Palazzo Santacroce Aldobrandini (o del Monte di Pietà) | Turismo Roma
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Palazzo Santacroce Aldobrandini (or of the Monte di Pietà)

Palazzo Santacroce Aldobrandini (o del Monte di Pietà)

Aimed at combating usury and granting pawn credit with low interest rates, the Monte di Pietà institutional pawnbroker arrived later in Rome as compared to other cities in central and northern Italy. It was founded in 1527 by the Franciscan Giovanni da Calvi with the approval of Paul III Farnese, but it did obtain its first permanent seat in 1603, when the institution acquired the palace in the Rione Regola that Cardinal Prospero Santacroce had commissioned to Ottavio Nonni (known as Il Mascherino) in the last quarter of the 16th century.

To adapt the palace to its new use Carlo Maderno was initially called in, who, helped also by the young Borromini, was responsible for the first extension of the main façade. Construction and renovation work continued, however, until 1730, and as the available space continued to be insufficient, in 1759 another building was purchased, the “Casa Grande” of the Barberini family, who in the meantime had moved to the their new palace on the Quirinal Hill. In 1768 the two palaces were connected by a flyover called Arco del Monte, after which the street below was also named. The wonderful and little-known chapel housed inside the palace was also completed in the first half of the 18th century: the chapel is a masterpiece of Baroque art with polychrome marble and gilded stucco contrasting with the snow-white statues and large bas-reliefs.

The wide main façade of the palace, with two portals interspersed with a fountain, has as its only decoration in the middle an aedicule and the heraldic coats of arms of Popes Paul III Farnese and Clement VIII Aldobrandini and Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini. On the left is a bell gable with a large clock popularly considered “mad”, because it never marked the exact time. Legend has it that the malfunction was a revenge of the watchmaker in charge of its construction. Unsatisfied with the compensation he received, he altered the devices and engraved on the dial two verses, “Per non essere state a nostre patte/orologio del Monte sempre matte” - For not having been to our pates/clock of the Mount always mad. It is impossible to know, at present, whether the inscription ever existed....

Today, the palace retains its function as pawnbroker.

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POINT (12.473642 41.8940184)

Can only be visited on special occasions such as "Invitation to the Palace" organised by the ABI (Italian Banking Association)

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Palazzo Santacroce Aldobrandini (o del Monte di Pietà), Piazza del Monte di Pietà, 32/A
Piazza del Monte di Pietà, 32/A
41° 53' 38.4648" N, 12° 28' 25.1112" E

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