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Palazzo Altieri

Palazzo Altieri

In the heart of Rome's historical centre, in the Rione Pigna, stands this magnificent example of Roman Baroque, whose imposing façade overlooks the splendid Church of Jesus.

Work on the construction of the first nucleus of the palace began in 1650 by architect Giovanni Antonio De Rossi, to whom the last descendants of the Altieri family, Cardinals Giovanni Battista and Emilio, the future Pope Clement X (1670-76), commissioned the construction of a private residence. The building of the second nucleus, designed to extend the palace, was completed in 1675, again by the architect Giovanni Antonio De Rossi and his namesake Mattia, thanks to the intervention of Gaspare Paluzzi Albertoni, Marquis of Rasina and husband of Laura Caterina Altieri, the pope's niece. The pope, aware that the family name was close to extinction, permitted him to continue the family name.

The palace has an imposing pale cream façade, a majestic portal of black oak enclosed between two Ionic travertine columns supporting a balcony, surmounted by the family coat of arms, as well as a monumental staircase enriched with ancient sculptures, including the Barbarian Prisoner found in the nearby Theatre of Pompey, and two large courtyards around which all its magnificent architecture develops.

Inside, true marvels decorated the luxurious salons: polychrome marble, tapestries of gold brocade, tapestries, and fine furniture. The splendid paintings and frescoes on the ceilings and walls of this noble residence are the work of illustrious artists of the time, such as The Triumph of Clemency by Carlo Maratta, The Chariot of the Sun by Fabrizio Chiari, and The Allegory of Love by Niccolò Berrettoni. The floor of the Gabinetto Nobile, made from an ancient mosaic depicting Mars and Rea Silvia, was found in Ostia Antica during some excavations in 1783.

Today, the palace is partly home to the ABI (Italian Banking Association) and two other banks, the Banca Popolare di Novara and the Finnat, and partly to private owners who keep the Family Archives in the Librària Altieri, which also houses a bust of Clement X by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Illustrious tenants of the 17th-century residence include Carlo Levi, who mentions the palace in his novel L'Orologio (The Clock), and the great actress Anna Magnani, who lived there for over twenty years until her death on 26 September 1973.

Photo: Redazione Turismo Roma

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The Church of Jesus

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POINT (12.479113 41.896066)
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Palazzo Altieri, Piazza del Gesù, 49
Piazza del Gesù, 49
41° 53' 45.8376" N, 12° 28' 44.8068" E


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