The Palazzetto is located inside Villa Celimontana, near the Colosseum and, since 1926, has housed the Italian Geographic Society, founded in Florence in 1867.The building was built to a design by Jacopo Del Duca, a disciple of Michelangelo, at the behest of Ciriaco Mattei who, in 1580, commissioned the architect to construct the building and to arrange the park, enriched with the wonderful collection of masterpieces of the Mattei.On the death of Ciriaco Mattei, the property was inherited by his son Gian Battista who transformed the Palazzetto from the seat of the collection into a private residence and enlarged the surface of the gardens with the purchase of nearby land. The works were entrusted to the architect Francesco Peparelli who completed them in 1623; The frescoes in the rooms of the Library date back to this period. The latter, representing mythological themes, are the work of the artists Pietro Sigismondi, Orazio Monaldi and Orazio Zecca.
The Library preserves a heritage of 400,000 volumes with a section of rare books that includes works published from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Also of particular interest is the Cartoteca which houses about 200,000 geographical maps: among these a collection of Chinese and Japanese geographical maps of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, of great scientific and artistic value, almost all handwritten. There is also a Historical Archive with thousands of letters, travel notebooks and drawings by explorers and travelers and a Photographic Archive that collects about 400,000 phototypes.
Noteworthy, inside the building, is a Roman mosaic dating back to the third century AD. found in the area in front of the building and inserted during the nineteenth-century restorations.
Photo credits: Italian Geographic Society official site
See in the official website of the Italian Geographical Society
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