The frescoes were restored at the end of 1800 by Luigi Fontana (1827/1908) who repainted them copying from seventeenth-century engravings (the added sections were recently removed) and painted second and third floors completely new
In a room on the first floor frescoes “Virtue” of the end of 1500s
The Roman art collector Mario Praz (1896/1982) lived in this palace from 1934 to 1969
St. John in Ayno
Adjacent to Palazzo Ricci with a SMALL RENAISSANCE FAÇADE
It was first mentioned by sources on 1186 as Sancto Johanni in Aginae
There is mystery about the origin of the name, perhaps a reference to the lamb (agnello) that St. John the Baptist is commonly associated with
It was deconsecrated in 1895 and used as a warehouse for building materials
Since 1996 it is owned and seat of the services company Ayno Videoconferencing

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Built in the sixteenth century
It was bought in 1820 by Count Luigi Primoli
It was transformed in the years 1909/11 by Raffaele Ojetti (1845/1924) for Count Giuseppe Primoli with the NEW FAÇADE ALONG THE RIVER TIBER
The ground floor was buried and the gardens, that had occupied the area up to the river, disappeared
Some ceilings of the eighteenth century with painted beams
Friezes in three rooms of early 1800s, in two rooms of the second half of 1800s
“Interpreter of the aspirations of his client, Ojetti the original building in the new palace, transforming it into a stately neo-fifteen hundreds residence with a Roman flair, typical of the fin de siècle. With great mastery, he united in one design distinct elements corresponding to different functions, creating an ordered façade, despite its irregularities and asymmetries, thanks to the skillful use of brick and travertine, soberly dosed with polychrome marble. Towards the bridge, a new section was added at the wing on Via Zanardelli. The architect, with a successful and very unique formal solution, pierced the corner in an elegant double Serlian, surmounted by a linteled loggia, providing to the spaces for public use (the Grand Salon, the Great Library) a magnificent view of the river, of the new bridge, of the new district of Prati di Castello” (Sito web della Fondazione Primoli -
Napoleonic Museum
Donated to the city in 1927 by Giuseppe Primoli (1851/1927), son of Pietro Primoli and Charlotte Bonaparte. He was the grandson of Lucien Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who moved to Rome in 1807
Napoleon, however, never set foot in Rome
Three distinct phases:
1) Napoleonic period
2) Roman period after the fall of Napoleon
3) Second Empire
Room I - The First Empire
Portraits of “Napoleon” by Joseph Chabord (1786/1848)
“Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi and her daughter Elisa” by François Gerard (1770/1837)
“Empress Josephine” and “Letizia Bonaparte Ramolino” by Robert Lefèvre (1755/1830)
Room II - The First Empire
Portrait of “Lucien Bonaparte” by François-Xavier Fabre (1766/1837)
Room III - The Second Empire
“Napoleon III” and “The Empress Eugenie” by the German Franz-Xavier Winterhalter (1805/73), famous for his ability to represent realistically and in detail the folds of clothing and hairstyles details
Room IV - The King of Rome, son of Napoleon and Marie Louise of Austria
“The Duke of Reichstadt” by Luigi Schiavonetti (1765/1810)
Curved saber that belonged to Napoleon and the Duke of Reichstadt awarded at birth with the title of King of Rome. He died at age 21 and was never able to reign over Rome
Room V - The Roman Republic
Room VI - Pauline Bonaparte
“Bust of Pauline” in 1805/07 by Antonio Canova (1757/1822)
“Pauline Bonaparte” by the Flemish artist François-Joseph Kinson (1771/1839)
Plaster cast of the breasts of Pauline Bonaparte
Room VII - The Kingdom of Naples
Jewelry of Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister and Queen of Naples
“Julia Clary and her daughters Zenaide and Charlotte” by Jean-Baptiste Wicar (1762/1834)
Room VIII - Watercolors and caricatures
Room IX - Zenaide and Carlotta
“Zenaide” and “Charlotte Bonaparte” by Jacques-Louis David (1748/1825)
Room X - Lucien Bonaparte
Room XI - The “Roman” branch of the Bonaparte family
“Charlotte Bonaparte Gabrielli” as a farmer by Jean-Baptiste Wicar (1762/1834)
Room XII - Giuseppe Primoli and Matilde Bonaparte
In the museum there are also refined pieces of furniture, jewelery and miniatures
30,000 volumes of history, literature and French art and valuable collection of photographsof the end of the nineteenth century
Mario Praz Museum
One of the few Italian historic house museums: collection of about 1,200 pieces of furniture and works of art assembled by the famous Anglicist, critic and Roman essayist Mario Praz (1896/1982)
He was an avid collector and put together his collection of art pieces in more than sixty years of research
He lived from 1934 to 1969 at Palazzo Ricci in Via Monserrato and in this building from 1969 to 1982, the year of death
The house was bought by the state in 1986 and the museum opened to the public in 1995
Entrance hall, three rooms of exhibitions, gallery, bedroom, dining room and corridor
“Head” maybe by Antonio Canova (1757/1822) and works by Italian, French, Austrian, Swiss and German including:
“Portrait of Princess Vittorina Spinola near the bust of Augustus d'Arenberg” 1792 by the Swiss Jacques Sablet (1749/1803)
“View of Cava near Salerno” by Anton Sminck Pitloo (1791/1837) Dutch painter who lived mainly in Rome and Naples. He was a leading exponent of the School of Posillipo and is considered a precursor of Impressionism
More than 400 sheets of watercolors, prints and drawings are exhibited on rotation

Sunday, September 3, 2017


1566 Martino Longhi the Elder (1534/91) who restored existing buildings for the Ceri family. At his death he was succeeded by Ottaviano Nonni aka Ottaviano Mascherino (1524/1606)
In 1678 the palace passed to the Poli family, and in 1812 to the Boncompagni who rented it out in part
Famous tenants of the building were the poet Gioacchino Belli and Princess Zenaide Wolkonski holding in her living room a gathering of aristocrats and scholars
The great DANTE HALL overlooking the Trevi Fountain was used as a ballroom, and now as a hall for exhibitions and cultural events
In 1978 it became property of the Italian state which turned it into the seat of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF GRAPHICS
On one of its sides the famous TREVI FOUNTAIN was completed in 1762


XII century for the Orsini family with great tower and turreted houses on the ruins of the TEMPLE OF VENUS WINNER which was built in 52 BC above the auditorium of the THEATER OF POMPEY on the years 61/55 BC
In 1450 the building was structured and designed like a veritable palace for Cardinal Francesco Coldumer nephew of Pope Eugene IV Coldumer (1431/47)
The Orsini returned in possession of the palace at the end of 1400s and it was known as PALAZZO ORSINI
The Orsini sold it at the beginning of 1600s to the Pio da Carpi family who did renovation with a NEW FAÇADE by Camillo Arcucci (active from 1646/d. 1667)
The Pio da Carpi amassed a collection of paintings which largely ended up in the Pinacoteca Capitolina
After other owners, it was bought in 1863 by the banker Pietro Righetti who had it restored
In 1926 it was divided into several apartments